Allegations relating to research misconduct - 19/04/2018

In recent months a number of allegations have emerged on social media and blog posts about research conducted by Professor Wen G. Jiang, notably on https://forbetterscience.com/2018/02/14/fried-divine-comedy-featuring-anti-cancer-cockroach-and-phallic-fungus/#more-23091

Some of these allegations, relating to research misconduct, were formally submitted to Cardiff University by an anonymous whistleblower.

Cases of research misconduct are rare at Cardiff University. However, when allegations are made they are considered in accordance with the University’s Procedure for Dealing with Allegations of Misconduct in Academic Research.

The University’s procedure is in line with guidance issued by the UK Research Integrity Office, to which the University subscribes.

The University has conducted a formal investigation into the allegations.

In all it reviewed allegations relating to 19 publications and has not upheld the allegations of misconduct.

Cardiff University reviews the research quality of all its academic staff as part of performance development reviews and ongoing preparations for the next national Research Excellence Framework (REF). Professor Jiang has been assessed by independent review as having research outputs of a standard eligible for submission to the next REF.

Questions have also been raised about the relationship between the Yiling Pharmaceutical Company Limited and Cardiff University

Yiling Pharmaceutical Company is one of China's high-tech pharmaceutical companies, devoted to research and development, manufacture and marketing of new medicines. Its products are listed in China's National Formulary and Health Insurance list.

Its research work has focused on the health benefits of the traditional Chinese medicine preparation Yangzheng Xiaoji and on the development and advancement of new treatments for cancer and infectious diseases, with a particular focus on Chinese medicine.

The Cardiff University – Yiling Group Joint Medical Research Centre was established in 2013 through a gift from Yiling Pharmaceutical Company to Cardiff University. This followed a due diligence report, completed in October 2013, which found no issues of concern.

Under the terms of the gift agreement, Yiling Pharmaceutical Company agreed to donate £300,000 over three years (November 2013 to July 2016) to support a number of scientific researchers, known as “Yiling Scholars”,  through provision of a stipend, research and publication costs, to undertake research projects in cancer molecular pathology at Cardiff University.

Yiling Scholars, who were selected by Peking Cancer Hospital and Capital Medical University, were early career medical doctors and scientists. Yiling Pharmaceutical Company did not play any role in scholar selection, nor were any scholars employees of the company. The use of the gift from Yiling Pharmaceutical to Cardiff University was determined by the University, not the company.

Research conducted at Cardiff University under Professor Jiang’s direction has been concerned with understanding the molecular pathological mechanisms of cancer and metastasis. A minority of studies have examined the efficacy of traditional Chinese medicine preparations and potential mechanisms of action.