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Five professors defended Flemming Besenbacher. Now they respond to Heine Andersen's criticism

Response — Heine Andersen has asked professors Vincent F. Hendricks, Jens Hjorth, Bente Klarlund, Birger Lindberg Møller and Eske Willerslev to take a position on the Carlsberg Foundation's Flemming Besenbacher scandal. Here is their response.

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to Heine Andersen’s balanced contribution to the University Post. It has not been our intention to blindly endorse Flemming Besenbacher’s actions in the cases in question.

READ ALSO: These five UCPH professors should consider what it is that Besenbacher actually did


»No doubt some people may find Besenbacher’s manner, direct approach, and no-nonsense mode of expression abrasive. No doubt he has a temper which can let loose in a completely inappropriate manner, and with phrases that should not be uttered anywhere, and certainly not in an official email. The chairman of the board has now acknowledged this and apologised for it, and must learn from it. And there should be no doubt that the end should never justify the means that are used to achieve it.«

See the whole post here.



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There should be no doubt that we believe that his behaviour is out of order. We write this also in our post on the Science Report.

Our intention with the post was to add something to this picture.

Our response to Heine Andersen’s two questions to us is therefore, that it is not acceptable that a chairman of a funding foundation intervenes in internal affairs or seeks to stop peer criticism among researchers at a research institution.

On the other hand, it may be OK for an employee, colleague or friend to send a private email to the head of the research institution. Especially if he or she is of the opinion that inconsiderate manoeuvres or bullying is taking place.

The main point of our featured comment on Science Report was, however, that this very unfortunate case about Flemming Besenbacher should not, as otherwise presented in several other statements on this issue, result in political initiatives to restrict the activities of the large Danish private foundations and their willingness to contribute with financial support to Danish basic research.

The article we submitted to ScienceReport therefore also had the headline Troubled waters in Danish research.