In Canada, case spurs concern over misconduct secrecy

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Science  16 Dec 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6318, pp. 1361
DOI: 10.1126/science.354.6318.1361

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In early 2013, scientists working in a laboratory led by a prominent cancer researcher at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada, were getting worried. They were unable to reproduce results from several of the researcher's experiments, and suspected some of the original work was fraudulent. An investigation by UBC ultimately confirmed their fears: In 2014, investigators identified 29 instances of scholarly misconduct, 16 of them "serious." The tainted work had been included in 12 papers published in six journals, and had drawn financial support from more than a dozen funders. To the dismay of some scientists familiar with the case, however, UBC never publicly released the damning report or named the researcher, who has since left the institution. And critics say the case highlights a troubling lack of transparency in Canada's system for policing scientific misconduct. Some believe the secrecy allows unreliable papers to remain in circulation, and could enable researchers to continue to raise funds from donors and investors who may not be aware of misconduct findings.

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