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Stanford president resigns due to research fraud allegations

The president of Stanford University, Marc Tessier-Lavigne, has now resigned because of allegations of fraud and data manipulation in papers published by him and others.

The report finds that overall Tessier-Lavigne “did not have actual knowledge of any manipulation of research data” and “was not reckless in failing to identify” the problems in the papers. Yet it concludes that he did not respond adequately when concerns were raised about the papers on PubPeer or by a colleague at four different points over 2 decades—most recently in March 2021. For example, it chides him for failing to follow up when Science did not publish the corrections he submitted.

The report also faults Tessier-Lavigne for his “suboptimal” decision not to correct or retract the 2009 Nature paper, despite “vigorous discussions” about what to do; instead, he and colleagues published follow-up papers revising the findings. Without “an appropriate appetite” for corrections, “the often-claimed self-correcting nature of the scientific process will not occur,” the report says.

In other words, he too often looked the other way when associates were sloppy or were found to have faked data.

This story is an addendum to one I posted yesterday, where a researcher in 2020 had found 1 in 4 clinical trials to be either unreliable or fraudulent. His revelation however was ignored by the medical community, just as Tessier-Lavigne ignored fraud or sloppiness at his own lab.

Nor has anything really changed in the medical research community. Though Tessier-Lavigne has stepped down, the actual perpetrators of the fraud are facing no punishment.

Despite the findings of data manipulation, the report does not assign responsibility to any specific members of Tessier-Lavigne’s lab or determine whether the data manipulation fit the federal definition of research misconduct, “fabrication, falsification, fabrication, or plagiarism.” Whether the findings should be reported to the federal Office of Research Integrity will be up to Stanford, Filip says.

It appears we can trust little from the modern medical research community. There is certainly good work being done, but telling the difference between the good and the bad is now very difficult, if not impossible.

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On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

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  • Jeff Wright

    Sad….a lot of colleges do good research


    The furtherance of the trend of the death of professional expertise.

    I used to teach science, relying on “experts” to distinguish between fact and fiction.

    I no longer am able to trust experts to properly distinguish fiction from fact.

    “The idiot bastards sons.” — Frank Zappa

  • No

    Academic research has been through a lot of embarrassing events in the recent past, such as this masterpiece where academics submitted absurd papers to journals just to see which journals would accept and publish them as if they were “real papers”. Hysterically funny the things they submitted and that were accepted.

  • No: And got fired from their universities for doing so.

  • Starbird

    Did they use it for their own pleasure like Born and gay sex?

  • This is an example of the profit motive reaching into the alleged “non-profit” pursuit of academics.

    Want to get published?
    Want your next grant funded?
    Want tenure … followed by advancement up the academic ladder?

    Then you have to conform to the ideologues who sit as trolls under those “bridges”.

    And in the process, erode the actual value of your credentials and resume.

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