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Harvard researcher under surveillance

As determined by the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) of the United States, which investigates fraud in research studies financed by the federal government, Shane Mayac, a former post-doctoral researcher at the Joslin Diabetes Center of the Harvard Medical School in the United States will be subject to strict supervision of any work that she may do with federal government financing for the next three years (Nature News Blog, August 29). Shane agreed with the ORI sanctions, applied after her conduct was considered to be poor after she copied images from other sources and had them published as if they were her own in two articles on blood stem cells, one in Nature and the other in Blood. The researcher “neither admits nor denies the conclusions reached by ORI on her poor scientific conduct,” according to a note in the Federal Register, a US government newsletter, but she had previously commented in the Retraction Watch blog that her article in Nature had been amended in a hurry and without her having been consulted. She commented that she was being obliged to take the blame for a “dysfunctional system” of publishing and investigation. The ORI release mentions the publication of figures taken from another article, which Shane attributed to a mistake and the undue appropriation of two figures from unrelated experiments. According to ORI, there was clear falsification of data.