LOWI conclusion: former employee did breach scientific integrity

On 28 July 2020, the Netherlands Board on Research Integrity (LOWI) concluded that a former employee of Leiden University breached several rules of scientific integrity. This conclusion is in accordance with the findings of the Academic Integrity Committee (CWI) of the University in its advice to the Executive Board of the University (dated 11 November 2019).

In this advice the CWI identified four violations of scientific integrity: (1) blood sample testing without the legally required permission of the Medical Ethics Review Committee, (2) irregularities with publications, (3) repeatedly selectively omitting research results without reporting or explaining this, and (4) submitting grant applications with incorrect (incomplete and manipulated) research data.

The Executive Board adopted this advice in a preliminary decision.

The defendant appealed to LOWI against this preliminary decision.

In its advice, LOWI confirmed that the CWI of Leiden University had investigated the complaint with due care. The Executive Board therefore upholds its initial decision.

According to LOWI, some noted procedural imperfections did not affect the grounds considered or the four violations of scientific integrity identified. The complaints procedure will be evaluated this autumn, and LOWI’s advice will be taken into account.

Furthermore, Leiden University acts in accordance with the Netherlands Code of Conduct for Research Integrity. According to this code, universities have independent authority to determine a complaint procedure and take necessary measures. Since it has been confirmed that there were violations of scientific integrity, this reaffirms the importance of the measures taken, such as requesting the retraction of two published articles and reporting violations of the Medical Research (Human Subjects) Act (in Dutch: Wet medisch-wetenschappelijk onderzoek met mensen, WMO), to the Health and Youth Care Inspectorate.

The final decision and summary of LOWI’s advice in Dutch can be found on the Leiden University website. An English translation of the initial advice of the CWI can be found here.

The defendant is no longer employed at Leiden University.

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