Taiwanese research fellow resigns following U.S. misconduct findings

2018/03/31 14:35:06 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Image taken from the official website of Academia Sinica

Image taken from the official website of Academia Sinica

Taipei, March 31 (CNA) A distinguished research fellow at Taiwan's Academia Sinica resigned from his post on Saturday after news of research misconduct in eight of his published papers was made public by Ohio State University, where he previously served as a cancer researcher.

According to a statement from Academia Sinica, it has approved Chen Ching-shih's (陳慶士) verbal resignation, and will have its ethics committee look into his work while employed with the national academy since August of 2014.

Chen's resignation from Academia Sinica comes after academic journal Science Magazine, an authority in the field of scientific research, and the Ohio State University (OSU) issued separate reports on Friday regarding the findings of research misconduct that led to his resignation as a cancer researcher from the university last year.

The reports said that the investigation found Chen had "intentionally committed research misconduct" in 14 instances in eight journal articles and was guilty of "deviating from the accepted practices of image handling and figure generation and intentionally falsifying data."

Chen admitted to these charges and resigned in September of 2017, according to OSU.

Following a conclusive investigation, OSU is now requiring an "immediate retraction" of the eight papers, published between 2006 and 2014, that contain the fabricated data.

The implications of the misconduct go beyond unreliable academic papers, however, as Chen's work had led to millions of dollars in funding, multiple patents and two compounds in clinical trials.

OSU immediately shut down a clinical trial of one of Chen's anticancer agents that Arno Therapeutics was conducting after obtaining the exclusive rights to test the agents.

According to Science, a spokesperson for the company said that issues with Chen's papers had "zero impact" on its drugs development efforts.

The university confirmed this in its Friday statement, saying that it "hired an external consultant who validated that Chen's research misconduct did not affect the Arno licensed compounds developed in his lab."

"Patient safety was never compromised," the statement noted.

At the moment, OSU has forwarded the investigation to appropriate federal authorities, meaning that Chen could continue to be investigated for his actions, while it is issuing "retraction requests or corrections as needed for all affected manuscripts."

Chen himself has not made a statement regarding the allegations.

(By Kuan-lin Liu and Yu Hsiao-han)

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