159

TLDR: You need a lawyer. I think, ethically, speaking out is the right thing. Falsifying grants is despicable and has a very negative impact on science in general. It has happened to me multiple times that when I say in a pub that I am in science and that I got a grant people say things like "All those grants are just frauds to get money from the government/...


127

If you are a seasoned reviewer you should know the rules, so falling back on being an inexperienced graduate student probably won't hold water. So clearly this was less a 'mistake' and more of a 'gamble'. You should pull the article from both venues and state -unequivocally- that your advisor had no knowledge. You didn't mention if your advisor was a co-...


114

Your backing off reaction is the appropriate one: cease any form of association with him right away. The description of your first-hand witnessing of him fabricating data is more than enough to ascertain his academic dishonesty. You don't need to know about nanotechnology to know that manually modifying data to make it pass a statistical test is idiotic and ...


109

You have suspicions, but the evidence, as you sketch it here, is circumstantial. You need hard proof. Then you can (and must) act. Falsifying data is a capital crime in academia. It wastes time, possibly years of other people's work. Don't let it get through. This person, if they indeed falsified data and would come through with this, will taint anybody ...


91

If I understand your description, there is no finding of academic misconduct against you. You have co-authorship of a retracted article, where the problem appears to have been caused by the misconduct of your co-author, and unbeknownst to you. The incident occurred when you were only a masters student acting under the direction of a professor. If this ...


77

Wikipedia defines fraud as "deliberate deception". A couple of mathematical frauds I could think of: Passing off someone else's result as one's own; plagiarism. Using a result in a proof although one knows full well that its preconditions are not met. Making other claims one knows are false, e.g., "it is easy to see that" or "by a tedious computation we see ...


69

Warning: Harsh answer following Let me state some facts: You probably took a PhD you did not deserve ("worthless" was your original wording) to satisfy the grant requirements You were paid unusually lots of money for a PhD student, probably without having to do TAs but working exclusively on the grant aka your research (those type of grants offer very high ...


66

Since the question is intentionally vague, I think there's one more angle that should be considered in the general case and that everyone missed: Can I actually bust my PhD adviser? Let's be honest: Such deep level of cover-ups shows that entire operation is being conducted in a society that allows corruption, so it would be a bit naive to think it's only ...


63

Unfortunately, history has already forced this question upon us, and the answers are not entirely clear. The Nazis inflicted widespread and breathtakingly horrifying human medical experiments on their victims during the Holocaust. These yielded quite a bit of medical data, that some want to unearth and apply today. This has ignited quite a bit of debate on ...


57

If you were in a position of more influence (e.g. a faculty member) or if you were a student at a university where you could be confident that the general attitude coincides with your own (such as most universities in the USA or Europe, at the very least), then I wouldn't hesitate a moment to notify the dean, and escalate the case further as necessary. No ...


56

The problem is that the PhD system is designed for people who intend to become researchers. For these cases, plagiarism is not at all a common problem. You are expected to published your research, and you will not have a successful career unless it is widely read and cited. That gives lots of opportunities to get caught, and the penalties for plagiarism ...


55

The first thing to do is to contact the editor at math reviews and express your doubts about the paper without making accusations of impropriety. Describe what you have found using neutral language. Suggest that others be enlisted to check further into the provenance and accuracy of the paper. If you are in your early career, it is especially important not ...


51

My suggestion is that you let it go for three reasons: This is hardly the last time you'll come across this problem, inside or outside of academia. There are factors here you might not be considering or know nothing about. Maybe the person you're tutoring in math has excellent people skills, or is the instructor's nephew, or the Dean's. Whatever the ...


51

It is unlikely that a reviewer or other participant in the peer review process will outright steal the work he/she is reviewing and publish it as original work, because it is easy to get caught. If the "real" author of the work accuses the thief of plagiarism, the editor of the journal can verify that the work was originally submitted by the "real" author ...


50

This sort of thing happens in both the social sciences AND physical sciences. For instance, often a scientist will collect data to test a theory but will also collect lots of extraneous data. Analyses on these extraneous data often should be considered exploratory and labeled as such (because significant results could be due to the multiple tests) [As ...


50

This seems to be a clear case of plagiarism, and potentially a copyright violation. The BSD license contains a line "Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer". If that was included in your Original code, then it seems that this was breached by the article authors. But even ...


50

In addition to the terms suggested by Scientist, another relatively common term is citation ring, here ring being used with the meaning (from Merriam-Webster): 7 a : an exclusive combination of persons for a selfish and often corrupt purpose (as to control a market) b : GANG Here are a few examples of usage of citation ring: SAGE Publications busts “...


48

Your best course is to write your professor, both journals, explain your reason sincerely, and let them handle the situation as they see fit. Everyone make mistakes, and sometimes they are bad mistakes. In my opinion, trying to hide these mistakes or covering up would cost you more than the mistake itself in terms of academic reputation.


47

There is only one reliable way to do it, which is to try to replicate their results. The unreliable, but not completely useless way, is to see if the numbers fit Benford's Law. Benford's Law describes the distribution of the first digit of many very diverse data sets. This is the distribution: (public domain chart from Wikipedia) Andreas Diekmann ...


47

It is hard to tell from just your description alone (and without knowing the actual paper and revisions), but honestly this does not really sound like unethical behavior to me. Basically, what seemed to have happened was the following: Authors hand the paper in. You review and claim that one of two important aspects is missing. The authors disagree and, in ...


40

If you're on the hiring committee, then your job is to evaluate the candidates. I see no need to back away from that (and by the way, I can't see what your being a "foreigner" could possibly have to do with any of this). One has to exercise some restraint in repeating "hearsay" in official matters: unless you can find evidence about the changed research, I ...


40

Like others here, I am supremely sceptical of your reasoning that the prof. is hiring bad people to look better. I think it is indeed a pretty universal concept that professors hire good people because it makes them seem good. Never have I heard of a case where somebody was actively looking for terrible people because they can be taught more. Hence, I would ...


40

This misconduct is considered the ultimate misconduct in the research community. The offender is often stripped of his credentials and because of the tight knit nature of the scientific community, even if the credentials are not stripped the researcher may never find work as a researcher again. It will impact the ability to secure funding in the future. If ...


38

Edit After thinking about some of the points raised in the comments, I would like to expand on my answer, but also defend its form against the criticism that it is so vague as to be unhelpful. [In case you are wondering what the original answer was, it is roughly the sections 'Looking for mistakes' and 'Trusting your feelings'.] Benford's law This was ...


38

Communicate with the student. Let the student know your concerns. The question seems rigged to determine what penalty may be appropriate, and how to kindly dish out the pain. However, if we show good faith, then maybe we don't need to be quite as secretive. Say, "This resembles trouble. Here are the concerns." Then, if the student is innocent, the ...


38

I have not been in such situation. However, I do not see what is the problem for you to write a paper complementing or correcting the previous paper? Isn't this how science works? In my opinion, it is very toxic culture in academia to consider such thing as inappropriate. Those previous auathors are humans. Assuming good faith, that was what they knew and ...


36

I believe the first thing you need to do is to contact and email the editor in chief of that journal and give him/her a link to your arxiv paper. He/She a long with the editorial board have to retract the article (hopefully, with a big red X stating that the authors have plagiarised citing your arxiv work).


35

What do you think could be the maximum punishment for this grad student/researcher? Whatever the maximum punishment is, that punishment has been decided by the people running the university. If you consider your university to be a reasonably well-functioning institution (and I would hope you feel this way about the place where you have decided to spend ...


34

TL;DR: Come clean with your advisor and coauthors first and hope that they help you. Concurrent submission is a big no-no, because it means you are wasting the time of the reviewers and editors by creating twice as much work as is necessary and you are effectively queue-jumping by doubling your chances of acceptance, which is unfair to other authors. Unless ...


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