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Need for more information about how management handles much covered case

Many have asked for more information about what management have done to deal with the widely covered article in Nature that was retracted in summer 2020 due to an error in a computer code. In response, Dean Kristian Pedersen wrote to all members of staff at the faculty with more details, among other things about how management handled the case and the specific process.

2021.02.22 | Brian Bech Nielsen

Photo: Lars Kruse, AU Photo

Questions have been raised about whether management’s response to the questionable research practices involved in this case was too passive. But that’s not the case.

The departmental management team intervened when the case developed from a scientific dispute into a question of research integrity. The faculty’s adviser for the responsible conduct of research and the university’s research practice committee got involved on several occasions at management’s request. Follow the link below for a description of the facts of the case.

Another question that has been raised at the university multiple times is whether employees are free to express criticism of research practice. The answer is an unequivocal yes. All staff at the university are free to bring a case before the research practice committee. And they are free to discuss such issues at any time with their faculty’s research conduct adviser.

Staff are also welcome to present material for assessment by management in the event that they suspect questionable research practices. There is and there must always be room for free, critical debate at Aarhus University.

This case has also highlighted how important it is for the university to safeguard its integrity. External parties and foundations must not influence how we handle our internal affairs – which they have not in this case, I can assure you.

While the mails that have been discussed in the press might be interpreted as attempts to influence AU by external parties, the university has not yielded to this pressure. As has been confirmed a number of times previous, the case has been considered without reference to such pressure.

Research, Research, All groups, All AU units, Aarhus University, Management