CHARLESTON, W.Va. — “Clearly, this is a case where something slipped through the cracks.”
That’s how Adam Marcus, the co-founder of the whistleblower research blog Retraction Watch, describes the curious case of Dr. Anoop Shankar — the former West Virginia University research who, an NBC investigation showed, made up much of his impressive resume.
Marcus said the ramifications of those revelations could be far-reaching.
“You have to take it all at face value and, if you can’t believe what he said about his credentials, you shouldn’t certainly believe what he says about his data,” Marcus said on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
Shankar falsely claimed he had a Ph.D and graduated from the Harvard of India.
A former chair of WVU’s Epidemiology Department, he has co-authored more then 100 papers and played a role in the C-8 Health Project which was focused on C-8 exposure from a DuPont plant in the Mid-Ohio Valley.
Shankar abruptly resigned from WVU during the investigation into discrepancies with his credentials that came to light in late 2012 when he was nominated for a promotion within WVU’s School of Public Health. He went on to work at Virginia Commonwealth University but, according to various recent reports, is no longer working there.
Marcus said it’s not the first time such a situation has played out in academia.
“We’ve seen several instances of people who leave institutions under a cloud who wind up with new faculty jobs and one reason is it’s very difficult to get an honest reference these days,” Marcus said.
“Universities and other institutions even businesses are afraid of saying anything negative for fear of getting sued.”
Up to now, West Virginia University officials have not said much publicly about the Shankar investigation. “We took this investigation very seriously,” Dr. Christopher Colenda, chancellor of health sciences at WVU, did say during an appearance last week on MetroNews “Talkline.”