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Targets of misconduct probe launch a legal counterattack

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Science  02 Jan 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6217, pp. 13
DOI: 10.1126/science.347.6217.13

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Summary

An unusual lawsuit filed last month sheds light on a scientific misconduct investigation into a prominent cardiac stem cell lab. Two researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) in Boston, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, are suing Harvard and BWH over what they claim is a "procedurally and legally flawed" misconduct probe that wrongfully damaged their careers. The plaintiffs, principal investigator Piero Anversa and Annarosa Leri, an associate professor at Harvard, acknowledge that there were manipulated and fabricated data in two papers they co-authored, first called into question last spring. But they blame the problems on another member of the lab. The suit raises thorny questions about who bears responsibility for misconduct and how a university should preserve the reputations of scientists in a lab that's under investigation.