NSF Report Recounts Scientific Misconduct Findings

December 2, 2009

A semi-annual report to Congress by the National Science Foundation's Office of the Inspector General documents five new cases of scientific misconduct by university researchers since the last such report in March, and lists actions taken by the science foundation in six cases described by the IG's office in that March report. These semi-annual reports are the main way in which the NSF makes public cases of scientific wrongdoing, and it does so in a limited way -- without identifying the wrongdoers or their institutions. The new cases described in the September 2009 report, which was released this week, include the following: A professor at a South Dakota university resigning after plagiarism was discovered in an NSF grant proposal; a Pennsylvania university doctoral student purposefully falsifying data and conclusions in five NSF-supported manuscripts; a Nevada research professor fabricating images in an NSF proposal; a Nevada university doctoral candidate submitting a dissertation grant proposal that contained others' work; and two primary investigators at a Wyoming university plagiarizing in a total of four NSF grant proposals. The inspector general's report also notes several major audits the office has conducted examining institutions' spending of NSF grant money, including findings involving the University of Michigan, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Cornell University, among others.

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