Sunday, March 27, 2011

What to do?

I have an ethical situation here. I've received a fraudulent post-doctoral application. This applicant has, on his CV, listed quite a few publications in peer reviewed journals. Some of them are real. Others simply don't exist. There are no papers by this author in the listed journals. There are no publications with the listed titles in any journal. One of the imaginary papers is supposed to be in Nature, but the listed volume number doesn't even correspond to the listed year, and so on. I am very confident that the CV is fraudulent.

The question then is what, if anything, should I do about this? I don't really want to waste a lot of my time, but this is fairly serious misconduct. I could write to him and request copies of the papers, or an explanation of Figure 2 in the Nature paper. I could tell his boss on him, assuming he actually works where he says he does. I could simply reject the application. I'm not certain what, if anything, is the standard response to this situation. There are confidentiality rules that apply to job applications, even fraudulent ones, so public humiliation is out of the question.


jte said...

What have you decided to do? Have you gotten advice from others at the Institute?

Dan Levitis said...

The general advice seems to be to simply reject the application and move on.

jte said...

I dunno. It seems that just some nudge back at the applicant makes sense. Even just as a favor to the person, you know, that time in the movie when the kid who has been a genial troublemaker suddenly realizes that their pranks can have serious consequences and they sober up to adult maturity? I know you don't like movies much, but hopefully you get the idea. To the extent that life imitates Hollywood, you could be the pivotal hero of this person's life if you write back and say, "I know you lied. Don't do it again." But then maybe they sue your pants off? Sigh.