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Prominent Dartmouth Medical Professor Accused of Plagiarism

MattBritt00 via Flickr Creative Commons

An investigation committee at Dartmouth College recently found that a prominent medical professor employed by the college plagiarized a colleague's work.

In 2016, Dr. H. Gilbert Welch plagiarized the work of associate professor Samir Soneji and another researcher, Soneji said.

Soneji specifically asked Welch to give him credit if he was to use his and his fellow researcher’s findings, which attempted to measure the benefits of breast cancer screenings.

"This plagiarism was a theft of hundreds of hours of our deep intellectual effort,” Soneji said. “And for that to be stolen, is really disappointing."

In a letter to Soneji, Dartmouth's interim provost says a college investigation found that Welch “engaged in research misconduct, namely, plagiarism, by knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly appropriating the ideas, processes, results or words of Complainants without giving them appropriate credit, and that these actions represented a significant departure from accepted practices of the relevant research community.”

Dartmouth did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“I strongly disagree with the Dartmouth finding,” Welch told NHPR in an email. Welch added that the dispute was not about the validity of the work itself. “For the past 20 years, I have investigated the effects of efforts to detect cancer early and this paper was a natural progression of my work,” Welch wrote.

This comes weeks after two leaders at the Dartmouth Institute, where Welch teaches medicine, were put on paid leave while the college investigates allegations of misconduct.

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