4 February 2011

University of Copenhagen reports former employee to police

Penkowa case

The University of Copenhagen has reported Milena Penkowa to the police. This comes as a result of the University’s administration learning that the named researcher is under suspicion for having committed fraud and forging documents in relation to her research. This new knowledge is procured from, among other things, an investigation via a Spanish attorney and information from the Danish newspaper Weekendavisen.

“I have to acknowledge that there is now basis for strong suspicion of document forgery in relation to parts of Milena Penkowa’s research. We will therefore report this to the police, so that the circumstances can be investigated,” says Rector Ralf Hemminsen.

The University will take three initiatives:

  • After consultation with the Danish law firm Kammeradvokaten (the legal adviser to the Danish government), the University of Copenhagen has reported the named researcher to the police for document forgery.
  • University management will ask the named researcher and one of her Spanish partners to retract a specific scientific article where there are doubts as to the research data. This article was published internationally in 2000.
  • Finally, University management will consult with the research councils as to how the University best organises a process for evaluating the named researcher’s results. This is to be conducted with the intention of clarifying if other scientific articles consequently are to be retracted or handed over to the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD).

The independent committee, DSCD, is appointed under the Danish Minister of Science and has handled cases of scientific dishonesty since 1993.

“There is substantiated suspicion of an exceptionally unusual occurrence, which we have not seen the like of before at the University. We are determined to get to the bottom of this case, even though it may take some time,” Ralf Hemmingsen states.

The University is counselled by Kammeradvokaten and is already in the process of producing a report of the entire administrative procedure to the Ministry of Science. The University has also asked DSCD to handle a suspicion of scientific fraud in one of Penkowa’s newer scientific works.

Milena Penkowa resigned her position at the University of Copenhagen in December 2010.