My graduate student utilized some particles produced by a collaborator's lab in some animal imaging experiments, which were designed and analyzed by my student and me. The protocol for synthesizing the particles has already been published by my collaborator, and a technician in the collaborator's lab made the particles according to the protocol. I shared some of the resulting in vivo images from this study with my collaborator, but unfortunately, I subsequently discovered that the collaborator used some of these images in a fraudulent manner (grossly misrepresenting them as preliminary data in some grant applications). The collaborator's institution conducted a formal investigation of this and other incidents and found scientific misconduct had occurred. I would like to publish my graduate student's image data, in part to make sure that a legitimate representation of the data is in the literature, but mostly because the work was publicly-funded and represents the hard work of many good people. If the misconduct hadn't occurred, I probably would have considered including the collaborator as a co-author on the publication, by getting them more involved in the manuscript, even though the particle prep was not novel. But now there are many reasons why I do not wish to publish something with this collaborator! Is documented scientific misconduct involving the data from this study a valid reason for not including this collaborator as a coauthor of a paper describing this study? Can I simply acknowledge the technician who provided the particles and reference the prior publication of the protocol?
5This is outside of my field, but it sounds to me like this person never should have been a co-author in the first place, if all they did was delegate a technician to produce some raw materials. Certainly put them either in the acknowledgement section, or as source of materials in the methods.– nengelOct 12, 2017 at 0:55
If the misconduct in question tainted the data itself (and not just subsequent uses of that data), then the paper itself is fundamentally tainted and should be reworked with non-tainted data. If the data isn't tainted and it is a result of this person's work, then they deserve credit. Proper credit has to do with your intellectual honesty, and not the merits of the person receiving the credit. Having said this, I don't think that this necessitates including them as a coauthor -- but I don't see how you could avoid at least acknowledging them by name.
6+1 for "Proper credit has to do with your intellectual honesty, and not the merits of the person receiving the credit." Oct 12, 2017 at 1:44
At the moment your question is a little ambiguous:
I subsequently discovered that the collaborator used some of these images in a fraudulent manner (grossly misrepresenting them as preliminary data in some grant applications). The collaborator's institution conducted a formal investigation of this and other incidents and found scientific misconduct had occurred.
This suggests that while the images were misused, the actual data itself wasn't tainted - for example, the "particles" used in the analysis are what your collaborator says they are, etc.
In this case, I think whether or not to include them as an author comes down to the authorship criteria of the paper - i.e. did they make substantial contributions to the work, etc. If that's the case, I think you have to include them as an author.
It's a bad idea to use authorship as a reward, and it's a similarly bad idea to use authorship as a punishment. It shouldn't carry moral weight.
That being said, given "this and other incidents and found scientific misconduct had occurred", your current findings might be sufficiently tainted by association that it may be worth starting over.