Research head steps down over fake data

The head of research at a leading Swiss research institute has resigned from his post over the publication of false data.

This content was published on September 21, 2009 - 11:11

A panel of experts concluded that scientific data in two publications and a doctoral thesis from the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich were falsified in 1999 and 2000. However, it is not known for certain who is responsible.

Peter Chen acknowledged his responsibility as head of research and has stepped down, a statement from the institute said on Monday.

The research into chemical compounds was published by a team headed by Chen. After the results were published, other research groups working in the same field obtained significantly different findings and Chen's group then sought an explanation for the discrepancies. But further attempts to reproduce the values measured failed.

Chen then called for a board of inquiry to be set up at the beginning of the year which found that some of the data used in the publications and doctoral thesis had been falsified. The publications and doctoral thesis have been withdrawn.

"Unfortunately there is no legal way of finding out for sure who was responsible for the falsifications," said the institute's president Raph Eichler.

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