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‘Coping with misconduct in Indian science’: a response

Hema Rangaswami, University of California San Diego, writes:

I wish to respond to a few points in the recent article “Coping with misconduct in Indian science” by Divya Gandhi (The Hindu, September 4).

First of all this was not meant to be a “free for all,” where anybody could conduct their own “investigation.” If the issues were so simple, where was the need for the Padmanabhan committee? Why did all the committee members have to come personally to the institute and why did I have to appear before them? Just because several people have looked at the papers and expressed their opinion in the public domain, they cannot be called investigations. The least the author could have done was to write about how the Padmanabhan committee carried out its investigation and compared that with the Society for Scientific Values (SSV)’s investigation.

The people (including the SSV) who looked just at the papers to draw their conclusion did not have access to the original data, record books, data from repeated experiments and personal testimonials from all the authors, which the Padmanabhan committee carefully went over.

The author also chose to ignore the several letters written by reputed scientists to Current Science and elsewhere supporting our position and instead termed the Padmanabhan committee’s decision controversial. Reporting such one-sided information is neither fair to the authors nor to the distinguished members of the committee who were formally appointed to investigate the case. As far as we are concerned, there was only one inquiry committee, not eight.

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