Over the past few months, a number of anonymous comments have been posted on the PubPeer website to report diagram/chart manipulations concerning around thirty articles signed or co-signed by Olivier Voinnet, CNRS senior researcher currently on secondment at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich.
Faced with these allegations, the CNRS set up a commission of inquiry, made up of leading experts. In a context where the works of a significant number of researchers have been massively and anonymously called into question, public institutions have a duty to act in strict compliance with legal and ethical standards. These standards do not allow any public statement to be issued prior to completion of the procedure, in order to ensure that an in-depth analysis of the situation is carried out, in which all parties can freely express their views. The CNRS abides by these rules, which guarantee rigor and fundamental protection of the rights of individuals. The organization will of course face its responsibilities.
Irrespective of the works of this commission, the CNRS notes at this stage that these public allegations referred to the presentation of certain charts/diagrams but that, to its knowledge, no declaration has challenged the overall results obtained by Olivier Voinnet and his colleagues on the role of small RNAs in the regulation of gene expression and antiviral response — these results having been confirmed on several occasions, whether using the same or other material, by various teams worldwide.