Call for a science fraud squad

July 11, 1997

The president of the German research fund DFG is calling for an international commission to be set up to protect the scientific community from fraud.

Wolfgang Fruhwald was responding to the worst case of scientific fraud ever uncovered in Germany, in which cancer researchers Friedhelm Herrmann and Marion Brach falsified results in at least four articles printed in scientific journals in the United States and Britain.

The new commission should investigate why the fraud was not discovered sooner and why the usual referee system failed.

Professor Herrmann has now been suspended from his post at the University Hospital of Ulm while investigations continue into further publications he and former work partner and companion Marion Brach carried out. Professor Brach, now at the University of Lubeck, has admitted falsifying results, but claims she was urged to do so by Professor Herrmann.

Professor Fruhwald said competition between scientists on an international level was increasing attempts by some to "achieve their goals more quickly by deceit and falsification". This was why more safety measures needed to be built into the system.

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