I’m interested in other professionals’ opinions on this general sort of situation.
You reviewed a journal submission containing a pattern of serious falsification of the research record, much of which is essential to the manuscript’s main argument.
This is not a close call: it’s dead simple to demonstrate that material falsification has occurred. Given its scale and scope, the only remotely plausible explanation includes gross incompetence, dishonesty, or some combination thereof.
By the standards of any research “code of conduct” you’ve ever read, this performance undoubtedly qualifies as scholarly misconduct.
The manuscript is technically unpublished. But because you keep up on developments in the field, you later learn that it has since been uploaded to a well-known online repository, where it has been downloaded many times. The pattern of serious falsification remains.
The authors are professional researchers at universities. You politely inform them of the problem. They ignore it.
In this sort of situation, do you have a professional responsibility to take any further action regarding their scholarly misconduct? Why or why not?
Very curious to hear what you think!