More fraud in academia

A simple background check on a West Virginia academic who was touted as a “genius” has discovered that his entire resume was a fraud.

[Anoop] Shankar isn’t a Ph.D. He didn’t graduate from the Harvard of India. He didn’t write dozens of the scholarly publications on his resume, and as for the Royal College of Physicians, they’ve never heard of him. He does have a master’s degree in epidemiology from the University of North Carolina and an Indian medical degree, but at least two of his green card references—attesting to “world class creativity,” “genius insight,” and “a new avenue for treating hypertension”—were a forgery.

Worse, when the investigation threatened his bright future he used two students to try to destroy the career of an investigator by faking a sexual attack.

And even worse yet, the academic community remains unwilling to deal with this fraud aggressively.

Although Shankar was forced out of WVU in December of 2012, the university has yet to address the case publicly, allowing Shankar and his work to continue unchallenged. In the last year alone, he’s published at least three papers, including one in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association. He also landed a new job on the backs of taxpayers: associate professor of family medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University, a large public university in Richmond.

So far, the investigation has only focused on the man’s faked resume. No one has taken a close look at his medical research, though the article does describe one example where Shankar was actually teaching his students to manipulate data unethically to get the results they wanted.

As the article notes, “How many more are there out there?” As I’ve documented repeatedly in the climate field, academia no longer seems interested in cleaning house and maintaining honest standards. This story only reinforces this fact.