17-19 June 2009
University of Geneva
Europe/Zurich timezone

Data deposition as a measure to prevent and to detect scientific misconduct

18 Jun 2009, 10:30
University of Geneva

University of Geneva


Prof. Alexander Lerchl (Univ. Bremen)


A group of researchers from the Medical University Vienna
published data in 2005 and 2008 which showed that electromagnetic fields from mobile phones severly damaged DNA molecules of human cells. These publications caused intense debates about the safety of mobile phones, and
politicians, physicians as well as the general public were extremely concerned. When looking at the data, however, first calculations led to the conclusion that they were "too good to be true" since the standard deviations of the mean values were already lower than the pure stochastic noise of the method. Later it turned out that one person who actually
performed the experiments knew the blinding code of the exposure system so that data fabrication was easy. In addition, an electronic document from the group in Vienna, submitted as an abstract for a conference, contained hidden
data which also proved that the published data were fabricated. An investigation by the University came to the conclusion that these publications contained fabricated data and should be retracted. So far, this did not happen. These cases highlight the need for deposition of original data when a manuscript is submitted in order to make investigations possible if suspicions about the scientific integrity of submitted or published articles arise.

View Alexander Lerchl's profile

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