Der Standard über das gestern (20.8.) erschienene Editorial in Nature:
Dem Universitätsrat der Med-Uni Innsbruck rät “Nature”, “sorgfältig
nachzudenken, bevor er seine Drohung wahr werden lässt, den Rektor unter diesen
Umständen zu feuern”.
Der Standard über die heutige (21.8.) Entscheidung des Unirats der Med-Uni Innsbruck:
Der Rektor der Medizinischen Fakultät Innsbruck Univ.-Prof. Clemens
Sorg ist nach einer Sitzung des Universitätsrates am Donnerstag mit
sofortiger Wirkung abberufen worden.
Morgen berichten vermutlich alle großen österreichischen Zeitungen über das Nature-Editorial, das sich dem neuesten Medizinskandal an der MedUni Innsbruck widmet. Der Standard, die Wiener Zeitung und TT.com haben ihre Kommentare bereits online.
Was niemand hat, ist der Volltext des Editorials. In diesem speziellen Fall, so finde ich, geht das Recht auf Information vor. Ich tue das nicht gern, weil es eine Copyrightverletzung darstellt, aber ich kopiere das jetzt einfach hierher und hoffe, dass der Verlag nicht allzu kleinlich ist.
Ansonsten: Ohne Worte…
Nature 454, 917-918 (21 August 2008) | doi:10.1038/454917b; Published online 20 August 2008
Austria’s most serious report of scientific misconduct in recent memory must be handled properly.
The academic community in Austria often seems to be a closed, elite set, especially in the sphere of medicine. The power and influence wielded by a professor are hard to understand from the outside, and the rigid hierarchy of the academic system has been hard to dismantle from the inside, despite reformers’ best efforts.
The upper echelons of that community also seem to know how to close ranks. Witness an example now threatening to emerge from the Medical University of Innsbruck, where there are worrying signs that investigations into a scandal of unprecedented dimensions in this small country may be thwarted.
According to a report from the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety, a urologist at the university, Hannes Strasser, has conducted a high-profile clinical trial so inappropriately that it must be considered entirely invalid (see page 922). Moreover, that trial represents just a fraction of the total number of patients who paid handsomely for the stem-cell treatment for urinary incontinence without knowing it was experimental.
There is no official body in Austria responsible for addressing issues of scientific misconduct.
Strasser’s department chair, Georg Bartsch, insists that he has no connection with, and no responsibility for, the scandal — despite having ‘honorary authorship’ on all the relevant papers, a practice that contravenes the university’s code of practice. And Strasser himself has written an open letter to university authorities denying any wrongdoing.
At the beginning of July, a preliminary version of the report was circulated to those involved. Shortly afterwards, for reasons known only to itself, the university council announced plans to fire the university’s respected rector, Clemens Sorg — who was going public with the problems — on grounds that many university and clinic officials believe to be invalid. Then the Austrian Academy of Sciences put its independent investigation, requested by Sorg, on hold. And on 13 August, the heads of the university hospital suddenly withdrew a letter of support for Sorg that they had sent out a few days earlier, saying they now realized it interfered with the university’s internal affairs.
The council would be wise to think carefully before carrying out its threat to fire the rector under these conditions.
It seems clear that the academy of sciences is doing itself, and the community it represents, an inexcusable disservice by stepping back from helping to resolve a scandal of this magnitude. The academy claims, remarkably, to believe that Sorg asked for its help as an individual, not as the university’s representative, and now that he may be dismissed, his concerns may similarly be dismissed — apparently on the grounds that the academy is an independent body. It would display its independence better by carrying forward its investigation into this shameful affair whether the person of the rector changes or not.