Utrecht revokes professor’s doctoral degree
A 2008 medical dissertation, consisting largely of previously published scientific articles, has fallen into dispute. Two articles have been withdrawn and two others are subject to an ‘expression of concern’, writes the Utrecht university newspaper DUB (in Dutch). The author in question allegedly manipulated and fabricated data. As a result, Utrecht University has revoked the PhD title of this ‘outside PhD student’ (someone who is not employed while pursuing a PhD). This person says he has been working as a full professor for years and feels offended by the complaints about his dissertation.
In August 2020, the Utrecht Board heard of possible problems, says an anonymised statement from the Utrecht Committee for Scientific Integrity. The raw data on which the then PhD candidate allegedly based his articles can no longer be retrieved. They were not stored electronically and there was no need to do so at the time, is the defence. Nevertheless, a formal complaint against the researcher followed almost a year later.
The accused, by the way, questioned the motives of the complainant, alleging a personal grudge against him. But the university is not convinced. The board is returning the PhD bonus of 93 thousand euros to the Ministry of Education, says a statement. ‘We have also wondered how this could have happened”, rector Henk Kummeling said in it. “We don’t want to have this kind of unsound promotion. Not in any discipline.” (HOP, BB)