From: D.J. Keenan
Sent: 24 March 2009 21:19
Subject: Predication #XXXX: Research fraud by Wei-Chyung Wang and apparent cover up by the University at Albany
We spoke by telephone about the research fraud
committed by Wei-Chyung Wang, at the University at Albany, using DOE
funds. To briefly recap, Wang's fraud comprises data fabrication.
It occurred in 1990, but the research continues to be cited today in
important areas of science, and I presume that it is also cited in some of
Wang's recent applications for DOE research grants. An article about
the fraud is at
--see especially the Appendix, which details the evidence. I believe
that the evidence is conclusive. Some further notes on the
case are at
I reported the fraud to the University in August 2007. The
University then constituted an Inquiry Committee to review
the case. In February 2008, the Inquiry Committee released its
report. A copy of the report is at
(redacted, by the University). The report states the following,
in its review of the evidence for the fraud.
... there were a sizable number of stations for which there
was no data that could be used in defending the statement that these stations
had remained relatively "constant".
In saying that "there was no data", the report supports my allegation that
Wang fabricated data in his research. The report goes on to
unanimously recommend a full investigation.
An investigation was then undertaken. In conducting the
investigation, though, there were failures to comply with the University's
own Policy and Procedures on Misconduct in Research and
. Before describing those failures, I first quote
from the Federal Register, 10 CFR
600.31(g) [emphasis added]:
By executing this agreement, the recipient provides its
assurance that it has established an administrative process for performing an
inquiry, mediating if possible, investigating, and reporting allegations of
research misconduct; and that it will comply with its own administrative
process and the requirements and definitions of 10 CFR part 733
for performing an inquiry, possible mediation, investigation and reporting of
allegations of research misconduct.
The University has executed the agreement (via its acceptance of recent DOE
grants). Hence, by failing to comply with its own administrative process
for investigating an allegation of research fraud, the University would
be in violation of the above-cited federal regulation--even if the fraud
occurred long ago.
A copy of the University's Policy is at
Following are excerpts from the Policy, and explanations of why I
believe the University's conduct of the investigation failed to comply with
... At any time during an inquiry or investigation, where
applicable, the University shall immediately notify the appropriate federal
sponsoring agency ... if there is a reasonable indication of possible
violations of civil or criminal law....
Making a federal grant application that cites research that is
known to be fraudulent is a violation of criminal law. For
Wang, the report from the University's own Inquiry Committee states that "there
was no data"; so the University had a reasonable indication
that each federal grant application made by Wang that cited the
fraudulent research was committing the crime. (Disclaimer: I have no
legal training, and my opinions here are based solely on my
own admittedly-weak understanding of the laws.) Thus,
by Section III.G of the Policy, the University should have
immediately notified the DOE. It did not do so.
A seemingly-similar case of a scientist citing his own fraudulent
research occurred with Eric Poehlman
2005. There, the court found the crime serious enough to
sentence Poehlman to a year and a day in federal prison.
... The Vice President for Research shall notify ...
the complainant ... of the President’s decision [to conduct a full
I was not notified of the decision to conduct an investigation until
after the investigation was done.
... The Vice President for Research will also notify
the complainant in writing of the initiation of the
Again, I was not notified of the initiation of the
investigation until after the investigation was done.
... The investigation process will include, but not
necessarily be limited to, examination of pertinent research data and written
materials, interviews with all individuals involved either in making the
allegation or against whom the allegation is made....
I was not interviewed, or contacted in any other way, during the
investigation process. (This would also seem to be a violation of natural
The Investigation Committee will prepare a written report of
the conclusions of the investigation. ...
The Vice President for Research will provide ... the
complainant with those portions of the draft report that address the
complainant’s role and opinions in the investigation. The respondent and
complainant will be given 14 calendar days from the transmission of the report
to provide their written comments. ....
I was not provided with any portions of the draft report. When I
asked for such, I was informed that I "did not receive a copy of the
Investigation report because the report did not include portions addressing your
role and opinions in the investigation phase".
The report of the investigation apparently concluded that there
was "no evidence whatsoever [of] … any research misconduct". I say
"apparently" because the University has thus far refused to send me a
copy of the report. I have a Freedom-of-Information request for the report
It is also my understanding that when an institution decides
to investigate alleged research fraud, it must notify the DOE.
Apparently, however, there was no such notification. I have been
trying to confirm that: the University did not reply when I asked them
about that, and I now have a Freedom-of-Information request for that
Since 1990, Wang has received many federal research grants, from both
the DOE and other agencies. Wang's most-recent grant from the DOE, of
which I am aware, was for $1.3 million. A press release about
that grant, dated 24 January 2007, is at
Douglas J. Keenan