Joined: May 2002
Armitage was a "permanent part time technician." That means he was never legally a full-time employee regardless of his hours, or years worked. It means that he would never be promoted. It means that he could be terminated from employment at any time for any reason- or none. The addition of "permanent" to the job title meant that he got benefits which is very generous.
This is a bottom rung job.
A part time technician does not get to do independent research using University facilities.
A "permanent part time technician" was taking liberties that a faculty member would not have taken.
I don't who of you have jumped through these hoops before. Suppose you have an idea without any funding. You face two options: A) beg from a funded colleague, or B) write a short proposal to circulate around the university.
Under option "A" you are inviting the funded colleague to basically take your idea on as a project. You will be their co-investigator, you will be their co-author, you will be their tool. Option "B" is a search for seed money to try enough of the idea to write a killer grant proposal, give a conference paper, and be able to promise that your quarterly progress reports will be on time because they are practically written. The acknowledgment section under option B will mention "faculty development grant," "XYZ university foundation," or "grant in aid from ABC lab/facility under NSF (DOE, NIH) Grant #######. You can see these in every issue of Science Magazine.
Reading the article, and ironically his lawyer prepared complaint, showed a huge glaring reason to fire him. It was the amount of equipment, staff time, and lab stockroom supplies that were used on the one hand, and the total lack of funding or authorization on the other. And, as this "research" is already published, there is no possible way that those costs can be recovered. Armitage potentially stole $thousands$ from the University, unless he paid out of pocket. (I'll take bets he didn't).
That will get you fired pronto.
Armitage just helped himself, and if he did it during hours he was paid, then he stole salary as well.
It is also obvious that few people actually read the "research" paper supposedly at the center of this little storm.
Mark Hollis Armitage, Kevin Lee Anderson
2013 "Soft sheets of fibrillar bone from a fossil of the supraorbital horn of the dinosaur Triceratops horridus" Acta Histochemica, Volume 115, Issue 6, Pages 603–608
I have. It is crap.
The age of dinosaur bone is based on the formation it is recovered from and not the condition of the bone. There was no competent stratigraphic analysis of these fossils to associate any radiometric data and the recovered material. (Armitage also denies elsewhere the validity of all radiometric dates). The fact is that the fossil was found in a shallow secondary deposit. It was cracked and open to the environment. It was observed to have rootlets growing through it! None of the reasonable tests for the age of the material were performed (especially amino acid racemization analysis if as I suspect the "soft tissue" is recent plant and microorganisms). Armitage and Anderson soaked chunks from the horn core in Glutaraldehyde which is a cross-linking and tanning agent. In short, they made plastic out of any bacteria, fungi, or any other organic sludge on the bone. The attempted to demineralize other samples with sodium EDTA was incomplete. There are other problems as well.
The journal will be humiliated as soon as I find time to review it for publication.
"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."
L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"