An acclaimed scientist at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies confirmed to the San Diego Union-Tribune that he has been placed on temporary leave as editor in chief of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) after controversy regarding the Salk Institute’s workplace treatment of female faculty.
The professor, Inder Verma, will take leave from PNAS on Jan. 1 until employment-related lawsuits are resolved, according to the Union-Tribune.
His removal from one of the top science journals occurred after three female researchers filed separate lawsuits back in July. Their allegations include that Salk is an old boy’s club that discriminates against women professors in terms of pay, promotions and other opportunities. However, according to media reports, the institute has stated there is no basis for the allegations.
Verma, who has held the editor in chief position since 2011, stated that he is not named individually for any claim.
“That said, I recognize the sensitivities present in this current environment and have far too much esteem for NAS to risk the possibility that events related to Salk would in any way distract from the Academy’s extraordinary work, so I will gracefully step aside. I very much look forward to working with you all again, hopefully soon,” he told the U-T.
Salk has seen personnel shakeups lately.
Last week, President Elizabeth Blackburn stated she would step down this summer, and a news release announcing the decision did not mention the lawsuits. Former board Chairman Ted Waitt recently left as well, after announcing plans to leave in August, citing personal obligations. He stated the timing was unrelated to the legal action against the research institution.