Another Scandal Rocks Harvard

( – Harvard University, already reeling from recent scandals surrounding plagiarism and academic misconduct, faces another blow to its reputation following allegations against a prominent neuroscientist. Khalid Shah, vice chair of research in the neurosurgery department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and affiliated with Harvard Medical School, is accused of fabricating data and plagiarizing images in 21 research papers spanning over two decades.

This latest controversy, reported by The Harvard Crimson, comes from data manipulation expert Elisabeth M. Bik, who identified 44 instances of suspected data falsification in Shah’s work published between 2001 and 2023. An independent analysis by Matthew S. Schrag, a neurology professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Mike Rossner, president of Image Data Integrity, confirmed the concerns, raising serious questions about the integrity of Shah’s research.

The accusations extend beyond mere data manipulation. Bik’s analysis revealed that in a 2022 paper, Shah allegedly used images from at least seven other studies without proper attribution. Professor Schrag emphasized that these images weren’t simply copied but manipulated, suggesting deliberate intent. He stated that such an act is highly unusual and impossible to be accidental, highlighting the seriousness of the allegations.

Shah’s case further complicates the ongoing scrutiny surrounding academic integrity at Harvard. The university recently faced criticism following revelations of widespread plagiarism concerns during the tenure of former president Claudine Gay. Furthermore, all investigations into such misconduct have been initiated by external entities, raising concerns about internal oversight mechanisms.

The controversy extends beyond Shah; earlier this week, Harvard’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, Sherri Ann Charleston, faced similar accusations. An anonymous complaint alleged plagiarism in her academic work, including her dissertation and a co-authored journal article. Additionally, The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, affiliated with Harvard as one of its teaching hospitals, is also under investigation for data falsification, according to The Crimson. The investigation has led to the retraction of six papers and corrections issued for 31 papers authored by four Harvard researchers associated with the institute. These acts have signaled a broader concern about the academic integrity within Harvard’s academic community.

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