Opinion: Broadcasting misconduct

Sometimes going public with an accusation is the only way to bring the truth to light

Joerg Zwirner
Mar 22, 2011
Last July, an unknown agitator using the pseudonym Marco Berns linkurl:interrupted an investigation of scientific misconduct;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/57898/ with e-mails and online posts accusing researcher Silvia Bulfone-Paus of the Research Center Borstel in Germany -- whose lab was the focus of the investigation -- of scientific fraud. The media dubbed the actions an outrageous smear campaign, but if this person had reason to believe that the local commission investigating the case might delay, play down or even suppress incriminating evidence, perhaps going public was the only way to see that justice was served.
Image: Flickr, Bill Bradford
Ten years ago, a colleague and I blew the whistle on Alexander Kugler, a physician at the Goettingen University hospital in Germany, who we suspected was involved in the treatment of 500 kidney cancer patients with an illegal and ill-defined tumour vaccine. After a local ombudsman commission failed to prevent the treatment, which was later...
Nature MedicineNatureJoerg Zwirner was a professor and immunologist at the Department of Immunology, Georg-August-University Goettingen, until 2007, when he left academia for personal reasons.