Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Purdue report on Taleyarkhan finds misconduct on the smaller issues

A report in Nature authored by Eugenie Samuel Reich on the most recent Purdue investigation of Rusi Taleyarkhan did assert misconduct on two smaller charges; Reich wrote:

The report finds Taley­arkhan guilty of misconduct for citing a paper by junior researchers in his lab as if their work was an “independent” replication of his own findings. He is also found guilty of adding the name of a student who had not contributed to the paper as an author, apparently in order to counter a reviewer’s comment that the replication effort seemed to lack witnesses.

The report stresses that corroborative information should be conveyed honestly, because reproducibility of results by independent experimenters is a crucial component of the scientific method.

Reich also wrote: Two scientists told Nature last week that evidence they gave Purdue does not seem to have been considered either. Purdue has not released its charge to the committee; this is a key document that would reveal the questions officials asked investigators to examine. Curiously, Reich does not identify the scientists by name.

Reich's article began with ominous words suggesting falsification:

Nuclear engineer Rusi Taleyarkhan falsified the circumstances of high-profile experiments on bubble fusion, according to a Purdue University report released last week. The report by a Purdue committee that includes scientists from other institutes upheld two charges of research misconduct.

IPBiz suspects more information is needed on what actually happened here.

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