A major controversy in marine biology took a new turn last week when the University of Delaware found one of its star scientists guilty. The university has confirmed to Science that it has accepted the findings of the investigative panel. The university has notified the appropriate federal agencies about the request for the retraction of three of the papers.
An editorial expression of concern was issued by the journal after a study about coral reef recovery was published. The paper was pulled today due to the News and Editorial teams being independent of each other.
Many studies that appeared to show Earth's rising carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) levels can have dramatic effects were included in the draft report. The committee was struck by a pattern of sloppiness, poor recordkeeping, copying and paste within spreadsheets, errors within many papers under investigation, and deviation from established animal ethics protocols.
Requests for comment were not responded to by the man. She categorically denies any and all allegations of wrongdoing, and will vigorously appeal any finding of research malpractice. A group of scientists shared their accusations with a science reporter last year. Their approach all but assured that Dr. Dixson wouldn't be able to get a fair review elsewhere. Dixson's future will not be commented on by the University of Delaware.
Some scientists believe that the whistle blowers acted out of professional jealousy or to advance their own careers, while others think they acted out of desperation. John Bruno, a marine ecologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, said that the accusations were one of the most disgusting and shameful things he had seen in science. Bruno did not respond to an email that was sent to him about the findings of the science paper.
Ud did a good investigation. One of the first universities to do that is the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. That is really positive. The group is disappointed that the committee seems to have only looked at seven of the 20 papers they flagged as suspicious. They wanted the final report of the committee to be released by the University of Delaware. Jutfelt thinks that is a shame.
He is a highly successful scientist and raiser. She obtained her PhD from James Cook University in Australia in 2012 and worked at the Georgia Institute of Technology for 4 years before starting her own group at the University of Delaware. She received a $1 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in 2016 and a $750,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. She presented her research at a White House meeting and has been featured in the media.
The effects on fish of rising CO 2 levels in the atmosphere, which cause the oceans to acidify, was pioneered by her and one of her PhD supervisors. In a series of studies published since 2009, they have shown that acidification can affect fish's hearing and vision. The subject of her science paper was coral reef ecology.
The big effect sizes and small variances in data reported by the pair were questioned by the international team of academic researchers. Several of the claims in the 2020 Nature paper were not reproduced by the whistleblowers. Science reported that four of them asked for an investigation into the work. The University of Delaware and Georgia Tech were asked to investigate by the funding agencies that supported the studies.
According to a draft report by the investigative committee of the University of Delaware, Dixson didn't have enough time to collect the huge amount of data described in the Science paper. There are 15 fish and three coral species that are not attracted to overfished, seaweed-covered reefs.
The choice flume is an apparatus in which a fish can choose to swim. To produce the paper's data, which she said she had collected herself, she would have had to carry out 12,920 fluming trials, generate 860,000 data points and take 1194 hours of observation time. The draft report states that the ecologist had to collect 2 kilometers from the shore to get the 11,628 liters of sea water. The panel wrote that it was unlikely that she had the time to do all of the experiments.
The draft report confirms that a large excel file containing the study's raw data was rife with duplicated columns. The results presented in the publication could not be generated from the data files due to numerous errors.
The supervisor at the time, Hay, says he wasn't in the country because of other obligations. The amount of data reported in the paper did not seem unreasonable since Dr. Dixson was among the most hard- working and persistent colleagues I've worked with. Hay said he was surprised if the panel found fault with her studies. He says that Dixson was honest and genuine.
Hay doesn't know the status of the investigation at Georgia Tech that he was interviewed by. There was no response from a Georgia Tech spokesman.
The editors of Science decided to withdraw the paper after the three authors refused to sign the notice. In 2012 there was a paper published in Science that showed corals can recruit fish to trim seaweeds. The 2012 paper was not given any information by the university, so we will begin our usual process to determine whether the paper should be revised or not.
A 2016 paper on whether anemone fishes can sniff out the condition of potential host anemones was found to be flawed. The committee concluded that the timelines were implausible. It stated that it would have taken 22 days of 12 hours to collect the data. The paper said the study took 13 days to complete.
The studies actually took place between October and November of last year, according to a correction posted by Scott and Dixson. The observation time was doubled by the use of two flumes at the same time. According to the investigative committee, it was at a loss to comprehend how she could keep an eye on two animals and record positions for both every 5 seconds.
The raw data for the study was uploaded along with the correction to the paper. The paper said it was in the institutional repository. The file has many problems, according to the whistle blowers.
According to Science, Scott signed off on the correction. The alleged problems in the data set were not answered by her. The correction was approved by an investigative panel made up of three editors. He says that the panel will discuss the paper again and that the University of Delaware has been in touch with it. He says there is another paper being investigated.
It is not clear whether the paper should be withdrawn from the report. There is insufficient evidence to support a finding of research misconduct due to the fact that no notebooks or files exist from the study. The panel did not conclude that there was any wrongdoing in the paper that Munday co-authored. Munday, who retired from JCU, said he was shocked to hear the outcome of the investigation.
The research culture at JCU deserves more scrutiny according to a member of the group of whistle blowers. The first author of the Science study, Oona Lnnstedt, obtained her PhD under Munday's co-supervision. Many stories have been told about the focus on publications at JCU. There is a high level of competition.
The members of the lab supported the request for an investigation. The data file for the now-retracted Science paper was identified by one of them. Paul Leingang, a former student at the university, brought accusations against Dixson. After leaving the lab, he joined the group of whistle blowers.
Leingang says he became suspicious of her findings due to the fact that she usually collected her data alone. He secretly tracked some of the activities of the man. He supplied the investigation with detailed notes, chat conversations, and social media posts to show that she didn't spend enough time on her studies to get the data she was looking for.
Leingang was praised by the investigative panel. A draft report says it is difficult for a young scholar to challenge their advisor. It took a lot of courage for him to come forward. The other members of the laboratory supported the complaint.This story was supported by the Science Fund for Investigative Reporting.