University’s reaction to fraud research by the National Ombudsman: content not for discussion
On Monday 28 September the National Ombudsman released their report on a research procedure in relation to academic integrity of a scientist at Utrecht University. The Ombudsman concluded that in several instances the scientist had not been adequately informed nor involved in the process. The university emphasizes that the substantive outcome of the investigation by the Committee for Academic Integrity (CWI) is not in question and that the final conclusion of breach of academic integrity by the scientist involved remains in force. The conclusion of the CWI and the National Board for Research Integrity (LOWI) is endorsed internationally. However, the National Ombudsman does not endorse the content of judgment, but comments only on points related to procedure.
Investigations regarding academic integrity are carried out with great care by Utrecht University. The university is very much aware of the different interests that exist in such delicate processes and the potential damage that can result for scientists involved. Utrecht University has acted in accordance with current national complaints. The university will discuss the Ombudsman’s criticisms in the context of the VSNU.
In some media a link has been made between the research conducted by the CWI and the LOWI and the dismissal of the accused scientist. This is incorrect, the researcher did not work at Utrecht University at the time of the investigation nor at final judgment.