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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

DMCA notice forces removal of post critical of author who threatened to sue Retraction Watch

with 97 comments

A blog post at another site that picked up on our coverage of Benjamin Jacob Hayempour, the researcher who has two retractions and has threatened to sue us, has been removed following a Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice.

As Andrew Oh-Willkie, the blogger, writes in an account of the incident:

On December 14, 2013, I wrote a post at this blog entitled “Graduate Student Benjamin Hayempour Shows Pattern Of Plagiarism.” This post identified eight different papers written by Hayempour, by citation, that contained strong evidence of plagiarism with a link to my source at Retraction Watch that analyzed this instances of alleged plagiarism which provided a factual basis for my own post. I also identified other facts about this case that corroborated my conclusion, such as his dealings with journals that have a poor reputation (supported by another link to a third party. And, of course, I included my own analysis of the situation. Later, I posted a comment to my own blog post identifying a post at a different blog, Neuroskeptic, that analyzed a ninth instance of alleged plagiarism by Hayempour.

Hayempour alleged in emails that the post had defamed him, although the Oh-Willkie said he found these arguments “unconvincing.” It’s unclear, as the blogger notes, who sent the DMCA notice, but he writes that it was “no doubt filed by Hayempour or someone acting on his behalf.” Retraction Watch readers will recall that Hayempour threatened to sue us for even reporting about the case.

As Oh-Willkie writes of the removed post in a comment on Retraction Watch:

I have filed a counterclaim to have it reinstated, as my own post does not contain any copyrighted material (not even allegedly plagiarized passages), and instead merely contains citations to journal articles of his allegedly containing plagiarized material and a link to comments to an internet post at Retraction Watch where the analysis showing that those journal articles contained plagiarized materials upon which I relied in condemning him were located. Of course, even if it did contain the allegedly plagiarized material as this post does, it would still be protected by the fair use exception in federal copyright law.

His filing of the DMCA takedown notice, of course, is entirely improper, as the only permissible basis for filing one is a copyright violation (and in any case, copyright violation was the basis upon which he relied when filing it). He had to make a knowingly false statement to file it, as he was well aware that my post contained no copyrighted material. His allegations that he has been defamed, as he has claimed in e-mails to me (which I considered informed by my knowledge of the field as a lawyer and found to be baseless), are not a basis for a DMCA takedown notice.

As Retraction Watch readers know, we had our own experience with false DMCA takedown notices a year ago, of posts involving Anil Potti. Those were reinstated, but prompted us to join with WordPress to file suit against the person who filed the notices.

Hayempour also appears to have had his name changed on a paper that appears in Journal of Nuclear Medicine & Therapy, a journal he edits. The original version lists him as Benjamin Jacob Hayempour, but the current version lists him as Ayden Jacob. Similar changes have occurred at his personal website, where the “About BJH” page is about “Ayden Jacob.”

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Written by Ivan Oransky

February 1, 2014 at 12:06 pm

97 Responses

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  1. It is easy to understand that Hayempour changed his name; the old one was really a bit worn-out. But he has a fateful inclination to make things worse for himself whenever he expresses himself about his tight spot. Normally one would call such thing tragic, but in his case it is more like comical. Andrew Oh-Willkie had a good tip for him in a comment: “When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging!” This case, with all its ongoing installments, for me is already the funniest post that Retraction Watch has carried to date.

    Rolf Degen

    February 1, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    • Shortly after my post about Hayempour went up, he emailed me and we entered into a discussion. Amongst other things, he asked my advice about AOW’s post.

      My advice was that (as in all such cases) he should ignore it completely – this being the best way to avoid attracting attention to it.

      He chose to not take the advice – I fear he will regret this.

      nskeptic

      February 1, 2014 at 1:18 pm

      • nskeptic: any word yet from Trends in Pharmacological Sciences yet re. permission for BJH to borrow that figure?

        Kenrod

        February 1, 2014 at 2:06 pm

        • There have been a number of emails but so far it seems that neither the authors nor the TIPS staff know the answer. Such permissions are, it seems, granted by a separate licensing department at the publisher; they have yet to reply.

          nskeptic

          February 1, 2014 at 3:29 pm

  2. When the trapped are caught in the shadows of their own lies, the first instinct is to attack the light that has exposed them. That’s why we must band together to fight these idea thieves in the light of day and not on the grounds of their dark desires.

    David Boles

    February 1, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    • Great first line, David, almost Shakespeare-like. But in this special case, I would miss the guy if he should drop out. We need him for the entertainment value. Remember how he extenuated his latest retraction: “In the pursuit of excellent science, I personally withdrew the article temporarily in order to add an extra section which will make the paper more clinically relevant.” How pathetic. As a matter of fact, the paper had been retracted “because it was published without the consent of the study’s Principal Investigator.”

      Rolf Degen

      February 1, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      • I agree the entertainment value is great — for us! — but I am also concerned about the rest of the uneducated world who believe everything they read and for those who live in constant fear of the DMCA takedown notice.

        Someone needs to vigilantly protect the proof of properly researched scholarly work.

        David Boles

        February 1, 2014 at 2:05 pm

        • Article well taken, bravo, Ivan!! No one should be allowed to double the chilling violation of plagiarism of other ignominious, intentional violations, by being allowed to abuse the process reserved for curing true innocent victims. Protective processes and protections themselves should not be allowed to become prey by the same predatory actors trying to sanitize their predation. Protective process is to be a shield, not an additional sword, of the nefarious predator.
          Reminds me of a movie where a evil political candidate, upon being exposed and threatened with shooting, interposed a baby he’d previously been kissing between himself and the shooter threatening him.
          And speaking of attacking the light, refer the good Dr. Ayden Jacob nee Benjamin Jacob Hayempour to read 1 John 1:5-7

          tom elder

          February 1, 2014 at 8:25 pm

  3. These developments are taking a very disturbing and twisted turn. Hayempours attempts to go back and repair his situation by revising his internet presence with a new name/pseudonym are especially weird, dare I say creepy. Search “Ayden Jacob” and many of the hits, even the images shown, are BHJ! And his attempts to reauthor (not a word, but what do you call it when you change your name in a published paper like he did?) are not even very well done – for example, while he changed his name under the authorship of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Therapy paper, the corresponding author email address still shows it as benjamin.hayempour@oncology.ox.ac.uk.
    According to the following and a few other sources it appears that BJM/AJ is now in the U of California Berkeley/San Francisco Master of Translational Medicine program: http://ctsi.ucsf.edu/sites/default/files/attachments/MTM%20student%20biosketches%202013-14.pdf
    I’d like to suggest that fellow RW readers report what is going on to the UC Office of Ethics & Compliance. The UCSF website is compliance.ucsf.edu. The contact there is Dr. Elizabeth A. Boyd, Associate Vice Chancellor, Ethics and Compliance, elizabetha.boyd@ucsf.edu. I wrote to Dr. Boyd about two weeks ago, albeit anonymously, and have not yet received a reply. Given the recent name change development I will likely write to Dr. Boyd again this weekend. Perhaps with enough reports Dr, Boyd will respond and/or take action. According her office’s website “Quality research requires adherence to the highest standards of integrity in proposing, conducting and reporting research.” If he is in their program I think they need to know about all this before he acts again and pulls the UC system into it.

    Kenrod

    February 1, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    • Ayden Jacob – as in “Ayden’t know what you’re talking about, my name is not Benjamin Hayempour, honest.”

      nskeptic

      February 1, 2014 at 3:26 pm

      • This contribution from today’s The Onion seems to have been written directly to our friend: http://www.theonion.com/articles/report-today-the-day-they-find-out-youre-a-fraud,35133/

        Kenrod

        February 1, 2014 at 3:49 pm

      • This paper where he has used his journal editor access rights to change his own name on the PDF, also has a key author now removed ! Andrew Newberg, M.D.(Professor of Emergency Medicine and Radiology, Director of Research, Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University and Hospital) was on the original paper but now not on the PDF, I wonder if he knows this.

        The Watcher

        February 2, 2014 at 10:39 am

    • So, he’s a student….? At Berkeley…? Hmmm. Says a bit about the program quality of this “Master of Translational Medicine” degree.

      We get a lot of kids coming through the Duke lab interviewing for the PhD program. They usually leave terrified. Esp the kids from the more …. vaunted USA college science undergraduate programs. (The Director is a mid-career Italian physicist. He’s very …. expressive. And refreshingly direct.)

      Allison (@DrStelling)

      February 1, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    • If you were a director in a program, would YOU respond in a forever-email document to an anonymous writer containing troubling details, at that point only alleged, about one of my students, who might then claim to have been damaged? So don’t hold your breath on receiving a response without yourself first providing them a more definitive identify.
      I wonder if in future he will do work that cites himself in his other name(s)? And then, if he has to retract, will he have to file takedown notices against other publications that publish him?

      tom elder

      February 1, 2014 at 8:43 pm

      • Tom – please do not misunderstand me. I actually did not expect a reply, for exactly the reasons that you indicate. However, if more RW readers also write to Dr. Boyd, and if some of them use their real names, then perhaps that will be helpful. The next time I write I will offer to provide my real name if promised confidentiality in return.

        Ken

        February 1, 2014 at 9:48 pm

      • Dr. Boyd responded to my email. She stated that UCSF takes these matters seriously and that they will consider the present situation according to their procedures and processes. My initial email to her was right after the ‘Cureus’ article here at Retraction Watch and before this latest Feb 1 RW post. I replied with a thank you to her and took that opportunity to tell her that there were more recent developments that she and her staff should be aware of and provided her with a link to this Feb 1 post.

        Kenrod

        February 8, 2014 at 11:00 am

  4. Guys, I really find tho while situation amazing. There has been another fella from my country I have seen who had this capacity of attracting even more sh…I mean, attention… to himself in every attempt to remedy his situation. Some people really don’t know when to just zip it and wait until the storm is gone… I usually find them quite amusing!

    Hope anyone has kept a copy or image of the original post and comments?

    CR

    February 1, 2014 at 4:43 pm

  5. Wow…it seems to me like BJH/AJ should probably retract everything he’s written. Then take a class or two in research ethics, study under a legitimate mentor and work to produce some actual science.

    Heck he’s only in his mid-20s. If he would cut ties with all the pay-to-publish journals and actually put effort into his studies and research, rather than cutting corners, he might actually be able to establish himself as a real scientist. At this rate, the scientific community will never take this guy seriously.

    Not-so-fast-willy

    February 1, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    • NSFW,

      That’s good advice. There are ethics rehabilitation courses as well.

      Legitimate mentoring seems to have been a failing.

      Effort, no cutting corners, becoming established as a real scientist is a commitment few are willing to undertake.

      I’m reminded of a quote from the great Alan Moore, “Justice is coming to all of us…”

      If you don’t put in the effort and insist on cutting corners, you NEVER will become established as a real scientist. Inflating your accomplishments, taking credit for the work of others, plagiarism can only get you so far and can last only so long. Justice is indeed coming — more true than ever in the RW, PubPeer etc. era…

      rfg

      February 2, 2014 at 9:26 am

    • I am afraid this case seems quite solidly beyond hope…

      CR

      February 2, 2014 at 2:33 pm

  6. Has anybody with good medical knowledge compared his various flavors of resume, most/all of which have been mentioned here, but to collkect them:
    1) Benjamon Jacob Hayempour:
    At Oxford
    2) Benjamon Jacob Hayempour:
    UC Berkeley/UCSF
    2) Ayden Jacob
    OMICS
    ‘first degree at the Mayanot Institute of Jerusalem in Biological Ethics and Medical Law with the department’s highest honors.Ayden has also spread his expertise in the biomedical field to various countries in the Middle East and Africa, where he built clinics in rural areas for the diagnoses and treatment of malaria and HIV.’
    3) BJH, AJ:
    own website.
    That one says “Mayanot Institute of Jerusalem: Bioethics and Theology”
    That actually is
    Mayanot Institute of Jewish Studies.

    John Mashey

    February 2, 2014 at 12:48 pm

  7. Dear RW Community,

    On 12/14/13 BJH/AJ posted the following quote on this blog:
    “I have taken all the papers to higher boards and the mistakes which need to be made are being made; primarily, the ones which should have quotations.”

    Today I have chronical his progress in every publication that I can find with his name:

    1)Neuroradiological advances detect abnormal neuroanatomy underlying neuropsychological impairments: the power of PET imaging. Hayempour BJ, Alavi A. Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2013
    Springer: Retracted for similarity to previous publication. No NIH funding listed.

    2) Novel Determinants of Tumour Radiosensitivity Post Large Scale Compound Library. Hayempour BJ, AlMana AA, Patel AS. 2014.
    CUREUS: Removed due to sensitive data that the authors did not hold ownership of.
    NIH Funding Unknown (I don’t have the manuscript).

    3) The role of neuroimaging in assessing neuropsychological deficits following traumatic brain injury.
    Hayempour BJ, Rushing SE, Alavi A. J Psychiatry Law. 2011
    Federal Legal Publishing: I am e-mailing editor in chief Drogin and Associate editor Foubister today.
    see: https://pubpeer.com/publications/23729914
    NIH Funding Unknown (I don’t have the manuscript).

    The rest of the papers are OMICS. Some have been republished with different names; however, none of the updates have been submitted to pubmed properly.

    4) Brain Disorders: Evaluation by Radiological Techniques and Nuclear Medicine of the Primitive Major Neuropsychiatric Disorders. Hayempour BJ, Cohen S, Newberg A. J Alzheimers Dis Parkinsonism. 2013
    Supported by: “This article has been supported by NIH Code grant number S10 RR020976″

    The author list was changed to: Benjamin Jacob Hayempour, Sharon Cohen, Sheena Malik and Anand S. Patel and support changed to: This article has been supported by National Institutes of Health – NATIONAL
    INSTITUTE OF BIOMEDICAL IMAGING AND BIOENGINEERING Grant #: 5T32EB001631.”

    Text was changed from:

    “PET isotopes undergo radioactive decay via a process known as positron emission or positive beta decay. During this decay a positron and a neutrino are emitted from the radiotracer. The emitted positron travels through the tissue, until it collides with a random electron and both are annihilated.”

    to

    “PET isotopes undergo radioactive decay via a process known as positron emission or positive beta decay. During…”

    Which is still very close to the uncited work:

    “PET isotopes undergo radioactive decay via a process known as positron emission or positive beta decay. During this decay a positron and a neutrino are emitted from the radiotracer. The emitted positron travels through the tissue, until it collides with a random electron and both are annihilated (Figure 1.2).”

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/24040576

    5) The Controversy of Conventional Psychiatric Diagnostics. Hayempour BJ, Newberg A. J Neurol Disord. 2013.
    New title: Limitations of Clinical Psychiatric Diagnostic Measurements
    New Authors: Jacob A
    Problems: https://pubpeer.com/publications/23946936
    Alleged plagiarism not corrected in the “new” version.

    6) Biomedical Imaging Instrumentation and Design in Neurological Disorder Data Acquisition. Hayempour BJ, Nourafchan L, Newberg A. J Nucl Med Radiat Ther. 2013
    NIH Support: This work was supported by NIH grant S10 RR020976.
    New title: Radiological Engineering in Brain Dysfunction Imaging Processes and
    Neuro Informatics
    New Authors: Ayden Jacob and Lorenzo Nourafchan
    NIH Support: None listed in new version.
    https://pubpeer.com/publications/23946893
    https://pubpeer.com/publications/60AB99AABC6D0887FC7DC82E514670
    Cited paragraphs unchanged, at least the ones mentioned in the first pubpeer link.

    7) Neuromolecular Imaging Instrumentation Demonstrating Dysfunctional Brain Function in Schizophrenic Patients. Hayempour BJ, Newberg A, Alavi A.
    NIH Funding Code: S10RR020976
    Cited by: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3838957/
    Problems: https://pubpeer.com/publications/23914316
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/2013/12/13/legal-threats-backfire/#.Uu6glfldU5c

    Changes have been made to the manuscript; however, it has not been marked as corrected and the original remains in pubmed.

    8) Psychosurgery: Treating Neurobiological Disorders with Neurosurgical Intervention.
    Hayempour BJ. J Neurol Disord. 2013
    New Title: Neuronal anatomy, circuity and physiology targeted in the treatment of psychiatric disease via surgical intervention.
    New Author: Jacob A
    Problems: https://pubpeer.com/publications/23885346 are unaddressed in the new version.

    9) Clinical Medical Physics Methods in Radiotherapeutic Cancer Treatments. Hayempour BJ, Scott JG.
    J Neurol Disord. 2013.
    Funding: This work was supported in part by NIH 1 U54 CA143970-01S and the NIH Extramural Loan Repayment Grant.
    New Title: Translational Medical Physics in Cancer Treatment: Mechanisms of
    Radiation Science Therapeutics
    New Authors: Jacob A, Scott JG
    Problems: https://pubpeer.com/publications/23761864
    Solutions: Passages were edited to add “Hall et al. state” or “explain” without adding quotations as would be appropriate for almost word for word quoted material or correcting the record in pubmed.

    10) Should Antidepressants be our Choice of Treatment? Benjamin Jacob Hayempour and Andrew B Newberg.
    NIH Funding: This article is supported by the NIH grant no- S10 RR020976.
    Not indexed on pubmed or pubpeer. Available here:
    http://www.omicsgroup.org/journals/2327-4972/pdfdownload.php?download=2327-4972-2-e106.pdf&&aid=15498
    Problems (a recap from the comments found here: http://retractionwatch.com/2013/12/04/retraction-prompts-letter-of-explanation-by-co-author-and-a-legal-threat-against-retraction-watch/ ):
    This article is supported by the NIH grant no- S10 RR020976.
    “Antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants, work by slowing or blocking the presynaptic neuron from taking back the released serotonin. As a result, more of this chemical is available in the synapse and the more likely the message is received, thereby reducing depression.”

    Compares to a passage found online and published earlier:
    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20101127213057AA31iGC

    “Antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, and tricyclic antidepressants, work by slowing or blocking the sending neuron from taking back the released serotonin. In that way, more of this chemical is available in the synapse. The more of this neurotransmitter that is available, the more likely the message is received, and depression is reduced.”

    BJH disputes his authorship of this manuscript claiming that “I never wrote that paper and I never published that paper.”

    This is my best summary of corrections and changes that have occurred thus far. It is especially troubling that for the papers that appeared to have drawn the least attention, rather than correcting them, BJH simply changed his name, removed some authors, added others and changed the title of the papers. I will now begin e-mailing this assessment to:
    The editors of the journals.
    His co-authors.
    The NIH.
    I urge others to do the same. Also, I have collected the PDFs of all of the papers (original version, PubMed version and updated) for all except the Cureus and the Federal Legal Publishing to ensure that a record exists.

    QAQ

    February 2, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    • Update: Alavi’s response to the retraction has been officially published.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24281822

      QAQ

      February 2, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    • One important question that this case begs:

      It appears that pubmed rules are being violated (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/about/guidelines/). However, there is no reasonable way for folks to report potential violations. This needs to change. The US government should not be publishing, and therefore giving some amount of implicit legitimacy/endorsement to, journals that republish articles with different authors and titles following (well founded) allegations of plagiarism.

      QAQ

      February 2, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    • UPDATE! Pubmed changes to authorship. Does this count as uber stealth corrections?
      A search of pubmed for Heyempour BJ reveals only 4 publications (two being the retraction and it’s notice… the cureus paper never made it to pubmed).

      However… several of the older papers have been switched in pubmed to having the new author lists (including the much more difficult to find Jacob A). I have not been able to check to see if the plagiarism has been corrected; however, the highly unethical behavior of adding and subtracting authors from mostly unchanged manuscripts has occurs.

      Here is one example that contains a notice of NIH funding.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3771659/pdf/nihms503702.pdf

      I alerted the NIH a few weeks ago, and they said they would look into this and once I check through the new versions, I’ll update them again.

      BUT! The most exciting change! Something that I thought not even Ayden Jacob would have the audacity to do:

      The author list on the J Psych Law (his only non-retracted, non-OMICS publication) has been updated, presumably via submission of a new manuscript by author through pubmed. Unfortunately, the journal is no longer in print… while the editor seemed amenable to investigating, it’s unclear how a retraction could come from a journal no longer in print. Funny that updates can magically appear.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3666182/

      This raises SERIOUS concerns about pubmed and means that literally ANYONE can post ANYTHING they want without ANY sort of notion of peer review… or even review of someone with an iota of common sense. There is no arXiv moderator… no means for people to report highly dubious behavior.

      QAQ

      February 21, 2014 at 11:47 am

  8. This situation is getting more and more bizarre, and appears to me to be evolving into more than just poor publishing ethics…

    Does anyone out there have a rational and reasonable explanation as to how someone can switch names like he is doing? The name changing goes beyond just publishing. For example, he is listed at two different sites regarding the UC Masters in Translational Medicine program under his two different names!

    Here he is BJH:
    ctsi.ucsf.edu/sites/default/files/attachments/MTM%20student%20biosketches%202013-14.pdf

    Here he is AJ:
    http://bioeng.berkeley.edu/mtm/mtm-student-experience

    How can he be enrolled in this program under two different names?

    Further, discussion on this subject seems to agree that he is about 26 years old. Yet (and as partially previously pointed out by others on this blog) he claims to have:

    completed his first degree from Mayanot Institute in Jerusalem,
    obtained a cum laude BS degree (2011?) from Yeshiva U.,
    had a research fellowship at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center,
    was a biomedical research scientist at NYU,
    built clinics (plural) in Africa and the Middle East,
    was a fellow at U. Pennsylvania,
    then was a Clarendon Scholar at Oxford,
    is now (2014) in the MTM program at UC-Berkeley/San Francisco,
    and has been showered with many awards.

    Is any of this believable, especially given his ‘publishing’ track record? Could the guy be a complete fraud and/or con man? As I said in a post re. BJH/AJ late last year – something smells pathological here.

    Kenrod

    February 2, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    • He has a PhD too as listed here Benjamin J. Hayempour, AA, BS, MSC, PhD

      see Clinical Associate Members of Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery
      http://snisonline.org/TopStories/exec/Welcome%20New%20SNIS%20Members

      The Watcher

      February 2, 2014 at 6:19 pm

      • oh and the bit where he was the founder and president of The Neuroscience Committee at Yeshiva University – seems a bit strange when the Yeshiva University doesn’t seem to have a Neuroscience Committee (other than on his own web pages) but does have a Neuroscience Society and the President and Founder is someone rather different. http://ycneuroscience.com/society-board/

        The Watcher

        February 2, 2014 at 6:27 pm

        • For such an immense achievement record at such a young age we in Germany have coined the right word:
          WUNDERKIND. And QAQ did right in saving the wunderkind’s papers. He will change or disappear that stuff more rapidly than you can say Gotcha!

          Rolf Degen

          February 3, 2014 at 1:37 am

          • Rolf, since we are both amazed by the entertainment aspect of it, and given the pathology behind this person (if exists at all!), I’m thinking of emailing David O Russel (American Hustle’ movie director) for a new idea for next year’s oscar.

            Arman Eshaghi

            February 5, 2014 at 8:10 am

            • Yes, that guy is ripe for the movies. It will be very exciting to see if the new persona continues to behave in the evil ways of the old persona.

              Rolf Degen

              February 5, 2014 at 8:25 am

        • I’ve emailed the YC Neuroscience Society (and CC’ed Ivan & Adam), telling them about the situation and asking for comment. We’ll see what the response is.

          Jesse Weinstein

          February 11, 2014 at 2:31 am

      • http://web.archive.org/web/20130326074450/http://www.snisonline.org/TopStories/exec/Welcome%20New%20SNIS%20Members — from March 26, 2013 shows (under “Clinical Associate Members”, between “Rebecca L. Evans” and “Martha A. Heath”):

        Benjamin J. Hayempour, AA, BS, MSC, PhD
        University of Oxford
        Oxford, United Kingdom

        The same page, now, https://web.archive.org/web/20140211065630/http://www.snisonline.org/TopStories/exec/Welcome%20New%20SNIS%20Members has (between the same two people):

        Ayden Jacob, AA, BSc, MSc
        UC San Francisco School of Medicine
        San Francisco, CA

        Facinating.

        Jesse Weinstein

        February 11, 2014 at 2:05 am

    • In the second link, “here he is AJ”, he is named as AJ but the filename of his photo is “ben-headshot”: http://bioeng.berkeley.edu/wp-content/uploads/Ben-headshot-2-cropped-733×1024.jpg
      Furthermore, there appears to be an earlier cached version of that page in which he’s named as Ben Jacob Hayempour – see here (formatting is lost but the text remains.)
      One can only conclude that BJH/AJ has been systematically requesting that his name is changed at all of the programs and journals he is mentioned on.

    • I suggest looking up “Albert Parker” and “Alberto Boretti”. Someone I know had an, uhm, interesting experience with these two people (or should I say “one people”?).

      At least Hayempour only changed his first name.

      Marco

      February 3, 2014 at 7:01 am

      • A bizarre episode: it started out with the claim that sea levels are not rising and got weirder from there… http://theconversation.com/peer-review-isnt-perfect-and-the-media-doesnt-always-help-11318

        • Oh wow, I didn’t even know that one. I was actually referring to Rob Nicholls experience
          http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1934/161.abstract/reply
          Note the two comments received on the original paper: one by Boretti and one by Parker.

          I just learned there was another such case with Parker and Boretti related to a paper by Christine Shepard in Natural Hazards.
          http://link.springer.com/journal/11069/65/1/page/3 (scroll down or search for the two names)

          Marco

          February 3, 2014 at 11:05 am

        • I’d forgotten the Boretti/Parker thing, but actually, in climate pseudoskeptic-land, this sort of thing is quite common, I am afraid, ranging from:
          a) Bad papers that get through peer review in good, relevant journal (relatively rare, I think)

          d) Bad papers that get published via a journal that should say “not for this journal” but fail to, and may otherwise be OK.

          c) Bad papers that get through generally weak review, allows an unchecked rogue editor who takes good care of their friends.

          e) Journal created as an outlet for weak material. Of course, it helps to create your own jourmnal and publish papers there, easier than it used to be.

          John Mashey

          February 3, 2014 at 6:35 pm

        • And more recently, we find a coauthor:

          ‘Mark Lawson, a veteran AFR journalist and self-described climate sceptic, distanced himself from the journal article today, saying he had contributed only a few lines and might not have even read the final article.’
          “I don’t think I actually saw the paper, to be honest,” Lawson said. “I think I contributed a paragraph … I was a bit surprised to see me listed as a joint author — my contribution was quite minimal. I’m a journalist, not a scientist.”

          Lawson, the author of A Guide To Climate Change Lunacy: bad forecasting, terrible solutions, was previously the AFR’s science writer and has written regularly on climate issues.’

          John Mashey

          February 11, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    • I’ve sent an email to Carrie Domagas, the contact person listed for the “Pathology Fellowship” at Cedars-Sinai, informing her of the situation and asking if she can verify his claims. I’ll post whatever response I get.
      http://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Patients/Programs-and-Services/Pathology-and-Laboratory-Medicine-/For-Medical-Education/Fellowship-Programs/Pathology-Fellowship-Application-Information.aspx

      Jesse Weinstein

      February 11, 2014 at 2:52 am

      • Good, keep at it, if there are any more,
        but no need to contact UCSF. They know.

        John Mashey

        February 11, 2014 at 1:14 pm

        • I received a reply from Prof. Kurpinski (the head of the MTM program attended by Jacob (or Hayempour)) stating that both UCSF and UC Berkley leadership are aware of and investigating the allegations. If I remember, I’ll try to remember to follow up with him in 6 months and see what, if any, progress has occured.

          Jesse Weinstein

          February 11, 2014 at 9:35 pm

      • Ms. Domagas confirmed that “He is not from Department of Pathology” and forwarded the message to their GME office (at GME.Web@cshs.org). 20 minutes later I got a response from one Elizabeth McGaughey, Manager, Graduate Medical Education, stating: “We will verify training only upon receipt of a signed release from the former resident/fellow.”

        Apparently the folks running CSHS do not wish to interfere with people falsely claiming to have been awarded fellowships from their institution (not to imply that Mr. Jacob (or Hayempour) is necessarily doing so). Baring Mr. Jacob (or Hayempour) providing such a release (which seems unlikely), I think this is a dead end.

        It’s good to know that there are apparently no consequences to pretending to have received training from Cedars-Sinai (not to imply that Mr. Jacob (or Hayempour) is necessarily doing so). We should all do so — let a million Cedars-Sinai fellowship awardees bloom!

        Jesse Weinstein

        February 11, 2014 at 9:23 pm

        • Apparently there is a difference of opinion regarding the matter, as I just now received an email from the Director of Cedars-Sinai’s Academic HR and International Services department, stating that neither “CSMC Graduate Medical Education Office, Pathology Services, nor Human Resources” have a record of Mr. Hayempour (or Ayden Jacob) being employed or receiving a fellowship from them.

          She also informed me that they do have a record of Mr. Hayempour *volunteering* (i.e. unpaid) at the hospital for over 200 hours during 2009-2010. Presumably that was what he was referring to when he said that he had been “awarded prestigious research fellowships at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in the departments of reproductive molecular genetics, neonatology, and neurosurgery”.

          I am grateful for the Director having taken the time to research this, and for letting me know what she found.

          Jesse Weinstein

          February 17, 2014 at 4:16 pm

  9. Look at this, this is must-see-TV: Benjamin Hayempour, alias Ayden Jacob, is interviewed for almost an hour at YouTube:

    This is his first step in the direction of big screen stardom. I wonder if the guy asking the questions knows whom he is talking to. Sure he had to do some research before the production.

    Rolf Degen

    February 6, 2014 at 9:13 am

    • Great find, Rolf, thanks!
      I watched a bit, although it was painful.
      01:30 Dr. Krishnan Chakravarthy says:
      Jacob is “at UCSF and Berkeley … enjoying California weather”

      03:00- Jacob appears, with subtitle:
      ‘Ayden Jacob, Neuroscientist
      Ayden Jacob | UCSF Radiology’

      Says “prior to joining UCSF Berkeley translational medicine” “at Oxford” “at U Pennsylvania”
      Says he’s new to nanomedicine…. which I can believe.

      I used to do due diligence for venture capitalists, and we’d hear hour-long pitches from entrepreneurs.
      Every once in a while, somebody would come in who would basically speak by stringing together sentences with lots of hot buzzwords and zero substance.

      But I only sampled this, so maybe I’m wrong, and maybe some domain expert can watch this and explain that this is a deep, expert discussion.

      Is anyone familiar with Internet.com, which apparently put this together?

      John Mashey

      February 6, 2014 at 7:01 pm

  10. You won’t believe it. Hayempour (meaning, his alter ego, Ayden Jacob) is again on Internet TV:

    http://dev.askimotv.com/pages/PlayVideo.aspx?vid=4339

    He is clearly working on his screen career.

    Rolf Degen

    February 7, 2014 at 4:48 am

    • Jolly: at top of screen, it says: Expert: Ayden Jacob
      Below ivdeo, it says
      Benjamin Jacob Hayempour

      John Mashey

      February 8, 2014 at 12:01 am

  11. http://www.advance-africa.com/Volunteer-Testimonials.html

    “After having completed medical internships across the United States and Israel,”
    “In our clinic, I managed over 500 patients in a month,”
    “I was honored to lead a team of medical students in the labor and delivery unit of the hospital, where we were solely responsible to deliver several babies over the course of the month, which is a priceless opportunity for learning, growth, maturity, and medical experience.”

    I sincerely hope that this isn’t real and that the words “managed” and “lead” and “soley responsible” are infact gross lies/exagerations, in that way that “completed medical internships” is. If infact, Mr. Jacobs/Heyempour is in fact misrepresenting himself as having completed medical internships or being a medical student in order to bolster his CV by practiing medicine in another country without any training… this story rises to a whole new level of horrendous and frankly, is no longer funny and amusing. Publishing plaigarised junk in OMICS journals is one thing… endengering the lives of folks in Africa is a whole different beast.

    qaq

    February 11, 2014 at 2:03 pm

  12. Ayden Jacob is everywhere, yet another: NanoAxis LLC.
    see Out Team.
    Anyone know any of these?

    John Mashey

    March 2, 2014 at 2:57 am

  13. Program tip for retraction watch fans. Get your popcorn ready!

    Rolf Degen

    March 5, 2014 at 3:52 am

  14. I don’t know why, but for some reason when I read this Onion article Mr./Dr./Hayempour/Jacob immediately came to mind.
    http://www.theonion.com/articles/new-doctors-without-licenses-program-provides-inco,35363/

    Kenrod

    March 5, 2014 at 10:57 am

  15. According to an update (posted in a comment dated March 12) from Andrew, Google has received his counter-notice, and will re-post the content by March 26, 2014 (assuming no lawsuit is filed).

    Also, Andrew says Hayempour (or Ayden Jacobs) claims not to have sent the DMCA takedown, for whatever that’s worth.

    Anon

    March 19, 2014 at 4:34 pm

  16. Hayempour (now going by Ayden Jacob) is *STILL APPARENTLY PLAGIARIZING*. I admit to being stunned, but there we go…

    Ayden’s new website contains the following two sentences:

    “Using patented nerve monitoring technology, the surgeon gains lateral (side) access to the spinal column, avoiding any major nerves in the area between the incision and the column. The XLIF procedure does not require an anterior (front) or posterior (back) exposure, and thereby does not present the same risks of vascular and/or neural injury as traditional approaches.”

    (from http://www.aydenjacobmedicine.com/orthopedic-surgery.html , archived here: http://archive.is/c0lYJ )

    They are copied, word-for-word, from http://www.nuvasive.com/patient-solutions/nuvasive-surgical-solutions/extreme-lateral-interbody-fusion/ (archived here: http://archive.is/6fiyx ).

    There is no citation, no quotation marks, not even a link to the site he stole from.

    He learned *nothing*.

    Anon

    March 19, 2014 at 5:26 pm

  17. Questionable image usage on Hayempour (aka Ayden Jacob)’s website:

    On the front page of his site ( http://archive.is/BY2Q2 ) there is an image with the caption “Innovate”, partway down the page. It appears to be identical to an image shown here:

    http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/gallery/secret-world-of-cells/attachment/41649/ (archived here: http://archive.is/OLOXl )

    CosmosMagazine.com appears to be a legitimate Australian science magazine, and the page makes no mention of the image being otherwise available for purchase.

    I was able to find a very similar (i.e. identical but for the colors) image available for purchase for hundreds of dollars from here: http://images.sciencesource.com/preview/14721949/SP8171.html but it seems like that is a red herring.

    If folks want to send off an email to the UCSF/Berkley administrators mentioned above with these more recent examples of Hayempour/Ayden Jacob’s misdeeds, that would probably be useful.

    Jesse Weinstein

    March 19, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    • And another one.

      The image directly next to the previously mentioned “Innovate” one is titled: “Collaborate”. It is taken from a CMU researcher, https://www.cmu.edu/homepage/health/2012/winter/bionic-eye.shtml (archived here http://archive.is/gDF1f ), presumably without permission or acknowledgement.

      Jesse Weinstein

      March 19, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    • Kind of funny…Mr. Jacob/Hayempour is the President and Executive Director of a medical ethics “academy(?)” (http://www.bioinnovationethics.com/board-members.html). I wonder how well a case report-based contribution/article to the website on the activities of Benjamin Jacob Hayempour would be received?

      DrDoo

      March 24, 2014 at 11:03 am

      • Nice catch. Archived here: http://archive.is/KhUBb (and on the Wayback Machine).

        The other “Board Members” are supposedly: “Lisa Lehmann”, “Scott L. Delp”, “George Woods”, & “Krishnan Chakravarthy”. It might be worth sending each of them a quick email confirming that they are aware of their position on this “board”, in case they were “appointed” without their knowledge.

        Also, identifying the origins of the images used in the slideshow on the main page could prove informative.

        It does appear to be created by the actual Hayempour/Ayden Jacob, or at least linked from what may be his actual twitter, here: https://twitter.com/AydenJacobMed/status/446229067440726016

        Jesse Weinstein

        March 24, 2014 at 12:20 pm

        • I’ve now emailed Lehmann & Delp with the following message. Woods & Chakravarthy are not actually prominent academics, so I’ll save them for later. We’ll see what, if any, response I get.

          ———-

          According to http://www.bioinnovationethics.com/board-members.html [1], you are a Board Member of Ayden Jacob’s newly-formed “Academy of Medical Ethics in Bio-Innovation”. Since Mr. Jacob (previously known as Benjamin Jacob Hayempour) has a documented [2] history of questionable use of other academics’ names and works, I wanted to confirm your awareness and consent to being listed as such a “Board Member”.

          Thanks for your time and attention,

          Jesse Weinstein

          [1] Archived copy of the list of Board Members, in case it has changed: http://web.archive.org/web/20140324160840/http://www.bioinnovationethics.com/board-members.html

          [2] Details on Mr. Jacob’s history of questionable academic conduct: http://retractionwatch.com/category/by-author/ayden-jacob/

          Jesse Weinstein

          March 25, 2014 at 3:31 am

          • FYI a few weeks ago I notified the National Merit Scholarship Corporation about this situation. Considering all of this guy’s antics his claim to being a National Merit Scholar is of course suspect. The NMSC would not provide me with information, understandably, but I provided the contact there with a summary of the situation and a lot of links including the claims to being a National Merit Scholar under both aliases. I also gave the NMSC the contact information for UCSF in case they have an interest or need in pursuing this further.

            Kenrod

            March 25, 2014 at 6:30 am

            • Thanks for doing that! It might be good to put together an EtherPad or some similar collaboratively editable document to neutrally summarize all the questionable conduct that has been discovered about Mr. Ayden/Hayempour. There is so much…

              Jesse Weinstein

              March 25, 2014 at 12:12 pm

                • Someone appears to be attempting to vandalize the etherpad, removing all the content there and leaving messages for “Jesse Weinstein”.

                  The pad keeps a history of all changes, and can be restored by using the https://etherpad.wikimedia.org/p/Ayden_Jacob_aka_Benjamin_Jacob_Hayempour/timeslider to go back to one of the revisions from a few days ago.

                  Anon

                  April 1, 2014 at 2:32 am

                  • Further comments fro whoever (presumably Ayden/Hayempour) who keeps removing content from the etherpad: “Mr. Weinstein, why don’t you have a civil conversation and stop hiding in cyberspace? I’ve tried reaching out to you several times to determine what it is you particularly want and who you are. What is there to hide? Do my twitter pictures scare you, sir?”

                    Strange way to leave comments.

                    Anon

                    April 1, 2014 at 7:38 pm

          • I have received a friendly reply back from Lehmann (which she CC’ed to Delp) in which she does confirm that Ayden/Hayempour got her permission, but that something seemed “off” about his pitch, and that she agreed while being completely unaware of his past. She asked if I had any suggestions about ways to alert medical schools he may apply to in the future about these issues. I’m not sure what to suggest, other than the careful documentation that we here in this comment thread have been already doing.

            Jesse Weinstein

            March 25, 2014 at 12:19 pm

            • I received a further reply from Lehmann, in which she claims that Ayden/Hayempour claims that he has been “cleared of any wrong doing by the UCSF Research Ethics Board”. I suggested she should confirm this with Kyle Kurpinski, the head of Ayden/Hayempour’s program at UCSF, and pointed out that, irrespective of any conclusions UCSF might reach, the facts remain quite clear, and troubling.

              Jesse Weinstein

              March 27, 2014 at 12:49 pm

              • As far as I know, there is no “UCSF Research Ethics Board” at least by that exact name.

                There is an Ethics Steering Committee and an Ethics Compliance Board.

                John Mashey

                March 27, 2014 at 3:20 pm

              • I have to be skeptical of anything coming from this guy. Even if the UCSF “Research Ethics Board ” (cf. John Mashey below) has investigated him, the most they could have done is to give him a pass or pardon, not “cleared him of wrong doing. He has already had two papers retracted, one for plagiarism and the other for misappropriation of someone else’s intellectual property – clearly ‘wrong doing’! I could go on with more, but the several hundred comments with findings about him here at RW should give Lehmann and anyone else significant cause for concern.
                Lehmann is at Harvard and is on this board, maybe the National Merit Scholarship Corporation will be willing to tell her whether or not Hayempour/Jacob is actually a National Merit Scholar or not (perhaps a trivial issue to some, but my daughter is working her tail off trying to achieve this recognition, and I get steamed when I think somebody may be getting away with claiming it when not actually earned – which he already has a track record of doing)

                Kenrod

                March 27, 2014 at 6:00 pm

              • I just received an email from Kurpinski, in which he said that Ayden/Hayempour had requested my contact info from him (Kurpinski). Kurpinski, quite reasonably, refused, but offered to send me Ayden’s email address (which is not actually private in any sense, considering how widely he has already shared it), in case I wished to get in contact with Ayden.

                I replied to Kurpinski, thanking him for not providing my email address, and confirming that I did not want him to do so, and stating that I had no intention or desire to have any private conversations with Ayden/Hayempour. If Ayden/Hayempour has anything they want to say to me, say it here, in public, where it can be verified.

                Jesse Weinstein

                March 31, 2014 at 9:25 pm

              • Lisa Lehmann is no longer listed as a member of the Board of Directors of the Academy of Medical Ethics in Bio-innovation.

                http://www.bioinnovationethics.com/board-members.html

                DrDoo

                April 1, 2014 at 11:22 am

                • Anyone contacted the others?

                  • Archive of the new makeup of the Board: http://archive.is/GC3tJ

                    I contacted Delp (as mentioned), and have not heard anything back. I intentionally decided not to contact Chakravarthy, as he is clearly a friend of Ayden/Hayempour’s, and presumably aware of his past actions. I also did not contact Woods, as I was unable to find an academic email address for him.

                    I would certainly encourage others to contact any of them, and report on what if anything they hear.

                    Jesse Weinstein

                    April 1, 2014 at 11:59 am

    • And another one. The background for his twitter feed ( https://twitter.com/AydenJacobMed ; archive: http://archive.is/2eN4u ) is very clearly a cut-down version of this image: http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/the-new-invertertube-from-carl-zeiss-effectively-reduces-news-photo/55940873 which is only available for editorial use (i.e. not as the background for someone’s twitter).

      Jesse Weinstein

      March 28, 2014 at 2:44 am

  18. I am done with the subject of Ayden Jacobs and his work. I have not posted anything on the subject since April 1st (the replies on the Etherpad were not written by me). I have nothing further to say on the subject, and will not be posting or discussing anything further about or with Mr. Jacobs either here or anywhere else. He seems to think I am harassing him. I hope this will make it clear that, going forward at least, I will be doing no such thing (or anything else involving him).

    Jesse Weinstein

    April 11, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    • I have been informed that Ayden Jacob would like my comments to be removed from this post. I have no objection to this removal, however the decision is that of the site-owners, Ivan & Adam, not mine.

      Jesse Weinstein

      April 13, 2014 at 7:39 pm


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