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Committee will not appeal misconduct ruling

March 25, 2015
The Committee on Scientific Dishonesty for Health and Medical Sciences (USF), one of the three bodies that comprise the Danish Committees for Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD), has decided not to appeal the 18 February 2015 ruling of the Eastern High Court.

Press release from the Danish Committees for Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD)

In a ruling of 18 February 2015, the Eastern High Court determined that Bente Klarlund Pedersen did not commit scientific misconduct in connection with the publication of a number of scientific articles in 2003 and subsequent years. The ruling repealed the previous decision of scientific dishonesty made by the Committee on Scientific Dishonesty for Health and Medical Sciences (USF).

After careful consideration, USF has decided not to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

The High Court, in USF's view, has not overruled the committee's professional evaluation of what was good scientific practice at the time the articles were written. On the background of concrete evidence presented, the high court found, that it cannot be said with absolute certainty that Bente Klarlund Pedersen's publication of the articles constituted deliberate or gross negligence in relation to falsifying or distorting the scientific message. The ruling also stated that there are strict requirements for proving scientific misconduct.

The ruling emcompassed some concrete scientific articles which were written some years ago. In light of later developments, including the new national code of conduct for research integrity, which defines a number of more detailed good practice guidelines, there is currently a better basis for documenting what are the fundamental standards for good practice.

In the regard, Minister for Higher Education and Science Sofie Carsten Nielsen has recently appointed a special expert committee tasked with providing recommendations for possible changes to the DCSD system.

The chair of DCSD, high court judge Anne Thalbitzer says:

- It is in the collective interest of the research world that there is as clear and solid foundation for DCSD work as possible. This is achieved through the work of the expert committee and potential legislative initiatives that arise from this work, rather than through the appeal of this particular ruling. 

For further information please contact:

Head of division Charlotte Elverdam, Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation, tel. +45 72 31 82 20, e-mail: chel@fi.dk

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