Two years ago I read a paper that I thought had implausibly good results. The data were archived online so I examined them: they were clearly fake. The first author replaced them with other data which were also clearly falsified/fabricated.
I reported the paper to the relevant University. Several more versions of the data were produced, and the University's Research Integrity Office (RIO) closed the case apparently satisfied that the correct version of the data had finally been found. A corrigendum was published. However the new data contain suspicious patterns and several figures in the paper are cannot be reproduced. I don't know of any explanation for the multiple versions of the data. All versions of the had file-creation time-stamps that post-dated publication.
The original specimens are in the RIO's possession. A portion of them could be re-analysed non-destructively in 1-3 days (relevant MSc-grade experience required), which would help assuage doubts about the veracity of the paper. The RIO has declined to do this, citing lack of resources and personal skill.
Am I being unreasonable in expecting the RIO to do more than (apparently at least) take the author's word on trust regarding the final data being correct without verifying them?
How could I arrange for the specimens to be re-analysed by a third party so that the RIO/journal would accept gross differences from the final data as evidence of malpractice?
The RIO tells me that I should contact the author directly to address the irreproducible figures. I doubt the first author will be keen to cooperate - they almost certainly know that I reported their paper to the RIO, know that the RIO has closed the case, and I have no authority to compel disclosure of files etc. Can anything be done here?
I believe the RIO is seeking to avoid making an adverse finding.
PS. The University in question is a large, well-respected and well-funded institution.