Outcome of academic research misconduct investigation - 10 April 2013
A Formal Investigation Panel has rejected allegations of research misconduct against a University Clinical Academic and Dean of the University's School of Medicine, Professor Paul Morgan and other members of his research group.
The three member Panel, chaired by a former Cardiff Circuit Judge, concluded there was 'no case to answer' in relation to allegations that Professor Morgan manipulated images in a number of academic research articles.
The panel did find that allegations of image manipulation against a former member of University staff were substantiated in four instances.
Responding to the Formal Investigation Panel's findings, the Dean of the University's School of Medicine, Professor Paul Morgan, said: "Throughout this episode, I have maintained my innocence, and that of my research team, in the face of allegations of research misconduct.
"I am pleased that the independent panel has rejected all allegations against me and concluded that there was no case to answer.
"The episode has been extremely upsetting – not only for me personally, but also for friends, family, colleagues - and particularly, my research team.
"I am grateful for the support I have received from family, friends and many academic colleagues during this difficult time.
"In order to ensure the highest academic standards are maintained it is necessary and right that allegations of research misconduct are assessed and investigated thoroughly.
"The University has examined more than forty published articles in relation to my research group and no additional findings of academic misconduct were made.
"However it is a matter of deep regret that the actions of one individual has had such a profound effect on the academic reputations of my colleagues and myself.
"After eight difficult months, I am pleased that this matter is now at an end. I look forward to focussing my energies, once again, on leading Cardiff University's School of Medicine and undertaking research that will contribute to better understanding of, and ultimately treatment for, human diseases."
The Panel's report concludes:
- All allegations of misconduct against Professor Paul Morgan were rejected;
- All allegations of misconduct against co-authors, with the exception of four charges against one former University employee, were rejected;
- Allegations of misconduct – namely falsification – against a former University employee were substantiated in respect of images contained in four articles;
- The Panel found that Professor Paul Morgan – as co-author on these four articles – was unaware that this individual had included manipulated images in articles. The Panel also noted that no-one, including other co-authors, peer reviewers or journal editors, had spotted these discrepancies prior to publication;
- The Panel concludes the former University employee should take sole responsibility;
- The Panel recommends that Cardiff University establishes and promotes standards for the publication of images of gels and blots. Alongside this, training of staff on these standards should be provided.
A Cardiff University spokesperson added: "Cardiff University takes allegations of academic research misconduct against staff extremely seriously.
"When allegations of research misconduct are made the University takes action in accordance with its Procedure for Dealing with Allegations of Misconduct in Academic research. The University's procedure is compliant with guidance issued by the UK Research Integrity Office, to which the University subscribes.
"Allegations against Professor Morgan and certain members of his research team were rejected; however, the Panel did find that allegations of data manipulation against a former member of University staff were substantiated and recommends that protocols are put in place to ensure that data and original image files are in future viewed and assessed prior to submission for publication.
"Cardiff University accepts these findings and recommendations and will now take action to put in place procedures to ensure that incidents of this sort do not recur."