On Saturday 11th of June 2016, the scientific community and the Faculty of Medicine were alerted to a scientific blog that highlighted a publication in the journal Scientific Reports by a group of researchers from the Departments of Pharmacology and Molecular Medicine alleging possible scientific misconduct.Is this an isolated incident? Will this incident open up a whole can of worms with other published research papers by UM academic staffs and research students?
The publication titled “Novel piperazine core compound induces death in human liver cancer cells: possible pharmacological properties” published in Scientific Reports 6, 24172 (2016) was alleged to contain identical images and possible data manipulation.
As a Research University, the University of Malaya does not condone any form of research misconduct. Allegations of research malpractice are taken seriously by the University’s management.
On Monday 13th June 2016 the Faculty of Medicine convened a committee consisting of senior members of the Faculty chaired by the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine to conduct an in-depth investigation into these allegations.
The committee concluded that there were duplication and/or manipulation of almost all the figures (images and graphs) within the original Scientific Reports paper and across three other publications authored by the group of researchers.
As the University of Malaya adheres to a strict policy of research integrity and ethical practices, the authors have been asked to retract all the four published articles immediately.
Further to this investigation appropriate disciplinary action will be taken according to the University’s policies. University of Malaya regrets that this incident has occurred on a tradition of the University’s continuing emphasis on academic and research excellence.