Cardiff University medical research misconduct probe

The laboratory of a university's dean of medicine is under investigation following allegations of research misconduct, it has been confirmed.

Cardiff University is convening a formal investigation panel after claims about papers produced by the research team headed by Professor Paul Morgan.

The university said it included allegations of image manipulation.

An initial panel decided there was "sufficient substance" for a formal investigation.

Prof Morgan heads a team which Cardiff University's website says is "internationally recognised for its expertise and contribution to the field of complement biology".

The university said Prof Morgan remains in his post.

The allegations into the conduct of his research team have already been considered by an initial screening panel, the university has confirmed.

The panel decided there was "sufficient substance in the allegation of misconduct in research to instigate a formal investigation of the allegation".

The panel found that "some authors have acknowledged responsibility for certain aspects of individual allegations against specific journal articles".

But it added that "the respondents in each case which has been recommended for consideration by a formal investigation panel, should comprise all the authors of the relevant article".

Formal investigation

A university spokesperson confirmed the inquiry was in accordance with the university's procedure for dealing with allegations of misconduct in academic research - in line with guidance issued by the UK Research Integrity Office to which it subscribes.

"We need to await the outcome of the formal investigation panel before offering any further comment," said the spokesperson.

Last year, a paper published by the same research team was retracted from a journal after a similar investigation.

At the time, a Cardiff University spokesperson said: "In this case, there was a full internal inquiry which established that one individual had inappropriately manipulated primary data in two figures in the paper.

"The individual was solely responsible for preparing these figures, and none of the other authors on the paper were aware of the manipulation.

"The inquiry found that there had been no intention to mislead and subsequent repeats of the original experiments have shown that the paper's conclusions remain sound.

"Nevertheless, in accordance with best academic practice, the individual responsible, who is no longer at Cardiff University, agreed to the paper's retraction from the journal."

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