Reprimand for Heinz Breer and Johannes Noé

October 30, 2003

This release is also available in German.

At its meeting today, the Joint Committee of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) issued a reprimand to Professor Heinz Breer of the University of Hohenheim and Dr. Johannes Noé of the University of Zurich for having committed scientific misconduct in conjunction with the publication "Noé/Breer, Journal of Neurochemistry, Vol. 71, p. 2286-2293, 1998". The reprimand is the mildest form of sanction available to the DFG. The Joint Committee based its decision on an assessment made by the DFG's Committee of Inquiry on Allegations of Scientific Misconduct, which interviewed the two scientists and reviewed the original documents.

It became clear that figures 6b and 8b in the publication were based on manipulated data. The DFG concluded that although Breer and Noé's replacement of primer bands by background did not alter the core scientific statement associated with the figures, it did create the impression that the primer used in the experiment was completely incorporated into the experimental product. Reference should have been made in the publication to the fact that this data had been omitted. As this did not happen, the DFG sees it as a case of scientific misconduct. However, as clarifying the data would not affect the scientific statement of the publication, a reprimand was deemed to be sufficient.

Professor Breer assured the committee that all other publications for which he was a co-author were free of errors like those made in conjunction with the publications "Schreiber, S., Fleischer, J., Breer, H. and I. Boeckhoff, Journal of Biological Chemistry, 275, p. 24115-24123, 2000", and "Noé/Breer, Journal of Neurochemistry, Vol. 71, p. 2286-2293, 1998". All publications have been checked for such errors within his institute.

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

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