Authorship and Peer Review Links

Respected medical journal turns to dark side

By Tom Spears
Link recommended by Stefan Madansingh

A respected Canadian medical journal that was sold to offshore owners last year is now printing scientific junk for hire, but still trading on its original good name.

Experimental & Clinical Cardiology was published in Oakville, Ont., for 17 years and had a solid reputation for printing original medical research. It was sold in 2013, and its new owners say they are in Switzerland, but do their banking in Turks and Caicos.

And for $1,200 U.S. they’ll print anything — even a garbled blend of fake cardiology, Latin grammar and missing graphs submitted by the Citizen. Read more ...




Case Study: Should you listen to a peer reviewer?

Link recommended by Stefan Madansingh

ORI will soon release a series of RCR case studies edited by Dr. James Dubois of St. Louis Univerity. The creation of the case studies was funded through ORI's RCR Resource Development program and involved a team of nearly 20 writers, contributors, and reviewers. These well-crafted case studies, along with role playing scenarios, will be available for instructors to incorporate into their institutions' RCR training programs. Below is one of many case studies that will be available. Read more ...




The Office of Research Integrity: Case Summaries

Link recommended by Stefan Madansingh

his page contains cases in which administrative actions were imposed due to findings of research misconduct. The list only includes those who CURRENTLY have an imposed administrative actions against them. It does NOT include the names of individuals whose administrative actions periods have expired. Read more ...




Scientists voice fears over ethics of drug trials remaining unpublished

By Sarah Boseley
Link recommended by Lauren Galley
Scientists say about 250,000 people have taken part in unpublished trials and have therefore been exposed to all the risks involved in research without the benefits to society they were led to believe would happen Photograph: Image Source / Alamy/Alamy

Drug companies and other organisations that carry out clinical trials are violating their ethical obligation to the people who take part by failing to publish the results, scientists will argue on Wednesday.

Almost one in three (29%) large clinical trials in the United States remain unpublished five years after they are finished, according to scientists writing in the British Medical Journal. Of those, 78% have no results at all in the public domain. Read more ...




Research ethics: Zero tolerance

A university cracks down on misconduct in China.
By David Cyranoski
Link recommended by Wen-Hao Chou
Yang Wei wants to reform attitudes towards research ethics at Zhejiang University and across the country.

Yang Wei has an easy smile and a carefree, even distracted, air — but he takes such a solemn approach to life that his wife sometimes tells him to relax. “I take everything seriously,” he says.

The former materials scientist certainly took it seriously when, two years after he became president of Zhejiang University (ZJU) in Hangzhou, China, he faced a case of scientific misconduct that became a turning point for his presidency. In early October 2008, the editor of the International Journal of Cardiology discovered that figures in a manuscript by He Haibo, a scientist researching traditional Chinese medicine who had been hired by the ZJU only months before, were suspiciously similar to those in an article that He had published elsewhere. Confronted, He quickly owned up, submitting a 12-page confession to Yang on 26 October. Read more ...




Darwin did not cheat Wallace out of his rightful place in history

By John van Wyhe
Link recommended by Olga Datskova
Every substantive claim in the popular narrative about Alfred Russel Wallace and evolution turns out to be incorrect. Photograph: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis

This year is the centenary of the death of Victorian naturalist and co-discoverer of evolution by natural selection, Alfred Russel Wallace. So we have heard a lot about him recently, including the BBC Two series Bill Bailey's Jungle Hero, an episode of BBC Radio 4's In Our Time, two episodes of The Infinite Monkey Cage and scores of articles, talks and exhibitions. Read more ...




Academic and Industrial Conflict

In an unprecedented case, an internationally renowned computer engineer, who recently left the UC Irvine faculty, has been criminally charged for conflicts of interest involving secret payments from a major Japanese telecommunications firm funding his academic research.

1. The article in VoiceofOC
2. The article in Pacific Standards




Texas cancer agency's $11 million grant bypassed review panels

By Eric Berger, Todd Ackerman | November 29, 2012 | Updated: November 30, 2012 1:58pm
Link Recommended by Matthew Cross

The state's cancer agency acknowledged Thursday that it approved an $11 million grant in 2010 - then the largest amount of money it had awarded - without conducting a scientific or commercial review.

The disclosure by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas comes after a tumultuous summer in which it had to rescind a $20 million grant to a group led by the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center because of questions about the integrity of its review process.

The 2010 grant was given to the Dallas-based biotechnology company Peloton Therapeutics for "recruitment, relocation and formation." Peloton aims to discover and develop new cancer drugs. Its grant was one of the first four commercial grants awarded by the agency. Read more ...




Universities and tobacco money

British Medical Journal Editorial on July 7, 2001
Link Recommended by Douglass Diak

In December 2000 Nottingham University announced the establishment of an international centre for corporate social responsibility, with initial funding of £3.8m provided by British American Tobacco (BAT). To protest aganst their university's acceptance of money from the tobacco industry, an MBA student refused to accept his “student of the year” award; Richard Smith, editor of the BMJ, resigned from his post as professor of medical journalism; a cancer research team decided to relocate; and a member of the European parliament relinquished her roles at the university. Read more ...




Misconduct, Not Error, Found Behind Most Journal Retractions

By Paul Basken
A set of links recommended by Hawley Kunz

Research misconduct, rather than error, is the leading cause of retractions in scientific journals, with the problem especially pronounced in more prestigious publications, a comprehensive analysis has concluded.

The analysis, described on Monday in PNAS, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, challenges previous findings that attributed most retractions to mistakes or inadvertent failures in equipment or supplies.

1. The article
2. Commentary by The Chronicle of Higher Education
3. Commentary by the Nature Magazine




A Decade of Misconduct

A senior cardiovascular disease and diabetes researcher at the University of Kentucky has been found guilty of falsifying data over the past 10 years.
By Dan Cossins | November 27, 2012

Federal investigators have censured a former University of Kentucky (UK) senior biomedical researcher for serial scientific misconduct over a 10-year period, including the falsification of data in grant applications, progress reports, and published papers. The US Office of Research Integrity (ORI) announced the findings last week (November 20) with a notice in the Federal Register.

A joint investigation carried out over the course of 2 years by the ORI and the UK found that Eric Smart, who studied the molecular mechanisms behind cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, had falsified or fabricated a total of 45 figures—mostly images of Western blots, a technique used to identify proteins—in seven grant applications, three progress reports, and 10 published papers, some of which were cited more than 100 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. The notice says that Smart also reported experimental data from knockout mice that did not exist. Read more ...




The new gatekeepers: reducing research misconduct

Eugenie Samuel Reich
Link recommended by Erica Soltero

After months of friction that culminated in his openly questioning the reproducibility of data published by his supervisor, a postdoc at the University of Wisconsin–Madison's zoology department was presented with three options. The department's chairman said he could wait to be fired, resign voluntarily or accept a "gracious exit strategy" that would give him time to prepare a paper for publication, if he dropped his "scientific misconduct issues".

When geneticist Aaron Taylor objected that the third option sounded like a "plea bargain" meant to discourage him from pressing his concerns about the lab's data, the chairman, Jeffrey Hardin disagreed. But Hardin also said: "I think you'd have to decide which is more important to you." He later added: "You have to decide whether you want to kind of engage in whistle-blowing. Read more ...




The new gatekeepers: reducing research misconduct

21 Mar 2012 | 06:26 GMT | Posted by Brendan Maher

Mistakes, goofs and outright deceptions litter the scientific literature, but there is something that can be done about it. Scientists, writers and journal editors gathered at Rockefeller University in New York last evening to discuss increases in retracted research over the past several years and how best to correct the research record.

“Image manipulation is not a new phenomenon, but it is an increasingly visible one,” said Liz Williams, executive editor of the Journal of Cell Biology (JCB), a Rockefeller University Press journal that has led the way in ferreting out manipulated images before their publication. She was one of three panelists that I helped to bring together for the latest Science Online New York City (SONYC) event, hosted by nature.com and Rockefeller University. Read more ...




A retracted periodontitis-heart disease paper that didn’t make it into the new AHA review‏

On Wednesday, the American Heart Association announced something that those of us who’d been reading the medical literature carefully had known for a while: Bad gums do not cause heart disease.

Periodontitis is linked to bad heart disease, you see, as studies have shown, and periodontists have sure been using this as an excuse to tell us to floss. But there’s never been a convincing study showing that one causes the other.

In fact, it’s not even clear how you’d do that study. “Let’s see, for a control group, we should have 100 people convince themselves they’re flossing for a year, but not actually floss….oh, what else can we get funding for?” Read more ...




Cracking Open the Scientific Process

An interesting article in The New York Times about new trends in the scientific community.

A GLOBAL FORUM Ijad Madisch, 31, a virologist and computer scientist, founded ResearchGate, a Berlin-based social networking platform for scientists that has more than 1.3 million members.
By THOMAS LIN
Published: January 16, 2012

The New England Journal of Medicine marks its 200th anniversary this year with a timeline celebrating the scientific advances first described in its pages: the stethoscope (1816), the use of ether for anesthesia (1846), and disinfecting hands and instruments before surgery (1867), among others.    Read more ...