Scientific fraud or legal scandal?
Examination of an Investigation at Karolinska Institete and the Swedish Research Council
The large Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN) on April 22 2004 reported that a "chief physician is suspected for serious fraud" an earlier professor at Karolinska Institutet is accused of having falsified research results. The background was that the largest medical university in Sweden, Karolinska Institutet (KI), had written a few weeks earlier to the Swedish Research Council and asked them for help to investigate what was called "possible deviations from good scientific practice". This request concerned the chief physician and professor referred to in the DN article and one of his earlier doctoral students. Journalists had found out about the case and contacted KI's newly appointed President, Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson, to receive further information. The same day as DN published the news about research misconduct at KI in big headlines, its President confirmed the matter in a press release. That afternoon the message was spread over the country via the news agency Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå (TT). It was there announced that a large number of serious suspicions were directed against the professor and his earlier student. However, according to the final sentence, KI itself found it "difficult to make a neutral investigation of the charges that had been raised" and therefore had asked for assistance from the Ethical Committee at the Research Council. Nothing was said in the press release about the fact that the person who had raised the charges was a colleague and business partner of the professor. This was revealed the next day, April 23, in another notice originating from the Swedish News Agency TT and published in, among others, the daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. There one could read the following: "A representative of the labour union means that deep personal conflicts flavoured with false accusations and broken promises have led to the situation at KI where two former employees have become accused for scientific fraud". At hand was thus a conflict between two persons and "suspicions" that KI wanted help from the Research Council to examine.