Not even the Swedish democratic-socialist paradise is quite perfect. Climb up the academic hierarchy, get a cozy position, and then you too can be hoodwinked into bypassing more worthy candidates to promote glad-handing frauds like Ashutosh Tiwari.
The Linköping University (LiU) in Sweden is quite busy these days with the affair around their fake professor Ashutosh Tiwari, trying to figure out what actually happened inside their own Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology (IFM). How could a person with some very shady claims to a doctorate, a publication list consisting mostly of papers in his own private predatory journal, titles and awards from his own fake research institutions and predatory conferences fool the system for years in this way? How could he get the prestigious Marie-Curie fellowship, which in turn delivered him a habilitation degree of Docent at LiU and grant money from Swedish public? In this regard, how could he have just last year been awarded funding from the Swedish Research Council, Vetenskapsrådet (VR) if he wasn’t even employed at LiU or anywhere else since early 2015?
The details are amazing. As a post-doc, he created his very own personal journal, appointed himself editor (how prestigious-looking!), and started churning out papers that he “peer-reviewed” himself and approved for publication…and at least some of those papers are full of faked data. Then he got himself a position at a good university and even got promoted on the basis of his voluminous publications.
He even got an external reviewer to submit a review that qualified him for a docents degree. Either it sailed over his mentors’ heads, or it was a formality that was rubber-stamped, because it is an incredible document.
What Tiwari also needed, was an external assessment, to go along with Turner’s promotion statement. And this is where it gets really funny. The assessment was prepared by the biochemist Tautgirdas Ruzgas, professor for Biomedical Technology at Malmö University, and it reads as either a cry for help or a sarcastic attempt at trolling from a bedazzled scientist who cannot believe LiU was about to embarrass itself by making an utter fake a member of their academic teaching staff. Here it begins, in English:
“Ashutosh Tiwari (born 78) defended PhD thesis “Chemical study of plant seed gums” at University of Allahabad, India, in 2005. His PhD certificate and CV do not specify the science subject of PhD thesis. However, judging from the thesis title, master and bachelor education the subject of the PhD thesis is, the most probably, materials chemistry, physical chemistry, organic chemistry, polymer chemistry or similar with the gravity in chemistry”.
Yeesh. Tiwari is clearly a crooked fraud, and the bulk of the blame has to rest on his shoulders. But his supervisors and administrators at Linköping University should not be left off the hook. They failed in their responsibility to vet their colleagues and have some standards for the quality of their work. Calcified hierarchies and self-serving panjandrums roosting in them are the bane of progress.
Damn, but I missed an angle. I should have named my blog The Journal of Pharyngula Studies, PZ Myers, ed.