Following discusses efforts to have some of the research of Christopher Gillberg investigated by the Swedish Research Council.




On 06 February 2003, the Swedish Court ruled that Leif Elinder and Eva Kärfve should be allowed to scrutinize the research material that was used by Gillberg in his study of Gothenburg children. Gillberg, together with his colleague Peder Rasmussen, responded to that six days later: they requested Gothenburg University to have outside experts scrutinize the material.

The university agreed to this request, and asked the Swedish Research Council to select appropriate experts. The Council promptly constituted a panel of three professors, with relevant academic backgrounds, to investigate the allegations of fraud.

Before any investigation could take place, however, a close colleague of Gillberg's (Elias Eriksson, who worked in the same faculty as Gillberg) asked another professor to inspect some of the research material. That professor was Ove Lundgren, who was the Chairman of the Ethics Committee, as well as a Professor Emeritus of Physiology at the university. Lundgren was asked to do his inspection, though, as a private person (i.e. not representing the Ethics Committee).

Lundgren was given four hours to do his inspection. He found nothing that seemed seriously wrong. Given that the research material included 100 000 pages of notes, as well as video tapes, etc., it is clear that the inspection was nowhere near enough to exonerate Gillberg from the allegations of fraud. Despite that, Gillberg and Rasmussen wrote a letter to the rector claiming that Lundgren's inspection implied that the allegations “definitely could be dismissed”, and thus no investigation by outside experts was needed. Lundgren later wrote a letter to the (new) rector of the university, Gunnar Svedberg, saying as follows.

I made it entirely clear to Gillberg and Rasmussen that I—based upon my four hour inspection—could never certify that there had not been misconduct of research. I have never in my professional life been used in such a way as I have been used in this affair.

(Lundgren also made a similar comment on Swedish television.)

The situation was obviously very stressful. Indeed, rector Svedberg would later tell the police and state prosecutor that “people feel psychologically very badly … there are long sick leaves, there are threats about suicide”.

On 10 January 2004, the Chairman of the Board of the university, Arne Wittlöf, met with Svedberg and the Gillberg group to discuss having the Swedish Research Council do an investigation. Wittlöf would later tell the police and state prosecutor that it was “probably the most emotion-laden meeting I have ever had during my 45 years of duty … incredibly intense—and at that time I understood what the rector meant when he told me that he had feared for people's lives …”. At the meeting, Gillberg made it plain that he would never accept an investigation.


See also

The Gillberg affair


Note: listing is in chronological order.


Gillberg C., Rasmussen P. (12 February 2003), Letter to the rector of Gothenburg University. [The authors ask for outside experts to scrutinize the research material. In Swedish; English translation available here.]

Samuelsson B., Wedel B. (14 February 2003), Letter to the Swedish Research Council. [Gothenburg University requests the Swedish Research Council to find independent experts to scrutinize the research material. In Swedish.]

Swedish Research Council (18 February 2003), Letter to the rector of Gothenburg University. [The Swedish Research Council names three professors to constitute a panel to investigate potential research misconduct. In Swedish.]

Gillberg C., Rasmussen P. (21 March 2003), Letter to the rector of Gothenburg University. [The authors say that Ove Lundgren had scrutinized the research material, and so no investigation by the Swedish Research Council should be done. In Swedish; English translation available here.]

Police Authority of Stockholm County (21 October 2004), Summary of preliminary investigation. [Selected pages, including the quoted statements. In Swedish.]

Lundgren O. (21 February 2005), Letter to the rector of Gothenburg University. [This contains the block-quoted text. In Swedish; the translation of the quoted text was approved by Lundgren.]

Douglas J. Keenan