Saturday, October 6, 2012

...And the Grand Finale

So some of you might remember that way back in May, I wrote a post detailing how An Moens tried to screw me over by publishing an article that I wrote without listing me as an author.  A few weeks later came a post about how she was sending around a libelous claim that I hadn't done any work on it by showing people the first draft that she had, and apparently spreading terrible stories about my competence (Is it sad that I knew she'd do this, and therefore told the PIs who interviewed me not to expect good comments from her?).  And then, it's been silent, but only because it took until now to get the verdict from Maastricht:

In a way, it doesn't really matter:  she was fired in June over several matters, amongst them a second plagiarism issue that was handled, shall we say, improperly.  The second plagiarism issue actually ties into my own case--one of the co-authors (Carlo G. Tochetti) got caught lifting huge chunks of text from one of the biggest names in the field, and An sided with him instead of the student who caught the plagiarism.  Unfortunately for me, Carlo Tochetti is also a co-author on the paper that I wrote.  If I were to have a decision in my favor, then his plagiarism would be a reflection on me.  So while I was initially willing to accept second author, I decided that I couldn't deal with being accused of plagiarism myself, and decided to go for everything (first-author), take my chances, and have it retracted instead.

But since the committee did not decide in my favor--and I'll get to that in a moment--it's a moot point.  As I noted back in May:  either I get to say that I wrote a review, or I don't.  And since I couldn't before, I still can't now, so it's not like I actually lost anything.  Still, I must confess, it stings a bit.  Not the least because it's based on a whole buncha lies.  In the official statement:
  • Zo trok zij conclusies die niet juist waren, was haar schrijfstijl niet passend en bevatte het werk fouten.  "Her conclusions were incorrect, her writing style didn't fit, and the work was full of mistakes." Which is hilarious, because what was published is, quite literally, 85% my draft--so I guess that means that what was published wasn't something I'd want my name on, anyway...?
  • Daarom is het artikel na het vertrek van mw. Lin volledig doorgelopen op onjuistheden, herzien en aangevuld door dr. Moens, co-auteur prof. Tocchietti en de uiteindelijke eerste auteur dr. Octavia.  "That's why, after Ms. Lin left, the article was completely reworked for mistakes, and completed by Dr. Moens, Prof. Tocchetti, and Dr. Octavia."  If it were"completely reworked", would I have recognized it as my own?  Would I be able to do a literal side-by-side reading of the two and conclude that they are the same?
  • And the best line of all:  Ik betwijfel of het invoegen van delen van relevante literatuur of verwijzingen daarnaar als een wezenlijk wetenschappelijke bijdrage beschouwd kan worden. "I doubt that the insertion of relevant literaure or changes to a paper can be construed as a scientific endeavor."  Once again, I fucking do this as a job.  It's kind of insulting to think that I don't know the difference between inserting a bit of relevant literatue and writing stuff de novo.  
  • ETA:  And, in what universe does adding 15 pages of text to an article count as "merely editing" and not warranting authorship (and I've done enough editing to know the difference), while merely deleting extraneous stuff from a draft is enough work to warrant first-author?  
But, you know, to be quite honest, I'm not really all that upset about it.  I knew she'd smear my name in the mud, and I'd kinda figured that she'd get away with it--she's done it so often to all of her other colleagues, she's an old hand when it comes to spreading lies and deceit.  She had one of the students falsifying the mouse records, after all (so I've heard), and she also got reamed for not obtaining informed consent before taking human biopsy samples from patients' hearts (so I've heard).  I could go on--how she took her lab notebook with her when she left Johns Hopkins--and how she couldn't be arsed to go through the proper channels when trying to arrange for a -80° C freezer (you need a special outlet that can draw 16 A) and how, in spite of a legal order not to, she maintained contact with her students (so I've heard)...and then there are the "rumors about the child" (don't ask me what they are--I just know that they're around) don't work with someone like that for a year and not walk away with a few war stories of your own.  But do I really want to waste my life dwelling on it?  

What I know for sure:  she will never be able to hold a position for more than a few years at a time, and she'll always be blaming someone else for the messes she's made, and she'll never be happy unless everybody else around her is miserable.  And I know that I'm glad that this is finally over, and I can write off my year in Maastricht as the worst mistake I've made so far. 

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