Prolific Cardiff Professor cleared of misconduct

The Shenanigans at Cardiff University led to an investigation by the University  into alleged research misconduct in the laboratory of its dean of medicine, Prof. BP Morgan. He has now been cleared of any misconduct but one of his former co-workers, Rossen Donev,  has been singled out for the manipulation of images. ( Dr. Donev is listed as a lecturer at Swansea University’s College of Medicine). The investigation seems to have found that Prof. Morgan could not have known about his co-worker’s image manipulation even though he was a co-author. Some 40 papers were investigated and image manipulation was found in 4 instances all by the former researcher. Some of the papers have been retracted.

It is laudable that the source of the misconduct has been identified though there is a tiny hint of  a whitewash and some scapegoating when the only guilty person is no longer at the University and every body else is completely exonerated. Does Prof. Morgan have no responsibility at all for misconduct conducted within his group?  The ubiquitous practice of the head of a lab or research group automatically being included as a co-author is not quite satisfactory when the “leader” takes no responsibility for his soldiers. There is something not quite right when there are lots and lots of papers published by the Dean, Professor B P Morgan, (172 papers and 35 review articles or chapters since 1998 – giving 207 publications in about 180 months!)”. You can’t just take the credit for authorship of more than a paper a month and then not take any responsibility for any wrongdoing. Apart from Dr. Donev, everybody else seems to have “had Doctor’s papers”!

BBC: The dean of Cardiff University’s school of medicine has been cleared of research misconduct after claims images were manipulated in academic articles. Professor Paul Morgan and other members of his research group were cleared by a formal investigation panel.

But four allegations of image manipulation in articles were upheld against a former staff member. Prof Morgan, who researches diseases, said the actions of one individual had a “profound effect” on his reputation. A clinical academic, the professor heads a team which Cardiff University’s website said is “internationally recognised for its expertise and contribution to the field of complement biology”. He remained in his post during the investigation by the panel, which was chaired by a former Cardiff circuit judge. …. 

…. The inquiry rejected all allegations against Prof Morgan and members of his research team, but upheld four allegations of misconduct against the former university employee.

The panel also said that Prof Morgan – the co-author of the four articles in question – would not have been aware that the individual had included manipulated images in the articles.

Cardiff University said it took allegations of academic research misconduct against staff extremely seriously. “The panel did find that allegations of data manipulation against a former member of university staff were substantiated and recommends that protocols are put in place to ensure that data and original image files are in future viewed and assessed prior to submission for publication,” a spokesperson said. “Cardiff University accepts these findings and recommendations and will now take action to put in place procedures to ensure that incidents of this sort do not recur.” …

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3 Responses to “Prolific Cardiff Professor cleared of misconduct”

  1. fernando pessoa Says:

    I think that there are more problems. Papers which do not have the blamed person on them have some odd results.

    J Immunol. 2007 Feb 1;178(3):1783-90. Nalini S. Bora2,*, Sankaranarayanan Kaliappan*, Purushottam Jha*, Qin Xu*, Baalasubramanian Sivasankar†, Claire L. Harris†, B. Paul Morgan† and Puran S. Bora2,*
    -Author Affiliations
    *Department of Ophthalmology, Jones Eye Institute, Pat and Willard Walker Eye Research Center, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR 72205; and
    †Department of Medical Biochemistry and Immunology, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom
    Full article.

    Fig. 1c the left CD59a band (N) looks like a (slightly enlarged) horizontal mirror image of the right CD59a band (7).

    Now the dark vertical streaks in the bands bands make sense. You can use them to confirm the horizontal mirror images.

  2. fernando pessoa Says:

    I do want to mention another publication because of what I think is an evasive approach by Cardiff University.

    According to the Cardiff university press release:

    “The panel did find that allegations of image manipulation against a former member of University staff were substantiated in four instances.”
    “The Panel found that Professor Paul Morgan – as co-author on these four articles – was unaware that this individual had included manipulated images in articles.”

    In Mol Immunol. 2008 Jan;45(2):534-42.
    The mouse complement regulator CD59b is significantly expressed only in testis and plays roles in sperm acrosome activation and motility
    Rossen M. Donev, Baalasubramanian Sivasankar, Masashi Mizuno, and B. Paul Morgan
    there are two people listed as corresponding authors. That of course might be a mistake.

    I know that it is churlish to point it out, but a cursory glance at the figures 1,2,3,4 and 5 might tell you that something is not quite right.

    • ktwop Says:

      I am not competent in this field. But since you just pose the question – rather than accuse – perhaps some other readers can comment. —- ktwop

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