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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Owner of Science Fraud site, suspended for legal threats, identifies himself, talks about next steps

with 319 comments

Paul Brookes, via URMC

Paul Brookes, via URMC

One of the owners of the whistleblower site Science Fraud, which went dark yesterday in response to legal threats, has identified himself, and explained what happened.

In a post on his personal blog (since removed)* — give the whole post a read if it reappears — Paul Brookes, a scientist at the University of Rochester, gives the history:

In July 2012 I registered the domain name www.science-fraud.org, and started a website, a clearing house for people to report suspicious data and other problems in the published scientific literature. This was motivated by several factors, primarily frustration at the current channels available for dealing with scientific misconduct which one encounters on an almost daily basis (more on this later).  Aided by dozens of helpers, who both submitted material to the site and helped in analyzing suspected data, a triage system of sorts was developed, such that only the most egregious examples were posted. Over the course of 6 months, we documented over 500 problematic images in over 300 publications, amounting to tens of millions of dollars in misappropriated research funds. Most of the grunt work (pulling PDFs, assembling images, writing posts) was done in my spare time, and the website was funded out of my own pocket. For rather obvious reasons (retaliation, personal safety, my own scientific career) it was necessary to run the site anonymously, with most of the work being attributed to a fictitious person, Frances deTriusce (an anagram of science fraudster), who could be reached by a gmail account scifraudster@gmail.com.

He describes some lessons:

1) Naming the site Science Fraud was probably a bad move. Certainly the name ruffled a lot of feathers, since the connotations of the word fraud are clearly damaging.  Something more benign like “questionable-science-images.org” would probably be a better choice.

2) Language choice counts.  If you know me, you know I curse a lot; I’m not the most politically correct individual on the planet, and sometimes my character broke through into the text describing the cases reported on the site. This may have caused offense, and if you were personally offended by the language I used, I formally apologize – it’s all been taken down now.

That being said, the factual data posted on the site remains intact in the scientific literature, and I remain utterly convinced that posting images from publicly available documents, questioning their integrity when there is sufficient evidence to suggest a problem, is in no way grounds for a libel or defamation suit.  In short – don’t shoot the messenger. If you didn’t want your scientific data to be questioned, you shouldn’t have published it!

We have to agree with Brookes’ assessment, for the most part, and learning lessons is always a good thing. But we should also note that the site went beyond simply questioning the integrity of the images; it also accused scientists of wrongdoing and questioned the scientists‘ integrity. Put together with what Brookes acknowledges was offensive language, there are a lot of clear-minded attorneys who would disagree with his conclusion that there is “in no way grounds for a libel or defamation suit.”

Perhaps we’re just used to thinking as journalists whose publications are at risk if we wander too close to the libel line, and some Retraction Watch commenters — mostly anonymous — are happier with Science Fraud’s approach than with ours. Fair enough: As we’ve noted a number of times, Science Fraud’s analyses led to a number of corrections and retractions. But the end doesn’t justify the means, certainly not in court. And a number of commenters seem to agree.

That’s not to say we’re hoping for legal action against Science Fraud; we’d much rather, as I’m sure Brookes would, have everyone find a way to continue appropriately and constructively criticizing the literature. We can be even more sure of that because Brookes pointed out a few authors who “did the right thing” — just as we try to do, when we see clear retraction notices ackowledging error, for example:

They left comments detailing their plan of action, they published corrections, and we made efforts to correct and update posts when this happened. This is how it’s supposed to work – REAL scientists are not afraid to defend their data, and don’t need lawyers to do it for them.

Brookes ends with next steps:

My plan for the coming weeks, is to assemble a coalition of the willing, an assembly of like minded individuals who are sick of the current system.  The new website would have a less inflammatory name, and its authorship would be commonly owned by a group of individuals, all scientists willing to be named, such that no one person could be held personally liable. We would triage and analyze cases in much the same way as currently done on science-fraud.org, with each case being agreed to by at least 3 individuals before posting. As a start, we would re-post much of the material that was recently taken down from science-fraud.org, following this additional peer review. If you’re a scientist and wish to sign on for this endeavor (using your real name), please email me.

He also says he may set up a legal fund.

Updated, 3:30 p.m. Eastern, where asterisk appears, to reflect that Brookes’ post has been taken down from his site.

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Written by ivanoransky

January 3, 2013 at 2:13 pm

319 Responses

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  1. Educated in Cambridge, UK! It was the Monty Python reference that raised my suspicions!

    Great guy, we need more of the same!

    Bravo Paul, you, sir, are ahead of your time.

    I hope this goes global and you are protected. Your work will no doubt stop alot of fraud, save millions in tax payers money being wasted and ultimately save lives.

    At some point I will meet you and buy you a bottle of Oxford Gold Ale! Maybe two!

    Stewart

    January 3, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    • I also want some nice ale! A conference and an open access journal about this matters maybe, if someone have some money to spare…

      Junk Science

      January 3, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    • Excuse me sir! The guy studied in Cambridge. Offer him Adnam’s or, if that is unavailable, Greene King ;-)

      Scrutineer

      January 3, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    • the only thing left of SF is this http://www.science-fraud.org/?page_id=6

      Anyone kept a copy of it, I expect? It should be made available for download.

      Hibby

      January 10, 2013 at 9:24 am

      • Google made copies of SF web pages. See my January 4 post below for information on how to get cached copies.

        Steven McKinney

        January 10, 2013 at 4:40 pm

      • As I had announced on the SCIFRAUD email list (
        https://ListServ.Albany.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A0=SCIFRAUD
        ), I copied many archived files from Science-Fraud.org to
        http://193.137.99.16/~gloster/Evil_which_is_so-called_science/

        I am willing to upload more if people provide me with them. (I would also be willing to archive files from
        JournalReview.org
        if people provide them to me.)

        (I tried to post this reply on Retraction Watch yesterday with a different web browser but it did not appear on this webpage and Dr. Oransky did not find it in a spam filter so I am trying again. Ditto for other replies from me on this webpage.)

        Colin Paul de Gloucester

        January 11, 2013 at 2:10 pm

  2. Nice post! I remembered the few times at the SF blog when it happened that the authors identified what went wrong and did their best to show and correct the literature and it almost made me cry every time. We need better tools and as RW has written numerous times, a place where whistle blowers accusations are either confirmed or denied after being peer-reviewed!

    Junk Science

    January 3, 2013 at 2:42 pm

  3. I don’t get it. If Paul was so sure he was on the right side of things, than why was he so worried about retaliation, personal safety, and his own scientific career? RW’s owners are not anonymous! Personal safety? Is Paul being a bit megalomaniacal and paranoid here? Note, this is not the same as whistleblowing for the corporation one is working for. None of the people he reported could have fired him, I think. I’m not sure about his tenure situation. For sure, his papers will get a ton of scrutiny now!

    Peter Bloomberg

    January 3, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    • I believe his worry is probably justified, at least in the context of blowing the whistle on researchers in his field, who could be reviewing his manuscripts and grant applications.

      DrDoo

      January 3, 2013 at 2:53 pm

      • OK, but “personal safety”? He’s talking about people harming him. A hint of paranoia perhaps…

        Peter Bloomberg

        January 3, 2013 at 2:55 pm

      • Do not feed the TROLL. xD

        Hans Müller

        January 3, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    • Because the bad apples are not scientists per se they are “megalomaniacal and paranoid”. The good apples look into the issues and correct the literature.

      Junk Science

      January 3, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    • Mr Bloomberg – I haven’t come across many Venture Capitalists before.

      Are you a typical specimen or more of a rare bird of this particular genus?

      Fish

      January 3, 2013 at 2:54 pm

      • Show us there is some money to be made in uncovering the occasional fraud in science and you’ll have whatever tools you need; it’s not that expensive to put together such an organization. However, so far, my heuristics for where to invest money (Ivy League academics with a “nerdy” feel) has worked pretty well.

        Peter Bloomberg

        January 3, 2013 at 3:06 pm

      • “my heuristics for where to invest money (Ivy League academics with a “nerdy” feel) has worked pretty well”
        Obviously, as it seems to leave you plenty of time to indulge in schadenfreude on an obscure blog in subject you freely confess you know nothing about.

        Fish

        January 3, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    • Peter, you told us you are not a scientist, but rather an investor!

      The reason why Paul was worried about his job etc was very very justified and your lack of understanding of his position is very worrying

      Just in one place:

      http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Dr._Aubrey_Blumsohn
      http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=411229

      Both two outstanding researchers (you may call them ‘top researchers’) – both fired. Why? – for telling the truth!

      Therefore Pauls stance is entirely understandable.

      Your post, Peter, clarifies something that is not discussed alot; the topic of whistle blowers in science being fired for simply reporting fraud. Thank you for raising the point Peter. Perhaps Paul can have a post of that very topic on his new-updated site. We can all wait for that to be released. I am looking forward to it.

      Imagine being a postdoc in Kumars lab, or Eastells lab, and reporting fraud – you’d not last long.

      Stewart

      January 3, 2013 at 3:02 pm

      • Unfortunately becoming unemployed for being honest is very common. However, Dr. Aubrey Blumsohn did eventually win.

        Colin Paul de Gloucester

        January 11, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    • “I don’t get it” is a statement.

      fernando pessoa

      January 3, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    • Mr. Bloomberg, did you get your a** kicked by SF blog? You are questioning his anonymity, would you let us know why you are hiding behind your pseudonym?

      noname

      January 3, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    • Peter Bloomberg,

      What you are saying is like a stream of bat’s piss. (I plagiarised that.) You haven’t looked at the data deconstructed on said blog. You are astroturfing on behalf of scientific fraudsters. Your name is just as anonymous as the handles chosen by the rest of us. Readers may infer that you are a fraudster yourself – I will enjoy prompting them in that direction. You claim that serious scientists wouldn’t bother with the lesser details of fraud. Oh but they would. You could for example, read about how Piltdown man was a catastrophe for the understanding of human evolution. Decades were lost – fraud matters. But we here already know that you don’t read diddly squit – or you would have taken a look at what the science-fraud blog really reported instead of pretending to know without looking.

      Allow me to plagiarise one more time: Before you arrive is pleasure, but after is a pain in the

      Scrutineer

      January 3, 2013 at 4:24 pm

  4. I bet that this RW post will accumulate more than 200 comments within 24 hours.

    Sylvain Bernès

    January 3, 2013 at 3:13 pm

  5. Site is down again. Can’t look at the email copy posted by Brookes anymore. Interesting, how this causes panic. There must be ways to avoid simply taking down a site. What about the approach WikiLeaks was taking?

    PubAdvisor

    January 3, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    • We don’t have to worry, the so called “scientists” with the so called “image issues” are the once that should be worried. The papers are published, hence they will always be there. We just need some kind of channel for reporting issues in the scientific literature.

      Junk Science

      January 3, 2013 at 3:27 pm

  6. http://www.science-fraud.org/?page_id=26

    The blogger states he is a “she”. In addition, it is stated that “the fraudster is a PhD level scientist who holds a tenured faculty position at a small academic institution in the US. Her research is funded by a federal agency and she has published over 100 peer reviewed papers in the biomedical literature. Outside the lab she likes heavy drinking and fast bikes (rumor has it she’s pretty hot).”

    So apparently Brookes misguided readers by telling us he was a hot female and inflated the number of his publications. Not that this is important but it is puzzling why he didn’t just leave out personal information rather than being deceptive. In fact he repeated claims his blog was not a one man/woman job although all evidence points to the contrary.

    blotman

    January 3, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    • I remember reading that as well. It is definitely odd, but as Brookes has expressed, he was concerned with maintaining anonymity; so, perhaps he felt this would help(?).

      DrDoo

      January 3, 2013 at 3:41 pm

      • Right, with all the scientist-hired hitmen out there, he was concerned about his “personal safety”.

        Peter Bloomberg

        January 3, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    • It doesn’t matter, we don’t care about that information anyway and I have not read it even once. what we care about is catching the fraudsters.

      noname

      January 3, 2013 at 3:50 pm

      • What if the fraudster is a fraudster?

        Peter Bloomberg

        January 3, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    • Anyway, do you know many pretty hot girls who like heavy drinking AND are PhD level scientists holding a tenured faculty position? Looks like a deliberate oxymoron, isn’t?

      Sylvain Bernès

      January 3, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    • Blotman

      Anyone with a brain would do the same to avoid being harrassed.

      Clearly he was right, look whats happened this week.

      Some person sent an email to hundreds of his colleagues.

      What the person must not know is that all emails can be traced. To the very place they were sent from.

      Gmail
      http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9127827/Google_lets_Gmail_give_away_your_location?source=rss_news
      bypass the add!

      Stewart

      January 3, 2013 at 3:51 pm

      • Then, how does he reconcile this notion with one of his proposed next steps, which is to create a new blog without anonymity?

        DrDoo

        January 3, 2013 at 4:00 pm

      • You can anonymize your e-mail by using the TOR browser which redirects the e-mail stream via international addresses, hiding the location.
        https://www.torproject.org/projects/torbrowser.html.en
        It is free and works very well. Open you re-mail via this browser and you are set. It also works for any other posting.

        JohnCrowly

        January 10, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    • Yes, it was not the work of one single person. Many people contributed with the frauds, or do you believe the blog author reads random papers, whatever field and he is lucky enough to find many frauds cases? Naive… just naive.

      Frederic

      January 3, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    • ” In fact he repeated claims his blog was not a one man/woman job although all evidence points to the contrary.”
      What evidence? what a stupid person would say there are evidences pointing that it was the work of just one. Evidences, where? The evidences clearsly points for many people, in their rspective fileds looking for frauds. It is disgusting to see such thing. Perhaps you are one of the frauders! There are more evidences for that than to point out that he was the only one searching for frauds.

      Frederic

      January 3, 2013 at 10:14 pm

  7. You are my hero!!

    noname

    January 3, 2013 at 3:31 pm

  8. I have now looked at the cached results. This is scurrilous cr*(p of a libelous form. Pointing out that western blot patterns look similar is not fraud, and the allegation of fraud based on pattern similarity is shoddy crap. This blog owner is WAY out of line, and this blog is full of shit.

    If fraud is suspected, it should be investigated, but not in public. That is not appropriate, fair, or sensible. False allegations are just as bad as fraud, as they are a form of fraud themselves.

    RuefulVictim

    January 3, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    • “I have now looked at the cached results”– I am sure you looked th SF blog before beacuse you are one of those fraudsters listed in the website and victim of that blog. I can say by the tone of your mail and your ID “RuefulVictim”.

      ” False allegations are just as bad as fraud”– SF blog always posted the publication weblinks to verify.

      Well, the publication are public data and are in public domain. It is published by scientist by knowing the fact that it will go in public domain and it should be questioned and investigated in public. Investigating in public is fully appropriate, fair, or sensible.

      noname

      January 3, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    • @RuefulVictim You will never ever win this battle. I can give you thousand of examples of pure so called “image issues”. Do you want examples?

      Junk Science

      January 3, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    • I would not be surprised if an investigation into this uncovered that Dr. Brookes was pursuing a personal vendetta of some sort, in at least of subset of the cases.

      Peter Bloomberg

      January 3, 2013 at 3:58 pm

      • Does not matters it’s published papers with “image issues”. Personal vendetta it’s the same type of words used by the people that tried (and failed) to troll the SF blog after the Rakesh Kumar (I keep throwing this name out, so it will never be forgotten) post at the SF blog.

        Junk Science

        January 3, 2013 at 4:04 pm

      • Peter Bloomberg wrote ‘I would not be surprised if an investigation into this uncovered that Dr. Brookes was pursuing a personal vendetta of some sort, in at least of subset of the cases’

        Surely not against Rakesh Kumar.

        Not against anyone.

        Maybe he doesn’t like science fraud that wastes millions of dollars of taxpayers money, and using so called potential therapeutic drugs in clinical trials, based on science fraud, that may well be responsible for patient deaths.

        I dont either.

        The investigations into science fraud are ongoing, and this hiccup wont stop that. Clearly this is designed to detract us from our investigations into science fraud – but it has had the opposite effect upon me.

        I sense Fraudster is more determined than ever!

        I am.

        Stewart

        January 3, 2013 at 4:17 pm

      • The personal vendetta aspect is obvious in the unwarranted inferences Dr. Brookes made based on those images regarding the intentions and motives of the people involved. So, yes, it matters, and it may make all the difference in a legal case.

        Peter Bloomberg

        January 3, 2013 at 4:18 pm

      • “Clearly this is designed to detract US”
        Wow, what would the universe do without YOU?! Where did I pick up such megalomaniac vibes before? Oh wait… “personal safety”… There is an entire evil empire out there, made up by geeky hitmen, trying to squash our hero.

        Peter Bloomberg

        January 3, 2013 at 4:23 pm

      • Which subset of cases?

        Hans Müller

        January 3, 2013 at 4:24 pm

      • Exactly Stewart! I am more motivated! I think the Internet reputation companies have started working this site, since it worked so well for Anil Potti…

        Junk Science

        January 3, 2013 at 4:38 pm

      • We don’t care if it was personal vendetta, if the allegations of fraud were true and which in all cases they were true.

        noname

        January 3, 2013 at 4:53 pm

      • That is like saying a police officer or prosecuter is pursuing a persona vendetta in a subset of cases. Bottom line, if there is no guilt then they have nothing to fear. The cases raised in the website were obvious and egregious. What should I do next time I see a crime? Discuss it with the criminal privately? No I go to the police.
        In science there are no police. So we do it the old fashioned way and raise a ‘hue and cry’ via the web under freedom of speech. Point out the crime, the scientists assess the evidence then we lynch them by comments. This is what happens in a vacuum of law and order.
        We are self policing. If we do not do this aggressively then we will lose legitimacy and trust. I think we are now past that point. We should call for criminalization of scientific fraud with proper investigative and legal avenues. The behavior we are witnessing requires a process of justice that restores trust and accountability.

        JohnCrowely

        January 10, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    • Amazing…why is the one who revealed the truth being accused now (RuefulVictim your comment somwhow gives me a déjà-vu feeling related to the the science-fraud blog)? Every accusation made on this blog was proved by linking the paper and picking out images. And what I saw, was a lot of copy and pasting. But, the truth is still out there….for scrutiny, feel free to re-link the publications you are refering to.

      Hans Müller

      January 3, 2013 at 4:02 pm

      • One I missed

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anil_Potti

        Thank you Junk Science!

        Lawsuits, retractions, refunding embezzled monies! This cost the University alot of money! But how damning is this statement ‘No official public statement has been made regarding the results of the scientific misconduct investigation by Duke University ‘

        But, thank God someone had sense ‘Three clinical trials at Duke University Medical Center based on Potti’s research came under scrutiny in 2009 and were temporarily suspended, then were permanently stopped in 2010′

        Patients lives were saved – eloquently demonstrating the critical importance of the Science-Fraud blog!

        This could be a movie – Is Matt Damon free?

        Stewart

        January 3, 2013 at 4:49 pm

      • Jesus, you are an idiot. Science-fraud had NOTHING to do with Potti, you moron.

        RuefulVictim

        January 4, 2013 at 12:27 am

    • RuelfulVictim, are you one of the fraudster? You probably are… Your attentps to defend those shity western blots are just lame and flawed.

      Frederic

      January 4, 2013 at 3:07 am

    • RuefulVictim says “This is scurrilous cr*(p of a libelous form. Pointing out that western blot patterns look similar is not fraud, and the allegation of fraud based on pattern similarity is shoddy crap.”

      Well why did Shigeaki Kato cause huge embarrassment to Tokyo University, retract a Cell and a Nature paper and have to resign when this appeared?

      Because all 11jigen had to go on was the “shoddy crap” of those similarities between figures?

      Scrutineer

      January 4, 2013 at 4:51 am

  9. Ruefulvictim wrote ‘I have now looked at the cached results. This is scurrilous cr*(p of a libelous form. Pointing out that western blot patterns look similar is not fraud, and the allegation of fraud based on pattern similarity is shoddy crap. This blog owner is WAY out of line, and this blog is full of shit.

    If fraud is suspected, it should be investigated, but not in public. That is not appropriate, fair, or sensible. False allegations are just as bad as fraud, as they are a form of fraud themselves’

    So, you’ve looked at the images but not actually read the blog?

    Can you give a specific example of the CR*P you saw?

    Just one example please, I note as of yet that you have demonstrated nothing.

    I can assure you, the western blots shown on the site are some of the most clear and irrefutable cases of scientific fraud since Piltdown man
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piltdown_Man

    Stewart

    January 3, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    • And your assurance is worth absolutely nothing. You are anonymous. I am anonymous. You have no evidence. Your “evidence” is totally useless.

      RuefulVictim

      January 3, 2013 at 9:29 pm

      • RuefulVictim

        Would you be so kind as try something?

        Go to ‘www.google.co.uk’

        Search in ‘kumar science fraud’ in google images.

        Click on the first picture showing the vertical flip of the MTA1 blot.

        I know science fraud when I see it.

        Do you?

        Look further down at the other images on the search page – see them? I do.

        That is the type of science fraud being exposed by the wonderful science fraud site.

        It is science fraud, the name fits.

        Stewart

        January 3, 2013 at 9:45 pm

      • Looking at a picture means nothing. I hate western blots. I see them all the time in talks. They are one of the great frauds period of modern biology. As a statistician, which I am, I trust nothing from my eyes .I trust only numbers. Where is the quantification? I don’t give a crap if the images look alike. ARE THEY ALIKE? The eye cannot say.

        RuefulVictim

        January 4, 2013 at 12:26 am

      • @RuefulVictim Don’t feed the trolls I usually say, but sometimes it’s worthwhile because they expose themselves when they get frustrated. You have had so many opinions on Western blots and now you say you’re a statistician, that’s hilarious! You can quantify bands and show that they are exactly the same and it’s called densitometry (there are several programs around, but there are some pitfalls, so I would not recommend an untrained statistician to give a try at this stage)! I’ve used it on several cases published by Rakesh Kumar. A western blot (and other types of blots) leaves other spots as well that can be used as fingerprints to help to show that they are indeed identical together with densitometry.

        Junk Science

        January 4, 2013 at 12:57 pm

      • OK, fine. Where is the densitometry on the F-S blog? NOT THERE.

        RuefulVictim

        January 4, 2013 at 2:06 pm

  10. Peter Bloomberg wrote ‘“Clearly this is designed to detract US”
    Wow, what would the universe do without YOU?! Where did I pick up such megalomaniac vibes before? Oh wait… “personal safety”… There is an entire evil empire out there, made up by geeky hitmen, trying to squash our hero’

    Peter, what are your thoughts on the science fraud mentioned on the blog site?

    Do you see any?

    Stewart

    January 3, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    • The image duplication and reuse are irrefutable facts. I have no problem with that at all. I have problems with the next step of attributing intentions and all that, concluding that there was fraud, and beyond that. It’s public lynching that should not be tolerated because of the risk of harming innocent people. Perhaps you are the kind of person who is happy about harming innocent people in order to catch the bad guys, but our legal system does not work that way. The top priority should be to make sure that innocent people are not harmed. Hopefully, the next version of the site will be more careful about all that.

      Peter Bloomberg

      January 3, 2013 at 4:43 pm

      • Peter you wrote earlier ‘I’m not a scientist myself, but my parents are and I’ve interacted with plenty of top academics in social settings over the years. You get to learn a lot from people who are a bit drunk’

        I wonder, did the drunk ‘top academics’ or your parents teach you to interpet image duplication? Reusing an image may not necessarily be fraud, it may be an error, so, contrary to what you wrote, I think it is sometimes refutable.

        One must understand the methods used, the intricate details, the meticulous protocols used to generate images. Then and only then can one comment. Thats what we have been doing on the science fraud blog.

        Those who know, know, those who don’t, don’t. Clearly, you don’t. This is not surprising as you did say you are not a scientist. It’s a specialised field.

        You mention ‘innocent people’ – what about the innocent patients being given drugs in trials for their ailments when science fraudsters have fabricated data suggesting the drug is effective when in reality it is not?

        Stewart

        January 3, 2013 at 5:01 pm

      • yes the NEXT VERSION!…there’s obviously room for improvement and hopefully that has a chance to come but for those doubting the risk to Paul Brooks personally…watch and see.. will his University stand by him? Will his career now be slowly destroyed by his brave attempts at addressing serious problem with integrity in the life sciences..?????

        Edward Tolmer

        January 3, 2013 at 5:02 pm

      • Brookes even acknowledges that some authors made an effort to correct the literature, which indicates that honest mistakes may have been responsible in some cases, or at worst, simple incompetence. If this is indeed the case, why the assumption that every shoddy paper is a case of fraud? This isn’t simply some abstract matter of scientific ethics: the tendency to impute malicious intent on the part of anyone holding different political beliefs, for instance, is one of the reasons political discourse in this country is so poisonous. It’s entirely fair to point out errors and impossibilities in the scientific literature, and the more of this the better, but maybe we should withhold moral judgment on people we’ve never met. A little more civility wouldn’t hurt either; the tone of some of these comments is sounding dangerously unhinged.

        Anonymous crystallographer

        January 3, 2013 at 5:06 pm

        • Agree this should be the starting default view of all errors and misrepresentations but when evidence shows deceit was deliberate, calling the matter “fraud” seems appropriate.

          son of crystallographer

          January 11, 2014 at 9:50 am

      • The same image in figures that should have different images is an irrefutable fact. Yes, it can be an error, which is exactly my point. Although I’m not a scientist, I have had to interact with enough scientists to be able recognize quickly the insecure, one-trick pony types.

        Peter Bloomberg

        January 3, 2013 at 5:14 pm

  11. ” there are a lot of clear-minded attorneys who would disagree with his conclusion that there is “in no way grounds for a libel or defamation suit.”

    Dunno, there are lots of defenses for libel, even aside from truth being a defense. This will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction but generally there is also a public interest defense where you are not obliged to prove your allegation but just demonstrate it was in the public interest for the matter to be raised and not done from personal malice. Courts will also be sensitive to abuse of process and would probably want to know what steps were taken to resolve issues before commencing litigation. So whatever legal issues there might have been will almost certainly be minimized by removing the site in its present form.

    In any case, when I used to work for the prestigious firm of solictors Sue, Grabbit and Runn we generally didn’t commence legal proceedings by setting up a fake gmail account and spamming threats of legal action. I would say this is a million miles from ending up in a court.

    Probably the person running the site feels exposed now his identity is revealed – certainly I can sympathize with that. For all the talk of credit cards and databases the most likely means of breaching anonymity is good old fashioned social engineering. Generally someone will come along who agrees what you are doing is great, is it possible they could do something to help and then try and use this position to garner what personal information they can. I don’t know if this rings any bells. Certainly Peter Bloomberg is expressing very similar sentiments to a few other commentators who have come and gone, most recently Jennifer.

    Anyway at least this can be an opportunity to improve the model, minimize legal vulnerabilities and maybe tighten up on protocols to ensure privacy.

    littlegreyrabbit

    January 3, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    • But if what was on SF was correct, it sounded like the website domain was subpoenaed. Obviously, when that happens, there has to be a valid reason for getting the subpoena granted in the first place, right? I doubt it will go to court because that’s usually the last thing that’s done. What will happen though is that they could continue to threaten legal action until something changes, and, it looks like it has.

      Brad Casali

      January 3, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    • Is the firm Sue, Grabbit and Runn something which you would recommend using?

      Colin Paul de Gloucester

      January 11, 2013 at 2:29 pm

  12. Oh, that’s a fantastic read rabbit!

    Hopefully Fraudster will read this and try to relax a bit. The pressure he must be under is just awful and I hope to God he will get through it.

    Stewart

    January 3, 2013 at 5:05 pm

  13. To Anon Crystalographer who wrote
    ‘Brookes even acknowledges that some authors made an effort to correct the literature, which indicates that honest mistakes may have been responsible in some cases, or at worst, simple incompetence. If this is indeed the case, why the assumption that every shoddy paper is a case of fraud?’

    The majority of science fraudsters outed in the blog NEVER contacted the site – though some did try and post as multiple people defending the fraud and attacking fraudster – fraudster also outed them on the site as the same person!

    Many positngs had the facts, and only the facts. There were others, such as Rajesh Kumars, which were fraud. Blatant science fraud which probably cost the taxpayer millions of dollars.

    It would be interesting if Fraudster could match any of the IP addresses from postings on his science fraud site with the IP address of the email sent to his employer.

    You have to realise one thing: Scientists repeat experiments alot of times. They then do data analysis and pick out the BEST images that represent the entirety of their data. Picking out the images is the final part of the process prior to writing the discussion. It is the most careful part of the entitire process of publishing the work.

    If scientists make mistakes in the final part of image collection (the most important part, where scientists are at their most careful), then that does raise doubts in the minds of many an experienced researcher who do the exact same thing – just honestly, who NEVER mix their images up.

    Stewart

    January 3, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    • The accusation of fraud – that is, willful and malicious misrepresentation of data – is implicit in every post on a blog named “Science Fraud”. While it may be well-deserved in the vast majority of cases, and probably officially proven in some, the point remains that a few people, however negligent, were not deliberately trying to deceive.

      This isn’t merely concern trolling; I know of multiple cases in my field of nonsense structures that should have never made it into print, some of which I strongly suspect may rise to the level of fraud – but I would never make such an accusation publicly, especially not about people I had never met. (I have no objection to posting the facts alone, without the value judgments and self-righteous outrage – although I would also prefer to do so anonymously, for obvious reasons.) At one point last year I left a comment here that did use the word “fraud”, and Ivan actually emailed me to confirm that it was officially proven (it was), and not legally actionable.

      Anonymous crystallographer

      January 3, 2013 at 6:46 pm

      • Your comments are 100% correct. Allegations of fraud are VERY SERIOUS. They should never be made in public without proof. Your comment about “nonsense structures that should have never made it into print,” raises and excellent point. Incompetence is not fraud. Being incorrect is not fraud. Fraud is WILLFUL MISCONDUCT.

        RuefulVictim

        January 3, 2013 at 9:52 pm

  14. In reply to Peter Bloomberg January 3, 2013 at 5:14

    “The same image in figures that should have different images is an irrefutable fact. Yes, it can be an error, which is exactly my point.”

    Errors need to be corrected.

    fernando pessoa

    January 3, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    • Nobody disagrees with that.

      Peter Bloomberg

      January 3, 2013 at 5:43 pm

  15. One error every how many papers? One in 10, in 50 or several errors in every paper? Remember this is public money and the public’s youngsters are being “trained” here. Mistakes are made by everyone. When pointed out (usually they are “discovered” by the same lab), they are publicly corrected. End of story.
    To re-use data in multiple papers, often for different experimental conditions means that you are classifying the fruit fly, D. melanogaster, with our (British) common oak, Quercus robur. Organising information is one of the basic steps in science, so the error rate should be low. Clearly for some labs it is high enough to cause righteous alarm.

    ferniglab

    January 3, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    • I liked your blog post on this case, good job!

      Junk Science

      January 3, 2013 at 6:18 pm

  16. I finally found something to comment on that no one else has mentioned (yet–I think): this statement from “Peter Bloomberg”:
    “Show us there is some money to be made in uncovering the occasional fraud in science and you’ll have whatever tools you need; it’s not that expensive to put together such an organization. However, so far, my heuristics for where to invest money (Ivy League academics with a “nerdy” feel) has worked pretty well.”
    That is the problem: there is no money to be made in uncovering fraud, whether it is “occasional” or “rampant.” There is only backlash, retaliation, and joblessness.
    Uncovering fraud is a truly thankless task. I and others have been made painfully aware of the dangers that present to one who feels righteous indignation and tries to do something about it.
    There are, I believe, very few people who blow the whistle based on this so-called ‘professional jealousy’ or being ‘a failure with time on her/his hands.’ Even people who have been sh*t upon by the system rarely get the courage to go out and accuse others of fraud.
    So the statements, in general, of Mr Bloomberg are inaccurate and inappropriately pejorative. They have a distinct odor of establishmentarianism. Hans Mueller called him a troll, if I’m reading that right. I’m getting closer to agreeing with that estimate, based on the number of his posts and his oddly positive attitude about “occasional fraud.” It is possible that he/she is not a venture capitalist at all, much less a scientist.
    It is odd that the attack on Science Fraud would come in the form of spam threatening to compromise the anonymity of the owner of the site. That doesn’t sound like a straightforward legal anti-libel strategy. Perhaps that is why the site owner feels personally insecure– if the attacker is not an ordinary author who hired an ordinary lawyer, what other un-ordinary things might he/she do?
    Yes, I think a hundred comments here today is do-able. I just made this comment to get on the list.

  17. Is Paul Brookes the former Comrade PhysioProf? Just a hunch. Either way, bravo Sir. You have my full support, and I will gladly contribute to your legal defense fund. Retraction Watch, science-fraud, abnormal science, etc were/are the best deterrents we have against the emergence of new Anil Pottis and Luk von Parijs’.

    DefendSmallScience!

    January 3, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    • You are obviously totally ignorant and clueless. Do you know ANYTHING about the Potti case? The Potti case is SO different from any of the shit on the Brookes site that it is appalling to post them together.

      The primary discussion of the issues involved in the Potti case is Baggerly and Coombes (2009), although several other articles are needed to fully understand the entire situation. In this 30 page discussion, they discuss the many hours of painstaking attempts at recovering and redoing the Potti research. They detail the many communications that Potti had with them. They produce CLEAR STATISTICAL EVIDENCE which is TOTALLY ABSENT from this website filled with ludicrous examples of amateur crap.

      Article (Baggerly-2009-1309) Baggerly, K. A. & Coombes, K. R. Deriving Chemosensitivity From Cell Lines: Forensic Bioinformatics And Reproducible Research In High-throughput Biology Annals Of Applied Statistics, 2009, 3, 1309-1334

      The science fraud site is almost a parody of actual thinking. He circles things and draws BIG RED ARROWS. This convinces credulous morons that he has shown something, when in fact he has shown NOTHING but a correspondence. Did he ask the journal editors about the portions in question? No, not ever that I can see. Did he ask the authors? Perhaps there is an innocent explanation. Perhaps the images are simply similar.

      Has he used any image comparison program to show that the images ARE IN FACT identical? No. Things that look similar are not always similar.

      Drawing big red arrows and leaping across a Niagra falls is not science, nor is it fair evaluation, nor is it appropriate.

      I hope somebody innocently accused sues this moron for libel.

      What appalls me is that many of so-called scientists who post here are clearly not scientists. They are idiots. You cannot accept evidence of scientific fraud consisting of pictures with red boxes and red arrows drawn on them. If this convinces you, please, get out of science. You are an idiot.

      RuefulVictim

      January 3, 2013 at 8:50 pm

      • Ruefulvictim

        Take a look and see how ridiculous you are making yourself look:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anil_Potti

        He is what we call ‘a fiddler’. Take another look.

        The following ten (10) retracted papers that Potti coauthored were retracted for varying reasons.
        A Genomic Approach to Colon Cancer Risk Stratification Yields Biologic Insights into Therapeutic Opportunities
        This article was published by PNAS. Gene expressions could allow the researchers to see if tumors are uniform throughout. This could also be used with colon cancer. They also can help predict how a person will respond to treatment and improve prognosis.[47] The authors said they wanted to retract this article because “…we have been unable to reproduce certain key experiments described in the paper regarding validation and use of the colon cancer prognostic signature. This includes the validation performed with dataset E-MEXP-1224, as reported in Fig. 2A, as well as the generation of prognostic scores for colon cancer cell lines, as reported in Fig. 4…”[48]
        Validation of Gene Signatures that Predict the Response of Breast Cancer to Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy
        This article was published in Lancet Oncology. This study involved patients with estrogen-receptor-negative breast cancer. The researchers wanted to confirm their previous studies of gene-expression signatures in predicting the effects of chemotherapeutic drugs.[49] The article was retracted because the validity of the results was beginning to be questioned and because predictions were made off of the Nature Medicine article that was retracted.[50]
        Genomic Signatures to Guide the Use of Chemotherapeutics
        This article was published in Nature Medicine. Gene expression signatures were developed with in vitro drug sensitivity data and Affymetrix microarray data. These were used to help predict response and sensitivity to chemotherapeutic drugs as well as corresponding drugs.[51] This article was retracted after being corrected because many key experiments could not be reproduced.[52]
        Gene Expression Signatures, Clinicopathological Features, and Individualized Therapy in Breast Cancer
        This article was published in JAMA (Journal of American Medicine Association). The patients had early-stage breast carcinoma. The study’s main point was to find if gene expression signatures could refine breast cancer prognosis. This article talks about cancer, genomic technology, and chemotherapy and radiation.[53] This article was retracted because a large part of the article was based on another article that Potti had written and had published in Nature Medicine. The article in Nature Medicine had been retracted because of failure to reproduce results.[54]
        Pharmacogenomic Strategies Provide a Rational Approach to the Treatment of Cisplatin-Resistant Patients with Advanced Cancer
        This article was published by the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Usually, platinum-based chemotherapy is used to treat non-small cell lung cancer, but how patients respond is highly variable. This article also talks about predicting how individuals will respond to cisplatin and pemetrexed.[55] This article was retracted because experiments could not be reproduced.[56]
        Gene-expression Patterns Predict Phenotypes of Immune-mediated Thrombosis
        This article was published in the journal Blood. Venous thromboembolism (VTE) affects about 3 in 1000 Americans. Out of the three, 10% have aPLAs. This study consisted of 129 patients. Out of those 129, 57 had APS and VTE, 32 had VTE without aPLA, 32 had aPLA, and 8 were healthy. Gene-expression profiles identify and predict individuals with APS from patients with VTE without aPLA. It is important to be able to predict APS and venous thrombosis because it will help with the management of the disease.[57] This article was retracted because the other authors were unable to reproduce the data Potti cited.[58]
        A Genomic Strategy to Refine Prognosis in Early-Stage Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer
        This article was published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The patients of this study were in stage IB, II, or IIIA of non-small cell lung cancer. Many patients receive surgery, but the risk of relapse is high. Others receive toxic chemotherapy unnecessarily. This study used gene-expressions to evaluate what form of treatment would be best.[59] This article was retracted by the authors because they could not reproduce the results from the article.[60]
        An Integrated Approach to the Prediction of Chemotherapeutic Response in Patients with Breast Cancer
        This article was published in PLoS ONE. It is important for cancer patients to receive the most effective treatment while also hopefully having the best quality of life possible. The researchers developed mRNA and microRNA profiles. They tested the mRNA profiles on 133 breast cancer patients. These breast cancer patients had been treated with TFAC chemotherapy treatment.[61] This article was retracted as some of the information used in it derived from the Nature Medicine article which had been retracted. As that article had been retracted, it was felt that this article should be, as well.[62]
        An Integrated Genomic-Based Approach to Individualized Treatment of Patients With Advanced-Stage Ovarian Cancer
        This paper was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in February 2007. The research studied ovarian cancer patient responses to platinum-based therapy. This marks the latest in a series of about 13 expected Potti retractions, with another 13 expected partial retractions.[63][64]
        Characterizing the Clinical Relevance of an Embryonic Stem Cell Phenotype in Lung Adenocarcinoma
        This paper was published in Clinical Cancer Research on 15 December 2009. The study purportedly found a common gene expression pattern between lung adenocarcinomas and normal human embryonic stem cells that was associated with a shorter survival of patients with the lung cancer.[65] On 21 February 2012, the manuscript was retracted.[66] The retraction statement was signed by all authors and indicated “that clinical information from a data set … available at the time of the signature development, was incorrect”. Further, that statement indicated that “Drs. Anil Potti and Marvaretta Stevenson take full responsibility for this error”.

        Stewart

        January 3, 2013 at 9:17 pm

      • Stewart: You don’t know shit. You ever talk to Baggerly? Where is he at? What does he do? Did you read Baggerly and Coombes? Do you know the history? Do you know how retractions happen?

        Please, explain what Baggerly and Coombes found. Also, explain in simple terms EXACTLY what the Potti issues are and were. Specifically WHAT did Potti do?

        Because the entire science fraud thing is very dangerous. Potti was exposed by Baggerly and Coombes. These guys did the sleuthing that led to the retractions.

        You aren’t very smart, Stewart. You know WHAT happened, but you have NO idea WHY it happened.

        RuefulVictim

        January 3, 2013 at 9:34 pm

      • I didn’t finish my thought above. The science fraud thing is very dangerous

        1) There is fraud. RW has done a great job cataloguing and listing the many issues. Potti did something, but no one knows even today if he committed fraud, if he was careless, or if he was just in way over his depth. I have read probably every paper about Potti. I have a publication or two about Potti, and will publish again about him.

        NO one has shown WHO did the Potti errors. Oh, by the way, Stewart, exactly what were the errors?

        2) False allegations and lies about fraud are equally bad. And I believe that the allegations of fraud are sometimes getting out of hand.

        The irresponsible and unproven allegations in science-fraud are not appropriate. And scientists, who would never accept the crap on publications, should not accept crap on the internet.

        RuefulVictim

        January 3, 2013 at 9:45 pm

      • WHAT IN HELL IS YOUR PROBLEM?

        Frederic

        January 3, 2013 at 10:19 pm

      • RuefulVictim has some hidden purpose in his great will in trying to justify the unjustifiable! Perhaps he is one of fraudsters…

        Frederic

        January 3, 2013 at 10:23 pm

      • RuefulVictim why you are obsessed by “BIG RED ARROWS”. The science fraud site got most of its materials from other scientist who looked at the actual images as published in the journals and that is a FACT.

        Junk Science

        January 3, 2013 at 11:09 pm

      • A BIG RED ARROW is not proof. It’s just an arrow.

        A proof holds up in court or to a reviewer. That crap on that website is crap, and convinces no one but boobs. If you review stuff, you would never accept that evidence.

        RuefulVictim

        January 4, 2013 at 12:23 am

      • @RuefulVictim. You still don’t get it. I LOOK AT THE IMAGES IN THE PUBLISHED PAPERS OR IN SOME CASES MANUSCRIPTS OR GRANT APPLICATIONS AND THEN I MAKE MY JUDGEMENT CALL. I TELL THE EDITOR OR REPORT TO THE JOURNAL THAT SOMETHING DOES NOT LOOK RIGHT AND THEN THE AUTHORS HAVE A CHANCE OF EXPLAINING THEMSELVES. The use of arrows by SF was just to help readers get the message as fast as possible. After that I check things up myself by accessing the PDF-file and make my own call. I would say that SF was right in nearly all cases. The fascinating thing was that this usually made followers of that blog discover other image issues by the same first author or as in the Rakesh Kumar case by the whole labs for over a decade without the help of any BIG RED ARROWS. I would estimate that they were reviewed by largest group reviewers in history. So this I guess in another tip to SF when the new blog opens, you should avoid BIG RED ARROWS, because RuefulVictim goes bananas.

        Junk Science

        January 4, 2013 at 3:41 am

      • I want quantitative evidence of similarity. I don’t care if they look alike.

        RuefulVictim

        January 4, 2013 at 10:54 am

      • “Victim”- No one accepts a red arrow as proof of anything – you are trivializing perfectly acceptable image magnification methods used by responsible journal editors and peer reviewers everywhere. If the red arrow is pointing to an inappropriately redacted portion of an image, an inappropriately inserted image, a inappropriate/obfuscated spice mark, or a duplicated image lifted from another figure, it is highlighting image manipulation designed to create or enhance a scientific claim where one could not be made without said manipulation. THIS IS FRAUD. As a peer reviewer, I have generated these types of pictures myself and sent them to the editors asking them to get a response from the authors. Guess how many times an adequate one was provided by the authors in response? Perhaps I reviewed one of your manuscripts?

        Moreover, willful stupidity in statistical analysis, in data handling, and interpretation, a la Potti, is tantamount to fraud.

        Those of us who struggle daily to do science the right way, even if this means refraining from stating conclusions that are not sufficiently supported by good science, at the cost of potential grants and publications, will support Dr. Brookes and his ilk. Published science is part of public record – especially science published with NIH (e.g. public) funds. It is fair game for comment by any one at any time. Whether the comments are equivalent to libel is a question for the courts, and authors and those representing them are free to go down this path if they dare. You want to be an apologist for the fraudsters, I suggest you go to law school and your life defending these individuals. Every criminal (and I use this word with full knowledge of its meaning) deserves a vigorous defense, and you seem particularly motivated to providing one.

        Bottom line – those who take short cuts to publishing, grant acquisition, etc. by committing fraud and eschewing good scientific practices are stealing from the rest of us. Science is not just a job to me – it is my calling – I will fight to my last breath to expose fraud where I see it in my capacity as an academic. Brookes and his volunteer fraud detectors throughout the world did so on their own time- I tip my hat to them and will provide as much financial support for Brookes’ legal defense as I can muster.

        DefendSmallScience!

        January 4, 2013 at 4:34 pm

  18. So, merely an expression of caution about shameless unsourced and libelous allegations is now enough to make someone a perp! Wow, talk about a witchhunt.

    I have never appeared in RW save as a commentator under a different name. I have never been sanctioned by ORI. I am interested in and fully committed to the notion of reproducibility, in both computational and image manipulation aspects of science.

    But allegations of fraud SHOULD NOT be stated without PROOF of fraud. And mere correspondence is not proof. I do know that 60-70% of RW stories involve image manipulation of various sorts. I also agree that some fix is desperately needed for this component of biological research. But the solution is NOT simply making wild accusations.

    RuefulVictim

    January 3, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    • Why not ask those who actually know about the case of scientific fraud that fortunately was stopped and potentially averted clinical trials and the lives of patients being lost.

      In February 2012, Dr. Joseph Nevins (Potti’s mentor at Duke), stated that it was “abundantly clear” that there was “manipulated data” that could not have occurred by chance
      Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anil_Potti

      Dr. Robert Califf of Duke testified that they had looked at 40 of Potti’s publications and that two-thirds of them would be retracted in whole or in part. Science reported this as “The fallout from the Duke case includes 27 papers that Duke expects to be partially or completely retracted…” As of February 2012, of more than 120 peer-reviewed publication “Published Papers”, ten scientific papers authored by Potti and others have been retracted

      A fraud is a fraud.

      Stewart

      January 3, 2013 at 9:50 pm

      • Nevins is NOT innocent here. He is on 3/4 of Potti papers. I believe nothing of what he says.

        THis is not the cause, you boob. This is the effect.

        WHAT DID POTTI DO? YOU DON’T KNOW.

        RuefulVictim

        January 3, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    • “making wild accusations”. Please specifiy.

      fernando pessoa

      January 4, 2013 at 11:08 am

  19. It seems, as Brookes rightly points out, much of his troubles may lie in the use of the term “fraud” which (as I understand) has legal connotations. A quick search for the definition of fraud comes up with “Wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain”. If I had screwed up in a paper by accident, I might well be angered by the implication that the error was “fraud”. Not saying it does not happen (far from it), but to place a blanket “it is all fraud” might have been a step to far.

    As an experienced scientist, on some (some!) of the images, the best I could come up with was a “maybe”. Obviously there were also many, many blatant examples of image fabrication, but a “maybe” tagged as fraud seems a bit over the top.

    If the site ever gets resurrected (and I for one hope it does), a more neutral “quirky science” “weird science” “strange science” or even just “Gosh – look at this” may be the way to go.

    PWK

    January 3, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    • The problem we have here is that science frauds are just like any other fraud – they never admit to anything until their last breathe!

      As for Anil Potti:
      In addition to the settlements, two lawsuits also have been filed against Potti, as well as against Duke and other medical personnel there, charging medical negligence among other claims.[39][40] In his response to the lawsuits, Potti stated that he was “not aware that false or improper data was included in the research.”
      Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anil_Potti

      Stewart

      January 3, 2013 at 9:23 pm

      • You really are totally ignorant Stewart. You are totally unclear about cause and effect.

        In point of FACT, there probably is no false or improper data in Potti’s research. Since you are surprised at that statement, this demonstrates how thoroughly ignorant you are. You really should read Baggerly and Coombes. There is NO FALSE DATA that I have seen in Potti’s work.

        RuefulVictim

        January 3, 2013 at 9:48 pm

      • RuefulVictim

        Wow. Go back and reread the Baggerly and Coombes materials. They point out plenty of problems with the data used in the many now-retracted papers from that Duke group. Off-by-one row or column shifts in spreadsheets, reversed labels – how are such data not false? I suppose you mean you never personally looked at the erroneous data, so you can make such a silly claim.

        Steven McKinney

        January 3, 2013 at 10:05 pm

      • @RuefulVictim Please, stop embarrassing yourself since you obviously don’t know FACTS from fiction. I am fascinated by this trolling that have happened with the Rakesh Kumar case here and at SF. The published works will always be out there and everyone who cares and check up the facts will dismiss RuefulVictim and Peter Bloomberg as trolls, who don’t care about science.

        Junk Science

        January 3, 2013 at 10:55 pm

      • False. There is no false data in Potti.

        B&C show that there is
        1) false labeling and duplication of samples. That is not false data by my standards. That is different.
        2) poor data handling. The one-off and incorrect labeling of identifiers are again not false data.

        False data is generally, by my interpretation, making up data or other false creation. They did not do that. They used sloppy handling, and extremely poor record keeping. But not false data.

        RuefulVictim

        January 4, 2013 at 12:09 am

      • Steven:

        When you do the one-off, that is NOT false data, that is FALSE HANDLING, and it produces false results. The one-off produces incorrect signatures. The labeling errors lead to the selection of the wrong treatment. But this is NOT FALSE DATA. THIS IS INCOMPETENT ANALYSIS.

        False data is MADE-UP NUMBERS. False handling is not.

        Why do I make the difference? Because it speaks to WHY. It speaks to INTENTION. Did Potti DELIBERATELY do this, or was it incompetence?

        I have never seen any evidence that Potti is a WILLFUL cheat. I think and have always thought that he hired incompetent workers who made fatal mistakes. Making the one-off or the labeling error is a error of analysis, not an error of making up data, and that is all very important.

        RuefulVictim

        January 4, 2013 at 12:20 am

      • Steven:

        As to the composition of the calibration sample, with the duplication of cases and the switching of labels, that may be under the label of “data falsification”. I may concede that point.

        RuefulVictim

        January 4, 2013 at 12:31 am

      • Even though Anil Potti is irrelevant to this story, the Schadenfreude is irresistible whenever that train wreck comes up. Had to join the fun.

        Rueful says “In point of FACT, there probably is no false or improper data in Potti’s research.”

        Funny sentence: FACTs are absolute not probable.

        Anyway Stewart, we presumably only need one example of figure fraud in a Potti paper to determine whether the awesomely vexated Rueful has unwittingly assigned the moron tag to his many adversaries rather than himself?

        May I present you with Fig. 1 in the openly accessible 2006 paper (PMID: 16752412) coauthored by Potti

        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cncr.21978/full

        The 16 bands presented in the 4 slices are generated from a starting set of at most 7, probably 6 originals. Scientific efficiency at its best?

        This has the corollary that the quantitation graphs are made up too.

        Now Potti is only one of 6 MDs coauthoring this paper, might not have done the figure fabrication, but the FACT is his name is on a paper with visible “false or improper data” in it. End of story.

        As others have pointed out here, the Potti mess is ongoing but due to legal proceedings, doesn’t get as much regular public comment as it deserves.

        Here is Potti’s take

        http://anilpotti.com/

        Great guy! Hopefully the stock photos were paid for?

        For a different perspective, see here

        http://dukecheck.com/?p=8650

        and

        http://dukecheck.com/?p=7338

        Scrutineer

        January 4, 2013 at 2:23 pm

      • Scruntineer: I have looked at Fig. 1. You imply that this is evidence of cheating. The bands look somewhat similar, but so what? Cheating requires proof. You are simply libelling Potti based on similarity. This is not proof. It is suspicion. I don’t accept this as evidence.

        RuefulActor (not a victim any longer)

        January 4, 2013 at 7:54 pm

      • Request to RW owners: Threads of this length need more nesting for the replies.

        Rueful: To libel someone you have to damage their reputation. Not easy in the case of the Rhodes Scholar manqué. And as I noted, there are five other authors and only one of them will have made this figure so the other five may be completely innocent.

        Baggerly and Coombes are legendary. But in the case of the ERCC1 and ERCC4 genes that were not actually in the arrays, their presence in the “data” in several of the papers does not need any statistical analysis to know that it was made up. (We still may not know who manually added these genes to the lists.)

        Regarding the Fig.1 fabrications, even you can probably see that in the GAPDH gel slice, the blemishes reveal that the left pair of bands are the same as the right pair. In order to see how that happened, you need access to the original gels. Which takes us back to what Brookes was doing: highlighting figure irregularities which needed review of the original data to understand how they had been generated. That is what institutional investigations are for – but they have to be triggered first.

        Scrutineer

        January 5, 2013 at 4:32 am

      • Scrutineer

        whoooaahhh!

        Look at the densitometry data!Figure 1 – ha ha ha. I wont comment, it is laughable. The amateurs quantitated RT-PCR – ha ha ha. The method is not quanitfiable – they should have used taqman!

        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cncr.21978/pdf

        And Figure 2 – the immunocytochemistry data! The frauds used Bioquant to quantitate the staining! that’s not too bad, but there are far superior software out there.

        Again, that is THE tightest data I have ever seen!

        Bar nothing – its genuis.

        Figure 3 – cell counting – was this done using a haemocytometer or other method – they used a Z coulter counter – ha ha, it never gives such tight data? Well, again, the data for cell counting is the tightest I’ve ever seen !

        That’s three so far!

        I would simply love to see the raw data for this one.

        By the way, anyone reading this, it is impossible (and I mean impossible) to generate such tight data for RT-PCR quantitation -(figure 1), even if it was quantifiable, which it isn.t. It is end-point PCR, not quantitative!.

        anyone with ANY experience of these methods will know this is fraud….simple as that

        stewart

        January 5, 2013 at 5:01 am

      • Stewart,

        Thanks for your rapid investigation and comments on the remarkably poor work in the Potti paper that I pointed to in my “train wreck” posting. (Again we need better nesting to keep this stuff together.) You are much more familiar with some of the methods purported to be used in the work than I. Let me say at this point though that the difference between crap work and visible fabrication is something that we need to be clear about, otherwise those trollish commentators simply won’t give up. I do wonder however whether the most disastrous aspects of Potti’s cancer “therapies” could have been forestalled if only people actually looked at the figures in some of his earlier “scientific” publications.

        It doesn’t matter any more but you might be amused that I had seriously thought about sending this in to Brookes’s blog. But he was always so busy exposing contemporary scientific fraudsters that the moment never seemed right. After all, Potti is history anyway, so why bother?

        Given what I am going to say next, I will certainly understand if this post is pulled by the chief bloggers here

        and that is because our favourite dinner party game is called “Potti training”. It can last several hours. The winner invents the most absurd honorific title that the sociopath Potti accretes as he self-improves with total disregard to his dying cancer patients during his fraudulent bio-med career. Players should note that you can’t win with “Rhodes Scholar Manqué” as that was aired earlier. Also disqualified are google searches while retreating to the toilet providing such cod-Indian honorifics as Sri-Potti-rao. Some of my favourites

        Array fabricant

        Knight of the rounding error

        Defender of the fraud

        Duke Passé

        Inexactitude Poursuivant

        Now I will most surely be banned if I invite readers to improve on these so obviously I am not going to do so.

        Scrutineer

        January 5, 2013 at 7:56 pm

  20. RuefulVictim, it is clear that we all need to deal with facts, not just our opnions.

    And the facts in the Potti case are clear.

    You may not agree, but that is by-the-by.

    Stewart

    January 3, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    • And, again, you have no idea what Potti did. What did he do? You are an ignorant commentator.

      RuefulVictim

      January 4, 2013 at 12:10 am

      • For the sake of the good will, take this guy RuefulVictim out of here! He is just trolling around!

        Frederic

        January 4, 2013 at 3:21 am

  21. One problem with Science Fraud was that the majority of cases had spliced blots. The site’s automatic assumption was that the splicing was NOT because the samples may have been run as non-contiguous samples on the same gel, but rather that these splices were different bands and samples entirely (i.e. meant to deceive).

    The clearly duplicated loading controls or flipped bands that were repeated is pretty clear, in my opinion, but you can’t conclude that because a blot is spliced that it wasn’t run as a non-contiguous set of samples on the same gel because there’s not enough evidence AT HAND. You’d have to go back to the original scans.

    Brad Casali

    January 3, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    • And even if the bands APPEAR to be spliced, there is NO FACTUAL EVIDENCE of splicing – no image correlation, no STATISTICAL or NUMERICAL evidence. It’s just big red boxes, with arrows. That is crap.

      RuefulVictim

      January 4, 2013 at 12:12 am

      • No that is not crap, that is the ultimate fact to see. Red boxes as you say are the first step to locate the fraud in the paper, this may lead to big investigation by institution or journal. this is the way to go and this is what SF blog did.

        anonymouse

        January 4, 2013 at 1:59 am

      • I agree with that. The red boxes indicate POSSIBLE FRAUD. However, the difference between POSSIBLE FRAUD and CONFIRMED FRAUD is great. They are not the same.

        Using a public forum to accuse someone of cheating without proof is wrong, libelous, and actionable. This guy is going to get sued, and rightly so.

        In my place of work, there are some people that leave me feeling a little uncertain about their work. I have never said anything about them to others, but I do watch them carefully, and look very carefully at their work. Suspicion is not proof. A suspicion can lead to investigation (which I am doing but not systematically), but MUST be done with care.

        False accusations hurt the accuser AND the accused. They should be done in private, with evidence.

        RuefulVictim

        January 4, 2013 at 2:20 pm

      • Then how does one confirm fraud after suspicion?

        By using the same tools and methods as Brookes did.

        tfm

        January 4, 2013 at 2:25 pm

      • @tfm
        The tools and methods used by Dr. Brookes are limited and are only a subset of the tools that can/should be employed when investigating something as serious as fraud. Clearly, they can generate compelling preliminary data that serves as strong justification for thorough investigation to generate more definitive conclusions. We, as scientists, should employ the same level of rigor to these investigations that I hope we do in our own research.

        DrDoo

        January 4, 2013 at 2:47 pm

      • >are only a subset of the tools that can/should be employed

        Go on…

        tfm

        January 4, 2013 at 2:52 pm

      • @tfm
        From my previous post (Jan 4, 11:56 am):

        “I believe the type of work Dr. Brookes has done can be valuable in that it can trigger THOROUGH investigations of ALLEDGEDLY erroneous, faulty, or fraudulent results by the involved researchers themselves, the institutions that employ them, the affected publishers, and appropriate regulatory agencies. These investigations would use a range of investigatory tools and approaches, such as examination of the primary/raw data and lab notebooks, interviews with lab personnel and colleagues, review of email or hardcopy communications, and perhaps even computer forensic methods, all of which could lead to conclusions about the integrity of the results that are more definitive than those that can be gleaned from the mere adjustment of contrast or re-sizing of western blot images. In this context, the evidence gathered by Master Brookes and his disciples would be considered PRELIMINARY (of course, I refer to the evidence that has not yet been confirmed as fraudulent or erroneous by subsequent investigations).”

        DrDoo

        January 4, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    • Which the authors should provide if they have nothing to hide, it is that simple! I don’t agree with your statement on that most posts concerned spliced blots. If they did such as several examples in the Rakesh Kumar case, there were several examples where the protein of interest blot was spliced whereas the control was not or vice versa, which means they did that DELIBERATELY with INTENTION to DECEIVE.

      Junk Science

      January 4, 2013 at 3:15 am

      • So what if it was spliced? Maybe they ran something else between the protein of interest but not the control, or vice versa. Or maybe they ran two different gels? Happens a lot. You can’t deduce intention because of splicing. You’d have to go back to the original films.

        That’s why I think splicing is harder to prove intention versus straight up duplication, rotation, or stretching of bands, because the only reason (logical one) why they did it was because they wanted it to look like something else happened when it didn’t, which is deception.

        Brad Casali

        January 4, 2013 at 12:32 pm

      • @Brad Casali. “Maybe they ran something else between the protein of interest but not the control” You can’t do that or please specify, because I don’t understand.

        Junk Science

        January 4, 2013 at 6:52 pm

  22. The commentator passing under the pretense of Stewart has been challenged several times by myself to state, with clarity and exactness, what Potti did. Stewart seems to think many things, but he has no facts, and no understanding of Potti.

    1) What did Potti do?
    2) How was it found?
    3) Why was it bad?

    These are simple questions that a child could answer but Stewart cannot.

    Put up or shut up, Stewart.

    RuefulVictim

    January 4, 2013 at 12:15 am

    • @RuefulVictim: You keep bothering Stewart about the closed case concerning Anil Potti and I’ve still not seen you answering his question posted earlier today about the still developing case of Rakesh Kumar. So to be fair, please answer his question as well:

      RuefulVictim

      Would you be so kind as try something?

      Go to ‘www.google.co.uk’

      Search in ‘kumar science fraud’ in google images.

      Click on the first picture showing the vertical flip of the MTA1 blot.

      I know science fraud when I see it.

      Do you?

      Look further down at the other images on the search page – see them? I do.

      That is the type of science fraud being exposed by the wonderful science fraud site.

      It is science fraud, the name fits.

      Junk Science

      January 4, 2013 at 3:22 am

    • RuefulVictim

      I note you hvae ignored and been rather rude to every single commentator here but I shall not be so with you.

      To answer your question no 1:
      1. Mixing up labels.

      You of course, are correct. Than in itself is not fraud. It is an error. Or was it? Is is a reasonable judgement to call the Potti method of data handling an ‘error’?

      You appear very good at describing different shades of ‘falseness’. This ranges from FALSE handling to FALSE data. Perhaps we could develop the RuefulVictim scale of falseness say, 1 to 100. 1 being totally false and 100 being totally honest. I jest, of course :)

      What I would, perhaps, request from you, sir, is to question why the FALSE handling, which you agree occured, resulted in the data being precisely as Potti hoped it would be. We see the same pattern again and again – particularly in preclinical cancer research.

      Was it coincidence?

      Or was there more to the case that you realise and the reason why the flawed data analysis resulted in the effects Potti hoped he would see because it was indeed fraudulent?

      Stewart

      January 4, 2013 at 5:16 am

      • Stewart, Rueful is one of the posters who makes sense around here.
        Who exactly appointed you as detective, judge and executioner? We have a legal system and procedures in this country.
        I suggest that the RW owners allow only posters whose identity can be objectively verified, at least for the public part of the site. That will take care of posters who make unsubstantiated claims.

        Peter Bloomberg

        January 4, 2013 at 6:24 am

      • @ RuefulVictim
        Someone on this blog is finally right! Simply follow these simple steps.

        1. Read the 60 minutes transcript. Although it is stated that the non-random data errors could not be accidental, it is never stated that Anil Potti is responsible for the non-random data errors.

        2. Read Sally Kornbluth’s comments about the need for a lock-box. http://dukemagazine.duke.edu/article/building-data-lockbox

        3. Conclude from 1 and 2 that Duke is not capable of proving that Anil committed the non-random data errors. They know the errors exist, but can’t prove who did it.

        4. Review public access file number 5 from the IOM (provided by Lisa McShane). Note slide 14 and 15 indicate discrepancies between the predictor used in the paper Hsu et all (Potti was co-author) and the predictor used in the clinical trial coded by William Barry the study statistician.
        http://bioinformatics.mdanderson.org/Supplements/ReproRsch-All/Modified/IOM_Jun11/index.html
        Then note that slide 16 indicates that the corrupted dataset validates the R code signature, but not the signature in the paper. So the signature in the paper was not validated by the corrupted data. It helps to listen to the MP3 that Baggerly provides.
        Read the Duke Historical perspective and note that Barry note Potti is responsible for coding the signature into R.
        http://bioinformatics.mdanderson.org/Supplements/ReproRsch-All/Modified/IOM/duke_historical_perspective_3_29_11.pdf

        5. After reading the Duke Historical perspective note the following:
        “As an example, a dataset of 133 samples from a neoadjuvant breast cancer study at MD
        Anderson involving patients treated with the combined regimen TFAC was used for
        validation of an adriamycin signature. The clinical annotation that was assumed to be
        used by Dr. Potti included 34 responders and 99 non-responders, the same distribution as
        reported by MD Anderson. However, a detailed comparison of the two datasets revealed
        that the response information was reversed for 24 cases with 12 labeled incorrectly in
        each direction. In this case, the corrupted data yielded positive validation results whereas
        the accurate data did not provide evidence for validation. Similar findings of corruption
        of data in key validation datasets were observed in other instances.
        As a result, three publications were retracted, a manuscript describing the methods for
        implementing signatures in the clinical trials that was under review was removed from
        further consideration, and other publications are currently being analyzed.”

        6. Read the Nature paper and note that there is no validation dataset with 133 samples

        7. Conclude the Nature paper was retracted due to non-random data errors from a data set that was not used in the Potti paper. How often is a paper retracted for failure to reproduce data that is not utilized in that paper?

        The scientific misconduct case has not concluded. These cases are extremely complicated, and to think they are closed is a mistake.

        Listen

        January 4, 2013 at 10:34 am

      • -Listen, these steps are not simple enough for the “bottom academics” (their own words) who post on this blog. So, I would not hold my breath!

        Peter Bloomberg

        January 4, 2013 at 11:09 am

  23. Fraud/theft in real life versus in the scientific world:

    Suspicious activity witnessed while walking on the street can be reported to the police who will investigate and take ppropriate action.

    Reporting suspicious activity or data in published papers or studies is more likely than not to be ignored. Most journals want more concrete proof than scientific suspicion. This is inappropriate. I believe anyone has a right to question a published paper – and the onus to defend it is squarely on the authors (and the journal that publishes the paper).

    Paul Brookes’ work dealt with images and WBs because these are totally objective – and can be compared. Dealing with suspicious data is far more difficult. I have had concerns about clinical work emanating from University of Arkansas because of a disproportionate number of deaths from “unknown causes” – but investigating this has been virtually impossible despite that fact that the concerns deal with patients’ lives.

    The Brookes case shows that the system is designed, for convenience, to tolerate and ignore possible fraud – and swiftly punish or castigate people who try to shine any kind of light on the dirt.

    Paul Brookes may not have been 100% correct (I don;t know this – he may well have been), but he deserves kudos, support and sympathy for his courage.

    An interesting strategy (coming from a non-expert) may be to file qui tam lawsuits against scientists and institutions publishing suspicious studies (and against the deep-pocketed journals that publish them).

    Jayesh Mehta

    January 4, 2013 at 12:16 am

  24. To Jayesh:
    ‘Fraud/theft in real life versus in the scientific world’

    Science is the real world. Science has had the greatest impact on all our lives and will continue to do so.

    We only have to look at the potential for even one pharmaceutical compound to be falsely presented in published work, to then be tested in human trials to see the huge risk to others.

    People may well have died if the Potti trials had continued.

    I see the science fraud blog as a very powerful tool to root out fraud, and also give a clear message to would-be science fraudsters – you will be caught, so don’t do it.

    That is a cost saving excercise for the taxpayers, time saving excercise for scientists, and ultimately we all benefit.

    There are many, many other potential science fraudsters, embedded in their positions, I am looking at very carefully. By hook or by crook they will be caught.

    We must all remember that data analysis, and the application of sound scientific method, must be impartial. Being honest really does set you free.

    Stewart

    January 4, 2013 at 5:25 am

    • Stewart -we are like minded I see on this issue. I believe Dr. Mehta is simply highlighting that some bad science out there has a more immediate negative impact on peoples’ lives than others. This is no doubt true for clinical research results used to immediately guide treatment decisions. I agree with your sentiments as well and would add that the additional impact of fraudulent science is often the DESIRED impact, the acquisition of competitive grant awards that leave the rest of us with less available funding. This is one clear-cut reason we must self-police, responsibly, but aggressively. I see it as a fight to the death, because my livelihood and my family’s well-being is indirectly put at risk every time a fraudster is paid a dollar that I cannot get, based on his/her cooking of the proverbial lab notebook.

      DefendSmallScience!

      January 4, 2013 at 5:07 pm

      • Agreed defendsmallscience!

        It is a fight to the death with the science-fraudsters.

        It’s the Rich versus Everyone Else!

        Didn’t turn out to good for the French.

        stewart

        January 5, 2013 at 7:10 pm

  25. Trying to expose research fraud is tough because the research quality control system is illogical.

    The traditional guardians of research quality are the institutions that employ the fraudsters. So, when they expose the fraud, the institutions damage their own reputation.
    For a British example of how the system is failing visit http://www.cheshire-innovation.com/sali/pedsali.htm

    Bill Courtney (A fellow victimised research fraud whistleblower)

    Bill Courtney

    January 4, 2013 at 6:28 am

  26. Reply to Peter Bloomberg January 4, 2013 at 6:24 am

    You wrote to Stewart “Who exactly appointed you as detective, judge and executioner? We have a legal system and procedures in this country.”

    Please do not feel it is your duty to prop up a corrupted system. Perhaps you are a plant by people who want reform.

    There is no police in science. The ORI is not the police. You have to bring things to its attention.

    Pointing out scientific papers with bad practice in them should be a duty.

    Nobody is being executed. We are not in court, but criticising papers.

    fernando pessoa

    January 4, 2013 at 6:42 am

    • Yes, Peter Bloomberg stated he is not a scientist, then claimed he understood alot of science as he hung about with drunk ‘top scientists’.

      It is laughable.

      Bills post is a case in point:
      ‘Trying to expose research fraud is tough because the research quality control system is illogical.

      The traditional guardians of research quality are the institutions that employ the fraudsters. So, when they expose the fraud, the institutions damage their own reputation.
      For a British example of how the system is failing visit http://www.cheshire-innovation.com/sali/pedsali.htm

      Bill Courtney (A fellow victimised research fraud whistleblower)’

      Peter Bloomberg wrote ‘We have a legal system and procedures in this country.’

      Precisely Peter, and we also have fraudsters that are intent on intimidating a whistleblower via emailing their boss, threatening legal action through an anonymous email. They will be brought to justice. Have no doubt, balls are rolling and more fraudsters will be brought to book.

      You dont seem to get it Peter. One day you may. Do me a favour Peter, the next time you are at one of your drunken parties with ‘top academics’, your phrase (as opposed to ‘bottom academics’, ahem, my phrase) ask them a question. Ask them if they know of a colleague whom they suspect has previosuly or is presently perpetrating scientific fraud.

      Stewart

      January 4, 2013 at 6:56 am

      • Stewart, now you blame me for the fact you are a bottom academic? That IS laughable!
        If you had spent more time actually doing research and thinking, instead of just being envious and on trying to bring down others, perhaps you would be a top academic by now. Of course, that assumes the raw materials are present to begin with, a big assumption, it seems.

        Peter Bloomberg

        January 4, 2013 at 7:24 am

      • “Ask them if they know of a colleague whom they suspect has previosuly or is presently perpetrating scientific fraud.”

        If you are an academic (which I doubt), put yourself in that place of being questioned in this way. You are at a party, and someone asks you this. What will you say? Will you state “Yes, Jim Goodguy is even now faking his data”

        What kind of a stupid idea is that?

        RuefulVictim

        January 4, 2013 at 9:50 am

      • “What kind of a stupid idea is that?”
        Well, lemons produce lemonade!

        Peter Bloomberg

        January 4, 2013 at 10:04 am

  27. In reply to Peter Bloomberg January 4, 2013 at 7:24 am

    It is the best of all possible worlds.

    I think that they are auditioning for part of Dr. Pangloss. Character actors may apply.

    fernando pessoa

    January 4, 2013 at 8:59 am

  28. As a long time reader of both Retraction Watch and Science-Fraud, I have read with great interest (and amusement) the discussion(?) on this blog over the past few days. My 2 cents follow (please excuse the occasional instances of capitalization – I’m not yelling; just using it for emphasis, because I couldn’t find a way to underline text).

    I believe the type of work Dr. Brookes has done can be valuable in that it can trigger THOROUGH investigations of ALLEDGEDLY erroneous, faulty, or fraudulent results by the involved researchers themselves, the institutions that employ them, the affected publishers, and appropriate regulatory agencies. These investigations would use a range of investigatory tools and approaches, such as examination of the primary/raw data and lab notebooks, interviews with lab personnel and colleagues, review of email or hardcopy communications, and perhaps even computer forensic methods, all of which could lead to conclusions about the integrity of the results that are more definitive than those that can be gleaned from the mere adjustment of contrast or re-sizing of western blot images. In this context, the evidence gathered by Master Brookes and his disciples would be considered PRELIMINARY (of course, I refer to the evidence that has not yet been confirmed as fraudulent or erroneous by subsequent investigations).

    Don’t get me wrong…calling the work of Sensei Brookes preliminary does not diminish its POTENTIAL significance. Those of us who are scientists have certainly generated clear-cut, exciting preliminary/pilot data that have led to published papers, PhD projects and funded grants; but I cannot believe that any scientist worth their salt – including “top” and “bottom academics” – would make definitive conclusions based on preliminary data, much less PRESENT IT PUBLICLY WITHOUT QUALIFYING IT AS SUCH. This, to me, is the problem with Savior Brookes’ blog… he was presenting to the world, not only preliminary data that questioned the integrity of results, but also conclusions regarding the integrity and intent of the scientists involved. If this public outing and accusation is used as a first step after initial identification of dodgy results, then I think this approach is problematic. However, if this preliminary evidence of dodgy results is first submitted to the researcher, their institution, the publisher and/or the appropriate funding agency and then is met with silence or inaction, then perhaps there is justification for going public…but again with the qualification that the evidence is preliminary and that the responsible individuals and bodies are not meeting their obligations to help ensure scientific integrity through appropriate investigation.

    *sigh* I’ll think I go back to lurking.

    DrDoo

    January 4, 2013 at 11:56 am

    • ” If this public outing and accusation is used as a first step after initial identification of dodgy results, then I think this approach is problematic. However, if this preliminary evidence of dodgy results is first submitted to the researcher, their institution, the publisher and/or the appropriate funding agency and then is met with silence or inaction, then perhaps there is justification for going public”

      I think Andrew Marvell put it best

      Had we but world enough and time,
      This coyness, lady, were no crime.
      We would sit down, and think which way
      To walk, and pass our long love’s day.
      Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side
      Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
      Of Humber would complain. I would
      Love you ten years before the flood,
      And you should, if you please, refuse
      Till the conversion of the Jews.
      My vegetable love should grow
      Vaster than empires and more slow;
      An hundred years should go to praise
      Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
      Two hundred to adore each breast,
      But thirty thousand to the rest;
      An age at least to every part,
      And the last age should show your heart.
      For, lady, you deserve this state,
      Nor would I love at lower rate.
      But at my back I always hear
      Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near;
      And yonder all before us lie
      Deserts of vast eternity.

      I have yet to encounter a journal or instituitiion that handles complaints appropriately – perhaps they exist, perhaps the Questing Beast exists

      Fish

      January 4, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    • Exactly correct. Presenting evidence of cheating is not proof. The evidence needs to be evaluated. The evaluation SHOULD and MUST be done by COMPETENT AUTHORITIES, who most do not exist.

      But the presentation of evidence is not proof. There are many cases in which the evidence is not appropriately evaluated, and in which the duplicate (alledged duplicates – note that NONE of the S-F alleged duplicates are proven to be identical by quantitive comparisons – they are just “HEY LOOK AT THIS”).

      Essentially S-F is “eyewitness testimony”. It’s suggestive but only the first step. It is not proof, and doing this in public is simply wrong. It’s like the TV show “To catch a predator” in which they used fake underaged women to get men to come to houses. This kind of sting is not legit. There are many reasons why you might go to this. In some cases, because you want sex with an underaged girl. There are other reasons as well. But doing it on TV is totally wrong, because it mixes it all up.

      RuefulVictim

      January 4, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      • RiuefulVictim

        You wrote ‘“To catch a predator” in which they used fake underaged women to get men to come to houses. This kind of sting is not legit. There are many reasons why you might go to this’

        Are you serious?

        You just said that men wanting sex with children may go to the childrens house and this is OK.

        No, it isn’t.

        Sick!

        Stewart

        January 4, 2013 at 12:37 pm

      • Stewart, you are not an analytical genius, that is for sure, as you fail to understand the simplest logical points! Is that common of “bottom academics”?
        RV said that IF a man wants sex with a child THEN the man goes to the child’s house.
        From this, it does NOT follow that anyone who goes to the child’s house wants sex with the child, which is the logical error you keep making.

        Peter Bloomberg

        January 4, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    • DrDoo

      Your rather odd underlying tone reference to ‘sensai’, ‘master’ brookes and his ‘disciples’ tells its own story.

      Your post reads with distane instignation for those who have discovered science fraud, are discovering science fraud and will no doubt discover more science fraud, sir, and is most foul.

      ‘Appropriate investigation’ is a phrase I have heard all too often by science fraudsters to maintain their positions, which they abuse when it is indeed they who represent the institutions and any investigsation is all-but-none-existent, thats why the blog, and others, began.

      For fear of re-iteration – any postdoc, senior researcher or professor who tells their institution that science fraud is going on in their walls is FINISHED.

      Their career is over.

      Caboom!

      (Forgive MY CAPS, I am simply using it for emphasis too)

      Frauds will probably lie in the first instance. Hell, thats what they have done, are doing and will continue too.

      Stewart

      January 4, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    • “However, if this preliminary evidence of dodgy results is first submitted to the researcher, their institution, the publisher and/or the appropriate funding agency and then is met with silence or inaction, then perhaps there is justification for going public”

      There is so much wrong with this superficially reasonable statement, that it is worth having another crack at.

      Why should this Dr Brooks waste his time trying to chase up journal editors who won’t answer or if they do will send a form reply which is covering their absolute and fixed determination to avoid any action if possible. Why should he bother with chasing down dishonest Ethics Committees at University or Institutions who will either not reply or use their replies as Fabian delaying tactics. Why is this Dr Brooks responsibility?

      All he needs to do is put the evidence out there and if the institutions or the journals wish to act they can. But is it Dr Brooks is responsibility to chastise these bodies into acting where they manifestly do not wish to do so?

      Why shouldn’t a journal keep fraudulent papers up if they wish to? It is their business model. Perhaps they think leading scientists will start boycotting their journal if they act on these complaints? They may have very sound reasons for their inaction. It is just not for Dr Brooks or anyone else to try and act as mind reader.

      Everything is in the public domain so he can decorate these images with as many red arrows as he pleases.

      Fish

      January 4, 2013 at 12:39 pm

      • @FIsh

        Couple of points:

        1. I don’t think it is fair to lump all journals and all institutions together as “dishonest” or unconcerned with fraud. There have been examples reported in this blog of appropriate and commendable responses to such allegations (though certainly not enough of them). For instance, last month RW reported retractions and sanctions for an academic researcher that resulted from an anonymous tip of misconduct. Although one could argue about the severity (or lack thereof) of the sanctions, I believe the process on the whole worked…of course nothing is perfect. Moreover, is it reasonable to expect that the sanctions would have been substantially different had the allegations come from Dr. Brookes’ blog?

        http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/2012/12/23/ori-ohio-state-researcher-manipulated-two-dozen-figures-in-nih-grants-papers/

        2. I don’t think a reading of my blog would lead one to conclude that I expected Dr. Brookes to “bother with chasing down” or to “chastise” anyone. I could be wrong, but I don’t think there would be much more effort involved in emailing to a journal editor (and CCing a dean and ORI) the evidence of dodgy data, than posting it on a blog. Just email the thing (whether you follow-up is your choice), then if no satisfactory response is forthcoming, go for it.

        So much for my intent to lurk…

        DrDoo

        January 4, 2013 at 1:09 pm

      • I won’t bother with point 1, but the vast majority of institutional investigations appear to me to be either Potemkin investigations or else an exercise in throwing the entire blame on the most junior member of the lab.

        As for point 2
        ” I could be wrong, but I don’t think there would be much more effort involved in emailing to a journal editor ”
        Whether or not there is effort in it is beside the point, it is almost certainly futile and in any case he is under absolutely no obligation to do so. If I read a piece of journalism I disagree with I am perfectly entitled to post quotes on a blog and say this journalist is the biggest idiot to come out of journalism school. He is sees images he doesn’t like he is perfectly entitled to put them on his blog and festoon them with red arros to his heart’s content.

        Here is my experience in contacting 4 journals regarding falsified work from a lab I had been part of. Not only did I know first hand the work was falsified I could also point to a compelling trail of artefacts that were perfectly explained by falsification. Falsification was achieved by altering the amount of transfection control plasmids, spiking samples to get positive read-outs and using known positive cell lines instead of the described cell line to get positive read-outs.

        Of the four journals contacted, three of them did not reply at all and two of those 3 have subsequently published further papers from this individual. The last journal sent a form response saying how seriously they took the issue of scientific fraud and the process by which they handled such accusations – with the kicker that for privacy reasons no information could be released into the progress of this process to any other parties. So after 3 months with no further communications aside from this form letter, I wrote again, explaining while I appreciated the privacy concerns could I be informed if the matter was still open or was considered closed. I am certain had I not done so they would have left me hanging forever.

        Four days later the editor responded saying my description had been read carefully, he then selected one of the issues I raised, deliberately misrepresented it, and said because there was a possible artifactual explanation for this issue they were not going to request the Institution for a formal investigation. My response is along the lines that I was simply giving them the opportunity to correct falsified findings for the benefit of their readers and if they had so little respect for their readers that was entirely their own affair.

        In short while it may not seem much effort to email an editor, you aren’t going to get a warm collegial response from them – and certainly not if you contact them anonymously. Mostly you will be left hanging like I was, uncertain if there is any real action taking place or they are just deliberately stalling.

        Who has time to waste on such things?

        Fish

        January 4, 2013 at 2:14 pm

  29. Are RuefulVictim and Preter Bloomberg from the same nursery?

    As a side point, I will ignore their posts as they are clearly trying to get us all off the topic of the wonderful work done by science fraud to out the likes of Fraudsters Kumar (USA), Croucher (UK), Filipovic (Serbia), Aggarwal (USA), Westaway (Canada), Hetz (Chile), Ezzat (Canada) and many, many others:

    Take a look
    http://web-beta.archive.org/web/20121017042716/http://www.science-fraud.org/

    Stewart

    January 4, 2013 at 12:33 pm

  30. Stewart,

    Thanks for the reply.

    “Your rather odd underlying tone reference to ‘sensai’, ‘master’ brookes and his ‘disciples’ tells its own story.”

    This was my attempt at humor and was in no way meant to be a dig at Dr. Brookes; but instead a good-natured dig at folks like you, who SEEM to be quite intolerant of any criticism of Dr. Brookes or his blog. Just my perception.

    “Your post reads with distane instignation for those who have discovered science fraud, are discovering science fraud and will no doubt discover more science fraud,”

    I don’t know how anyone could come to that conclusion after reading my post. In any case, I have no problem with the search for and discovery of fraud in science…I abhor it. My point is that it matters whether it is preliminary evidence of fraud and what you do with that information to find out whether it truly is or not.

    “For fear of re-iteration – any postdoc, senior researcher or professor who tells their institution that science fraud is going on in their walls is FINISHED.”

    I agree with you that all whistleblowers, in any field, particularly those in junior positions, are vulnerable. This is an extremely important issue. Not sure how this is relevant to my post.

    Cheers.

    DrDoo

    January 4, 2013 at 12:39 pm

  31. Ironic that the posters who are so incensed about the allegedly libelous content on SF are flinging “moron” and “idiot” and “cr*p” and “shit” at SF supporters as if these insults are free of any injurious effects on a reputation.

    JudyH

    January 4, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    • @JudyH
      Agreed! That is not productive discourse and, in my view, diminishes the credibility of those posters.

      DrDoo

      January 4, 2013 at 12:46 pm

  32. I think AM and IO need to change some rules about the way this blog is running. It’s embarrassing. Total transparency would be a way I could live with.

    Peter Bloomberg

    January 4, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    • Are you really Peter Bloomberg?

      fernando pessoa

      January 4, 2013 at 12:54 pm

      • I doubt it, but he cold be transparent about it and reveal his true indentitiy is he wishes (Peter Bloomberg)

        He seems curiously concerned about the SF site, anyone who criticises science fraud, this site and no doubt the type of sugar in his coffeee.

        So, Peter Bloomberg, who are you?

        I think he realises he has lost the debate and began being rather childish (hence my nursery reference).

        As for DrDoo – The tone of your last post reads fine, but the one before, to me, had dark undertones.

        Stewart

        January 4, 2013 at 1:12 pm

      • Hey Stewart,

        No worries…as long as we all can remain civil, keep on point, think rationally, read each others posts carefully, and not take things personally…discussion and debate are worthwhile.

        DrDoo

        January 4, 2013 at 1:16 pm

      • How very droll. Here we have “stewart” (no last name, not certain that the first name is accurate) accusin a person posting under a first and last name of fake posting.

        I have on numerous occasions told Oransky that he should require full name be used for this blog.

        RuefulVictim

        January 4, 2013 at 3:16 pm

      • Are you really Fernando Pessoa? He was a poet who died 30 years ago. Again, we have a person posting under a pseudonym complaining about another poster. There is also a dentist with that name. Is that you?

        RuefulActor (not a victim any longer)

        January 4, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    • Email Oransky. Tell him to require real name. In other places on this blog, I post under my real name, but have not in this set of replies. I will revert to my real name after this.

      RuefulVictim

      January 4, 2013 at 3:17 pm

      • Post it here RuefulVictim.

        Whats stopping you?

        stewart

        January 4, 2013 at 3:28 pm

  33. Peter Bloomberg wrote
    ‘Stewart, you are not an analytical genius, that is for sure, as you fail to understand the simplest logical points! Is that common of “bottom academics”?
    RV said that IF a man wants sex with a child THEN the man goes to the child’s house.
    From this, it does NOT follow that anyone who goes to the child’s house wants sex with the child, which is the logical error you keep making’

    I undertood his post, but you have not. The whole idea behind the TV show is that men posing as youngsters on the internet send explicit pictures of themselves to children they communicate with. The children (yes, CHILDREN) then agree to meet the person.

    The person finds the childs house on the expectations that they will have sex with a child.

    However, there is no child, there is only the police waiting to arrest the criminals.

    Indefensible to all but the criminal (and you and RuefulVictim, it appears)

    Of course, the criminals say ‘no, it was a misunderstanding’, they go on and on for ages on how it was a mistake – until the TV presenter shows them the damining FACTUAL evidence of all the criminal transcripts of what they said to the children, and the sexual pictures the men sent to the children.

    Indefensible, when faced with evidence.

    A liar, sir, is a liar.

    Many of the criminals went to jail, and rightly so.

    Stewart

    January 4, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    • In short, you are saying that the pizza delivery person is a pedophile just because he/she happens to get there at the wrong time! That is wrong.

      Peter Bloomberg

      January 4, 2013 at 3:25 pm

      • Peter wrote ‘In short, you are saying that the pizza delivery person is a pedophile just because he/she happens to get there at the wrong time! That is wrong.’

        No, as in the programme, I said those who contact children via the internet, send them explicit sexual pictures of themselves, Discuss sex acts, then agree to peform sex with the child when they meet, then arrange to meet the child at their house when they are alone are paedophiles.

        Anyone dumb enough to defend that such men are justified in going to the childs house evil.

        I note you are defending them Peter Bloomberg.

        It is great to see the police catch the perverts, and then see the perverts try and squirm out of their crime. They never do……

        Caught!

        stewart

        January 6, 2013 at 6:38 am

  34. Anil:

    Please stop posting, you are wasting valuable time that could instead be spent applying for a job that does not require placing you in a position of trust.

    tfm

    January 4, 2013 at 1:28 pm

  35. Haven’t seen such artful trolling in a while, especially Peter Bloomberg is a master at this.
    Hope this affair will have no negative effects on Paul Brookes.

    JJ

    January 4, 2013 at 1:44 pm

  36. DrDoo

    you wrote ‘……. We, as scientists, should employ the same level of rigor to these investigations that I hope we do in our own research.’

    Thats the problem, fraudsters dont have rigor, they have fraud.

    Rigor doesn’t enter their heads.

    Lets get one thing clear, right now, so called ‘science-fraudsters’ are NOT scientists.

    They are frauds.

    The ilk of Kumar (USA), Croucher (UK), Filipovic (Serbia), Aggarwal (USA), Westaway (Canada), Hetz (Chile), Ezzat (Canada) are nothing more than charlatans.

    If they were in any other work, they would no doubt do fraud there too – it is what they do.

    I dont blame a dog for biting, its what dogs do.

    But these dogs need muzzling.

    stewart

    January 4, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    • “If they were in any other work, they would no doubt do fraud there too – it is what they do. ”

      You have no evidence to back up this claim.
      You would also say that witches need to be burned. Salem comes to mind, my friend.

      Peter Bloomberg

      January 4, 2013 at 3:27 pm

      • No, I would not say witches need to be burned.

        I dont believe in witches.

        Stick to the facts ‘Peter Bloomberg’, and why are you still using a fake name here after suggesting several times that we should all post using our real name?

        Surely, you can lead the way

        stewart

        January 4, 2013 at 3:30 pm

      • Stewart, it is sad that great blogs like this one get ruined by people such as yourself. But that always happens unless there is transparency.

        Peter Bloomberg

        January 4, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    • So, are you suggesting that we should compromise on rigor because those we are trying to expose do so? I was writing about how WE should conduct ourselves in the pursuit of scientific integrity.

      DrDoo

      January 4, 2013 at 3:28 pm

      • DrDoo, I understand you wish to do the right thing.

        Thats admirable.

        I am acting correctly, Fraudster has done no science fraud, I have not.

        Many others have.

        Lets get together and expose it all.

        All of it.

        Professionally.

        stewart

        January 4, 2013 at 3:32 pm

      • I would also echo Fraudsters comments that the papers on his site are undoubtedly some of the most rigorously analysed papers ever published.

        Ever.

        stewart

        January 4, 2013 at 3:35 pm

      • Stewart, saying that you do not do science fraud conveys no information. A person who does would say that and a person who does not would say the same. I don’t know anyone who is in favor of science fraud. But I know many people who are against wannabe vigilantes such as yourself.

        Peter Bloomberg

        January 4, 2013 at 3:39 pm

  37. Peter Bloomberg, you told us all that you wanted us to use our real names.

    You can start, as it was your idea.

    What is your name?

    stewart

    January 4, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    • Peter Bloomberg here, pal. Your turn, genius.

      Peter Bloomberg

      January 4, 2013 at 3:47 pm

      • Let’s see your facebook page it or didn’t happen.

        Scrutineer

        January 4, 2013 at 5:20 pm

      • Stewart…there you go.

        stewart

        January 4, 2013 at 5:47 pm

  38. Well, hopefully it’s a lesson learned. Although a lot of my colleagues (and I, naturally) use offensive language to describe each other’s and our own work in private, public discourse has a bit different set of rules. The same applies to assigning motives to one’s actions based on a mix of observations and conjectures. Mr. Brookes appears to have learned it the hard way. I’d think it would be quite enough to illuminate the instances of questionable data, leaving out the potential motivations of people producing it. Sorting out the motivations requires investigative powers that Mr. Brookes does not possess. On the other hand, the more people with proper qualifications look critically at the data, the better. Doing the ground work for ORI, which seems already over-extended.

    Pymoladdict

    January 4, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    • Could not agree more.

      Peter Bloomberg

      January 4, 2013 at 3:51 pm

  39. RuefulVictim,

    If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

    albertp

    January 4, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    • Which adds absolutely nothing to the discussion…

      Peter Bloomberg

      January 4, 2013 at 3:52 pm

      • Not for you, but for me it made perfect sense!

        Are you going to give a link to your website to identify yourself ‘Peter Bloomberg’?

        stewart

        January 4, 2013 at 9:39 pm

  40. The duck test is a humorous term for a form of inductive reasoning. This is its usual expression:

    If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

    The test implies that a person can identify an unknown subject by observing that subject’s habitual characteristics. It is sometimes used to counter abstruse arguments that something is not what it appears to be.

    albertp

    January 4, 2013 at 4:25 pm

  41. Well, it’s my privilege to give my opinion, and my opinion is that Peter Bloomberg and Rueful Victim have so confused the issues that no-one who responds to anything they say is able to get anywhere. The true mark of a troll.
    Thus the warning of Hans Mueller. Thank you Hans.

    Here is my take on the Paul Brookes brouhaha: he has clearly angered some unscrupulous and powerful people, which I would not wish on a dog in this interconnected era. Therefore, the existence of multiple trolls on multiple sites like RW is to be expected. Stunts like emailing your “true identity” to a hundred or more people potentially annoyed by your revelations are typical of such persons. I label them evil, as opposed to the good people like Ivan and Paul Brookes.

    On the other hand, it is unfair (and potentially libelous) to label someone a fraud without good evidence. The red arrows really do help.

    I don’t understand the fixation on the Potti case… the lack of a smoking gun showing that Potti was the one who did all the fraudulent data collection doesn’t make him innocent. What really tells in his case is his behavior AFTER the incidents, especially his attempt to escape to North Dakota. The repeated, detailed posts above about Potti are really flogging a dead horse, and the fact that some commenters have used this case as a club against other commenters really peeves me. Personal attacks like that are really out of line.

    In solidarity with Paul Brookes, I am deciding to become anonymous. Henceforth I will be known as the puzzled monkey. (I’m not exactly hiding my identity, am I?)

    puzzled monkey

    January 4, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    • The entire Potti thing is a huge distraction and a total false trail. However, the issue was raised originally by Stewart. I merely pointed out, several times, that Potti had no relationship to SF, that Potti is not an issue with false data but rather with incorrect analysis, and that in fact no one has proven that Potti HIMSELF did anything. That DOES NOT make him innocent, but it also is not clear if he is incompetent or malicious.

      And, by the way, you appear to have missed the point. The red arrows point to POSSIBLE repetitive use. I don’t like western blots. I am not a biologist. I am a statistician. I want numbers. Where is the numerical comparison of these regions to show the correspondence? I don’t do visual comparison. Visual comparison is the start, but means NOTHING. It’s like eyewitness testimony – essentially meaningless without comfirmatory information.

      RuefulActor (not a victim any longer)

      January 4, 2013 at 5:43 pm

      • RuefulActor wrote ‘The entire Potti thing is a huge distraction and a total false trail. However, the issue was raised originally by Stewart.’

        Wrong!

        It wasnt me who first mentioned Potti.

        You’re not very good at facts are you RuefulActor?

        stewart

        January 4, 2013 at 5:52 pm

      • @RuefulVictim and now RuefulActor “Don’t feed the trolls I usually say, but sometimes it’s worthwhile because they expose themselves when they get frustrated. You have had so many opinions on Western blots and now you say you’re a statistician, that’s hilarious! You can quantify bands and show that they are exactly the same and it’s called densitometry (there are several programs around, but there are some pitfalls, so I would not recommend an untrained statistician to give a try at this stage)! I’ve used it on several cases published by Rakesh Kumar. A western blot (and other types of blots) leaves other spots as well that can be used as fingerprints to help to show that they are indeed identical together with densitometry.”
        I’ve been asked by Washington Post to do this in their article concerning the case of Rakesh Kumar and there you will find it in print.

        Junk Science

        January 4, 2013 at 5:53 pm

      • What is the citation or link to the WP results?

        RuefulActor (not a victim any longer)

        January 4, 2013 at 7:56 pm

      • I suppose those scientists that actually work in the field and use the technique are most appropriate to decide what data is necessary to demonstrate inappropriate technique. I appreciate that your expertise is in another topic – but I certainly cannot hold you to the ‘rules’ of my field, because I have no right to push those rules upon you. For example, I trained with a professor who stated that “if you need statistics to show that something has happened, it isn’t convincing enough.” His point was that if he couldn’t see it with his own eyes, that it didn’t matter – it wasn’t biologically significant. I think most of us would not want to follow his ‘rules’ although he would certainly like to push them upon a wider field of science.

        Noah

        January 6, 2013 at 11:57 am

  42. So here’s my solution to the entire problem – one that would seem sufficiently protected against all the lawyers and monied apologists to crap science that are clearly out there. “Science fraud” is resurrected as a new site that doesn’t use the word fraud or any other language carrying legal connotation. It could be called- “Look at the crazy shit we found in THIS paper!” for all I care. Each post would contain details of how the image manipulation was detected, along to a link to the paper, a mention of how the work was funded, and perhaps the senior author’s website. All public information. No comments allowed in response to the post that could be deemed libelous or even inflammatory. The site will be a clearinghouse for suspected image manipulation. I and my like-minded colleagues will be evangelical supporters of the site, recommending its regular consultation to our colleagues so that we can employ the information contained therein as we deem appropriate during peer review of grants, papers, hiring, etc.

    Voila – the site retains its desired impact as an expose of and deterrent to bad (not fraudulent, just bad, ok?) scientific practice.

    DefendSmallScience!

    January 4, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    • As long as the names of all people involved are made public, that makes sense to me!

      Peter Bloomberg

      January 4, 2013 at 5:05 pm

      • Did you see that one of your pals was just outed (new post on RW), that makes sense to me!

        Junk Science

        January 4, 2013 at 5:28 pm

      • As you’re not a scientist, and are still anonymous ‘peter bloomberg’ but wish all scientists to name themselves :)

        Do you have a website, as you said your real name is peter bloomberg?

        There are many Peter Bloombergs, and it would be good if we all see the real ‘you’

        stewart

        January 4, 2013 at 5:55 pm

      • Junk, not sure why you would say this person is my pal. I never even met him, my firm does not provide seed money and incubator funds for non-US scientists.

        Peter Bloomberg

        January 5, 2013 at 9:03 am

      • Stewart, did you get your PhD from a lame 3-year program, like those in the UK, for instance? Either that, or some US no-name college. It shows.

        Peter Bloomberg

        January 5, 2013 at 9:06 am

      • Americans need long doctoral programs – to make up for their deficient undergraduate programs.
        Seriously, I can’t understand why anyone would see anything good about the protracted adolescence forced on students from non-commonwealth countries. 24 years old and a newly minted Australian PhD is a match for anyone in the world. No, make than any two in the world with one hand tied behind his or her back while simultaneously fighting off a 2 metre croc with a knife.

        Fish

        January 5, 2013 at 9:16 am

      • “24 years old and a newly minted Australian PhD is a match for anyone in the world”
        You wish… You may get a good one-trick pony perhaps, but that’s it. Same for UK PhDs. In cutting-edge fields that require broad knowledge and multidisciplinary integration, US PhDs beat anyone else in the world. That’s a fact, sorry you did not get one.

        Peter Bloomberg

        January 5, 2013 at 9:20 am

      • They always seem to do OK in the states when they go over. But plenty of other nationalities do as well.

        Probably if you do spend 7 years in a doctoral program you will learn a little bit more than someone who does 3. But meanwhile that Australian PhD, having picked up 3 years post doc in the states, is preparing to move back home to his or her first academic position. Personally I think it is more than a bit exploitative – particularly since employment futures at the other end are by no means certain these days.

        Fish

        January 5, 2013 at 9:26 am

      • “Personally I think it is more than a bit exploitative – particularly since employment futures at the other end are by no means certain these days.”
        That’s a different story, orthogonal to PhD quality and length. During the PhD years, students have a freedom to explore that is not possible in later years. Certainly not during the postdoc years, frantically focused on building up a CV to get an academic job. In fact, these postdoc years are probably the ones when the temptation to fabricate data and all that is the strongest. A long PhD produces better scientists, at least in complex fields that require a lot of multidisciplinary integration, as I said. I suppose there are some fields in which one can get by by cranking the handle, and perhaps a 3 year PhD is fine in these fields (you learn one method well, and you use that until you die). Obviously, if you get a bad PhD advisor you can get a lot of exploitation, I agree with that.

        Peter Bloomberg

        January 5, 2013 at 9:46 am

      • ” Obviously, if you get a bad PhD advisor you can get a lot of exploitation, I agree with that.”
        Well quite, can I say how relieved I am that you are a venture capitalist and not a scientist. Because the idea that some poor soul of PhD student might get you as a supervisor sends chills down my spine.

        My own opinion that difference between a good scientist and an average scientist isn’t something that can be taught. A mediocre scientist will remain average no matter how many years they spend be shunted around different labs or courses and a good scientist will be good regardless of the doctoral program. After all, it is not as though you step out of a PhD program and you stop learning.

        Fish

        January 5, 2013 at 9:57 am

      • Although I imagine a short course in Photoshop could prove very useful. Did your graduate program run one of those?

        Fish

        January 5, 2013 at 10:10 am

      • “A mediocre scientist will remain average ”
        Ah, right, you are one of those people who thinks it’s all in the genes. And you, of course, have those special genes. Narcissistic personality alert.

        Peter Bloomberg

        January 5, 2013 at 10:29 am

    • I could live with that.

      stewart

      January 4, 2013 at 5:44 pm

  43. @RuefulVictim and Peter Bloomberg (aka the TROLLS)
    http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/new_scientist/2012/11/maddox_prize_2012_shi_min_fang_wins_award_for_exposing_scientific_fraud.html
    “JW: What have been the worst moments?
    SF: I have been sued more than 10 times. Because the Chinese legal system is very corrupt and a ruling is not always made according to the evidence, it is not surprising that I have lost some libel cases even though I did nothing wrong. In one of these, a local court at Wuhan ordered me to pay 40,000 yuan (about $6,400) in compensation and transferred the money from my wife’s account. I have also narrowly escaped from an attack with pepper spray and a hammer.
    JW: Has it been worth it?
    SF: Yes. I fully understand the risk I am facing and am willing to take it. What troubles me most is that my wife and my young daughter also have to endure vituperation and personal attacks.”

    Junk Science

    January 4, 2013 at 5:08 pm

  44. Junk Science wrote ‘@RuefulVictim and now RuefulActor “….. You have had so many opinions on Western blots and now you say you’re a statistician, that’s hilarious! You can quantify bands and show that they are exactly the same and it’s called densitometry ….’

    Well

    Well

    Well

    Now you’re talking science! :)

    So, densitometry (I am assuming the drunk ‘top scientists’ that peter bloomberg socialises with forgot to mention densitometry) is the quantitation of bands in gels/blots/exposures. These may be using RT-PCR, Westerns, Northerns, Southerns, Reverse Northerns and the like (I’ve done them all by the way)

    The quantitation of the bands results in numbers – if its an 8-bit image there are 256 grey levels (numbers from 0-255) or if a 12-bit image there are 4096 grey levels (numbers from 0-4095).

    Therefore, numbers are indeed generated. These numbers are very important to what the data shown as bands in a western blot actually mean.

    There are a gazillion controls required to ensure the densitometry is performed correctly.

    Kumar didn’t quite master that.

    For beginners:
    http://biop.epfl.ch/pdf/ImageJ%20basics.pdf

    It is this type of expertise required to see fraud by the likes of Kumar. When we see it, we know its fake. It’s sometimes a bit tricky (some fraudsters are good) but others are easy to see.

    stewart

    January 4, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    • Thanks for the reference. I appreciate that.

      RuefulActor (not a victim any longer)

      January 4, 2013 at 9:39 pm

  45. Paul Brookes deserves huge credit. Running SF essentially alone must have been extremely difficult – it is intensely time-consuming, detailed and unrewarded work. I disagree that the site is in broad terms libellous – the issues it raises are in the public interest since these papers are already in the public domain. I do however agree that the word ‘fraud’ should be used carefully, and that a communal effort with some element of peer review would help hugely to avoid these counter-accusations of libel.

    amw

    January 4, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    • Agree.. he must have had nightmares during the past week. Support bigtime.

      Ressci Integrity

      January 4, 2013 at 10:38 pm

  46. “Updated, 3:30 p.m. Eastern, where asterisk appears, to reflect that Brookes’ post has been taken down from his site.”

    Google now has a cached version of that post in its cache materials.

    If you do a Google search of the URL

    http://www.psblab.org/?p=76

    the first hit should be

    http://www.science-fraud.org | PSBLAB
    http://www.psblab.org/?p=76

    You can click on the “Cached” link for the hit and see the post that was then taken down.

    Steven McKinney

    January 4, 2013 at 7:59 pm

  47. The comments on this thread typify all that is wrong with most science “fraud” websites.

    Dave

    January 4, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    • Dave, could you give meaning to your comment?

      Have you ever encountered science fraud Dave?

      stewart

      January 4, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    • Yep, Dave, absolutely correct. Jumping to conclusions, an allegation is as good as a conviction, there is no ambiguity, kill the beast.

      Monte Python said it best. Wood floats, and witches float, so throw her in the water, and if she floats, she’s a witch.

      RuefulActor (not a victim any longer)

      January 4, 2013 at 10:57 pm

      • @RuefulActor @RuefulVictim @Peter Bloomberg @James McDonaughey
        Do you remember when you suggested the Monty Python flip, hilarious!:
        http://www.science-fraud.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Kumar5-300×255.jpg

        Junk Science

        January 4, 2013 at 11:04 pm

      • It’s like I’m watching sock puppet theatre

        tfm

        January 4, 2013 at 11:09 pm

      • RuefulActor, RuefulVictim – You got it all wrong.

        The way it was done is the witches would be drowned, if they died it meant they were not a witch, so their sould went to heaven.

        If they did not drown, they were w witch, at which point they were burned at the stake.

        But of course, my dear RuefulVictim/RuefuActor (2 names already, why not three?), this isn’t witchcraft, this is science and we look at the facts.

        It’s flippin interesting, old boy!
        http://www.science-fraud.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Kumar5-300×255.jpg

        Sometimes we see flipping vertically, sometimes we see flipping horizontally, sometimes we see squishing the bands, sometimes we see stretching the bands, sometimes we see reuse of bands.

        But we always saw it BEFORE it went on science fraud, then we put the links to the paper and asked others to look.

        Thats hard facts for all to see, you just have insults, swearing, ranting and rather odd views on child sex abuse by men.

        stewart

        January 5, 2013 at 4:44 am

  48. Firstly, like ALL of you here I am choosing to be relatively anonymous. Tiddles is a nickname. Those who know of me will know who I am. US national, living in the UK on a colleagues PC. One IP, one username.

    I was wondering if any of you had seen any of the emails sent to authors from websites such as these? Professional is not something I would use. Profane, vulgar and vociferous I would also use. I am on the editorial board of 7 journals and seen and had to deal with a couple of these myself (not as an author).

    I applaud what PSB is doing but there are ways to do it. Here any mistake is immediately flagged as deliberate fraud. Anyone arguing counter must be a troll/plant/CIA agent (yes, it looks that paranoid). Give the authors a chance first. Many are explainable. However, many many are not. But the vast majority of studies (yes vast) are fine and what we have here is a tiny percentage.

    What I fear now for is the academic safety of PSB. He admits to profanities but the feathers he has ruffled are quite meaty. This is public record. Lawyers or no lawyers (I don’t think it will come to that). I don’t ‘agree with the manner this site was conducted but I will defend his right to raise concerns. If a fund is set up, I will contribute. not because I agree entirely with this site but his right to do this (public funds and charities used, public and charitable accountability).

    I also fear that image manipulation will stop. Why? What is to stop an unscrupulous characters from performing western blots with serial dilutions of cell extracts, blotting with the famous b-actin, then claimig changes in other proteins? THere is no way to check this other than to stand over the shoulders of reserachers logging every detail. Image manipulation will now be caught. This can’t be. Similarly for slides, flow cytometry etc – how can you know the experiments reported are shown by the data. You can’t. That is where the real fraud is. The issues raised on this and other sites just show obvious stupidity. Flipping blots, re-using images in the SAME figure. How on earth did any of this get passed peer review, handling and copy editors and all authors. Not something I think that would (I hope) have got passed me. Certainly not the papers highlighted so far!

    All the best PSB – I know your work and you from conferences. Excellent scientist.

    Stewart – I don’t have or will ever want or need a facebook page so by your logic I don’t exist.

    Tiddles

    January 5, 2013 at 5:28 am

    • Tiddles wrote ‘Stewart – I don’t have or will ever want or need a facebook page so by your logic I don’t exist.’

      Firstly, we have not commented to each other before now, so ‘hello’

      Secondly, I never said no-one exists of they do not have a facebook page – do not misprepresent me sir – so if you wish to troll me, then do it somewhere else.

      You also wrote ‘Firstly, like ALL of you here I am choosing to be relatively anonymous. Tiddles is a nickname. Those who know of me will know who I am’

      What a weird statement to make on a blog!

      Just weird!

      I hope your colleague has more intelligence than let you use their PC for this nonsense you are writing.

      As for your utter rubbish about Fraudster admitting swearing – are you nuts? That is not even relevant. Anyone with an active braincell would agree.

      Fraudster has probably saved many patients lives, millions of tax payers dollars and stopped alot more fraud from polluting REAL science!

      You never even mentioned that.

      Disgraceful oversight by you, sir, or perhaps, intentional!

      stewart

      January 5, 2013 at 12:45 pm

      • Fraudster can defend himself, I’d think. Or perhaps he is doing exactly that.

        Peter Bloomberg

        January 5, 2013 at 1:02 pm

      • Stewart, sorry, forgive me – Hello.

        You’ve not seen emails from websites like SF / absci / sciI to journals so you cannot possibly comment on their content. Statements above from the host regarding language and tone (title of the blog even? Hardly due process) – double standards on integrity and professionalism here I think.

        I don’t see how millions have been saved as money was poured into projects and money spent already. Do you not agree? Millions wasted already. So now as you say it’s PROBABLY many patient lives saved rather than that they have been saved (how?) Changed your tune. From allegedly manipulated a western blot from a simple basic science experiment using an in vitro cell culture experiment? Money wasted? Yes some cases yes. Patient’s lives? Huge difference between basic science and clinical / drug trials or did you not realise that? You want a wiki link perhaps?

        re facebook – your comments to peter bloomberg above (No, I’m not him / her). Where’s your page then?
        I said I’m from the USA but in the UK for the record. IP addresses recorded isn’t it. Me posting not my colleague. Anyway, so what? Post your URL to researcherID.com or similar and I’ll do the same by reply.

        Regarding my nickname, so what? Weird for someone on a blog like this being anonymous? Stewart who? Which of the ‘stewart’ papers on PubMed (34,342) are yours then?

        No need for me to write anything else. You’ve done such a good job yourself.

        I’m part of the establishment after all but certainly not, not at all ‘bottom tier’ my dear boy.

        Tiddles

        January 5, 2013 at 6:37 pm

  49. I have an idea for a game:

    One, two or more images (of WB, immunohisto, whatever…) are displayed on one site. The reader has to click on the part or region where something is wrong. Wrong means copy-pasted, stretched, spliced, etc…Then the next example is displayed and has to be evaluated again. And etc… At the end of the rounds (maybe after 10-20 rounds) you can type in if you know DOI, name of paper or authors. And you can give a rating for the case: 10 scales from “innocent as a newborn babe” to “painted the mice”.
    At the end of the week results are shown summarized on the page and maybe a winner…. On monday a new game starts….

    Starting with the very serious Guttenberg case:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-12504347,
    an online evaluation system of evaluating plagiarism in doctoral thesis evolved, with many anonymous helper:
    http://de.guttenplag.wikia.com/wiki/GuttenPlag_Wiki
    http://de.vroniplag.wikia.com/wiki/Home

    Schavans doctoral thesis (german education minister) is another case having been discovered by this system and now being evaluated by an university commission. Similar online system for publications in science could help discovering cases of falsification and plagiarism.

    And maybe, publishing raw data with every publication or funding made, could help making the findings more transparent. I mean, maybe funding agencies or univeristies should start collecting raw data from every project they funded.

    Hans Müller

    January 5, 2013 at 8:41 am

  50. Thinking from another perspective there are some important general questions which affect how the legal action against Paul Brookes will work out:
    a) How many people will be suing? Will it be all of those featured on science fraud or just those accused of the most papers with erroneous figures and image manipulations. It is far easier to fight one or two cases rather than 30+. Libel also tends to be a rich man’s game…
    b) What do the people featured on science fraud think of the validity of the accusations against the other scientists featured? If they think they made no mistake/ small ones do they want to be associated with some of the others? They may be more likely to get a prominent apology without going to court rather than getting involved in a bigger fight.
    c) How will the journals respond? How keen will they be to see some of those images used as evidence in court (as they stand), especially if the press are there? If the plaintiffs have their papers retracted, corrected etc before they get to court it is probably going to be problematic . As may already be the case with the Curi retraction…
    d) How will the Universities employing the accused respond? It is quite a big unknown especially if they have to pay for the libel action and depends on what they want to get out of it.
    e) How will the University employing Paul react?
    f) General legal: Do the accused scientists accused count as public rather than private figures in this context, as doesn’t that have an effect on a libel action? Is there also a legal time limit for the libel claims?

    All those questions I think are interconnected.

    On another note I think we all mostly think Paul’s ideas for the future are good. Having a peer reviewed site with less of the judgement is good (but maybe a little dry: I think it needs cartoons like Private Eye in the UK :) ). It will probably get sued anyway but it is a stronger base to start with. I think the atmosphere of the internet (I am surprised no one has been compared to the Nazis on this thread yet…) and the seriousness of the accusations require it (even if we hate it so much when people get ahead by dishonesty). Encouraging the publication of original blots is good too.

    Thank you all for your time.

    Erp

    January 5, 2013 at 10:28 am

    • I would like to agree with the commonsense you make Erp, but I simply cannot.

      Here’s why.

      Fraduster is a scientist, a real one. He found fraud in papers and grants he was asked to review, wrote to the people in charge and they basically told him to take a walk.

      A long walk.

      Fraudster wrote a bit before the science blog started and his frustration with a system that allows fraud and puts patients lives at risk is clear to see.

      I like his views, I want to hear the passion, the frustration, the HONESTY of his blog was very refreshing, and puts real, honest SCIENTISTS in a whole new light.

      They aren’t dull, they aren’t boring, they are passionate, caring, intelligent, focussed and should not be pissed off by science-fraudsters!

      To all the science-fraudsters out there (you know you’re being watched right?): You may be trying to keep the lid on the boiling pot to save your necks, to hide your colleagues fraud, but when the lid comes off, it will explode!!!

      This is only the beginning

      Rock on Science fraud-hunters!!!!

      Look at
      1. http://www.science-fraud.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Curi1.jpg

      Two images that dont immediately look the same – the science fraudsters in question (Curi) have changed the contrast on the upper panel to remove a few of the fainter identifiable objects.

      We have seen this before – anyone know where?

      and

      2. http://www.science-fraud.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Curi5.jpg
      The old-science-frauds blot splicing trick

      The sneaky snakes didnt get away with it, and neither will many others.

      stewart

      January 5, 2013 at 12:58 pm

  51. Peter Bloomberg wrote:
    ‘Stewart, did you get your PhD from a lame 3-year program, like those in the UK, for instance? Either that, or some US no-name college. It shows.’

    All my studies and work are from ‘top’ (I use that word so you will understand it Peter) Universities.

    Imagine the cream at the top of a milk bottle. Go on, imagine it (I know its hard for you to think outside the box, but try, just this once!). Imagine the ‘top’ few percent of Universities in the US or anywhere else…thats where I’ve spent my entire undergraduate, postgraduate and academic life!

    I have to be honest though, there are some right buffoons in the so called ‘top Universties’ (your phrase). I mean, real stupidos!

    And thank you for slagging off the entire UK PhD system! It certainly does need an overhaul, thats for sure.

    I note you have not identified yourself yet ‘Peter Bloomberg’, after saying you would.

    I reiterate – do you have a webspace, or anything else that will verify that you really are ‘Peter Bloomberg’?

    stewart

    January 5, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    • “All my studies and work are from ‘top’ (I use that word so you will understand it Peter) Universities.”
      In short, you do have a PhD from a lame 3-year program, since you are not denying it! Not a shocker.

      Peter Bloomberg

      January 5, 2013 at 1:06 pm

      • Peter Bloomberg

        You wrote that you would identify yourself

        Are you going to or not?

        Did you note when I offered to buy ‘Oxford’ Gold Ale for Fraudster.

        There was a clue there – somewhere!

        stewart

        January 5, 2013 at 1:09 pm

      • Stewart, Stewart… I’m just trying to figure out a bit where you are coming from. Let’s see, PhD from Oxford, delusional sense of entitlement + dreams of glory, a couple of postdocs in the UK or America. More dreams of glory, eventually clashing with the reality of academic employment and all resulting in major bitterness. Is that the core of it?

        Peter Bloomberg

        January 5, 2013 at 2:00 pm

      • Peter Bloomberg is beginning to grow on. A bit like a rather cheeky shiraz, the first few sips can be a bit overpowering, but then the palate adjusts and you begin to be amused by its presumption.

        So, Mr Bloomberg, how is it that a graduate of such a prestigous and rigorous PhD program such as your own, emerged totally unable to falsify results without resorting to photoshop. Don’t you know how to manipulate loading controls, don’t you know how to spike samples? Why did you get caught so easily?

        Maybe you needed a 10 year doctoral program?

        Fish

        January 5, 2013 at 2:29 pm

  52. Peter Bloomberg wrote ‘Fraudster can defend himself, I’d think. Or perhaps he is doing exactly that.’

    So, now you think I am fraudster!

    Weird! Now you are paranoid Peter Bloomberg (you still have not identified yourself Peter, after saying you would)

    Fraudster is a better man than I. The fact he is ex-Cambridge should not held against him
    :)

    stewart

    January 5, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    • Anything you say.

      Peter Bloomberg

      January 5, 2013 at 2:03 pm

      • ‘Peter Bloomberg’, who are you?

        You said you would identify yourself.

        So, do it.

        Tell me Peter, apart from telling others they are fraudster (as you accused me of being), they do not hail from Oxford (and other, just as good Universities in my opinion), defend science fraudsters, have odd views on child abuse, what do you actually do?

        You can’t argue a single point with fact, just rather weird phrases.

        Are you a science-fraudster in disguise ‘Peter’?

        stewart

        January 5, 2013 at 2:51 pm

      • Owner of the Peter Bloomberg handle, identifies himself, talks about next steps
        http://www.omsj.org/about
        Have a nice weekend guys, the Curi retraction was fantastic!

        Junk Science

        January 5, 2013 at 2:59 pm

      • The only things you need to know about me, other than my name (which you have already), are:
        1. I’m not a scientist, I’m a business person with a financial interest in funding certain science sectors
        2. I’m from a hyper-wealthy family, so I work because I enjoy it
        3. I’m posting here only because I’m recovering from a minor illness for a few days (but I’ve been reading this blog for a while, one of many I follow). So, don’t worry, you and your psycho buddies will have your little patch of grass to piss on all for yourself again very soon.

        Peter Bloomberg

        January 5, 2013 at 3:06 pm

      • Junk Science, how do you know this is the right person? Not saying you are wrong, just wanting to know how you know.

        JudyH

        January 5, 2013 at 3:26 pm

  53. Peter Bloomberg wrote ‘Stewart, Stewart… I’m just trying to figure out a bit where you are coming from. Let’s see, PhD from Oxford, delusional sense of entitlement + dreams of glory, a couple of postdocs in the UK or America. More dreams of glory, eventually clashing with the reality of academic employment and all resulting in major bitterness. Is that the core of it?’

    You appear to be bitter Peter.

    I most certainly am not bitter, in fact, my life is far too comfortable for my own good!

    However, I do get genuinely annoyed with people who masquerade as scientists, perptrating science-fraud, that could lead to the deaths of patients in clinical trials.

    I note you have not commentated on the deaths of patients in trials where scien-fraudsters have fiddled the data.

    Do you know there have been several deaths of patients in clinical trials where ‘scientists’ have manipulated the data to cover their own azz?

    I call that murder.

    What do you call it Peter?

    stewart

    January 5, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    • Nobody is condoning fraudsters and/or incompetent people (not only in science)! Where did you get that idea from? Fraudsters should be prosecuted, once it has been proven by the appropriate bodies that they did indeed commit intentional fraud. In many cases it is obvious, in other cases not to much. I’m not even sure we disagree.
      It is not hard to imagine that medications based on false information could cause harm.

      Peter Bloomberg

      January 5, 2013 at 3:54 pm

  54. Tiddles wrote ‘…I don’t see how millions have been saved as money …..Changed your tune. ….. Patient’s lives?’

    Tiddles, I wasn’t aware the nursery allowed internet access at weekends! Good to see they let you out.

    If you don’t see how there have been millions of dollars saved by exposing science fraud then you need to look more carefully – but this may be hard for a 16 year old kid.

    Are you suggesting there have been no lives lost due to science-fraud, or there have been no cover ups of sciene-fraud after ‘unexpeced deaths’ during clinical trials where patients have died?

    The ignorance in your post in blinding!

    stewart

    January 5, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    • Anonymous Stewart, I’m very sorry to hear that your blinded. Perhaps too much of what mommy warned you about. Your your own weekend internet access perhaps? I wish I was 16 again (perhaps we could date?) but it took me some time to get an H-index of 105 (look it up, what’s yours?). A “faked blot” does not translate to patient care. Tedious.

      Tiddles

      January 5, 2013 at 7:06 pm

      • Genius Tiddles, you’re clearly a genius.

        Can you explain why the small steps in sceince-fraud lead to the big ones?

        You really don’t get it.

        But you don’t want to get it, do you, Tiddles?

        Oh, an academic are you, how quaint.

        Congrajulations – are you the type that walk around the department wearing a ‘science is cool’ T-shirt?

        stewart

        January 5, 2013 at 7:14 pm

      • Tiddles, you seem to be a prime example of what is wrong with science nowadays.

        You write ” I am on the editorial board of 7 journals”. I very much doubt that anyone has the time to do that properly. Do you read the articles that you deal with as editor? Do you critically read the reviews or do you just forward them unread to the authors? Do you make your own decision on whether the article is acceptable (with the help of the obtained reviews) or do you just apply an algorithm to the reviewer recommendations about acceptance/rejection?

        You also write “[I have a ] H-index of 105 (look it up, what’s yours?)”. If you are on a tenure or hiring committee or on a grant panel do you base your decision on the H-index of the person? Are you one of those people who manipulate their H-index by as reviewer “suggesting” that your own publications are referenced? Or do people in your field simply know that they must pay homage to “Tiddles” (on the editorial board of 7 journals) if they want their papers to be published/grants to be awarded?

        People photoshopping western blots are pathetic and one way or another many of them will be caught. Much more dangerous are the H-index obsessed people at the top who can’t count their editorial jobs on the fingers of one hand.

        mathbobby

        January 6, 2013 at 6:40 am

  55. Peter Bloomberg wrote ’2. I’m from a hyper-wealthy family…..’

    Good for you.

    And I hope you recover from your illness soon (seriously).

    I expect you will be donating 1 million dollars to the Science-fraud fund to ensure science fraud does not go undetected.

    stewart

    January 5, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    • I do have that t-shirt as I happen to think Science IS Cool as I’m doing science not whining about what’s wrong with ‘the system’ I can’t prosper in. Illuminati controlled NIH etc bla.

      One more time, although I’m bored. Have you read any letters from these ‘science integrity blogs’ to journal editors and from these websites to the authors of papers where fraud is suspected? No. You cannot comment.

      Tiddles

      January 5, 2013 at 7:37 pm

      • You dont get it Tiddles

        I wrote some of them!

        As I am sure others have done so reading this.

        We actually care about science.

        Real science.

        The non-fraud type of science.

        Do you get it?

        As for not propering in science – why do you think that? – of course I have. But I did it the good old fashioned honest way.

        I don’t tolerate cheats!

        stewart

        January 5, 2013 at 8:47 pm

      • Tiddles, you called me anonymous!

        As you’re keen to promote all real names to be used (as was Peter Bloomberg, who then deciced not to reveal himself) and have a high H-index score, are you going to reveal who you are? It would be good to know. I’d go through a few of your papers too to demonstrate that you are an honest scientist.

        Surely, you lead by example, no?

        Or do you have something to hide, Tiddles?

        stewart

        January 5, 2013 at 8:56 pm

      • What these witch-burners believe in is “suspicion=guilt” and “the truth of falsity is obvious to the illuminati”.

        What they DO NOT BELIEVE In is science. They don’t believe in evidence. They don’t believe in the process of investigation, nor the possibility that simple similarity MAY NOT always indicate the guilt of evil persons.

        This blog illustrates that “scientists” like Stewart are just witch-burning hysterics. I wish I knew who Stewart was, because I would ensure that no paper of his/hers or grant or anything got past me. This “shoot first and let the eternal spirit of science separate the sheep and goats” is not science. It’s medieval witch-hunting.

        And it’s wrong.

        RuefulVictim

        January 5, 2013 at 10:01 pm

      • Put another way, for the witch burners, correlation = causation. It’s almost a textbook case of what science is not.

        RuefulVictim

        January 5, 2013 at 10:16 pm

  56. Stewart – you wrote some of the emails? From your institutional email account? I presume in the same prejudged and poorly spelled manner as above. No further comment needed.

    RW posts retractions after investigations have been carried out. You on the other hand, are willing to anonymously slur the reputations of others and allow this to be on the public record behind the cloak of anonymity and get upset when journal editors don’t play with your ball. You are calling for others to ‘reveal themselves’ yet are unwilling to do this yourself. You are exactly what is wrong with some of these science integrity blogs.

    Playground insults, milk and cookie comments etc etc bla bla and you want to be taken seriously? Anyone disagreeing with you must have a hidden agenda or provide their own intimate contact details and publications for you to comb over and ‘judge’ (as you clearly have nothing better to do like a productive job) for your own version of what makes a clinician or scientist ‘honest.

    Provide me HERE with your institutional email address and I will send you all of my publications to which your institution has paid access to (otherwise copyright infringement) and a full professional resume. Nothing to hide – have you?

    I probably shouldn’t have stooped to your level in a couple of my posts so I’d like to apologize to you and others here for those reading these comments.

    Since I mentioned copyright above, does reproducing images from copyrighted journal articles on blogs without permission of either the journal or author constitute copyright infringement? They may well be on the public record but the copyright for reproduction and modification etc is with the journal and/or author. Many manuscripts will require journal subscriptions for access.This has been ignored and something that if people are to scrutinize published and even open access papers should be consider.

    Quaint academic.

    Tiddles

    January 6, 2013 at 5:43 am

    • I have to say Tiddles started out rather well. He fully had me going that he was on the editorial board of however many journals and his remarks – which I did not agree with – did not seem unreasonable. I was wrong, Tiddles appears to be a rather more sophisticated troll but with similar intent to PB and R Victim.

      I guss this initial comment should have been a giveaway:
      ” was wondering if any of you had seen any of the emails sent to authors from websites such as these? Professional is not something I would use. Profane, vulgar and vociferous I would also use.”
      And the more he posted the more his mask slipped.

      “Provide me HERE with your institutional email address and I will send you all of my publications to which your institution has paid access to (otherwise copyright infringement) and a full professional resume.”

      mmmmmmmm

      “Since I mentioned copyright above, does reproducing images from copyrighted journal articles on blogs without permission of either the journal or author constitute copyright infringement?”

      Happy to help out on that one, Tiddles old chum. No it does not.

      Fish

      January 6, 2013 at 6:09 am

      • Actually, it does. The fact that it is not enforced, usually, is irrelevant. You need written permission from the publisher before you do that, pal.

        Peter Bloomberg

        January 6, 2013 at 6:59 am

      • There are exceptions to copyright protections.

        This falls under one of them.

        Fish

        January 6, 2013 at 7:06 am

      • Fish is correct. The “fair use” exception allows reproduction of small amounts of copyrighted material for criticism, commentary, news reporting, research, teaching, and scholarship.

        JudyH

        January 6, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    • Tiddles wrote ‘I probably shouldn’t have stooped to your level in a couple of my posts so I’d like to apologize to you and others here for those reading these comments.’

      Tiddles, my dear fellow, you have your facts mixed up.

      ‘Twas you who first posted about me, then I responded to you. Do you recall?

      As for stoopping to my level…again, in your VERY first post regarding myself – you were insulting. I merely responded to you – you then went on to blah blah how you have an H-index of a trillion – OK..then prove it..Who are you Tiddles?

      Post your details HERE.

      Afterall, it was you who wishes all to reveal who we are. I am sugesting YOU lead by example.

      I know you wont, you know you won’t. Prove me wrong Tiddles.

      Stick to the facts please.

      Aha, you wish others to reveal themselves and you not to. The old magicians trick!

      As for my insitutional account – are you ready to send 1000 email to all the relevant members of my insitution just like the miscreants did to Fraudster?

      I think you are

      I reiterate ‘Tiddles’ your advice was very very dangerous.

      I stand by that.

      Your post above reads with disdain. I am indeed wondering whether you have been ‘outed’ by the science fraud blog.

      stewart

      January 6, 2013 at 6:15 am

      • It is pretty clear that Tiddles is just the shadow personality of stewart’s split personality! Well done, stewart.

        Peter Bloomberg

        January 6, 2013 at 6:56 am

    • “Provide me HERE with your institutional email address and I will send you all of my publications to which your institution has paid access to (otherwise copyright infringement) and a full professional resume. Nothing to hide – have you?”

      Just to be clear, it isn’t copyright infringement to share reprints of your published manuscripts with other academics, regardless of whether or not they or their institution subscribes to the journal in question. Members of an editorial board should certainly know this.

      Noah

      January 6, 2013 at 12:15 pm

  57. RuefulVictim (or is is RuefulActor?)

    Wrote ‘And it’s wrong.’

    That’s Two IDs, which you are intermingling!

    Well, the only thing normal people know is that fraud is wrong. Science fraud being one of those catagories.

    You don’t seem to get that. Peoples lives are at stake.

    As for the facts, they are clear for all who have read this thread to see.

    Kumar……wow…he’s a fraud. Aggarwal?

    Anyone else?

    When the science-fraudster-miscreants found out who the owner of the science fraud blog was they thought all their dremas had come tture.

    And they would shoot him down.

    Well, it is going to be their worse nightmare!

    I found another whole host of science image/data manipulations last night of a new group mentioned on the blog as a collaborator of a know science fraudster – it is going to be a very interesting, and profitable, 2013!

    stewart

    January 6, 2013 at 6:22 am

    • Did you sleep well, stewart? Your spelling is not too good this morning! Ah wait, you stayed up all night hallucinating :)

      Peter Bloomberg

      January 6, 2013 at 7:23 am

      • Peter: Stewart is in Britain. An endless diet of fishnchips has rotted the sense out of him/her.

        RuefulVictim

        January 6, 2013 at 2:34 pm

  58. To Scutineer

    Thank you also for your trainwreck of the Potti case, it was very informative.

    As for the methods used in that paper…anyone with even the smallest experience of those methods would simply freak out and scream ‘impossible’ if they saw the data as presented.

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cncr.21978/pdf

    We do need a place to discuss this stuff and the science fraud blog was invaluable. I also beleive RetractionWatch to be invaluable.

    By the way, I thought I was an expert at spotting splicing, but figure 1…I didn’t see it, I still can’t, even though the first two GAPDH bands are indeed duplicates of the last two.

    Anyone who wishes to check that themselves – copy the GAPDH bands in figure 1 into power point, enlarge them by 400% then see there are marks identical in the first two bands and the last two bands – clear bands re-use – though the contrast has been altered slightly so some marking may be brighter than others.

    This 100% invalidates the quantitation of the bands, shown below the images, the results and the question remains – if they have done that fraud, can we believe anything in the paper?

    Some fraudsters are good, perhaps too good for their own sake!

    stewart

    January 6, 2013 at 7:03 am

    • You raise the issue of how many splices are disguised to the point of being invisible? It would be alarming if this were to be the majority but why wouldn’t it be? To leave the splices visible indicates a low level of photoshopping competence. There again so does leaving the same blemishes around as in the train wreck figure.

      However, someone quoted Scott’s quote on one of the recent blog entries

      Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive!

      Even a competent image manipulator may end up giving themselves away. Presumably many fraudsters keep notebooks that describe the official experiment, not the fake one they actually did. They also cut and paste arbitrary bits of gels, blots and other images but they are not going to keep notes of this as it would be incriminating. After some time, it is going to be impossible to remember what was what. Perhaps this is one reason why image details often get reused in different papers and sometimes in different figures in the same papers. Other reasons may be time pressure, laziness, budget restrictions.

      Despite the worst efforts of the trolls and sockpuppets, I am beginning to think that the internet will shine a bright light on the dark underbelly of biological research and that this will eventually lead to real improvement. Looking forward to seeing your findings from last night presented in due course.

      Scrutineer

      January 6, 2013 at 1:06 pm

      • As has been pointed out elsewhere on this blog, when it comes to western blots, doctoring the samples to achieve desired changes in relative intensities of loading controls and experimental bands is the way to go if you want to avoid having to use photoshop to fiddle your results. This would of course involve significantly more work to the point that it might even become simpler to actually do the experiments in an honest way and see what happens….

        Scotus

        January 6, 2013 at 1:25 pm

      • Agreed Scrutineer, we all wish to see an improvement over the current system for the benefit of us all.

        And apologies to all if I allowed my passion for science to get a bit heated with Peter and Rueful.

        Stewart

        January 6, 2013 at 3:04 pm

  59. Peter Bloomberg wrote ‘Actually, it does. The fact that it is not enforced, usually, is irrelevant. You need written permission from the publisher before you do that, pal.’

    For a non-scientist, Peter, with scientist parents, hanger around of drunk ‘top’ scientists, from a hyperwealthy family – you sure do bother yourself with details about science publishing.

    I don’t believe a single word you write.

    You wrote you would identify yourself, yet, aggressively calling others to do so.

    You have yet provided not one shred of proof of who you are. You told a pork pie Peter.

    Prove me wrong.

    So, who is this self-proclaimed science investor, hyperwealthy, with scientist parents and hanger around of drunken scientist friends ‘peter bloomberg’?

    Don’t worry peter we would not email 100 of your colleagues like the miscreants who have been shown to be fradulent did to Paul.

    Did you offer to invest 1 million dollars in the new science fraud venture yet – after all, what’s a million dollars to a hyper-wealthy individual such as yourself?

    stewart

    January 6, 2013 at 7:15 am

    • Don’t worry stewart, if I can make 2 millions by investing one, I’ll be the first to go for it. Do you think my family is wealthy because they gave away money to losing causes?

      Peter Bloomberg

      January 6, 2013 at 7:53 am

  60. Tiddles

    Read this and shake! Now do you see Tiddles?

    ‘The victims all have the same experience: coming to Duke desperately ill with cancer, being given hope by Potti, and finding out his treatment theories were fraudulent.

    The victims were enrolled in clinical trials — experiments on human beings — for which Potti obtained their “informed consent.” If the trials had been authentic and yielded a test to reveal to doctors how to target specific cancers in each individual, Potti and Duke stood to make billions — billions — from world-wide licensing of the test.
    As it turned out, Potti just phonied up the data to yield the conclusions he wanted. And Duke conceded letting Potti do his experiments — despite many warnings that his data was screwed up — was a major “mistake.”’

    Source: http://dukecheck.com/?p=7338
    (ripped from Scrutineer)

    Interesting to note Raleigh law firm Henson, Fuerst took the case.

    Will there be others?

    stewart

    January 6, 2013 at 7:28 am

    • Geezus, what an ignoramus. SF and Potti are entirely unrelated. Why do you persist in your monomaniacal attempts to muddy the waters and keep these statements up?

      No one here denies that scientific fraud is present, a problem, and must be eliminated. The issues are HOW to do this, in a fair manner.

      It is also important to avoid the perception that a person is a hysterical ninny. Read “Chicken Little”. Foxy-Loxy now has Stewart-Blowhard in the story as well.

      RuefulVictim

      January 6, 2013 at 1:48 pm

  61. Sadly this thread gets further and further from the point.

    I do not believe Paul Brookes will be sued and those who suggest it are scaremongers. Private lawyers might try to intimidate someone (indeed that has clearly worked here) but institutions would be committing suicide if they went after a lone fraud-poster after fraud in their own institution.

    My understanding is that the vast majority of SF posts reflected clear misconduct (image fraud) by authors. The last thing those who committed such fraud, and their institutions, want to do is call in lawyers and try to sue someone – it will expose their whole game for what it was in the most public way imaginable and make them look like bullies to boot. Relatively few people actually read SF and its contents were probably completely ignored by institutions and journals. Going to a law court puts you in a newspaper which is a different level of exposure altogether.

    For the small number of cases where there was a genuine ‘mistake’, not ‘fraud’, the same applies – the lab will want to forget about it rather than inflame the situation.

    Look at the Gopal Kundu case in JBC – the top brass of Indian scientists protested against JBC’s retraction and what actually happened? Nothing. Has a university or scientist ever succeeded in suing the person who pointed out their fraud, or a body that acted on it? Never, to my knowledge.

    amw

    January 6, 2013 at 10:31 am

    • You may be right. However, the problem is that if an entity with deep pockets decides to sue the average guy, and the case is not obviously frivolous, then this average guy’s life is pretty much over, while this goes on. And with litigation, you never know how it ends. There are plenty of crazies out there. After all, Brookes was worried about his own personal safety.

      Peter Bloomberg

      January 6, 2013 at 10:49 am

      • Another one bites the dust:
        ‘In a voluntary deal disclosed late last month, Elton agreed to retract five articles; a sixth had been retracted in April. An OSU spokesman said a total of $1.6 million in grant money was associated with the retracted papers, though he said that money went toward broader projects, not just the retracted papers.Elton has published at least 66 peer-reviewed articles during the course of his career, The Dispatch found’
        Souce: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2013/01/06/probe-by-osu-missed-fraud.html

        As for Peter Bloombergs childish view on the safety concerns for science-fraud whistleblowers:
        ‘I have also narrowly escaped from an attack with pepper spray and a hammer.’

        Source: http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/new_scientist/2012/11/maddox_prize_2012_shi_min_fang_wins_award_for_exposing_scientific_fraud.html

        The science-fraudsters are clearly mentally imbalanced individuals.

        stewart

        January 6, 2013 at 11:32 am

      • ‘‘I have also narrowly escaped from an attack with pepper spray and a hammer.’”
        1. That is China.
        2. There is no way to verify the truth of the statement.
        Mr stewart, I’m not sure you are in a position to make comments about mental imbalance yourself.

        Peter Bloomberg

        January 6, 2013 at 11:41 am

      • Having read this thread I am disappointed at the tone of some of the various comments. Just because someone disagrees with you does not merit accusations that they commit fraud and are defending fraud, or that they are stupid. Everyone agrees that fraud is bad from both a moral standpoint but also because it can do real harm, potentially in the cases pointed out in clinical trials, but also because it is tantamount to theft of public funds and is the antithesis of science. It damages the public’s view of science and therefore harms all of us scientists who are trying to do something positive for society, not to mention harming society itself. There is no excuse for any of that and I believe everyone agrees on this. But I do object to the tone and the derisive comments on this blog and the questioning of people’s integrity when they disagree. I think that Bloomberg, Tiddles and Rueful actor have some legitimate points and none of them seem to be advocating fraud. Please, lets treat each other with respect. We are actually all on the same side in this.

        However, I do think there is a legitimate concern about what SF does and does not do that is worthy of open discussion. It is a forum for pointing out irregularities in scientific publications, some of which are very likely to be a result of intentional fabrication and misuse of data, and some that are probably not. It is not a forum for determining fraud, that can only be done properly by a body with access to the actual data with the power and means to pass judgement such as an ORI or NIH. Therein lies the problem. The site should not be called science fraud because it implies there has been a determination of fraud, as if it is the arbiter (or worse, the many people who comment anonymously on the posts). Instead it should be called something closer to Zwirner’s Abnormal Science, or Irregularities in Science or something in that vein. It would accomplish the same goals which is to bring attention to problems in the literature without the appearance of passing judgement of fraud. Paul Brooks admits to as much above. Changing the name to something much less sensational would address an important deficiency in the site and would also probably protect Paul and colleagues from legal issues. I am sure he has honorable intentions, but putting the posts to a group of scientists for approval by a group of scientists as he notes, would free him from the criticism that he is selectively and maliciously attacking people he does not like, propagating a vendetta of some sort. Another point is that other similar blogs like Abnormal Science or Retraction Watch are not run anonymously, which is also a move toward accountability and legitimacy. In the future, now that Paul has been outed, he would be best served by making public the names of people he gets to help his next website on this topic. They are doing a public service at some level and should not be hidden so as to feed the conspiracy types out there.

        Now, if RW and SF would just insist that people who comment on the posts use their real names, I suspect there would be a much higher level of civil discourse on the sites, but that is wishful thinking…….

        Happy New Years Everyone!

        Jane's Addiction

        January 6, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    • amw, I agree with you. In my opinion, the letter Paul Brookes received was an attempt to intimidate, to achieve the objective without going to court, because going to court would bring unwanted publicity. Nowhere in the letter does the writer state that the allegations of fraud on SF were false. The writer says the allegations have damaged reputations, have resulted in suspension of funds from granting agencies, and have caused publishers to question manuscripts and perhaps retract some. A crucial factor is missing. The writer does not say that what was posted on SF was false. It is perfectly legal to damage someone’s reputation if the damaging accusations are true.

      Although the current situation with SF is unpleasant, I think the site will return and will be better as a result of improvements intended to prevent future unpleasantness of this type.

      JudyH

      January 6, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    • Stewart had already hyperlinked on January 3rd, 2013 to two webpages about the exposed fraudster Richard Eastell in Sheffield. One of those webpages was about a whistleblower (Dr. Blumsohn) whose life Richard Eastell did not manage to ruin. The other of those webpages was about one of a number of whistleblowers who Richard Eastell has managed to harm after Dr. Blumsohn won but the so-called University of Sheffield continued to protect the bully Richard Eastell.

      Another victim who was forced to leave the so-called University of Sheffield after mentioning that a claim by Richard Eastell was unreliable is called Stuart Macdonald:

      Paul Jump, “Found guilty until proven innocent over unapproved research claims”, October 25th, 2012,
      http://WWW.TimesHigherEducation.co.UK/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=421600&c=1

      So-called universities and so-called scientists managed to sue whistleblowers who were in the right.

      One example was victimization by so-called Professor Robert Carnahan and by Noreen Segrest of the so-called University of South Florida resulting in the unjust imprisonment of Peter Taborsky for so-called theft (of what Taborsky owned: it is impossible for one to steal from oneself!):
      William Dowell, “Intellectual Chain Gang”, “Time”, February 10th, 1997, Page 64.

      Also see
      http://home.online.NL/elmrabat/
      re Benyounes Elmrabat.

      Also, many other examples exist.

      Paul Colin de Gloucester

      January 11, 2013 at 2:32 pm

  62. Peter, you have been caught by science-fraud hunters haven’t you :)

    stewart

    January 6, 2013 at 11:43 am

    • Your false allegations and scurrilous statements ensure that all hold you in contempt.

      RuefulVictim

      January 6, 2013 at 1:36 pm

  63. There are two approaches to a suspicious issue, in law, in research, and in life.

    1) Some shoot first and ask questions later, constituting THEMSELVES to be judge, jury, and executioner. For these, better 10 innocent person be killed to ensure that 1 guilty person be also killed.

    2) Some insist on a fair process, which ensures that false accusations are properly investigated but fairly resolved.

    A process to investigate, fairly determine the facts when suspicion arises is important. However, a false accusation is not neutral – a false accusation hurts the accused, especially if the accuser can be anonymous. The process must be a fair one, but cannot be done in public, as SF was doing.

    But for some of the more hysterical posters here, I do not agree that a simple superficial resemblance is sufficient for the death penalty. And, in response to Stewart, my statement does not mean that I am a fraudster. It means that I require a scientific approach to science fraud.

    RuefulVictim

    January 6, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    • I hold with Ben Franklin (among many many others), who stated “it is better one hundred guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer”. False accusations are not acceptable, and false accusations in public on the internet are doubly problematic.

      RuefulVictim

      January 6, 2013 at 1:56 pm

      • RuefulVictim, aka RuefulActor, aka RuefulDumbo – Ben Franklin you say!

        How dare you, sir!

        Remember those brave long-dead souls who fought the British Empire who were called traitors and put to death?

        They mounted insurrections again and again. They broke THE LAW.

        The system was broken. Thank God they fixed it!

        They were the forefathers of the United Stated of Amercia,

        Don’t use others greatness to buffer your weak points and falseness, God damn it!

        Stewart

        January 6, 2013 at 2:45 pm

      • Rueful – There were no false accusations on Science- Fraud – they were all true!

        Every single error pointed out was real.

        Stewart

        January 6, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    • RuefulVictim (or is it RufulActor?) – you switched names again posting here!

      I doubt you’d know what science is if it came and punched you in the face!

      The entire meaning of Science-Fraud was to out fraudsters – and it did it

      Rather well too.

      Stewart

      January 6, 2013 at 2:40 pm

  64. I’ve just sent this message to a number of commenters:

    “Thanks for the spirited discussion on Retraction Watch. There are legitimate questions about how alleged fraud should be handled. The content and tone of some comments has, however, degenerated into name-calling and personal attacks, and that’s neither useful nor what we’re trying to accomplish with Retraction Watch. We won’t tolerate more, and will be moderating comments much more closely from here on in.”

    ["denigrated" edited to "degenerated, thanks to "puzzled monkey" and "RW fan" for the correction.]

    ivanoransky

    January 6, 2013 at 2:56 pm

  65. Thanks Ivan, that helps a lot. Hopefully people will take a deep breath and return to the level of civility an honest discussion requires.

    Jane's Addiction

    January 6, 2013 at 5:46 pm

  66. Fraudsters Science-fraud blog is certainly drawing alot of attention to ‘sciece-fraud’

    http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2013/01/fraudster-blog-author-outed-and-.html#disqus_thread

    Its international, as it should be.

    Stewart

    January 6, 2013 at 6:00 pm

  67. Waiting for new website of Science-fraud!!

    cebolla

    January 7, 2013 at 1:34 pm

  68. Fraudster has deleted the only left post on science fraud! What is happening? someone knows?

    Frederic

    January 8, 2013 at 5:09 am

    • He said to Estado de São Paulo that he is suffering legal impeachment, suggested by his lawyer.

      Justice will prevail

      January 8, 2013 at 12:50 pm

  69. In an ideal world there would be no need for such blogs or anonymity as scientists would be drawn to their profession by their desire to know ‘how’/ ‘why’ but we all know that we do not live in an ideal world – some of us already know everything and they just need some graphs/ tables to show the world what they know. Let’s hope that the blog will be back minus the mistakes that were made this time though I do doubt if some of our colleagues (the ones who already know everything) would even be willing to let their questionable data be publicly pointed out even without any additional comments from the blogger.

    Paul Brookes showed great courage in outing some of the papers with incorrect and/ or falsified data. The language might have been an issue but I doubt if we can question his intent. There is the John Maddox Prize that will be given annually- “The prize is open to nominations for any kind of public activity, including all forms of writing, speaking and public engagement, in any of the following areas: 1.Addressing misleading information about scientific or medical issues in any forum.” The details for 2013 will become available later on http://www.senseaboutscience.org. In my opinion he deserves to be nominated for bringing out questionable data in so many papers.

    WB

    January 8, 2013 at 7:44 am

    • Quite right.

      fernando pessoa

      January 8, 2013 at 8:26 am

    • Good idea. Let’s do it.

      JudyH

      January 8, 2013 at 8:44 am

    • agreed!

      Hibby

      January 8, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    • WB: Paul Brookes deserves the bloody Nobel prize for this stuff.

      Lives = saved
      100s millions of tax payers dollars = saved
      Researchers time = saved
      Benefit to society = immeasurable
      Public and political confidence in science = restored

      I echo your comment “Paul Brookes showed great courage”, I would only add his employer should be well aware that they have a genius in their midst!

      Stewart

      January 8, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    • Agreed! Lets fucking do it!

      Frederic

      January 13, 2013 at 1:22 am

    • Has someone done somehting about it? Come on!

      Frederic

      January 13, 2013 at 1:23 am

  70. I have just learnt about this story and it is fascinating. At the outset, I wish to state that I am a scientist, and have extensive experience in biotechnology, molecular biology and basic sciences. I am also of the opinion that it is good to be able to use a pseudonym on blogs like this because it gives us the liberty to share openly, honestly and freely. However, I do agree with Jane’s Addiction above that there needs to be a certain amount of civility and respect in the discourse, otherwise what we say will not be taken seriously. A web-site is an upgrade, a considerably larger one, than just a blog. Where Paul made a serious mistake was he used a false name and gender. When you create a blog or web-site, do not fear to show your true identity if you created it with conviction. People like to follow real people, not ghosts or fictitious characters. A blog, by definition, is an electronic public forum, a place for opinions to be shared, and so even though we may all disagree, we have the right to say what we please. A website, such as science-fraud.org was extremely important because there is currently no watchdog on an international scale that can handle deviant science. Fraud, if we look at the root of the word, is an intentional means to trick sand mislead. Where lawyers and attorneys try to make a case from it (I think they are all a bunch of sharks anyway) is to try and prove the fact that there was no intent. Since intent stems from the heart, no-one will ever truly know, so libel cases are really dodgy (in my opinion). However, evidence or proof, in a haad-core format, of a crime, of a trick or of a manipulation is VALID in my opnion. So, we have to ask, why was Paul Brookes literally hunted down and forced to shut down the show. He is not Julian Assange, but the root causes for his fear are identical. In science, a basal pillar of society, and science publishing, as a product of that effort, are a billion-dollar industry, and the protection of its worth lies only at the top. Of course, scientists are always scape-goated, and whistleblowers and those who tell the truth are always the victims for one simple reason: what is taking place right now, spear-headed by the top science publishers, Thomson Reuters, and even pseudo-ethical bodies such as COPE, and the newest plague, iThenticate, is the commercialization of crime in science. A new elitist cult has developed and if you don’t believe in conspiracy theories, then you had better start believing now. 20+ years in science and an intense 7+ in the publishing industry and science publishing have shown me that this is a shark eat shark business and the scientists is fed the scraps. We are only respected in so much as we are the base of their business. Everything revolves around us, yet scientists are blamed, labelled, chased and persecuted like a return to the Dark Ages. I think it is time we support Paul, and that we all become Pauls because the chain of command has been turned on its head. The pramid of life in science has placed us, the scientists, right at te bottom, where we are predated upon without mercy, made to look stupid and left for the vultures. It is time for the Science Spring. A revolution of sorts, not against each other, but against the root problems in science, must take place. The powers that control science, whether these be Reed-Elsevier, THomson Reuters, Springer, and others, who believe that they can dictate what are thics, what are values, how science should be conducted and traded, MUST stop. Unless boycotts are establshed, unless scientists stop turning on scientists and trun on the REAL criminals, then these blogs will look like mud-fights between bra-less women, all the laughing stock and pleasure of those who hold the reigns of power. We all have a responsibility greater than to ourselves. We have a responsibility towards science, and its integrity. Don’t look towards those who peddle our work for answers, or for morality. They are bleeding us dry! Look towards your hearts and make a pro-active choice today. 2013 is a decisive year. Those who believe in astrology had better read the stars and planets. Major revolution is coming. And either we stand firm against the fraud, the crime, the lies and the veils, r we get squashed, or driven into slavery, not unlike the current economic slavery being imposed upon us by the New World Order. Wake up people, RT-PCR bands are the surface. You’ve got to start scratching deeper, forming coalitions, speaking out, forming local, regional and international watchdogs, decentralize, and PUBLISH. Publish your stories, do not simply create blogs. Blogs die, fade out. but formal publications, as case studies, remain as a historical document forever. “I’ll be back”. Look out for a new movement soon… LIberate Science.

    Robin Hood

    January 8, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    • Robin Hood – your posts criticises the anonymity of Paul Brookes, and moreso, his right to cast a doubt to his age, sex etc…..to take any suspicious minds off who it may be behind the science-fraud blog.

      It has been demonstrated, very clearly, over the last week, the nasty, horrid actions of, and the vile capabilitise these science-fraudsters will do – email the guys bosses with a bunch of lies – a blatant attempt at intimidation, harrassment, and bullying – tactics science-frauds use to keep their fraud quiet!

      You wrote ‘Where Paul made a serious mistake was he used a false name and gender’

      Pauls stance, therefore, was justified, by the very putrid cretins he outed as science-frauds!

      You wrote ‘I wish to state that I am a scientist, and have extensive experience in biotechnology, molecular biology and basic sciences’

      and

      ‘Those who believe in astrology had better read the stars and planets’

      The shoe dont fit, matey!

      Kumar and his science-fraud buddies will not win!

      Stewart

      January 9, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    • Some jurists including lawyers are good.

      Paul Colin de Gloucester

      January 11, 2013 at 2:37 pm

  71. Reblogged this on CuriosoRealistae comentado:
    Proprietário do site Sciencefraud, suspenso por ameaças legais, identifica-se, fala sobre os próximos passos.

    Curioso Realista

    January 9, 2013 at 9:07 am

  72. Hans Müller

    January 9, 2013 at 10:17 am

    • Thanks for the link. The idea of an “Association for Anonymous Post‐Publication Peer Review” looks fine. Indeed, any reliable proposal allowing the extension of the work initiated by P. Brookes will be, for sure, appreciated by most of us.

      Sylvain Bernès

      January 9, 2013 at 10:58 am

      • excellent article! Indeed I had proposed something like a whistleblower association in this blog months ago, however no one cared. Constant reviewing and dedicated watchdogs are the best for scientific development today — I would certainly join in.

        Hibby

        January 9, 2013 at 12:08 pm

      • Also see the statement from Paul Brookes newly been uploaded below this article. In my opinion, very interesting and constructive approach. The idea of providing a peer-review system regarding, let’s just say, suspicious published data seems to get more specific. Part of the statemtent cited from Dr Brookes regarding AAPPR:

        “In this regard, a proposal is currently being drafted to establish a non‐profit foundation, the association for anonymous post‐publication peer review (AAPPR). Its structure is evolving, but key concepts include: (i) common ownership and authorship by a group of named scientists, (ii) a set of guidelines and by‐laws to ensure democratic analysis of submitted papers, and an elected management structure, (iii) no assignment of motive or blame regarding the origin of questioned data, (iv) attention to issues of free speech, and secure communication among members. At this early stage we have over 30 scientists interested, and input is welcomed from any scientist interested in signing on as a charter member or with ideas to share (psbrookes@aappr.org). Despite this recent setback, I’m eager to push forward with the next step in anonymous PPPR.” — Paul Brookes

        from source:
        http://www.forbes.com/sites/billfrezza/2013/01/09/a-barrage-of-legal-threats-shuts-down-whistleblower-site-science-fraud/

        @ Ivan. Could this be worth an updated post on RW?

        Hans Müller

        January 9, 2013 at 2:49 pm

      • Maybe Dr Brookes would be elligible to seek the assistance of the international foundation named “Scholars at Risk”? http://scholarsatrisk.nyu.edu/

        They seem quite helpful, and they are dedicated to provide freedom of speech to academics worldwide. I think this organisation is of the interest of many readers here.

        Fox

        January 10, 2013 at 12:37 pm

        • Thats a superb suggestion Fox.

          But lets all do it, rather than just Brookes…he cant handle the pressure of all the science-fraud by himself…..though he will no doubt give it a go :)

          I guess thats why most of us are determined to out any science-fradusters – with evidence and facts – and it is good to know there is help out there for honest scientists of integrity.

          The defence used by the alleged fraudsters from Science-fraud was to email they guys bosses – it is for others to decide whether this was the actions of bullies and cowards.

          Some may interpret that as attempted intimidation and bullying.

          We should never submit to bullies.

          Stewart

          January 17, 2013 at 4:12 pm

      • For some open access journals, that is already available. However, nobody seems to comments on the papers after they are published. Certainly, authors do not respond to the few comments that are posted.

        Average PI

        January 12, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    • I know my entry is going to ruffle alot of feathers, but I see something really wrong with this whole “Anonymous” movement. Why should we, honest scientists, always have to live in the shadows of the fraudsters? It seems like everyone on this blog is either afraid of retaliation from the fraudsters or from lawyers! It’s insane to sit back and read the comments on this blog. Basically, the way I see it is that you are trying to tackle fraud in the US, the UK, possibly even Australia, where there are strong legal systems and where associations like ROI can provide some sort of robust support. But what about the other 190+ countries around the world? This is one of the the true serious problems. How can fraud be reigned in there? You see, try to imagine you find a fraudulent paper in a tier-1 journal like PNAS, or even an OA journal like PLoS One. OK, kudos for ridding the devil there. But please take a look at one of these two sites at the end of my blog post and tell me, how do we deal with this plague? Basically, these OA journals allow anything and everything to be published. Indeed, most tier-1 journal authors will not likely reference these papers, but the “middle class” of science, which is that big fat, bulky 75%+ of scientists, will likely reference this type of article in their paper, simply because a Yahoo or Google search would reveal a hit. This “middle class” basically is suporting the fraud on a daily basis by referencing fraudulent papers which can lend up even in tier-1 journals. So, while you are after the fraudsters in the creme-de-la-creme of the acadmis society, which I agree also needs to be caught, exposed and removed, the greatest plague lies in 190+ countries… an almost return to pharaoic biblical times… Examples include:
      http://www.aensiweb.com/journals.html (some journals indexed by Thomson Reuters + Scopus) e.g.:
      http://www.aensiweb.com/aeb/2012/2590-2596.pdf (tell me, how can this trash be supported by Elsevier + Thomson Reuters?)
      Another one: http://www.mehtapress.com/journals/journals-by-alphabetically.html
      What I am basically trying to say is that while you are fighting the thick cream on the milk, a deeply corrupt under-froth is developing, a brian child of Soros…

      Robin Hood

      January 10, 2013 at 1:26 pm

      • Robin Hood

        The reason why whistleblowers should always remain anonymous was demonstrated by the miscreants who emailed Fraudsters employers.

        Imagine you are a senior academic, lets say, in cancer research, and you accuse someone in your department of science-fraud. What is your next move?

        If you do it officially – you know there would be a real problem with your Dean – he’d come down on you like a tonne of bricks if he found out. And the fraudster – perhaps.

        Lets say you accused a head of dept of allowing the fraud – you’d be finished. You know that, and you’re not dumb. You would pick your target – regardless the likelyhood is that you would indeed be finished.

        Lets say you accused a junior lab mamber of the fraud. You may want the head of dept/School on your side – a sure way to ruin someones career, but also risking your own. And possibly staining the head of dept reputation too – something you will not be thanked for.

        So, accusing is not the same as proving fraud – that we agree. It is risky either way.

        But…and this is where anonymity is VERY important – if you accuse someone, with EVIDENCE – of science fraud – then you have a case – if not, then it is harrassment and bullying.

        We are not suggesting anyone harrasses anyone – just demonstrates science fraud.

        Doing it anonymously protects you, and will quickly let any investigation quash accusations without evidence.

        All accusations of science-fraud MUST be EVIDENCE-based.

        Stewart

        January 10, 2013 at 4:04 pm

      • Whistleblowers in the United States of America are rarely sufficiently protected by enforcement of laws. For example, check what happened to a whistleblower who exposed the fraudster Lingxun Duan at Jefferson.

        Whistleblowers in the United Kingdom also become victims: examples include people who whistleblew against Richard Eastell, as already mentioned on this blog.

        Australia is also not a paradise for whistleblowers. For example: “Evidence of scientific fraud presented to NSW court”
        http://WWW.ABC.net.au/pm/content/2003/s876639.htm

        Tripe was published in “The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America” (and retracted) before open-access journals exitsed, for example:

        http://WWW.Albany.edu/~scifraud/scilog/scilog96_page5.html

        As for baloney from the then President of the National Academy of Sciences, read a book by Nicholas Wade and Bill Broad called “Betrayers of the Truth”.

        Paul Colin de Gloucester

        January 11, 2013 at 2:47 pm

      • I agree. Last year I and two other reviewers rejected a crappy paper in a second-tier journal. Eight months later the same crappy paper was published in a third-tier journal. I am now reviewing another crappy paper for a third-tier journal. Are there any criteria for rejecting papers these days??

        Rosie

        January 13, 2013 at 10:15 am

        • Are second and third tier Journals defined somewhere? For instance is JBC 2nd or 3rd tier?

          Toby

          January 15, 2013 at 11:44 am

          • A first-tier journal is a journal in which I publish. A second-tier journal is a journal in which my competitor publishes. It holds true even if both my competitor and I publish in the same journal.

            chirality

            January 15, 2013 at 12:02 pm

      • Rosie, I’m not sure I follow the connection…

        Average PI

        January 13, 2013 at 11:11 am

  73. There’s an article about SF and Paul Brookes in the current issue of Science:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/339/6116/132.full

    visitor

    January 11, 2013 at 1:30 am

  74. Average PI wrote “For some open access journals, that is already available. However, nobody seems to comments on the papers after they are published. Certainly, authors do not respond to the few comments that are posted.”

    Are you suggesting a technician or a postdoc in a lab should log into their account, with full identifiable details, and mention that there may have been fraud committed in that study?

    They would get dismissed, fired…..alomost immediately.

    Stewart

    January 13, 2013 at 5:56 am

  75. I am not of the scientific community, but I did read the blog and there were several times that the science-fraud blog had made errors in their fraud claims, and then didn’t remove the posts that made the claims of fraud. This is completely irresponsible, at best. I know some of you don’t want to remember this, but the one that comes to mind (sorry can’t link it -it’s been removed) is the allegation that someone used a photo of a bird’s nest in a field twice and this was fraud of research. They posted this allegation BEFORE reaching out to the alleged offender/researcher and then waited for their reply on the allegations with the fraud charges sitting online for the world to read. When the allegations were proven false, the blog with the allegations remained up–and in a tiny section of comments the corrected data and proof of the veracity of research was hidden in fine print. This made both the site and the alleged fraudster look bad. It made the site look bad because it was obviously irresponsible to keep it up and not to have sought out clarification before making accusations. It made the researcher look bad, because you had to read the fine print to know this had been determined to be a false accusation.

    You all seem to think everyone will ignore you if you don’t scream it at the top of your lungs on the world wide web, but isn’t research about proving points in science? Each study deliberates -supports or disproves previous research. That is at the core of research methodology. Science requires deliberation over and over and over- to support research. There have been many times research has disproven previous findings in research-and yet, no one yelled fraud-they used peer reviewed study to prove their truth-that is the method of Science. Science is always seeking truth-and truth is meant to be proven over and over.

    kc

    February 12, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    • Can you give a link to the data in question?

      The problem about reaching out is simple: it is almost always ignored.

      The site was open to ALL to comment, some authors did so, others did not. The site wasnt screaming, it was showing, clearly, labelled with big red arrows, for all to see “irregularities”.

      I can assure you, there is alot more to come – some really, really big names.

      The site, and its contributors, showed blatant potential science-fraud on an unprecedented scale, involving hundreds of millions of dollars of research grants.

      Lets all hope RW survives the recent attack on its freedom of speech for all the great work it does.

      Stewart

      February 12, 2013 at 5:26 pm

  76. kc February 12, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    If some piece of science, or anything, is true, it will stand the test of scruntiny. No tests are 100 percent.

    “Science is always seeking truth-and truth is meant to be proven over and over.” Let’s not claim science.

    I was always brought up with the notion that scientists do not “prove their truth”, but disprove what is not true.

    In some subjects like physics (for the brainy ones) one good counter example can mean sudden death to an earlier idea. It does not have to “be proven over and over” simply find a good counter example.

    fernando pessoa

    February 12, 2013 at 6:10 pm


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