Posts Tagged ‘Ahluwalia’

Are Universities cracking down on academic and scientific misconduct?

September 3, 2011

It may just be a passing gust of a cleansing wind but I do have a perception that universities are becoming much more responsive to allegations of academic dishonesty and scientific misconduct.

Investigations of misconduct at academic institutions have long been notorious for the amount of time they take (usually many years) and for always protecting “the establishment”. But I think I detect a change.

Investigations are speeding up and sanctions against those found guilty are beginning to be more than symbolic slaps on the wrist. The frequency of enforced resignations and dismissals seem to be increasing. I perceive a trend and I hypothesise that it is partly in response to the on-line scrutiny and negative publicity which comes from the blogosphere. 

Close on the heels of the recent Ahluwalia resignation /dismissal come these two cases:

1. Academic impropriety with Professor Julius Nyang’oro considered to have improperly helped athletes to cheat at the University of North Carolina. He is tied to two athletes who were kicked off the football team. In one case he did not detect or ignored blatant plagiarism and in the other he allowed a freshman to take a senior graduate level course and awarded him a suspiciously high grade. Nyang’oro apparently rarely gave low grades in his classes:

College athletes and accommodating professors

UNC professor resigns amid football investigation

UNC’s Afro-American studies head resigns amid questions of football …

2. A well known cardiac researcher Zhiguo Wang has been dismissed from the Montreal Heart Institute for scientific misconduct following retraction of two papers in the Journal of the Biological Chemistry just a month ago.  Wang also has an appointment at the University of Montreal, and is senior research scholar of the Fonds de Recherche en Sante de Quebec, a ChangJiang scholar professor, and a LongJiang scholar professor of China. The dismissal comes less than a month after the publication of the retraction notices.

Authors retract two JBC papers on how heart rhythms go awry; Montreal Heart Institute looking into why

Montreal heart studies ‘withdrawn’ – Zhiguo Wang’s arrhythmia research being investigated after retractions 

Montreal hospital dismisses cardiac researcher over misconduct allegations

There have been a number of other cases recently in Germany as well where the speed of the investigations by the academic institutions have been unprecedented (zu Guttenberg and Bulfone-Paus as examples).

Perhaps it’s all just in my mind – or even wishful thinking – but I have the distinct impression that a cleansing wind is beginning to blow. The world wide web may already be having an impact on combating academic dishonesty and scientific misconduct by forcing institutions to be more responsive. There is much on-line which is still malicious or untrue or just plain rubbish. But the amount of “solid” comment has achieved a  “critical mass”. The blogosphere can no longer be merely ignored it seems.

Ahluwalia is no longer at University of East London

July 15, 2011

Imperial College has yet to conclude about his PhD work but UEL seems to have terminated Jatinder Ahluwalia’s employment.

Times Higher Education – Researcher guilty of misconduct no longer working at UEL

The University of East London has parted company with a researcher following revelations that he was found guilty of research misconduct at two previous universities.

Jatinder Ahluwalia was found guilty last November by a University College London investigation of committing research misconduct while he was a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Anthony Segal, Charles Dent professor of medicine, during the mid-2000s. The investigation found it was beyond reasonable doubt that Dr Ahluwalia had “misrepresented” his experiments by altering the numbering of computer files. It also found, on the balance of probability, that he had attempted to cover his tracks by contaminating colleagues’ experiments. The case led to the retraction from the journal Nature of a paper of which Dr Ahluwalia was the first author.

It subsequently emerged that Dr Ahluwalia had been dismissed from the University of Cambridge biochemistry PhD programme in 1997 after his supervisor suspected him of faking results.

After leaving UCL, Dr Ahluwalia obtained a position as a senior lecturer in pharmacology at UEL. Following the revelations about Dr Ahluwalia’s past, an academic in his department wrote to colleagues in February about the “uproar” caused by the university’s perceived failure to respond to the allegations. UEL responded by saying it had opened a “formal investigation involving external independent peer review” in December. That investigation has now concluded. The university declined to give any details about its conclusions, but confirmed that it had parted company with Dr Ahluwalia.

A spokeswoman said: “The university conducted a full investigation concerning the matters that were raised and, as a consequence, the individual concerned is no longer employed by the university.”

Dr Ahluwalia’s faculty page has been deleted and Times Higher Education was unable to contact him for comment.

Imperial College London, where Dr Ahluwalia eventually obtained his PhD, is also carrying out an investigation of his work while he was there. …

Retraction Watch – Jatinder Ahluwalia out at University of East London: report  

See also  – “Set a thief to catch a thief”? and Jatinder Ahluwalia tries to whitewash himself

Jatinder Ahluwalia tries to whitewash himself

July 8, 2011

Retraction Watch has an update on Jatinder Ahluwalia. Though reviews by Imperial College (where he scammed himself to a PhD) and the University of East London (where he is currently employed) have yet to be concluded, Ahluwalia is busy trying to whitewash himself.


If you’ve been wondering what’s happening in the case of Jatinder Ahluwalia, the University of East London researcher who has been found guilty of faking data as a graduate student at Cambridge and of misconduct at University College London, so have we.

We last reported, in February, that Imperial College London, where Ahluwalia earned his PhD, was repeating his key experiments “in light of new information received.” Today, an Imperial spokesperson tells Retraction Watch that those repeat experiments are complete, and “the results are currently being reviewed by the College.” We look forward to hearing the results of that review, of course.

A reminder that Ahluwalia’s current institution, the University of East London, is also reviewing his work. We’ve heard nothing from UEL, despite several requests. That’s consistent with the idea that the university has placed a gag order on its faculty and administration, although we haven’t confirmed that either.

In fact, we’re hearing a lot of rumors about this case, many of them left as anonymous comments, and while we appreciate any tips, we do our best to confirm verifiable facts before posting, even in comments. So if anyone has documentation of what’s going on, we’d welcome it.

We’ve also seen Ahluwalia apparently take a page out of the Anil Potti playbook, using social media and setting up a blog to extol his own virtues. Various sites discuss his papers and charitable donations, and he also has a Twitter feed that has a lot to say about the weather. Oddly, none of them mention the misconduct findings.

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