The ethics committee asks the University of Salamanca to behave in response to “the alleged seriousness” of its rector's practices | Science | EUROtoday

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

The Spanish Research Ethics Committee has urged the University of Salamanca to train “its powers of inspection and sanction” within the face of “the alleged bad practices” of its rector, Juan Manuel Corchado, in accordance with a report dated June 11 to which EL PAÍS has had entry. Corchado, professor of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, boasts of being some of the cited scientists on this planet in his area, however this obvious success relies on citing himself hundreds of instances, in dozens of false profiles devoted to citing him. and in demanding that his employees additionally summon him even when it was not applicable, as this newspaper has revealed since March.

The report of the group of specialists – requested on May 3 by biologist Juan Cruz Cigudosa, Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Universities – urges motion. “Since the competence of this committee is to ensure scientific integrity and ethics and given the alleged seriousness of the facts, this committee considers an exhaustive and independent verification of them by the competent authorities to be essential and unavoidable,” the doc states. . A bit over a 12 months in the past, the Government and the autonomous communities created the Spanish Research Ethics Committee, chaired by Jordi Camí, director of the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park.

The committee's powers are very restricted, with no capacity to name for testimony or sanction, however it’s an unbiased physique that may problem stories and proposals of an advisory nature. “The committee considers that some of the public facts could violate good scientific practices,” warns the doc, which cites as a reference the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity.

Corchado, born in Salamanca 53 years in the past, directs the BISITE analysis group, with greater than 200 employees, together with his brother Emilio. The group manages initiatives value tens of millions of euros, achieved with the assistance of this false worldwide scientific status. The group's inside messages, to which EL PAÍS has had entry, reveal that Corchado demanded that his employees meet him at their studios, to rig the rankings of probably the most cited researchers on this planet.

On June 7, 2017, for instance, a professor's assistant wrote to different subordinates: “Collect everything you have (master's thesis, final year projects, degree final projects, thesis, etc.) and include in the same 20 references among those that I attach in the Word document.” The hooked up file included nearly fifty Corchado publications. After some time, the collaborator insisted: “As I know that we are all working hard now, to make it easier, I am attaching the references just to copy and paste.”

Juan Manuel Corchado new rector of the University of Salamanca
Juan Manuel Corchado, throughout his inauguration as rector of the University of Salamanca, on May 31.

Corchado used the GREDOS scientific repository of the University of Salamanca to add paperwork stuffed with citations to himself, which have been detected and counted by the Google Scholar search engine. The professor even printed a single paragraph on good buildings with 227 citations to himself, together with mentions of labor that had nothing to do with it, similar to research on most cancers analysis or purple tides of microalgae.

After being questioned by this newspaper in March, Corchado carried out a large deletion of those suspicious paperwork within the GREDOS repository. The ethics committee disgraces this conduct. “The University of Salamanca signed the Berlin Declaration on open access to knowledge in sciences and humanities, a declaration that commits the repository to ensuring its documentary integrity. This is essential for science,” emphasizes the group of specialists, which once more urges the competent authorities to “verify the situation.” EL PAÍS has requested Tránsito Ferreras, coordinator of GREDOS, since March about this huge deletion of paperwork, with out receiving a response.

The professor from Salamanca and his group arrange the PAAMS worldwide convention yearly, with six simultaneous conferences and a worth of as much as 585 euros per attendee. In the phrases of Felipe Meneguzzi, professor of Computing on the University of Aberdeen (Scotland), “the PAAMS conference is known for being a bit predatory: they accept papers from anyone who has a pulse.” A take a look at the Web of Science database exhibits that Juan Manuel Corchado and his brother Emilio occupy sixth and fourth place among the many researchers in Spain who’ve printed probably the most publications, together with greater than 2,000 from their community of conferences.

Corchado used the convention proceedings, printed by the Springer publishing home, to inflate his scientific affect with methods. The outcomes of his relationship cartel are simply observable. The mathematician Roberto Casado Vara, a disciple of the professor, signed a publication on January 9, 2019 on laptop safety in electrical distribution networks. 94% of the references have been citations to earlier research by Corchado, even when they’d nothing to do with it: works on the chance of bladder most cancers, oil spills, purple tides, CO₂ within the ocean.

In simply 75 publications in Springer, a handful of contributors cite Corchado nearly 1,700 instances and the journal one other 520 instances. ADVANCED, directed by the professor. The writer Springer Nature has launched an investigation into Salamanca, in accordance with the group's director of scientific integrity, Chris Graf. Another writer, Elsevier, already retracted a examine by Corchado and three collaborators in 2019 for plagiarizing a grasp's thesis.

The ethics committee remembers that the American group Retraction Watch, specialised in scientific fraud, already revealed “the alleged bad practices” of the Spanish professor in March 2022. Those first data didn’t provoke any inside investigation on the University of Salamanca nor did they cease the profession. de Corchado, who on May 7 received the elections for rector after presenting himself as the one candidate. At his inauguration ceremony on May 31 within the college auditorium, he obtained a one-minute ovation, though his methods have been already identified. The president of the Research Ethics Committee of the University of Salamanca, Bertha Gutiérrez, is likely one of the vice-rectors of Corchado.

The report of the nationwide ethics committee clearly factors to the establishment. “The University of Salamanca, as an entity that protects or maintains employment ties with people who may have committed or been affected by the alleged bad practices, must act by exercising its powers of inspection and sanction. “Such verifications are essential to preserve the reputation and prestige of the Spanish university and scientific system and to protect people and things,” the document states.

“Finally, this Committee wants to emphasize that Spanish society relies on scientific research for its progress and well-being, and has high trust in university professors and the scientific community. It is, therefore, the duty of institutions to safeguard such trust by transmitting and being exemplary in the values ​​of ethics and scientific integrity,” the report concludes.

Do you might have extra details about this case or different related ones? You can write to us at Follow MATERIA in Facebook, X, Instagram or subscribe right here to our bulletin.

Subscribe to proceed studying

Read with out limits