Two Hundred Million Dollar Scientific Grant Fraud Case


Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Federal Prosecutors have launched a gigantic fraud case against Duke University, North Carolina, accusing Duke University of embezzling $200 million in federal research grants, by presenting doctored data with their grant applications.

Whistleblower sues Duke, claims doctored data helped win $200 million in grants

On a Friday in March 2013, a researcher working in the lab of a prominent pulmonary scientist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, was arrested on charges of embezzlement. The researcher, biologist Erin Potts-Kant, later pled guilty to siphoning more than $25,000 from the Duke University Health System, buying merchandise from Amazon, Walmart, and Target—even faking receipts to legitimize her purchases. A state judge ultimately levied a fine, and sentenced her to probation and community service.

Then Potts-Kant’s troubles got worse. Duke officials took a closer look at her work and didn’t like what they saw. Fifteen of her papers, mostly dealing with pulmonary biology, have now been retracted, with many notices citing “unreliable” data. Several others have been modified with either partial retractions, expressions of concern, or corrections. And last month, a U.S. district court unsealed a whistleblower lawsuit filed by a former colleague of Potts-Kant. It accuses the researcher, her former supervisor, and the university of including fraudulent data in applications and reports involving more than 60 grants worth some $200 million. If successful, the suit—brought under the federal False Claims Act (FCA)—could force Duke to return to the government up to three times the amount of any ill-gotten funds, and produce a multimillion-dollar payout to the whistleblower.

The Duke case “should scare all [academic] institutions around the country,” says attorney Joel Androphy of Berg & Androphy in Houston, Texas, who specializes in false claims litigation. It appears to be one of the largest FCA suits ever to focus on research misconduct in academia, he says, and, if successful, could “open the floodgates” to other whistleblowing cases.

Read more:

The academic whistleblower, who presumably took a serious personal risk to expose this alleged fraudulent misuse of federal funds, stands to receive a multi-million dollar bounty if the embezzlement case is proven.

I somehow doubt this will be the last case of academic embezzlement which will be heard by the courts.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
September 3, 2016 9:01 am

What’s it going to be like when AGW fraud cases are brought against climatologists? Oh never mind – it’ll never happen.

Reply to  noaaprogrammer
September 3, 2016 11:02 am

The guy who exposed those climategate emails deserves a billion dollar award. an award like that would be great publicity for the idea of blowing the whistle on scumbags – badly needed when (D)irtbags are in power. I’d also like to see a special “clawback” law, allowing ALL of a government enabled scammers wealth to be confiscated

Olaf Koenders
Reply to  joebloe
September 3, 2016 6:14 pm

Providing the proceeds are returned to the PUBLIC from which they originated..

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Bishkek
Reply to  joebloe
September 3, 2016 9:11 pm

I think the current law and triple repayment is adequate. There should be no lynching. We have had enough of mob rule for one generation.

Reply to  noaaprogrammer
September 3, 2016 11:44 am

Do not underestimate greed.
If people see other whistle blowers getting large cash payouts for coming clean, it may be more contagious than a new dance craze in a middle school.

David Smith
Reply to  Menicholas
September 3, 2016 12:37 pm

Wouldn’t it be fascinating if this court case triggered the collapse of the CAGW scam?
Stranger things have happened…

Reply to  Menicholas
September 4, 2016 7:24 am

It takes a long time to get paid but twenty million is a good motivator, ya think?

Farmer Ted.
Reply to  Menicholas
September 6, 2016 4:02 am

David, we could hope that it might bring down the scam. But when we get to AGW, who owns the judges?

Reply to  noaaprogrammer
September 3, 2016 4:53 pm

Interesting that the linked, Science Magazine article reported that Potts-Kant, in the words of the whistle-blower, involved in the law-suit, worked “investigating how pollutants affected the body’s airways.” The same whistle-blower, drawing on information he personally received from participants in an in-house Duke University “review” of the Potts-Kant matter, also advised that Potts-Kant “doctored nearly every experiment or project in which she participated…some times she hadn’t exposed mice to the right experimental conditions or run the experiments at all…other times…Potts-Kant…had run the experiment but altered the data, tweaking them to match the hypothesis…”
It gets better–despite what the article’s whistle-blower describes as “obvious red flags”, Duke university “witheld the scope of what it knew as it filed reports on existing grants and and applied for new ones…” Why? Well, the $82.8 million in grants that Potts-Kant won for Duke from the NIH and EPA, just might have been part of the motivation. And then there was the potentially embarrassing factoid that the research unit to which Potts-Kant belonged allegedly provided “doctored data” to other NIH grant-seekers which helped them win the same to the tune of $120.9 million, thereby providing Duke with another lucrative income-stream, we can imagine.
So, if the whistle-blower’s allegations are substantiated, we have finally obtained a good picture of just how one version of the Lysenkoist, hive-science con-job works. A single “prestigious” University, exploiting its national “brand recognition” and the vulnerability of a trusting public (what Professor Gruber famously described as “the stupidity of the American voter”), acquires the services of a “researcher” with a “genius” for comin’ up, time after time, by hook or crook (usually the latter), with just the “right answer” the grant-awarding customer is seeking–her Stakhanovite, good-comrade labors, in turn, generating a flood of snout-pleasing grant-money, from highly politicized, lefty-agenda bent organizations like the EPA, with which to fill many an ivory-tower trough. And the “science” produced by the above, little money-maker “researcher” is so darn valuable, that even other grant-seekers, from other universities and other institutions, sub-contract all that tedious data crunching business of theirs, that supports their own grant applications, to the “goose” who lays the golden data-eggs.
The final ingredient in the above, sneaky, little, rip-off hustle?–everyone in on the profitable deal, to include those famous peer-reviewers, we hear so much about, must ignore, it goes without saying, any “obvious red flags” that might arise with respect to the real assay-value of all those auriferous ovoids, there, all laid out and just beggin’ to be cracked open and made up into one of your basic, standard-issue, brave-new-gulag omelet-specials. And, of course, if the whole scam ever gets busted, there’s only one bag-holder to take the fall and everyone else can play dumb, and act surprised at the whole turn of events, and with looks of purest innocence, do what the hive-bozos do best–play the victim. Pretty slick, huh?
Will be curious just how much legislation and how many regulations flowed from Duke University’s hive-“science.”

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Bishkek
Reply to  mike
September 3, 2016 9:49 pm

Mike, it would be very helpful if you and everyone else would post here anything you find about laws and regulations that are based on Erin’s work.
I am of necessity in contact with others who are investigating the validity or otherwise of claims for health impact from various pollutants, with the WHO committees being a pliable vehicle for creating and carrying the claims. As there is consideration of such work from the WHO for providing the basis for making EPA-like claims setting permissible emission rates and modeling health impacts, this particular set of paper withdrawals is timely.
Although the comments here mostly reflect on the EPA, because of the site’s participant base, the WHO is in the same business. The group dealing with exposure limits is strongly affected by, particularly, Berkeley, specifically Berkeley Clean Air and LBNL. They publish papers very much along the same lines, meaning modeled health impact based on emission rates, with modeled dispersion, inhalation, modeled disease response and modeled ‘premature deaths’ (shortened lives). The model that affects my work is patently defective and from what I read, willfully so, scoring high on Erin’s Axis of Deceit. The metric is ‘causism’. You divide an imaginary effect A by a Cause B. The more abstract and arbitrary B is, the likelihood of B being real shrinks. A/B therefore provides a higher score on the Causist Index of Deceit.
As every sentient, literate being knows, catastrophic anthropogenic climate change value (A) divided by the tiny confidence in causist factor AG CO2 (B) yields a high value for the metric, Deceit.
So I am asking everyone to keep an eye on this space: pollution, lung and other disease response, impact of that on the global burden of disease (GBD), integrated exposure response (IER) and the shortening of the lives of population cohorts. The real metrics are Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALY) and aDALY’s.
The promise arising from that ‘work’ is that by spending large amounts of money everyone can die post-maturely. That is the same as promising everyone in the class will get above average marks, a result worth paying for, handsomely!

Reply to  mike
September 4, 2016 4:33 am

a website
RetractionWatch is brilliant for its exposing flawed science and faed peer reviews etc
when people say they don’t believe Bom or others like NASA etc would fudge data to suit an agenda for grants ongoing..
I ask then ..
if someone will knowingly fake/alter/data on Cancer/surgery/serious illness and drug trials FOR ongoing funding and some fame via publishing
and that info misleads other research and can and does KILL people..
why? would you not consider that the AGW climate crowd would do the same and feel no guilt at all.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Bishkek
Reply to  mike
September 4, 2016 5:56 am

Correction: ‘Berkeley Air’ not Berkeley Clean Air’.

Reply to  mike
September 4, 2016 9:02 am

What strikes me as crucial is that Pott-Kant’s fabricated “research” – apart from bringing in serious overhead income to her university which therefore shuts up about what it probably knew- focused on the very topics the EPA uses as an excuse to curb carbon under the guise of “pollution”.
Boiled down, we have the US government funding what turns out to be fraudulent research -surrounded by iterative red flags that everyone except the whistleblower choses to ignore, the results of which happen to fit hand in glove with policies enacted by a federal agency operating under direct executive orders.
And guess what? Even though the research has now been exposed as fraudulent, the government will still cite it as grounds for EPA anti-carbon policies..l
Can anyone tell us what else is wrong with this picture?

Reply to  mike
September 9, 2016 7:08 pm

Crispin in Waterloo – just back from a couple of weeks riding a horse on the north rim of the Grand Canyon so this comment is a bit late.
Nevertheless – I heard this yesterday driving home to Alberta:
Annual cost of 1.2 Trillion per year according to the U.N.
WHO will undoubtedly build on this.
Interesting that this report was posted in 2012 yet for some reason it was being reported on the news yesterday. I guess someone in the media decided it needed to be recycled to see it it gets traction four years later.
All the best.
Wayne Delbeke

Twilight of the Holocene
Reply to  noaaprogrammer
September 4, 2016 4:35 am

First, you remark gas nothing to do wirh the rather vague article we both just read. By your screen name you’re a contractor for NOAA I take it — if that’s even true — parading as a NOAA employee? Most federal agencies contract out IT programming. This was an article about fraud, right? And then, you snarkily suggest climate scientists should be arrested? How about the changing chemical composition of the atmosphere and increasing ocean acidification, are those made up? What about the current mass extinction underway, also a leftist political fake? Can we arrest that? What would it take for you to look at some real data with an open mind and make an independent evaluation? No fair taking money for an opinion. Ignorance of science is hardly an excuse for any political opinion. Do a little mental work, the information is widely available. Reckless disregard in this case is dangerous.
All of us need to gave a better conversation, and frankly, conscience, than this.

Reply to  Twilight of the Holocene
September 4, 2016 7:49 am

You stated that ignorance of science is hardly an excuse, yet you have waded into a site heavily populated with highly educated, experienced scientists and have spouted drivel as scientific fact. Please educate yourself on ocean ‘acidification’ and mass extinctions. You might also want to read the climategate email scandal to see the foundation for claiming fraud among climate scientists.
I suspect others will weigh in on your remarks, so please enlighten us, what is your educational and professional background in science?

Reply to  Twilight of the Holocene
September 4, 2016 9:36 am

@ Twilight
Yr: “better conversation”
Fair enough. Here’s my best shot at a more elevated and temperate “conversation”. And I’ll put matters in a form in which I defer to your superior view of the matter, Twilight.
So, Twilight, you appear to be convinced that CAGW-induced “ocean acidification” and “mass extinction”, and the like, are real and happening and a threat to our planet and the life that occupies it–to include babies and polar bears. Right?
And in “light” of all that, Twilight, would you then agree that those climate scientists who share your beliefs, but who, unlike you Twilight (you’re one of the carbon-free good-guys, I just know, ol’ buddy!) nevertheless jet about from one Gaia-swarm, group-think gab-fest to another spewing their “lethal” CO2 “pollution”, just for the chance to get in a little grab-ass, net-working face-time with their fellow, good-ol’-boy, frequent-flyer academics, and just for the chance, maybe, if they’re lucky, and can control their premature-ejaculation, spastic-dork tendencies, to have a sloppy-seconds “go” at some unengaged, NGO hot-babe, bored out of her gourd and a little pissed, in a vindictive, jealous-female sort of way, that she’s been classified as superfluous to the needs of her originally assigned hive-master, in attendance, whose lifestyle carbon-footprint dwarfs that of many a small island nation threatened by rising sea-levels (you forgot that bogey-man, Twilight, so I helped you out, there), and just for the chance, maybe, if they are really, really lucky, to score the “Big-Score”–a well-planted, passionate, career-enhancing smooch on that same hive-master’s strutting-rump, while catching a dream-of-a-lifetime “ride” with him in his private jet, are just a bunch of brazen-hypocrite, carbon-piggie BABY-KILLERS!!! and POLAR BEAR KILLERS!!!?
And if you then conclude, Twilight, that those climate scientists, identified above, are mass-murderers and mass-extinctioners , as you inevitably must, can you in good “conscience” then recommend anything except that they should be prosecuted without pity for their infamous crimes against humanity and polar bears, and, when they are inevitably found guilty, that they be justly sentenced to the cruelest of all possible punishments–their future, eco-confabbing to be limited, exclusively, to those tree-humper, nerd-pit, pie-hole flapper-fests held as zero-carbon video conferences where Third-World, women climate-scientist of color can attend on an equal footing with the thick-as-thieves, privileged-white-geekballs, currently runnin’ the show, as a “no-girls-allowed”, closed-shop tree-house?
But to answer the question you posed in your comment, Twilight, albeit addressed to another: Yes! I think all that scare-mongering, greenwashed agit-prop and flim-flam that the hive churns-out to advance its brave-new-gulag, dystopian designs on humanity are so much “leftist political fake”. And I’ll continue to think that until I see my betters PRACTICE WHAT THEY PREACH!!!, until I see my betters LEAD FROM THE FRONT AND BY INSPIRING PERSONAL EXAMPLE IN MATTERS OF CARBON-FOOTPRINT REDUCTION!!!
Thank you, Twilight, for your suggestion that the discussion on this thread strive for a “better conversation”–since cashin’ in on your suggestion has been some real fun, guy. Anything else you might have in mind?

Reply to  Twilight of the Holocene
September 4, 2016 5:36 pm

That’s the biggest of pig ignorant, scientifically illiterate, alarmist bollocks I’ve seen in a bloody long time.

Reply to  Twilight of the Holocene
September 4, 2016 8:04 pm

Twilight …
1. Way too many typos in your screed to be taken particularly seriously.
2. You seem to be particularly gullible and naive. You believe every Urban Myth that comes along?
3. I pose the same question to you …

What would it take for YOU to look at some real data with an open mind and make an independent evaluation? No fair taking money for an opinion. Ignorance of science is hardly an excuse for any political opinion. Do a little mental work, the information is widely available. Reckless disregard in this case is dangerous.

4. Vague article? Dude … Duke University is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg:

Mayor of Venus
Reply to  Twilight of the Holocene
September 5, 2016 11:28 am

Regarding the “problem of ocean acidification”, a few days ago James
Delingpole call for ideas regarding reality of ocean acidification; I suggest
the following experiment be done:
First imagine a mad chemist manages to dissolve ALL the
carbon dioxide in the atmosphere into the oceans. It takes 20 years to
accomplish this. This terminates photosynthesis on land, eliminating
agriculture, forests, etc; very serious consequences on land. But are
there also serious consequences for the oceans? Let us assume that
in those 20 years, the ocean currents mix the carbon dioxide down to
a depth of a half mile (we will use English units!).
Carbon dioxide is currently 400 ppm by volume of air, or 607
ppm by weight, as the molecular weight of carbon dioxide is 44, and
air’s mean molecular weight 29. Sea level air pressure is 14.6
pounds/square inch, so the carbon dioxide is 0.0089 pounds/square
inch. We increase this by a factor 1.45 for the atmosphere over land
areas, = 0.0129 pounds/square inch (0.21 ounce/square inch) carbon
dioxide to be dissolved in the oceans.
Each column of ocean water 1 square inch and a half mile deep is a
volume of 31,680 cubic inches. That is the volume of 137 gallons.
That is a good sized salt water aquarium.
So the proposed experiment is to set up such an aquarium in
a laboratory, with coral and some nice colored reef fish, and aquatic
plants. Measure the pH. Then a qualified physical chemist should
calculate and predict what the pH will be after 0.21 ounce of carbon
dioxide is added to the 137 gallons of salt water. The 0.21 ounce of
carbon dioxide is added, perhaps as a small chip of dry ice, and the
aquarium stirred thoroughly. Then the pH is measured again, and
compared to the initial measurement and the predicted value.
Anyone expecting some serious acidification in this aquarium?

September 3, 2016 9:02 am (via )

Among research trainees in biomedical sciences at the University of California San Diego, 4.9% said they had modified research results in the past, but 81% were “willing to select, omit or fabricate data to win a grant or publish a paper”

The problem goes well beyond Duke University.

Reply to  alexwade
September 3, 2016 3:32 pm

“…..but 81% were…..”
A terrible indictment of a sub-culture. There are always statistical outliers of bad actors, but this signals a pervasive problem.

Reply to  cerescokid
September 3, 2016 8:16 pm

Not really – the number of cases is fairly low given the 10s of thousands or researchers working around the world. Compare that to the number of incidents of fraud in the corporate world.

Tim Hammond
Reply to  alexwade
September 4, 2016 4:42 am

“Not really – the number of cases is fairly low given the 10s of thousands or researchers working around the world. Compare that to the number of incidents of fraud in the corporate world.”
Eh? what’s it got to do with fraud elsewhere? Even if your statement could be shown to be true?
Businesses exist to make money, researchers to find the “truth”. Deliberately faking results to fkae the truth is as bad as you can get.

September 3, 2016 9:04 am

Read this yesterday in the TIPS and Notes area….You are probably right, this is only the tip of the iceberg…

Reply to  Marcus
September 3, 2016 12:10 pm

How can there be an iceberg with all this oppressive GlobalWarming™ heat floating around and the oceans boiling etc.

Reply to  PiperPaul
September 3, 2016 5:01 pm

The ice is made of man made carbon dioxide, of course.

FJ Shepherd
September 3, 2016 9:10 am

I wonder if another whistleblower will surface in Penn State.

Gary Meyers
Reply to  FJ Shepherd
September 3, 2016 9:50 am

With multi-million dollar payouts, it’s is probably very tempting, especially to someone with already corrupted thinking.

Reply to  Gary Meyers
September 3, 2016 10:29 am

I would guess that the payout for the WB is related to the sum recovered. It is only that large because of the size of the alleged fraud.

Olaf Koenders
Reply to  Gary Meyers
September 3, 2016 6:16 pm

Hopefully Mann will be stupid and greedy enough to dob himself in..?

Reply to  FJ Shepherd
September 3, 2016 8:40 pm

Apparently only private universities need be concerned. Government funded universities can carry on with as much fraud as they like with no fear of investigation or prosecution. Mann enjoys a truly safe place.

September 3, 2016 9:12 am

Bravo and more like this. Universities and individual researchers have been ripping off taxpayers around the world for many years. We can and have shown that tax money flows to researchers from agenda driven politicians.Each case that can be proven and publicized increases awareness and rightful skepticism among the public.
One John Beale is worth one thousand scientific debates in the all important battle for public opinion. Most people understand the original deadly sins when they see them at work. Btw… John Beales’ s enabler at EPA now works at Duke.

Reply to  troe
September 3, 2016 10:48 am

One John Beale is worth one thousand scientific debates in the all important battle for public opinion.

Anyone who has worked for a large organization knows about people like John Beale. Somehow they don’t appear to be working as hard as anybody else but they manage to take advantage of everything. They attend meetings near ski resorts in snow season and everyone at the meeting wonders why an electrical engineer is at a meeting about wood grouse habitat.
John Beale reminds me a lot of Wally in the Dilbert comic.

Adams has stated that Wally was based on a Pacific Bell coworker of his who was interested in a generous employee buy-out program—for the company’s worst employees. This had the effect of causing this man—whom Adams describes as “one of the more brilliant people I’ve met”—to work hard at being incompetent, rude, and generally poor at his job to qualify for the buy-out program.

I don’t think most people will be shocked at a story about a shirker. On the other hand, stories about people who fake their scientific data will have the bad effect of making people distrustful of all science.

Reply to  commieBob
September 3, 2016 11:10 am

You should be distrustful of science. That’s how science works. There’s always more to the story, except when it comes to climate change. Because as we all know, ‘the science is settled’.

Reply to  commieBob
September 3, 2016 2:19 pm

Well, in recent 20-odd years many things changed in science, as a social circle. It became increasingly hostile for people outside the institutions. I’m about to pocket a PhD degree shortly, as an outsider working for a non-academic company, and boy! was it a struggle. I think I’m qualified to say science, as a social circle, has lost its touch with real people. I expect it to fall from grace, and it is only a question of which branch of science will trigger the downfall. There are other contenders, but CAGW quacks are championing in that run.
There is a chance to fix the science as a whole if the scientific community separates itself from this quackery.

Reply to  commieBob
September 3, 2016 3:04 pm

Hlaford September 3, 2016 at 2:19 pm ” . . . science, as a social circle, has lost its touch with real people.” I could care less about their out of touchness with real people. It would be helpful if they were in touch with actual data.

Reply to  commieBob
September 3, 2016 3:45 pm

Replication is the key to confirmation, not peer review. Though a researcher ought (in the spirit of humility) publish along with their results and the details of the experiment, the raw data, and the full details of any code used in the analysis.
I was shocked by the attitude evidenced by one climate researcher, who justified not disclosing his data and methods with “why should I reveal them to you, just so you can find fault“. Failed his Philosophy of Science, or Scientific Method 101 course, with that.

Bloke down the pub
September 3, 2016 9:12 am

Hopefully we’ll get some inside juice from RGB@Duke.

Science or Fiction
Reply to  Bloke down the pub
September 3, 2016 2:00 pm

I haven´t seen anything from RGB@Duke lately, I miss his presence. Is there anybody out there who can enlighten us?

J Wurts
Reply to  Science or Fiction
September 3, 2016 9:37 pm
Science or Fiction
Reply to  J Wurts
September 4, 2016 1:55 am

Good idea – I just threw him a mail.

Mark from the Midwest
September 3, 2016 9:13 am

Why am I not surprised?

September 3, 2016 9:16 am

I wonder if Lewandowsky has any disgruntled research assistants who know all about how he has gone about doing his research? One whistle-blower out of that group could knock out 97% of the “97% Consensus.”

Reply to  TW
September 3, 2016 11:19 am

It happened to D. Stapel, but his case was especially egregious – making stuff up out of whole cloth, which went on for years. I suspect there are too many AGW narrative-pushers and other SJW-types hovering around Stephan L. for anything less than that to be called out.

Reply to  rw
September 3, 2016 12:51 pm

Making stuff up was the only way they could get grant funding. At some point, there is going to be a humongous train wreck that will damage the image of science for a generation, minimum.

Reply to  rw
September 3, 2016 1:12 pm

The saddest part of this for me pyeatte is I believe this is evidence the damage has already been done. Along with poll results that show AGW to be at the bottom of the list of concerns in the vast majority of people’s minds, it shows the sciences are attracting scam artists in record numbers. I’d say it’s safe to assume the majority of folks actively participating in this forum have well thought out ethical concerns about climate science; it appears from this report there are other branches effected by it, in this example cardiology.
People in general are aware of the corruption of science and there’s been no more public display in my lifetime than what’s been exposed by the climate folks. Young people are influenced by what they see as “social norms” and this is what happens when corruption becomes normal.

September 3, 2016 9:16 am

Surprise, surprise

Sun Spot
Reply to  marywilbur
September 3, 2016 11:50 am

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  Sun Spot
September 3, 2016 12:00 pm

Sunspots reduce the maxima of photons.

September 3, 2016 9:20 am

Wow! I will wait for further details though, as my trust in academia and the courts to hold them accountable has been sullied. It will be another whitewash affair I am afraid. Another “I don’t recall” moment.

Dodgy Geezer
September 3, 2016 9:21 am

Presumably someone is going through Michael Mann’s papers…?
It would be a stunning act of justice if McIntyre got a multi-million payout for the many years of work he’s done on this…

September 3, 2016 9:29 am

The case ismuch more nuanced and complicated than the headline implies. Read the whole Science article and follow-on to Retraction Watch.
It does show what happens when false/erroroneos findings lead to additional follow-up studies which then have no possibility of being correct as they are based on incorrect assumtions from the previous bad study. An Error Cascade (in this case the error comes from scientific misconduct).
Rather than being automagicly self-correcting, Science is prone to these episodes of lemmings folowing false trails. Sarewitz used the phrase – “Lemmings Study Mice” referring to cancer researchers studying mice as models for men, even knowing that they don’t serve that function well.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
September 3, 2016 9:30 am


Reply to  Kip Hansen
September 3, 2016 9:52 am

Kip, maybe your first spelling was more nearly correct – you just missed out the hyphen between the second s and the u.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
September 3, 2016 10:06 am

yes, it’s not supposed to work like that but a lot of scientists don’t seem to bother checking papers which they cite as a source of information.
In effect you are endorsing a paper if you cite it as a source. ( That is why citations are taken as the main measure of worth in academia ). However, it seems that most scientists just take it as proven result if is published and charge ahead.
This obviously adds a positive feedback to spurious results, rather the claimed self correction.

Steamboat McGoo
Reply to  Kip Hansen
September 3, 2016 10:34 am

“erroroneos” !
This may not be the way the word is (correctly) spelled – but, by God!, it’s the way it SHOULD be spelled!

Reply to  Steamboat McGoo
September 3, 2016 1:19 pm

er·ro·ne·ous == something with a lot of errons.
Gotta love English — I am more often betrayed by my lying eyes and happy fingers (which type the whatever they feel like sometimes) now that I am a bit older (compared to 30 years ago, when I was just plain stump dumb.)

Reply to  Steamboat McGoo
September 3, 2016 3:27 pm

I missed that on first reading.comment image

Randy in Ridgecrest
Reply to  Steamboat McGoo
September 3, 2016 6:26 pm

that was fun – thanks

Reply to  Steamboat McGoo
September 3, 2016 8:51 pm

@Kip: Are errons the same thing as bogons?

September 3, 2016 9:29 am

Too bad this didn’t involve a ‘climate researcher’.

Reply to  SMC
September 3, 2016 12:42 pm

Well, this one didn’t, but this is only the beginning.

Reply to  JohnWho
September 3, 2016 2:25 pm

What? They’d simply make a poll on that and find 97% consensus of their innocence.

September 3, 2016 9:34 am

…and her science was cited how many times
I hope they bust them good…and put them under

Steven Allen
September 3, 2016 9:37 am

From Sciencemag, by Alison McCook, Retraction WatchSep. 1, 2016 , 2:00 PM
“Thomas, who says he participated in the review, claims that other reviewers and pulmonary division staff (at Duke) told him that Potts-Kant doctored nearly every experiment or project in which she participated. Sometimes, the suit alleges, she hadn’t exposed mice to the right experimental conditions or run the experiments at all. Other times, Thomas alleges, Potts-Kant had run the experiments but altered the data, tweaking them to match the hypothesis or boost their statistical significance.”
“Relatively few of these cases have targeted research universities (see box, below); many allege fraud in health care or military programs. But that’s changing. The FCA “is increasingly being used to target alleged fraud in a diverse array of industries, including research and academia,” says attorney Suzanne Jaffe Bloom of Winston & Strawn LLP in New York City. Although recent court rulings suggest public universities may have some protection from qui tam suits because they are government entities, private institutions do not.”
Very interesting, and unfortunate that according to a recent ruling by the US Supreme Court, public universities are exempt from the False Claims Act (FCA). WUWT is a great forum, and maybe could start to dig into EPA publications about the alleged connection between pulmonary health and relatively low levels of pollutants measured in American cities.

Reply to  Steven Allen
September 3, 2016 10:00 am

so they are private when it comes to FOIA…
..and government when they get sued

Reply to  Steven Allen
September 3, 2016 10:18 am

Thomas alleges, Potts-Kant had run the experiments but altered the data, tweaking them to match the hypothesis or boost their statistical significance.”

So we see why other fields have been so quiet about criticising rigged papers in climatology. They are scared it would attract a spotlight on their own field.

Reply to  Steven Allen
September 3, 2016 7:17 pm

If you get public money, you should be subject to public scrutiny.

September 3, 2016 9:44 am

stop cheering. This is not a good development. Science is done by people who make mistakes and make errors in judgment. By definition, a good scientist always operates in a state of confusion. Withholding of further funding should be enough. The idea that “you have nothing to be afraid of if you have done nothing wrong” is, needless to say, a very shaky foundation for a healthy society. Perhaps I do not want to submit a grant at all if I am afraid that some disgruntled former colleague of mine will accuse me of fraud and I will have to explain myself to the police and face financial ruin. Science cannot operate this way.

Reply to  mf
September 3, 2016 9:53 am

Of course people make mistakes. But this was not a mistake. The scientist in question knowingly fabricated results in order to get funding.

Reply to  peter
September 3, 2016 10:23 am

Yes, Peter, but she’d probably seen Peter Gleick getting off without so much as a police interview after having effectively admitted wire fraud.
Why should scientists not be allowed to lie, cheat and commit fraud? How do you expect them to work ?! Science cannot operate this way.

Reply to  peter
September 3, 2016 12:01 pm

Do these critics know how difficult it is to produce results that agree with the predictions of one’s hypothesis?
What the heck are they supposed to do, just admit they were wrong and go back to the drawing board?
It is very difficult to look smarter than you really are if and when you keep being wrong.

John Teisen
Reply to  peter
September 3, 2016 1:51 pm

Thomas Edison made 10,000 mistakes before he came up with the Tungsten light filament. But when he got it wrong he said so and moved on to the next option.

Steamboat McGoo
Reply to  peter
September 3, 2016 1:59 pm

Menicholas – You left off the /sarc … I hope! LOL

Reply to  peter
September 3, 2016 8:15 pm

John Teisen September 3, 2016 at 1:51 pm
Thomas Edison made 10,000 mistakes before he came up with the Tungsten light filament. But when he got it wrong he said so and moved on to the next option.

It was William Coolidge who came up with the Tungsten filament not Edison!

Reply to  peter
September 3, 2016 9:32 pm

Mr. McGoo,
I always try to make my sarcastic remarks obvious enough that they need no tags.
And I seem to recall Edison finally got his lightbulb to work by using cotton thread coated with lampblack.
Hey, wait a second…lampblack sounds like…CARBON!
Oh nos!

Reply to  mf
September 3, 2016 9:58 am

fraudulent data in applications and reports involving more than 60 grants

Ric Haldane
Reply to  Latitude
September 3, 2016 8:26 pm

John T, Edison did not invent the tungsten filament. Edison first used carbonized thread and later paper, then a certain type of bamboo from Japan. A couple of dudes from Austria created sintered tungsten filaments from 1904 to 1911. They were too brittle. William D. Coolidge was the first to come up with a method to draw tungsten in 1908 into a wire and henceforth make tungsten filaments. My wife’s family lives in Benxi China. I became friends with the chief of police one day and he took me to his brother’s shop. They make filaments one at a time. Heat wire, turn with a simple machine, clip, then on to next step to make uniform and clean up, This country would call it a sweat shop. Not American working conditions, but all I could see was smiles. I believe that I estimated that they use about a ton to a ton and a half of wire each month depending on their sales schedule.

Mark from the Midwest
Reply to  mf
September 3, 2016 10:13 am

A good scientist never, never operates in a state of confusion, that’s pop science B.S. A good scientist operates in a state of uncertainty, with that uncertaiinty moderated by replicates of results and congruence with the logical conditions that govern the systems and domains within which they work, (e.g., laws of thermodynamics).
I am cheering, an academic fraud of this magnitude should spend 3 to 5 years in the custody of the Federal prison system, and the while I generally have respect for Duke University, but they are utimately responsible and need to be held accountable for the work product of their employees.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  mf
September 3, 2016 11:03 am

I disagree. This was not a simple mistake by Potts-Kant. It was cold, calculated, systemic fraud over a long time period. This can’t be allowed in science, especially in the Health and Medical fields. People’s lives could be put at risk.

george e. smith
Reply to  mf
September 3, 2016 11:23 am

When the taxpayer is being tapped by the power of the IRS, and those funds forcibly taken from the taxpayer are used to fund supposedly scientific research in the form of “grants” I’m afraid mf that we the tax payer expect a much higher standard of ethics than simply “people make mistakes .”
Mr. Mac. of MacDonald Aircraft used to say: “We seldom fire a person who makes a mistake. We ALWAYS fire a person who tries to cover up a mistake. ”
And good scientists do NOT operate in a state of confusion.
It says something about the “academic environment” if persons in it can’t choose between being honest and being funded.
At least in industry, the success of one’s work efforts has a direct bearing on the ability of one’s employer to keep paying his(er) salary.
If YOU don’t have skin in the game, what motivation is there to keep your nose clean.
There is no satisfaction quite like watching a fellow citizen freely take money out of his own wallet, and place it down on the counter in exchange for some product that YOU personally helped develop into a money making success story for your employer/
Not on my nickel you don’t

Javert Chip
Reply to  george e. smith
September 3, 2016 2:32 pm

Very well said; I’m with George on this one.

george e. smith
Reply to  george e. smith
September 3, 2016 4:07 pm

The tendency to make mistakes is about like ignorance. We are all born with it; and it is not a disease.
Yes we learn from mistakes. Hopefully we seek to correct the consequences of a mistake as soon as we recognize it.
There is NO responsibility of the general public to fund the life style of people who feel they want to spend their lives doing “research” as if there is merit in that. Such life choices often come with a retirement pension that many in the private sector can never afford themselves.
But by choice, we often collectively (via government systems) DO fund such activities, in the belief (sometimes quite misguided) that something that contributes to the common good can come from such things.
In pioneer America, farmer Jones’ daughter was engaged to round up the community kids, in the local Church building, and try to teach them something useful and to keep them out from under the plow horses.
Well it’s gotten (there’s that word) a whole lot more complex today, but the motivation is not greatly different.
So I don’t freak out over ALL taxpayer funded research. I also don’t need or want to be in the decision chain as to what should be researched by such means. So I tolerate a lot of latitude as to that.
But the columns of WUWT do present us with a constant stream of stuff being “researched” that just defies rational explanation.
But we ought to at least be able to demand honesty in those pursuits.
As for other folks buying your wares or the results of that; in the instance of one of my efforts, I stopped watching the numbers after the first two billion of “my” gizmos had been shipped world wide. I assume at least one billion persons use one, although I don’t claim they each bought their own.
And the knockoffs swelled the numbers beyond those I directly contributed to.
I think it is six years since that 2E9 number was shipped, so who knows where it is now. There also are plenty of them now that I had nothing to do with.
My effort was of course only one part of the puzzle; but worthy enough to be preserved in the peer reviewed literature of the US (and foreign) Patent Office.
Now there is plenty of academic research output that leaves my puny efforts in the dust.
That’s great, and is why I pay attention to such things. We all gain from results that benefit things we may not even know about. It is not too much for us to at least get a run for our money.

Reply to  mf
September 3, 2016 12:07 pm

Making an honest mistake and committing deliberate fraud are two entirely different things. Altering the data, or not doing the experiments at all and just making up the data to get money, is deliberate fraud. If it is allowed to continue in the name of giving scientists the leeway to “make mistakes,” it will destroy science. Think also of all the lives that could be lost due to fake research in health-related fields. For all we know, this researcher is already a mass murderer due to conclusions drawn from her fake pulmonary research.

Reply to  Louis
September 3, 2016 3:21 pm

Think also of misrepresenting computer models as ‘evidence’.

Mike the Morlock
Reply to  mf
September 3, 2016 1:05 pm

mf September 3, 2016 at 9:44 am
I have agree with mf
This researcher was stealing medical research grant monies and spending those funds “buying merchandise from Amazon, Walmart, and Target”. WALMART? you steal thousands and then bargain shop at Walmart?
That is one cornfused “researcher”.
Was there not a higher end establishment that this individual could have frequented?
Oh yeah Erin Potts-Kant, knew exactly what she was doing. She is a thief.

Olaf Koenders
Reply to  Mike the Morlock
September 3, 2016 6:38 pm

“ steal thousands and then bargain shop at Walmart?”

Why pay too much for the same thing? But I’m just being an efficient German again.. 🙂

Reply to  mf
September 3, 2016 1:53 pm

“By definition, a good scientist always operates in a state of confusion.”
That is complete nonsense.

Reply to  mf
September 3, 2016 4:11 pm

There is a vast, vast difference between honest error and deliberate fraud, and this case involves the latter.

Reply to  mf
September 3, 2016 7:30 pm

You are wrong.
Corruption should never be either rewarded or let go unpunished.
Healthy societies demand justice for those wronged and punishment for those doing wrong.
Every time corruption or incompetence is discovered and rooted out, it improves science.
Firstly, it removes bad data that could potentially prove lethal. (Want to swallow a drug someone like this had a hand in developing? )
Second, it reminds those like her that ,if they do the same thing, they too will face the consequences.
This reduces the number of bad actors and so increases the confidence people have in science.
It also reduces the time and energy wasted redoing the work correctly.
Not being able to trust the work of others wastes huge amounts of time and resources that should be better spent elsewhere.

Reply to  mf
September 4, 2016 7:43 am

@ mf September 3, 2016 at 9:44 am
Please read what you just wrote. You may want to retract your comment or rewrite it. I hope you can/will see the problem.

September 3, 2016 9:47 am

These grants were probably tainted with “Big Oil” tax money anyway

September 3, 2016 10:35 am

“This is not a good development. Science is done by people who make mistakes and make errors in judgment.”
But perhaps the error in judgment was the belief that she could get away with it or that her mentors would be watching her back.
“By definition, a good scientist always operates in a state of confusion.”
Not if the science is settled and the outcome pre-decided, then there is no confusion at all. You are arguing for a lack of accountability, the scourge of our “enlightened” age.

Reply to  diogenese2
September 3, 2016 2:33 pm

How misogynistic! /sarc

September 3, 2016 10:45 am

Would anybody at George Mason University be just a little nervous about this?

September 3, 2016 11:28 am

Peer review has been corrupted in all fields of climate change. Someone should research the number of times authors cite themselves or get good buddies to do the same for them. Worst of all are the reviewers for large grants – why isn`t their group of `friends` ever investigated? When reviewers are asked how they are connected to applicants, huge lies and misinformation are used frequently. The entire system needs tightening up, especially when tax-payers money is involved. Everybody I know has such information about individuals who have received large research grants for trivial `research` that would not stand up to professional/legal/public scrutiny or proper peer review. We all know them!

Reply to  dave
September 3, 2016 2:03 pm

, peer review doesn’t guarantee the results are valid because it doesn’t replicate testing. Peer review should assure the reasonableness of methods and results. I’m sure peer review catches a lot of mistakes.

Paul Westhaver
September 3, 2016 11:30 am

What is the green movement within academia about?
Getting money, advancing socialism, publish or perish, picking up “chicks”.
The CAGW scam has been a wonderfully tempting environment for big dollars, rapid acceptance of papers, wealth redistribution apparatus creation, and appealing to the impressionable youthful “chicks” for … you know…
Regardless of the case noted above, the UN-CAGW scam is chock full of abuse….. you know it. So do you ravel/unravel the machine?
Sue them in federal court for fraud. Take their money, discredit their publications, shame their politics and watch the “chicks” deride them.
Now, how do I get in on this? (the finder’s fee bit I mean)

James Fosser
September 3, 2016 11:38 am

When I was doing a doctoral thesis, two of my supervisors -almost in unison- looked at me one day. laughed, and then said. ”Hypothesis?” You finish your thesis, read it over to the end come up with a hypothesis based on what you have done then place it at the beginning. I also laughed thinking they were just having fun! (I never followed their ”advice” yet still had my thesis pass external peer-review).

Alan Robertson
September 3, 2016 11:40 am

She didn’t mean to do wrong, doesn’t remember, doesn’t recall, misunderstood, thought it was alphabetical… what difference, at this point, does it make?

Bill Parsons
Reply to  Alan Robertson
September 3, 2016 12:14 pm

… and you ask what’s the fuss about the missing blackberries? Haven’t I proven with indisputable, geometric logic that the blackberries were stolen? There must have been an assistant who had access to them. After all, anybody can make a spare key to a yoga room, or a bedroom, or the sauna… (rolling ball bearings)

Reply to  Alan Robertson
September 3, 2016 2:00 pm

She is wise in her own eyes and clever in her own sight.

Steve in SC
September 3, 2016 11:43 am

They need to move 20 miles down the road where the good folks at UNC Chapel Hill make these guys at Duke look like the amateurs that they are. The amount of corruption in that school is totally beyond belief from top to bottom.

Roger Bournival
September 3, 2016 11:44 am

Where’s the post about California regulating cow farts?

Reply to  Roger Bournival
September 3, 2016 12:35 pm

…Re: Regulating cow farts…..
“The bill also calls for efforts to significantly increase composting to eliminate the amount of food waste in landfills, which releases methane when it breaks down.”
What do they think happens when you compost ? D’oh !

Reply to  Marcus
September 3, 2016 2:35 pm

Think? You expect too much.

Reply to  Marcus
September 3, 2016 6:48 pm

“What do they think happens when you compost ?”
That’ll be the same administration that came within a gnat’s whisker of banning dihydrogen monoxide, presumably?

Steve Lohr
Reply to  Roger Bournival
September 3, 2016 1:20 pm

Thanks for bringing that up Roger Bournival. California is afraid of EVERYTHING, not just cow farts; you know that fishing poles can cause cancer and birth defects don’t you? California is the mother ship for the bogus idea money tree with outposts in Boulder, CO. They are making it hard to claim one has received an “education”.

Reply to  Roger Bournival
September 3, 2016 2:53 pm

What does that tell you about the quality of the media.
I am flabbergasted.

September 3, 2016 11:51 am

“Federal Prosecutors have launched a gigantic fraud case against Duke University”
Which Federal prosecutors? This seems to be a private suit, brought by someone who hopes to claim a bounty.

September 3, 2016 11:56 am

“And last month, a U.S. district court unsealed a whistleblower lawsuit filed by a former colleague of Potts-Kant.”
Why was the whistleblower lawsuit sealed in the first place? The original article doesn’t say, but it has me curious. Was this an attempt to cover up the misconduct or just a routine legal procedure in whistleblower cases? In any case, doesn’t the following description of her misconduct sound familiar?

Investigators analyzed raw data, recalculated results, and reran experiments, according to the suit. Thomas, who says he participated in the review, claims that other reviewers and pulmonary division staff told him that Potts-Kant doctored nearly every experiment or project in which she participated. Sometimes, the suit alleges, she hadn’t exposed mice to the right experimental conditions or run the experiments at all. Other times, Thomas alleges, Potts-Kant had run the experiments but altered the data, tweaking them to match the hypothesis or boost their statistical significance.

I wonder why scientists today think it is okay to alter the data to match the hypothesis? I can’t imagine where a scientist would get such an idea.

September 3, 2016 11:59 am

There are bad apples in every barrel, but we should not judge the barrels for that. The problem is that science has a built in mechanism to autocorrect with time, but no mechanism for correcting scientists misbehavior and is ridled with corporativism.

Javert Chip
Reply to  Javier
September 3, 2016 2:55 pm

Nice try, Javier, but no cigar.
Indeed if you have enough bad apples, the rest of the apples in the barrel are legitimately suspect. Example: the estimated 3-6% of child abusing priests casts a pall over all priests.
The problem compounds when “innocent” members of the group (scientists, priests, etc) don’t quickly & forcefully speak out to enforce the rules. This is a pretty common problem when groups become tribes which then become “brands”. There frequently is more pressure to silence the whistle blower than to discipline the wrong-doer.
In economics this principle is known as Gresham’s law: “bad money drives out good”

Reply to  Javert Chip
September 3, 2016 3:34 pm

Nope. There are guilty people and inocent people and casting general doubts is unfair, unjust, and serves no general interest, but advances some people’s agenda.
Gresham law refers to the quality of money, and has nothing to do with this issue.

Gary Hladik
Reply to  Javert Chip
September 3, 2016 9:35 pm

“Nope. There are guilty people and inocent [sic] people and casting general doubts is unfair, unjust, and serves no general interest…”
Depends. If the guilty are members of a class that is generally regarded as more “moral” or “incorruptible” than us mere mortals, it is in our “general interest” to remind us that they’re only human after all, and should be subject to the same skepticism as anyone else. Examples would include priests (and “holy” men/women in general), police, and scientists; scientists because public policy (which affects us all) may be based on their work.

Reply to  Javier
September 3, 2016 8:54 pm

When there are visible bad apples in a barrel, Now called harvest bins 4′ X 4′ X 30″, the entire bin gets crushed for apple juice.
It isn’t worth the time nor effort to sort out the bad ones.
Metaphorically, the same will happen to those corrupted research groups. Everyone within the research group will be tainted, likely for their entire careers.
The few respectable researchers that might be in a corrupted group will be viewed with suspicion, for never alerting management or authorities to questionable doings.
Alerting superiors or authorities is only sufficient when the questionable actions are not documented in detail in writing with copies.
Science, without decisive action by the honest, has zero ability to autocorrect. If a researcher is not an open part of the solution, then they are part of the problem.
Right now, climate science is rapidly retreating to ‘Piltdown man’ status.

Reply to  ATheoK
September 3, 2016 8:55 pm

“questionable actions are not documented in detail in writing with copies”
Spurious ‘not’ from confused fingers got into the original.

September 3, 2016 12:19 pm

This is an interesting case and an interesting post on the case. Thanks for posting it.
I am of the opinion that almost all of “climate science” has been a colossal fraud and not just scientific error. If I am right, and time will tell, then every grant, law, regulation, meeting, salary, and so on are all money stolen from the taxpayers.
How much? I wager the bill would be in excess of a Trillion dollars. Perhaps 100 Trillion.
The perpetrator in this case should use the Hillary Clinton defense and claim she did not know that fraud was against the law.

David L. Hagen
September 3, 2016 12:40 pm

Hmm! Wonder if this could be applied to doctored/biased climate models?
With billions in grants, there could be a >> multimillion-dollar payout if sustained!

Steve Case
September 3, 2016 12:44 pm

If successful, the suit—brought under the federal False Claims Act (FCA)—could force Duke to return to the government up to three times the amount of any ill-gotten funds, and produce a multimillion-dollar payout to the whistleblower.
That’s the money quote.

Reply to  Steve Case
September 6, 2016 12:15 pm

I actually think this one is better… “Whistleblowers filed a record 754 FCA cases in 2013, and last year alone won nearly $600 million. The U.S. government, meanwhile, has recouped more than $3.5 billion annually from FCA cases in recent years.”
That’s gotta be the quietest $3.5 billion dollars changing hands ever.

H. D. Hoese
September 3, 2016 12:54 pm

Wish I had taken notes, but a couple of decades ago I heard comments along the line of “…may not be correct, but…. Ever hear of “pencil engineering?” Computer erasure easier now, I guess. I fear the more subtle corruption more. Have worked with academia, legal profession, industry, including oil, and government. All have great people, but on average would trust the oil industry as the best of the bunch, but I am a little out of date.

Reply to  H. D. Hoese
September 3, 2016 3:02 pm

No contest. Academia used to be the straightest; not any more. On average, industry is the best of the lot, until you get to outfits contracting with the Government. But I have run into occasional government departments that were very straight-up service-oriented; they were great to deal with, but that was a long time ago.

September 3, 2016 1:15 pm

This may be the wrong place to ask this, but as long as we are talking about Duke University, whatever happened to Robert G. Brown? He doesn’t seem to have posted or commented here for months and months. I really miss his input.

September 3, 2016 1:29 pm

The Duke case “should scare all [academic] institutions around the country,”

Only if they’re engaging in fraud.

Steve Lohr
September 3, 2016 1:32 pm

Here is an activist professor who has modified his “science” for the sake of a cause:
I’m not going to say much more about it other than advocacy science is wrecking public confidence that the universities in this country are credible, or for that matter even useful in public debate. Once caught in a lie, forever suspect. This behavior taints the whole lot.

Reply to  Steve Lohr
September 3, 2016 7:17 pm

Activists judge themselves by their intentions, instead of their actions.

September 3, 2016 2:05 pm

Now that the ” Consensus Scientists ” have been used to sell a fraud the next real money will made blowing whistles . Bills do have to be paid after all .
Let’s see,… climate modeller’s , IPCC insiders , and grant dependant renewable companies for a start could make someone a handsome living . Next,… AG’s that violate their terms of employment by acting as lobbyist’s and politicians who know it’s a scam but continue to betray the public trust .
There will be serious coin available but get it while it lasts . The rats have started running for cover .

September 3, 2016 2:24 pm

Doctored data and a manic scramble to receive grant money seem to have become normal and predominant activities in Science these days. Whatever happened to honest research? Oh, I forgot….

September 3, 2016 2:30 pm

Well, here’s hoping someone might think that keeping the formal investigation into Jagadish Shukla going would be a good idea. Perhaps one of his millennial sycophant grad students might turn on him for a good payout.

September 3, 2016 2:51 pm

Obama and the CDC will punish the whistle blower. That is his way. This money was undoubtedly directed to the recipient that supplied the politics desired by the administration.

September 3, 2016 2:58 pm

Thomas alleges, Potts-Kant had run the experiments but altered the data, tweaking them to match the hypothesis or boost their statistical significance.”
Post normal science.

September 3, 2016 3:52 pm

We need more whistleblowers, a lot more whistleblowers.

Reply to  Resourceguy
September 3, 2016 7:41 pm

Won’t matter. Just about every paleo temp reconstruction has been shown to be statistically and physically (trees aren’t thermometers) bogus. Yet no one is being prosecuted. And don’t forget climategate. The whistles have been blown repeatedly. Nothing changed.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
September 3, 2016 8:45 pm

Really? A whistleblower is an INSIDER with direct evidence of the fraud. Someone who can testify who/how/where/when/why the fraudsters carried out their crimes.
The closest that we’ve seen to a whistleblower in fake climate “science” is the person who released the ClimateGate emails.
But even that action is not the whistleblowing required by the FCA–we need someone who reveals the truth, and then cooperates through the investigation, trial, and sentencing.

September 3, 2016 3:54 pm

For sublime irony check out ‘Duketoday’ News item headed ‘The Balancing Act of Holding Businesses Accountable’ depicting a Monopoly Chance card- Go directly to jail Do not pass Go, Do not collect $200
Missed a few pesky zeros again by the looks-

September 3, 2016 4:05 pm

We couldn’t possibly let that one go without a proper citation for posterity now could we Duke?

September 3, 2016 5:53 pm

Open the flood gates please !
Science for profit has been happening for decades and has been mostly ignored.

September 3, 2016 7:12 pm

Article in the Penn State student newspaper, January 2010 (6 years ago):
Former CIA Agent Investigates “Climategate”
“…As the Collegian reported this week, Mr. Clizbe sent letters to 27 Penn State faculty members in hopes of locating a snitch whistleblower. He possesses an extensive background in secure communications and has even recruited a lawyer who has experience working with the False Claims Act.
“Faculty members who come forward with information about the Climategate controversy will be protected–and apparently well paid.
“We contacted Mr. Clizbe to understand his motives for launching this personal investigation. He explained:
“As a concerned American citizen, I’ve been following the Man-caused Global Warming discussion for many years. The recent escalation of the stakes, led by Mann, Al Gore, and the UN’s IPCC, with their demands that the US reduce our use of coal and oil, and pay ransoms to poor countries, raised my level of concern for the US and for the world.”
“Apparently, Mr. Clizbe is not entirely sold on the issue of anthropogenic global warming and wants the full, unadulterated story, sans false information and misleading evidence. To find the truth about Mann’s supposedly fraudulent activity, he requests that Mann’s colleagues step forward with any relevant knowledge surrounding the issue.”
For the last 6 years, I’ve advocated harnessing the power of the FCA against the fraudsters in the Climate “research” community.
The Climate fakes will NOT be vanquished by realists arguing more logically, nor by calling them names, nor by publishing “climate research,” nor by witty ripostes amongst ourselves.
The scam will crumble, as nearly all massive frauds (see Bernie Madoff) do, by an insider blowing the whistle.
Spread the word. Spread it far and wide. Let every staffer in every university “climate research” office know: FCA is powerful. The truth will out. Share your knowledge about research fraud. Now.

September 3, 2016 7:42 pm

No one will disagree that water vapor is a greenhouse gas and dwarfs the amount of co2. I didn’t know why I didn’t think of this before. Sometimes things happen when there is a need. The need is safe reliable drinking water. There are company/ies making small units that take water vapor out of the air, producing from 40 to 100 gallons daily. Each small unit costs about $10,000. In high humid areas, we can significantly reduce the amount of this greenhouse gas. In semi arid areas it’d be a life safer and reduce the amount of ground water extraction.
Whatever has been spent on boondoggle ideas, this is one that is currently working. Extracting co2 from the atmosphere is not possible in any economic way. The amount is just too small. We can reduce water vapor. Instead of spending enormous sums on less that reliable technology, wrecking the economy, this kills 2 birds with one stone.
As an alternative to CAGW ideas.
Reply to  rishrac
September 3, 2016 7:51 pm

“Extracting co2 from the atmosphere is not possible in any economic way.”
Funny you should say that, because the grass in my lawn is extracting it economically. My trees do it too.

Reply to
September 3, 2016 8:27 pm

Commercially… I didn’t put everything in the last post. It was assuming that everything the CAGW says is true. Nowhere, not anyone has ever brought up the idea of extracting the other greenhouse gas.
The green group wants to wreck the economy and send us back to the dark ages. We don’t need to do that. Besides drastically reducing co2 emmisions and subsisting very costly and unpredictable solar and wind, carbon capture is another of their looney ideas, which in no way reduces atmospheric co2 to any degree. It does present hazards which have been discussed here.
I have at length posted about the ever growing size of the sinks. Which, if the green groups are to be believed couldn’t or shouldn’t be happening.
What you may not know is how research is slanted to finding a problem with increased co2 in plants. When none are found, you don’t hear about it. Neither are they looking for the benefits. It is only by the obvious increased observational results from the planet as a whole has this benefit even been acknowledged.
CAGW is bad science. And the political activism from it is about the lowest form of human endeavors. The only ideas that they come up with are ones that are detrimental to human existence.

High Treason
September 3, 2016 7:56 pm

All the works from other people that was based on the corrupted data will also have to be redacted and modified. This will waste the time of these other people.. The earlier the dodgy “science” was that has been assumed to be true, the more unreliable the later research becomes. In the case of cAGW, the suspect assumptions came in quite early in the piece, making all the subsequent “work” worthless trash. There will be a lot of egg on faces when it turns out that the whole lot was rubbish from quite a while back and some (taxpayer funded) scientific bodies manipulated the data to fit in with the hypothesis.
What will be the penalties?!? Heads should roll over the scam when it is eventually uncovered.

September 3, 2016 8:29 pm

Global warming is caused by government funding.

September 3, 2016 9:07 pm

But wait all these papers could not be false because they were pal reviewed oh sorry peer reviewed.

Sceptical lefty
September 3, 2016 11:28 pm

When you submit a request for funding of your pet project you are acutely aware of many other pet projects similarly needing funds — and all from a presumably limited pot. Naturally, you will represent your project in the best possible light so as to maximise your chances of obtaining a meal ticket for the next few months or years. But, you are aware that your competitors are similarly motivated, so the temptation to “sex up” your submission (as did Tony Blair) is very powerful. After all, your work is very important and, if YOU don’t tell a little fib or two, your competitors will. Seriously, are you going to let those bastards steal money that is rightfully yours?
The funding system, as it stands, encourages fraud and punishes objective honesty. The surprise should be that so few such cases are exposed. Possibly, this was just a little too egregious to sweep under the rug. What would have happened in the absence of a whistle-blower? … Anything?
Punishment is only a small part of the remedy. The temptation (necessity?) to commit fraud must be appreciably reduced. Positions need to be reasonably well-paid and tenured. There should be limited pressure to publish. etc etc.
I won’t go into further detail, but it must be admitted that my proposals will give encouragement to time-serving parasites. The question is: is systematised fraud preferable to a few parasites?

george e. smith
Reply to  Sceptical lefty
September 4, 2016 11:13 am

Well I suspect that there was a time when academic institutions were a part of the education system.
People went there to learn something so they could function in a complex society and world, and earn a living.
Presumably people chose their source of higher education based on the teaching reputation of the staff; presumably the professors.
I don’t think most people go to a university to be “educated” by some grad student working on a PhD. specially not with today’s astronomical fees.
I’m quite sure that at no time during my total of six years in a university environment, not all of it formally as a student, did I ever read ANY peer reviewed paper of any kind, authored by anybody on the teaching staff of the school, nor those of anyone actually doing research at that institution.
So if they were under a publish or perish directive, it was certainly not apparent from a student point of view; well at least this one’s.
I did receive extensive tuition from three full professors (in the Physics department) at least one of those was solely due to the particular Physics major courses I took, and one was my mentor on a post grad thesis project.
Lab periods were monitored by grad students, but the experimental part of it was dictated by a printed manual to be followed by the student him(er)self. In one instance I pretty much rewrote the lab manual myself for that particular experiment. (Using a Fabry-Perot interferometer, to measure accurately some spectral lines from a neon discharge tube.)
I don’t have a good idea just how US Universities work. Seems like a lot of them are built on the reputation of either their football team or their basketball team.
Duke, I believe is known for its basketball. I have less than zero interest in basketball at any level.
At least in industry, it seems that most research is dictated by making money from the results, and usually in a free market competitive field.

September 3, 2016 11:41 pm
Crime and corruption investigation ‘unprecedented’
University of Western Australia professor of law and criminology Mark Israel said it was the first case he knew that involved academic misconduct being dealt with by a state integrity agency.
“This case would have interested them because the alleged fraud related to public money,” he said.
If you really want to tackle research misconduct you still have to think about why researchers might be tempted to cut corners in the first place.
Mark Israel, law and criminology professor
Editor of the International Journal for Educational Integrity Dr Tracey Bretag agreed the actions taken by the CCC were unprecedented.
“Most often these sort of things are dealt with internally” she said.
“I think this shows people that academic or research integrity is a real world issue.”
Dr Bretag welcomed the precedent which she said could open the door for other state integrity agencies across the country to investigate similar allegations.
Former University of Queensland researcher Dr Caroline Barwood leaves a Brisbane court
Photo: Caroline Barwood has also been charged with six fraud offences. (ABC News)
“If researchers start to be called into account in this way more regularly perhaps we would see less breaches of research integrity,” she said.
Meanwhile professor Israel said: “If you really want to tackle research misconduct you still have to think about why researchers might be tempted to cut corners in the first place.”

September 3, 2016 11:41 pm

I have to wonder whether the EPA cited any of her 15 papers on pulmonary biology in their ‘research’ to justify their PM2.5 tyranny.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Bishkek
Reply to  tadchem
September 4, 2016 7:01 am

I think you should also consider whether or not the WHO cites her work, or papers by others based on her work. The WHO committees, which are relatively easy to manipulate, are cited by the EPA here and there. They cite each other.
This is how it works:
A claim by the WHO serves as an input to an EPA target for exposure. The EPA model (or that of a contractor) serves to work an exposure level backwards to an emission rate in a modeled space/volume. The emission rate becomes the new regulation. To manipulate the permitted emission rate, it is easiest to manipulate the WHO’s models, which will be carried over to the EPA regs.
Like the ‘pay an NGO to sue me’ circle, the EPA can give money to a university to join the WHO committee to create a new WHO target which informs changed regs at the EPA. Everything operates at arms length.
[The mods point out that one can waltz for many hours while staying at arms length from one’s partner. .mod]

September 4, 2016 1:24 am

How utterly fitting and American, fraud.

September 4, 2016 5:52 am

Some years ago one of my sons was trying to make it to the major leagues. It was the Mark McQuire/Sammy Sosa era when steroids fueled home run derbies. He was called up briefly and his locker neighbor handed him a bottle of pills and told him to start taking them if wanted to stick.
MLB had created a culture of cheating to make big bucks…not unlike corrupted research institutions. BTW, he didn’t use the pills and he didn’t make it…

September 4, 2016 6:09 am

This is just a reminder that people will lie when money is involved. Not just trailer park trash, but highly educated, respectable people, professional degrees, etc. And, institutions will lie when money is involved.
So, when believers say it is inconceivable that highly regarded people and institutions would lie over money, roll your eyes and tell them they are clueless.Or, as Napoleon said to his staff officer who criticized his overly optimistic dispatches from Egypt during his doomed campaign there: “You understand nothing.”

September 4, 2016 6:58 am

I was always under the microscope in my work with radiation and what I said and wrote as there were so many ready to pounce on me. I was held ACCOUNTABLE in every way, and I knew it. I double and triple checked everything I did.
Accountability, is the name of the game.

September 4, 2016 10:46 pm

There has been less harm with these faked results than those used by the CARB to set diesel particulate emission limits. And Erin Potts-Kant appears to have genuine credentials unlike Hien Tran.

September 6, 2016 5:19 am

This article reminded me of another case of misuse or fraudulent use of funds in the RICO-20 and George Mason University research dept. I have heard little or nothing on this situation for months. A quick search does not produce any recent updates, and it has been about a year. It could be that this approach of whistle blower bounties could open up the information floodgates on this type of activity.

September 6, 2016 6:09 am

Tip of the iceberg.

September 6, 2016 3:05 pm

Tip of the iceberg alright when you can get a Nobel for getting elected US President and they give them out to NGO organisations like the IPCC with sexual harassers in charge. They can’t hide behind pal review or Payola Review any longer-

%d bloggers like this:
Verified by MonsterInsights