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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 14, 2006

UI Research Vice President Meredith Hay Issues Statement

Dr. Meredith Hay, UI vice president for research at the University of Iowa, issued the following statement today:

I wish to respond to news media accounts of recent charges of research misconduct involving University of Iowa researchers whose research publication was retracted by the medical journal Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine for alleged "scientific misconduct." The University of Iowa takes very seriously all allegations of wrongdoing in its research enterprise, will act expeditiously to determine merit of those allegations, and will take appropriate and decisive action in each case.

The University of Iowa has been aware of these allegations for several months and has conducted its own inquiry into the matter. That review concluded that while there was research methodology error, there was no evidence whatsoever of research misconduct, intent to publish false data, or desire to mislead or misrepresent findings.

More specifically, as a nationally prominent research institution, the University of Iowa has a two-stage process by which it addresses any formal allegations of misconduct in research. The first step of the process is the inquiry stage, where the allegation is examined by the university's Research  Integrity Officer, Dr. Richard Hichwa, to determine if there is sufficient evidence of possible research misconduct to warrant referring the matter for investigation. Where an investigation is warranted, the allegation moves to the   second stage of the process and the matter is investigated by a full university faculty committee.

In this particular case, once allegations were brought to our attention, Dr. Hichwa conducted our inquiry into the alleged misconduct and determined there was no evidence of research misconduct or of any intent to mislead or publish false data by the three authors of the article in our Department of Anesthesia in the Carver College of Medicine; therefore, there was no reason to convene a committee for a full-fledged investigation into the allegations.

It is our conclusion in this case that the principal investigator, a junior faculty member, had simply exhibited a basic lack of knowledge of research methodology and that it was this failure, rather than any intent to mislead or misrepresent, that led to the issue that has been raised. The university is taking steps to address the situation, including a requirement that the principal investigator attend a formal campus program titled "Responsible Conduct of Research"; that he be mentored by a senior physician/scientist to be selected by the chair of the Department of Anesthesia; and that all his subsequent publications, abstracts and grants be reviewed by the mentor.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Meredith Hay, vice president for research, 319-335-2119.