Prominent Cancer Researcher Resigns through Dartmouth Amid Plagiarism Charges
One of the country’s most influential researchers in cancer screening has resigned through his post at Dartmouth College, after a two-year internal investigation concluded he had plagiarized a graph included in a paper published in a prominent journal.
The researcher, Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, has published widely on the risks of aggressive screening in addition to also over-diagnosis, including Op-Ed articles inside the Times in addition to also several well-known books. He disputed the university’s findings against him.
“I am saddened to say of which I am resigning through Dartmouth,” Dr. Welch wrote in an email to colleagues. “I feel of which I can no longer participate inside the research misconduct process against me — as I fear my participation only serves to validate of which.”
In a prepared statement, Dartmouth said the university had “reviewed This particular matter in accordance with its research misconduct policy in addition to also procedures, which defines plagiarism as ‘the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results or words without giving them appropriate credit,’” in addition to also found Dr. Welch guilty.
The resignation comes at a time of escalating scrutiny in addition to also self-policing across the sciences. Retractions in academic journals are at a historic high. Some experts argue of which the heightened sensitivity to misconduct can be a long-overdue corrective; others say of which has gone too far, creating a culture of suspicion in which even the hint of misconduct can sometimes end a scientist’s career.
The dispute between Dartmouth in addition to also Dr. Welch, first reported by STAT News in addition to also Retraction Watch, revolves around a figure in a 2016 paper inside the brand new England Journal of Medicine, on screening in addition to also over-diagnosis of breast cancer. inside the paper, Dr. Welch included a figure, a graph, of which can be similar to one presented in 2015 by a Dartmouth colleague, Samir Soneji.
Misappropriation of figures has become an increasingly frequent charge leveled against scientific authors, in part because of brand new digital tools of which flag copied text in addition to also graphs.
The Dartmouth investigating committee concluded of which the figure in This particular case was reproduced without proper attribution.
In a timeline he sent to the Times, he acknowledged of which he reviewed Dr. Soneji’s graphic figure before publishing the brand new England Journal article. He said he made adjustments to the graph based on his own analysis of the underlying data, so the graphs look similar although are not identical.
In his letter to colleagues, Dr. Welch said Dartmouth demanded of which he ask the brand new England Journal make Dr. Soneji the first author of the paper, in addition to also forfeit his teaching privileges, to remain at the medical school.
“I cannot in Great conscience accept the demand of which I make the complainant an author — much less the demand of which I make him the first author,” he wrote. “Doing so requires of which I falsely attest of which he meets the requirements of authorship: namely, of which he materially participated inside the work in addition to also can be able to defend of which. Much as I have enjoyed working at Dartmouth, I am not willing to falsely attest to anything simply to stay here.”
Dr. Welch’s research in addition to also commentary had prompted health officials worldwide to review their cancer screening guidelines, which he found often led to over-diagnosis in addition to also unnecessary treatments.