Attachment #1: Summary of Facts/Events re: NASA Research Misconduct:
As part of NASA’s mandate to issue reports to taxpayers regarding its technical and scientific research and results, NASA Centers often produce “Special Publications” (“SPs”), or research histories. Since these publications are taxpayer-funded and materially impact the integrity of the nation’s research base, they are subject to numerous federal statutes and NASA regulations and directives governing the “Documentation, Approval, Dissemination, and Reporting of Scientific and Technical Information.” Notably, those regulations specifically prohibit any plagiarism or falsification in any such report or publication by NASA employees or its contractors.
NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center (formerly the Dryden Flight Research Center) at Edwards Air Force Base published two such SP histories, in 1996 and 2006, written by contractor Lane Wallace, to commemorate its 50th and 60th anniversaries. In 2021, for its 75th anniversary, Armstrong enlisted a contractor by the name of Christian Gelzer (working for Logical Innovations, Inc.) to write an updated version of the 2006 history. In creating that publication, Dr. Gelzer falsely represented his contributions and grossly plagiarized a former Dryden Center Director, at least 10 different NASA employees, and Ms. Wallace herself, claiming co-authorship of the book and the others’ work as his own. Armstrong published and widely disseminated an electronic version of the history in September 2021, with plans for a print book to be released several months later.
To be clear: NASA had the right to generically re-use any of the previously published work, without attribution. But by claiming the work as his own, Dr. Gelzer violated federal statutes and NASA regulations, creating a highly visible publication that calls into question the integrity and oversight of NASA’s research and reporting, as well as its supervision of contract work.
The specific federal statutes and NASA regulations and directives violated include:
CFAR Title 14, Chapter V, Part 1275 regarding Research Misconduct; CFAR Title 48, Chapter 1, Subchapter A, Part 3, Subpart 3-101-1—standards of conduct by federal contractors; NASA Guidelines for Promoting Scientific and Research Integrity, July 2018 (p.6) regarding “Scientific Misconduct”; NPR 1080.1B, effective 02/21/17–02/17/23, regarding “Research and Technology Misconduct”; NASA Policy Directive NPD 1920.1, “Scientific Integrity,” effective 12/12/17–12/12/22; and NASA Policy Directive NPD 2200.1D (effective 1/9/20–1/1/25) regarding employee and contractor compliance with all NPDs, NPRs, and CFARs.)
When Ms. Wallace became aware of the misconduct, she immediately reported it to Armstrong Center Director David McBride (now retired). The print publication was paused, but the Center refused to take the actions necessary to correct the misrepresentations. Months of stonewalling by Armstrong’s general counsel followed. Ms. Wallace then notified NASA Administrator Ben Nelson’s office of the problem, with similar dismissive results. She then put together a briefing book documenting the misconduct and brought it to the attention of Rep. Beyer, chair of the Science Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, and Rep. Johnson, chair of the House Committee on Space, Science and Technology. Their staffs were rightly appalled, and approached NASA HQ to request corrective action—with the same result Ms. Wallace had experienced: NASA HQ personnel denied any wrongdoing had occurred and refused to take any action, despite the concrete evidence to the contrary. As far as we know, Dr. Gelzer was never disciplined for his actions and the publication was never corrected; his employer, Logical Innovations, Inc., has continued to get extremely lucrative work from numerous NASA Centers.
Note: Ms. Wallace has an entire binder of supporting evidence and documents she shared with Representative Beyer and Representative Johnson’s offices. We’re sure she would be happy to share that your office, as well.