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Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

“I am not a monster and I am not unreasonable:” Student attacks professor with axe after grant is cut

with 85 comments

coimbraA physics graduate student at the University of Coimbra in Portugal attacked a professor with an axe earlier this month after losing a grant.

The student, Colin Paul Gloster, attacked physics lecturer Maria Filomena Santos, who according to the Irish Mirror will “require reconstructive surgery as the axe cut very close to the tendons.”

Speaking of the Irish Mirror story, Gloster tells Retraction Watch that “the main point that I axed someone is true.” But, he adds:

I am not a monster and I am not unreasonable.

According to the Irish Mirror:

In one of his online postings, Colin claims that he applied for a first grant that year but he failed to obtain it.

He said that he paid over €3,000 in fees and was left penniless until a lawyer helped him get another, second scholarship from the Fundation for Science and Technology.

However, the physicist claims he was forced to drop out of his Phd in 2013 when this grant was cut and he could no longer afford to remain a student.

Mr Gloster wrote that the payments stopped the same year a doctor at the University Hospital of Coimbra diagnosed him with paranoid schizophrenia.

He has repeatedly contested this diagnosis online.

A witness said that Colin was extremely agitated on Monday morning and threatened an employee of the university.

According to an onlooker, the Irishman was ranting about his scholarship and was clearly very upset about the grant being cut.

Around 3pm and 4pm, the attacker walked to the fourth floor of the Department of Physics and attacked Ms Santos in her office with an axe he had hidden in his clothing.

Gloster said the news story includes “many false facts,” including that he paid far more than  €3,000 in fees, that the second scholarship was actually one from before he came to Coimbra that was cut off because he criticized a professor at another university, and that the University of Coimbra is “not a university.” Gloster also said he “did not have schizophrenia,” referring to a file of his medical records that he posted online.

According to a report in Nature:

Before the suspected attack on 4 August, the former student allegedly first entered the office of academic affairs and threatened staff with an axe. He is reported to have left before the police arrived, before later heading to the physics department.

The victim had no connection to Gloster’s cancelled grant, says the spokeswoman.

Gloster, who is active on a listserv devoted to science fraud, has left a number of comments on Retraction Watch unrelated to the incident over the past several months. We did not learn of the attack until this weekend, thanks to a comment left by another reader.

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Written by Ivan Oransky

August 25, 2014 at 2:21 pm

Posted in portugal

85 Responses

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  1. A good metaphor for the strong “publish or perish” and grant gaming motivations of many high profile
    “researchers”. However most do it with the pen as the “civilized” and less overt weapon.

    Ed Goodwin

    August 25, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    • My first court case (Proc. n.º 333/11.0BECBR) (

      http://Gloster.Anapnea.net/Evil_which_is_so-called_science/legal_topics/earliest_court_case/Elsa.htm

      ) over not being paid by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia) is still not completed (despite having been commenced many years ago and being about a doctoral scholarship which I applied for during 2008 and which I never received one cent of) after I won an appeal against the judges (namely Tiago Afonso Lopes de Miranda and Beatriz Cruz and Joaquim Cruzeiro). As explained by the ethical judges (namely José Veloso and Fernanda Brandão and Isabel Soeiro) of the appeal:
      “Acordam, em conferência, os Juízes da Secção de Contencioso Administrativo do Tribunal Central Administrativo Norte:

      [. . .]

      De Facto

      São os seguintes os factos considerados provados no acórdão recorrido:
      [. . .]
      15- Em qualquer das candidaturas o autor não tinha obtido o reconhecimento – nem o respectivo registo – do grau académico objecto do diploma mencionado supra no artigo 8, fosse por universidade, fosse por instituto politécnico Portugueses, fosse pela Direcção Geral do Ensino Superior.

      [. . .]

      DECISÃO
      Nestes termos, decidem, em conferência, os Juízes deste Tribunal Central o seguinte:
      – Conceder provimento ao recurso jurisdicional, anular o «ponto 15» da matéria de facto dada como provada no acórdão recorrido, e revogar este no que concerne ao julgamento de direito;
      – Ordenar que o TAF de Coimbra faculte às partes a prova da matéria de facto integrada no ponto factual agora anulado, e, atento o resultado dessa prova, profira de novo julgamento de direito, caso nada mais obste a tal.
      [. . .]
      Porto, 03.05.2013″

      An abridged version of this document is available from for example

      http://WWW.DGSI.Pt/jtcn.nsf/89d1c0288c2dd49c802575c8003279c7/f506d5949153a27c80257b6c004dc6c8?OpenDocument

      For an unabridged copy, request a copy from for example Sofia

      Colin Paul Gloster

      August 26, 2014 at 8:44 am

      • Ah, I forgot to finish this sentence:
        “For an unabridged copy, request a copy from for example Sofia “.

        For an unabridged copy, request a copy from for example Sofia Coelho or Elsa Vieira de Andrade Rodrigues.

        Colin Paul Gloster

        August 26, 2014 at 8:49 am

  2. Well, as longer PIs,senior scientists, non-tenure or tenure-track Professors will continue to consider the PhD “students” as slaves, this kind of accidents and dramas can happen more and more. No one should enter into a PhD program without having a 3-year grant paid in due form as a real wage and a health insurance (many PhD students don not visit physicians during their studies to save money … it’s a shame for our developed countries)!
    Even this accident is horrible, I will always take the side of the PhD students and post-docs, because they are considered as slaves by the Academic world.

    honestscientist

    August 25, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    • While your point is well taken I object to your repeated use of the word ‘accident’. There was nothing accidental about an attack with an AX. It is an ACT of madness.

      MH

      August 25, 2014 at 3:05 pm

      • I was talking in general.

        honestscientist

        August 25, 2014 at 3:06 pm

        • No you weren’t, you said: “Even this accident is horrible”. This one.

          • Dear Dr. Neuroskeptic,

            When may I expect a response to an email timestamped
            Date: Mon, 19 May 2014 11:05:02 -0400 (EDT)
            which I emailed for you?

            Yours sincerely,
            Colin Paul Gloster

            Colin Paul Gloster

            August 26, 2014 at 9:18 am

            • I also sent him an email once long ago and got no answer.

              CR

              August 29, 2014 at 12:22 pm

          • Yes, I was. By “accident” I didn’t want to say “accidentally” but rather “an unusual and remarkable event”, and take the word remarkable as a neutral word, neither positive nor negative.

            honestscientist

            August 26, 2014 at 10:05 am

      • I was not mentally ill. These people did not find that I was mentally ill:
        the psychologist Jennifer Gibson of Saint Patrick’s University Hospital; the psychiatrist or psychologist Dermot O’Keefe of Saint Patrick’s University Hospital; the psychiatrist or psychologist Anne Marie Murray of Saint Patrick’s University Hospital; the psychiatrist Paul Fearon of both Saint Patrick’s University Hospital and of Trinity College Dublin; James V. Lucey of Saint Patrick’s University Hospital; other employees of Saint Patrick’s University Hospital; the psychologist Marelise Spies (telephone: 00 353 85 729 1677) of both the practice
        Rita Honan, Ph.D. & Associates,
        7 Cope Street,
        Dublin 2,
        Republic of Ireland
        and of Trinity College Dublin; the psychologist Jacinta McComish (telephone: 00 353 872325602) of both the practice Rita Honan, Ph.D. & Associates and of Trinity College Dublin; and the psychologist Rita Honan (telephone:
        00 353 872272729) of both the practice Rita Honan, Ph.D. & Associates and of Trinity College Dublin; and the general-practitioner doctor Pat Watson (telephone: 00 353 8351355) whose address is
        Dr. Pat Watson,
        2 Deer Park,
        Ashbourne,
        Co Meath,
        Republic of Ireland.

        Despite many medical documents proving that I was healthy, Maria Filomena de Osório Pinto dos Santos Figueiredo utilized this lame excuse to supposedly justify not paying me: “you’ve been institutionalized because you were ill” (

        http://162.202.67.158/~gloster/Evil_which_is_so-called_science/whistleblowing_is_not_a_mental_illness/Excerpts_of_protocol_of_23rd_September_2013.htm

        ).

        Re quacks/fraudsters getting money by claiming that healthy people are mentally ill see for example
        @article{On_Being_Sane_in_Insane_Places__Science,
        author = {Rosenhan, D. L.},
        title = {{On Being Sane in Insane Places}},
        journal = {Science},
        volume = {179},
        number = {4070},
        pages = {250–258},
        year = {1973}
        }
        or a reprint such as
        @article{On_Being_Sane_in_Insane_Places__Springer,
        author = {Rosenhan, D. L.},
        title = {{On Being Sane in Insane Places}},
        journal = {Clinical Social Work Journal},
        volume = {2},
        number = {4},
        pages = {237–256},
        year = {1974}
        }

        Colin Paul Gloster

        August 26, 2014 at 9:10 am

        • ‘Despite many medical documents proving that I was healthy, Maria Filomena de Osório Pinto dos Santos Figueiredo utilized this lame excuse to supposedly justify not paying me: “you’ve been institutionalized because you were ill”’

          But that does not justify taking an axe to her! My impression thus far is that you are not grasping this concept, and that seems to me the strongest evidence that you in fact have a mental disorder.

          Further, I suspect that when each on your lengthy list of psychiatrists is informed of this incident and its aftermath, they may change their stance on your mental state.

          lar

          August 26, 2014 at 2:35 pm

          • At least some of the listed psychiatrists were from Ireland, where CPG has not been working/studying in the immediate preceding or subsequent time to this event. That would suggest that at some point in time, there was a concern, but what ever the concern was, it was episodic and not considered an ongoing psychiatric problem. That is not a clean bill of mental health. Clearly the stress of being booted from the program, plus possible issues with poor nutrition (notice how often he cites that he has less access to food) and general stress with other events not mentioned in these notices, has lead to a “break”. People without an underlying mental condition, even when denied a Ph.D. and when hungry, do not go an take an ax to former co-workers or supervisors. This holds true for professors who bring guns to faculty meetings after being denied tenure, or graduate students who go after committee members when they don’t get an award they thought they were due. It is a sign of mental illness.

            Schrisa

            August 26, 2014 at 9:22 pm

        • Actually, according to the documents you yourself have spread around, you have been diagnosed with ASD. For some, this colloquially means you are “mentally ill”.

          That document with the psychological assessment is required reading for those who want to understand why Colin attacked with an axe and has shown no remorse.

          Marco

          August 27, 2014 at 2:09 am

          • Marco claimed:
            “Actually, according to the documents you yourself have spread around, you have been diagnosed with ASD. For some, this colloquially means you are “mentally ill”.

            [. . .]”
            Being an autist is not being ill.

            Colin Paul Gloster

            August 27, 2014 at 6:28 am

            • I agree. Autism is not an illness.

              Akhlesh

              August 27, 2014 at 7:27 am

              • We can have a long and philosophical discussion about what an illness is, and I think we can agree on some specific examples as an “illness”, and we’ll likely disagree on a lot of others. Many mental disorders, such as ASD, are colloquially referred to as mental illness. You obviously disagree with that term. Fair enough.

                Marco

                August 27, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    • Still, Gloster was obviously mentally ill and needed help. Yet nobody was there to take him seriously and guide him to a therapy. This could only happen because PhD students are indeed cheap workforce and only their (real or perceived) performance counts.

      Leonid Schneider

      August 26, 2014 at 7:15 am

      • I was not mentally ill. I needed food. Police spent more money on food for one meal than I can afford to spend for an entire week. I need food.

        Colin Paul Gloster

        August 26, 2014 at 9:23 am

        • Dear Colin, attacking and injuring unarmed people with an axe is never a justifiable thing to do. Many of us were wronged by our superiors, yet we never resorted to violence and bodily harm. I strongly urge you to seek professional help or therapy, so such accidents never happen again.

          Leonid Schneider

          August 27, 2014 at 3:19 am

          • I agree with him: to ill, not a monster. Just will not show any regret / shame over having attacked someone with an axe (not now, not at the time, just heard the recordings of the event). I do not think therapy can of any help here.

            CR

            August 27, 2014 at 4:42 am

  3. Please, some concern for the state of the individual and his victim might be more appropriate than treating this tragic situation as gossip and a bit of a laugh. I’m very unsure that the events described are the right subject matter for RW, and that the post could be interpreted as sensationalizing a very unfortunate event (including the inner mental ones that led to this outcome). It seems to me utterly irrelevant where the unwell person has posted previously.

    Maureen O'Malley

    August 25, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    • I agree with MO’M above. This is not appropriate for RW. And, certainly, the news item is nothing to joke about.

      Yoso

      August 25, 2014 at 3:02 pm

      • As the “publishing gadfly” (RW-characterization) who brought the attention of this story to RW, I agree with Maureen and Yoso that this is a case that needs to consider the psychology very seriously. And the stress displayed by this individual, and the subsequent expression of his frustration, must not be taken lightly. In that sense, his frustration might actually be much wider than we know. I imagine that not only for PhD grants but also for research grants, there is a massive pressure, so when such excessive pressure exists, it could lead to borderline cases crossing that line (although more psychological assessment of Gloster would be required, I feel). Excessive pressure, now increased by the “threat” of retractions, is going to see a rise in the number of such cases, I believe.

        But I disagree with Maureen and Yoso about this story’s relevance. I think it has total relevance to retractions – senso lacto – and to science more broadly. In my Springer post, I alluded to the Foundation for Science and Technology as being that from a US institution, the FST. However, careful consideration makes me think that this might be wrong. It doesn’t make sense that a US agency would provide funding to an Irish citizen studying in Portugal. Is Foundation for Science and Technology perhaps referring to the Portuguese translation of FCT, or Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia? If so, this information needs to be clearly highlighted to avoid confusion. The FCT web-page can be found here (and maybe the FCT should also provide formal public commentary, too, as well as Coimbra University):
        http://www.fct.pt/ (Portuguese page)
        http://www.fct.pt/index.phtml.en (English page)
        Incidentally, no information exists on the FCT page on this story or on this individual (try entering Colin Paul Gloster into the search function).

        JATdS

        August 25, 2014 at 5:09 pm

        • Colin Paul Gloster is an abbreviation of Nicholas Collin Paul de Gloucester which is shown by for example

          http://WWW.FCT.Pt/apoios/unidades/consulta/vglobal_projecto?idProjecto=132935&idElemConcurso=7597

          Colin Paul Gloster

          August 26, 2014 at 9:31 am

          • Colin, why do you work with two names?

            I think most moderate scientists, even those with great issues and stress, would be quite disturbed with your comment you made below: “After Prof. Maria Filomena de Osório Pinto dos Santos Figueiredo refused to answer a question about unpaid social security from before I enrolled in Portugal, I axed her.” Your posts are very confusing and perhaps some clarity would be possible if you could answer the following questions, very frankly, without the RW readers having to jump to other sites and YouTube videos:
            a) Is Maria Filomena de Osório Pinto dos Santos Figueiredo the same as Maria Filomena Santos that FW refers to above? Is she a Ms. or a Prof? And is she your official PhD supervisor?
            b) Why are you not in jail as we speak? I imagine that in many countries, after someone attacks another individual with an axe, that they would be behind bars until a trial. I did notice somewhere that it was described that police are requesting you to report once a week to any police station. Perhaps you could elaborate on this issue and the legal trials that you are facing (PhD grants vs axing).
            c) You stated you are hungry. But your contract started in 2008 in the Figueiredo lab. How have you been able to support yourself financially from 2008-2014 (July)?
            d) Do you have a publically posted document that indicates the promise made by Figueiredo to financially support your PhD with a FCT grant? What was the exact stipend in EUR? In most cases, when someone starts a PhD with an established PhD grant, stipends are transferred to a bank account on a regular (usually monthly) basis. I think this is no different for the FCT grants. Please gve insight and clarify what went wrong, and when.
            e) I disagree with several commentators here at RW who have automatically described you as mentally ill. You have indicated clearly that you have been psychologically assessed by several psychologists in Ireland, but not in Portugal. But you did not indicate the exact dates of those assessment periods. I imagine that this situation is causing undue mental stress, no doubt, but people should be careful to label you as this or that. Let’s just simplify things by saying you are stressed.
            f) I am quite surprised at your posts because in none of them you have shown any remorse for attackiing someone with an axe. Do you think this is a normal thing to do, or a just thing to do? How do you balance the issue of justice, law and ethics in your mind? Do you understand that you have irreversably changed the life of Figueiredo? (implied in the last question is the assumption that Figueiredo also appears to have irreversably changed our life in what appears to have been several years of financial hardhsip).
            g) Why is this PhD so important for you? I understand that times are tough, for many, from Lisboa to Coimbra, to Beijing. PhD grants are not so easy to receive, nor are research grants. Are you not aware of the current global crisis and that all those that surrund you are also in the same mess?
            h) Are there no prospects for you back in Ireland? It would be heart-wrenching to restart a new life or a new career, but would that not have abeen an option before you decided to take a concealed axe to Figueiredo’s office?
            i) You published a paper in Accountability in Research in 2013 entitled “Referees often miss obvious errors in computer and electronic publications”. What is the link between computer science and physics? Why were you able to assess computer science-related papers while you were doing a PhD in physics.
            j) Do you feel that you are capable of doing something worse? It is evident that relative to one month ago, your prospects for continuing science (or a PhD anywhere) have most likely been erased by your act of violence (or criminal act). Yet, do you feel that this is the end game for you? Related, is anyone looking out for you now, or giving you care or guidance since this troy broke at RW? All RW readers can clearly recall the suicide by Sasai and the high risk of suicide by Obokata if individuals are not looked after in times of great stress. What d you have to say about my comments?
            k) Was the English vs Portuguese language barrier a problem when dealing with Figueiredo?

            I know that some RW commentators will give me ample thumbs down for asking these questions, but may I say that this gives us a unique opportnity of learning from you and from this experience. Unfortunately, we lost that chance with Sasai because everyone was too busy being politically correct and hide open and frank discussion. Colin, or Collin, please help the scientific community understand you. I am not sure that anyone can help you (this is your battle), but we can try to understand you and this very chaotic case. So, in that sense, I hope my questions, and your hopeful answers to them, will be useful. Finally, may I suggest that you actually try to contact Figueiredo and offer her yoru heartfelt apology (the very mimimum to repair the damage that you have done – without in any way trying to underestimate the possibility that perhaps you, too, have been a victim).

            JATdS

            August 26, 2014 at 2:28 pm

            • Hi Jamie-

              You asked about why Colin is a physics PhD publishing in comp sci journals.

              Given that Colin likely does not have consistent internet access, I’d like to just quickly point out to the biology audience here at RW that there is a LOT of overlap between physics and computer science; with a disclaimer that I have not looked up Colin’s specific pub record. Most physicists I know (and since I work for a quantum physics group, I likely might know more than many other biochemists like me! Maybe, at 32 years old and only 20-odd peer reviewed papers I’m still a “baby” in terms science publishing!) publish in the APS Physical Review journals; they also tend to get actual jobs in things like coding after their PhDs. (For example, my Irish physicist boyfriend is “fluent” in C++ and FORTRAN languages- he needs this to code the math for quantum physics into his atomic modeling simulations. A lot of former group member work for software companies doing coding.)

              Also: this situation has distant, faint echos that relate to a select couple of mass shooting cases in the USA that I’ve been keeping tabs on (Holmes and Lanza). I think we as human members of society need to ….. maybe think about the life situations we put our bright yet mentally susceptible young people into. Please? I’ve had to move PhD kids out of labs- when I was a PhD student myself, and later on in my career. I wasn’t an expert in the topic, yet could plainly see the PI was clueless and the project was going nowhere fast. The situation may be becoming untenable- there’s already a brain drain from science right now into anything that provides stability. Not necessarily get rich quick money: just…..you know you’d get a paycheck next year. When you’re looking at maybe trying to afford having kids, a stable paycheck is better than a big but short term one.

              Allison (@DrStelling)

              August 27, 2014 at 1:00 am

              • “[. . .]
                Given that Colin likely does not have consistent internet access, [. . .]
                [. . .]”

                I do not have much access to the Internet.

                Colin Paul Gloster

                September 5, 2014 at 11:24 am

            • I think you made very pertinent questions and remarks which I have been pondering myself over this case. Yet maybe a bit too many to expect answers. I would like to recommend, again, scanning the recordings available online at Collin’s website of the events of the day, where you will find answers to some questions, such as the language issue, dates of events, etc. It is not everyday that we find such transparency in a complicated situation like this, and I think there is much to be learnt. Hope Collin will answer you. Peace to all.

              CR

              August 27, 2014 at 4:50 am

    • I suppose this subject is be within the field of interest for RW, because it demonstrates the pressure put on PhD students to attract funding, and what that pressure can do to an unready unbalanced mind.

      There also is the tragedy of the victim, which cannot be overestimated. But just because we discuss the former, does not mean we are trivializing or sensationalizing the latter.

      lar

      August 25, 2014 at 6:36 pm

      • You are taking this case to make some point about “pressure put on PhD students….and how that influences an “unready unbalanced mind””. I do not wish trivialize the “pressure put on PhD student”, but I think it is facile and farfetched to drag this episode into THAT discussion. CPG has attacked someone with an axe. RW is not this place for this (or did I miss a CPG retraction)? Furthermore, at the risk of being presumptious, I do not think that this RW exposure will do CPG any good.

        CVDolan

        August 26, 2014 at 3:12 pm

  4. @Maureen sorry I don’t agree – the individual has posted on the forum within the last couple of days or weeks and I think it’s relevant. @honestscientist it wasn’t an accident it was a serious assault with an offensive weapon and no amount of perceived exploitation of PhD students comes close to excusing it. Whatever next? Inappropriate use of an M16 by postdocs whose contract isn’t to be renewed?

    Captain Scarlet

    August 25, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    • I was talking in general. Nevertheless, when a young and enthusiast individual, a science lover, enters into a PhD program with a lot of hope … if this person is pressed during 3 years by the worst human being personalities … some people can finish their PhD embittered, completely destroyed and submitted the system as slave, some others abandon the academia with a lot of frustration and rancour, and some people can just explode and become mad. The Academia suffers the Peter Principal, and a lot of many brilliant minds are pushed out.
      Your point of view is, let’s say based on a rational evaluation of this drama/tragedy/crime, my point of view is more based on psychology … we humans, even the smart rationalist scientists, are totally under the control of our emotions ; treat someone bad, and you will have an animal reaction.

      honestscientist

      August 25, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      • It seems also plausible that the individual who has perpetrated this assault with a deadly weapon may have a mental illness. This is not necessarily angst induced by exploitation of a PhD student. Even if it were, assault is not excusable, and “animal reaction” are a non-sensical explanation for this behaviour. A much more plausible explanation is mental illness. Some consideration of the effects of this assault on the victim, which are likely to be severe and life-long should perhaps permeate some of the comments here. If there is an issue to be discussed, it is how colleagues and supervisors can help direct troubled people towards help without infringing their rights. Has anyone thought that the victim here has a right to go to a safe workplace and not be assaulted?

        chaudronsmonalisa

        August 25, 2014 at 8:31 pm

      • “and some people can just explode and become mad.”

        Here’s another very disturbing story:
        a lab argument between two PhD students over an accusation of “faking research data” escalated to one PhD student attacked another PhD student with sulfuric acid and a hammer on Oct 2012.

        http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/sulphuric-acid-thrown-in-students-face-in-university-of-new-south-wales-lab-fight-police-20121012-27ggi.html;

        http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/student-charged-over-acid-attack/story-e6frg6nf-1226494161881

        There has been very little information on website regarding this story.

        I was told this story by a postdoc from the Chinese international research student community in the University of NSW, Australia (UNSW). The story has been disseminated around in the Chinese international research student community, UNSW.

        It’s really bizarre. There has been no university official statement to formally clarify the story. I think the UNSW would have an internal investigation. However, there is no publicly available of the report from the UNSW internal investigation. The PhD student has been charged by the police over the incident on Oct 2012, but I could not find any information regarding the court judgment on that case from the NSW local court website.

        What’s really going on? I hope some formal clarifications by the UNSW would resolve this question.

        YR

        August 26, 2014 at 3:30 pm

        • I think that UNSW will not report on any investigation when the matter lies with the court. They’d be potentially interfering in the court case!

          Marco

          August 27, 2014 at 1:58 am

    • Captain Scarlet alleged: “[. . .] a serious assault with an offensive weapon and no amount of perceived exploitation of PhD students comes close to excusing it. [. . .]”

      A police officer said that axing someone is “not serious” and correctly predicted that a judge would release me after just one night (unfortunately forcing me to attempt to find another way to get a dinner for the next night).

      Colin Paul Gloster

      August 26, 2014 at 10:12 am

      • Nice, so you selectively defer to higher authorities (“a police officer said”) when it suits you, but don’t accept their judgements when not.

        TuringsBrain

        August 27, 2014 at 4:59 am

        • TuringsBrain alleged:
          “Nice, so you selectively defer to higher authorities (“a police officer said”) when it suits you, but don’t accept their judgements when not.”

          What judgment of higher authorities did I not accept?

          Colin Paul de Gloucester

          August 27, 2014 at 11:50 am

          • Quote “According to the spokeswoman, the institution had “recently communicated to Colin Gloster that he was no longer a student of this university”.”

            There you go. Your employer/university terminated your contract/discontinued your enrolement. Accept it or not but don’t take an axe to university staff.

            TuringsBrain

            August 28, 2014 at 5:56 am

      • !!! I am both amazed and frustrated at this. In my country (Brazil) this would have developed similarly. However I surely cannot agree with this judgement, for quite often in Brazil poorer locals are sentenced to prison for theft or other offences (after being beaten up when caught) that I truly consider “minor”, and without direct support from the written law. I wonder would would have been the penalty in Ireland for that. In my judgement it is one of the most serious things a person could do.

        CR

        August 27, 2014 at 4:59 am

  5. I agree it is not a matter to take lightly, but it raises several questions about funding about the possibilities of PhD and what is actually the benefit of obtaining one. Work wise everything is on the low end, funding wise it is also decending and working in research is becoming much more a struggle for people who want a normal job. I think news items like this have a distinct impact on retraction watch as they do the whole community.

    ebreman

    August 25, 2014 at 3:31 pm

  6. This is not a case that has anything to to with science at the current stage, it is a medical problem of one person, which may have evolved over several years, maybe fueled in part out of conflicts within science. There may have been perceived or true injustice many years ago (by reading the person’s first hand accounts: rather perceived than true), but over the years it has developed into a medical condition, and there is no point in discussing the relevance of this sad incident to science funding, or to the situation of PhD students in general.

    By the way, the individual in question has posted a 7 h 13 min long sound recording from the day of the attack on the internet, together with a transcript of the talking that took place before and during the attack (google the name of the individual if you’re interested). Probably says something about his condition, I find it pathetic and pointless.

    lhac

    August 25, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    • I don’t think we can simply say this is “an incident”, as you propose. Here a guy uses an axe, elsewhere some researcher commits suicide, there another intentionally contaminates a sample, yet somewhere else someone plagiarises a paper. Are these all mere incidents? True, an attack with an axe is a different matter than science fraud. But they are all symptoms of an underlying disease that is pervasive in science: it often isn’t quality that is driving (or judging) science (or scientists) anymore. And sure, some mental disorder is likely a main cause of this particular event; but surely to some degree a similar thing could be said about fraudsters? These are all shades of the same desolate gray, and hence relevant developments to us all…

      Dave Langers

      August 26, 2014 at 6:16 am

    • Lhac claimed:
      “[. . .] There may have been perceived or true injustice many years ago (by reading the person’s first hand accounts: rather perceived than true), [. . .]”

      The judges responsible for the court document

      http://WWW.DGSI.Pt/jtcn.nsf/89d1c0288c2dd49c802575c8003279c7/f506d5949153a27c80257b6c004dc6c8?OpenDocument

      forcing a lower court to reverse an account of why I was not paid a doctoral scholarship which I was rejected for during 2008 purely on the basis of one supposed reason which the judges of

      http://WWW.DGSI.Pt/jtcn.nsf/89d1c0288c2dd49c802575c8003279c7/f506d5949153a27c80257b6c004dc6c8?OpenDocument

      (namely José Veloso and Fernanda Brandão and Isabel Soeiro) and even the earlier judges who ruled against me (namely Tiago Afonso Lopes de Miranda and Beatriz Cruz and Joaquim Cruzeiro) agreed was untrue do not agree that this non-payment was not truly an injustice.

      I am not mentally ill. Perhaps you would care to read the documents hyperlinked to by Ivan Oransky at the top of this webpage.

      As a result of repeatedly encountering deceit by supposedly scientific society, I deemed it prudent to record and transcribe – and this disproves allegations made by journalists and by the University of Coimbra.

      Colin Paul Gloster

      August 26, 2014 at 12:50 pm

  7. Unfortunately grad school is about the time a lot of mental illness tends to manifest. Wishing his victim a swift recovery.

    failuretoreplicant

    August 25, 2014 at 9:03 pm

  8. Wow- this was not the story I expected to find when browsing RW. Still, I do think that the situation merits coverage given CPG’s extremely recent post about his concerns of JSEE’s ethics. Clearly there are many questionable activities in scientific research and publishing, and the “victims” of these unethical activities (such as those who wait an inordinately long time for a review or get rejected for no good reason, etc) can react in many ways. There is a lot of room in the scientific research/publishing domain to talk about the psychological impact of activities, from the recent Japanese researcher’s suicide to this attack. Perhaps even Dan Markel’s killer was somehow reacting to something related to the academic profession?

    TS

    August 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm

  9. While I strongly agree that the pressure to obtain funding in science can be overwhelming, I don’t agree that this case in any way demonstrates that. Physically attacking someone is not a normal or appropriate response to funding pressure. We shouldn’t treat this case as just another example of what happens when the pressure is too great. This is clearly a case of a serious underlying problem with the attacker (though we don’t know all of the details, so we don’t know what was really going on). For the record, appropriate responses to grant pressure include writing more proposals, changing job sectors, changing careers, drinking, etc.

    Mitch

    August 25, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    • Systematic intentional plagiarism is not a normal or appropriate response to publication pressure either. Someone engaging in that has a problematic mindset too. Not half as serious as this guy, we can all agree, but suggesting that this belongs in an entirely different category is naive, I think. These are all measurable on a similar scale; some just prove more severe than others, and every “incident” likely contributes to the next “incident” from being a little more extreme than the previous one. We’ve seen quite a few mass-shootings on college and university campuses when students can’t take the pressure and get weird ideas in their head; I fear we have just seen the arrival of these into academia. Perhaps the pressures in science are not the only things contributing, but why would they be unlikely to be the straw that broke the camel’s back?

      Dave Langers

      August 26, 2014 at 6:28 am

      • Guys you must listen to the recordings of what happened on that day to understand more about what was going on. It is online, just google for this person’s name. He was clearly disturbed and acting apathetic, but it seems moral harassment was going on, and it is hard to say which thing predates the other and what is cause and effect.

        CR

        August 26, 2014 at 7:12 am

      • What I’m trying to say is that, while I’d never condone or engage in it myself, I can understand why someone would choose to make up data or rip off someone else if he/she felt that his/her livelihood depended on it and there are mouths to feed at home. On the other hand, I can’t understand why someone would attack another person with a blade for the same reason. To me, that means that there must be something much more serious happening in this case. Thus, it is not an appropriate example of the effects of funding pressure. Saying that this is merely a natural consequence of funding pressure is tantamount to blaming the victim.

        Mitch

        August 26, 2014 at 8:14 pm

  10. No-one is more concerned about “publish or perish” than I am but this case does not “tell us” or “reveal” anything about that, and to try to link this attack to such issues, as some commenters here have, is trite at best. By all accounts this is a tragic result of a mental illness.

  11. Maybe if the universities would consider offering seriously meant and anonymous counselling to PhD students, who rather commonly have issues with lack of funding, conflict with superiours, poor career prospects etc, Gloster would have been listened to, forwarded to a qualified psychiatrist and this terrible incident would not have happened. Instead, PhD students are left with their problems to their own devices.

    Leonid Schneider

    August 26, 2014 at 3:14 am

    • Now that is true. A PhD can be one of the most isolating jobs in the world – but it doesn’t have to be. Some labs are extremely supportive.

      • Exactly. Only some. Certainly not my mine, certainly not those of the PhD students I used to know.

        Leonid Schneider

        August 26, 2014 at 6:23 am

        • Oh dear. I was fortunate enough to do my PhD in an amazing lab full of people who went far beyond the call of duty in supporting me with the depression that I suffered at one point. I wish every PhD student was as lucky.

          • It is usually the case that PhD students have noone to complain to. There are of course offices dealing with PhD student issues, but these people answer again to the professors, so only a masochistic fool would go there with supervisor issues. Work councils do protect employees, but are helpless when a PhD student is threatened scientifically. In any case, I and every PhD student I knew was entirely at the mercy of their professor.

            Leonid Schneider

            August 26, 2014 at 8:05 am

    • Dear Dr. Leonid Schneider:

      I believe that funding was cut off because I am a whistleblower. There was nothing wrong with me, but Dr. Rui Miguel Curado da Silva; Professor Rui Ferreira Marques; Professor Paulo Jorge Ribeiro da Fonte; Laboratório de Instrumentação e Física Experimental de Partículas – LIP; and the Department of Physics of the University of Coimbra recommended to the Foundation for Science and Technology to suspend a doctoral scholarship on the suspicion of mental illness. They did not profess something very quickly disprovable such as blindess or jaundice. The person who I axed and Professor João Manuel de Sá Campos Gil (

      http://fisica.UC.Pt/fa/persn/pin.php?formshown=y&id_the_user=24&u=0

      ) (who calls himself João Campos Gil (João sounds like the English form John) and who angrily shouted at me “I know the person!” when I called one of the aforementioned people a liar fewer than two hours before the axing –

      http://users.NinthFloor.org/~de_ghloucester/This_is_not_your_country!_Go_back_to_Ireland!__filename_Recording_20140804_101602.3gpp

      ); and Bruno Trindade of the Faculty of Science and Technology of the supposed University of Coimbra; and Professrix Maria Constança Mendes Pinheiro da Providência Santarém e Costa (

      http://fisica.UC.Pt/fa/persn/pin.php?formshown=y&id_the_user=19&u=0

      ) of the Department of Physics were aware of this plan (Page 2 of
      Emailed_by_the_Foundation_for_Science_and_Technology_on_23rd_July_2014\doc.s em anexo (1).pdf
      of

      http://users.NinthFloor.org/~de_ghloucester/Emailed_by_the_Foundation_for_Science_and_Technology_on_23rd_July_2014.zip

      ) and they withheld it from me.

      I obtained proof that I was mentally healthy but I was still not paid. These people did not find that I was mentally ill:
      the psychologist Jennifer Gibson of Saint Patrick’s University Hospital; the psychiatrist or psychologist Dermot O’Keefe of Saint Patrick’s University Hospital; the psychiatrist or psychologist Anne Marie Murray of Saint Patrick’s University Hospital; the psychiatrist Paul Fearon of both Saint Patrick’s University Hospital and of Trinity College Dublin; James V. Lucey of Saint Patrick’s University Hospital; other employees of Saint Patrick’s University Hospital; the psychologist Marelise Spies (telephone: 00 353 85 729 1677) of both the practice
      Rita Honan, Ph.D. & Associates,
      7 Cope Street,
      Dublin 2,
      Republic of Ireland
      and of Trinity College Dublin; the psychologist Jacinta McComish (telephone: 00 353 872325602) of both the practice Rita Honan, Ph.D. & Associates and of Trinity College Dublin; and the psychologist Rita Honan (telephone:
      00 353 872272729) of both the practice Rita Honan, Ph.D. & Associates and of Trinity College Dublin; and the general-practitioner doctor Pat Watson (telephone: 00 353 8351355) whose address is
      Dr. Pat Watson,
      2 Deer Park,
      Ashbourne,
      Co Meath,
      Republic of Ireland.

      Colin Paul de Gloucester

      August 26, 2014 at 1:22 pm

      • This is really useful information, thanks for posting. I am however rather unsure what was meant by being a whistleblower here, as reacting to that specific situation/scheme would not define one as such. I must say, however, that “axing” somebody who refused to discuss matter will probably legally weight against any denial of mental illness. This probably killed the case in that point.

        CR

        August 27, 2014 at 5:08 am

    • It seems that Mr Gloster has already been seen by many more psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors and so one than the vast majority of PhD students ever see in their lifetimes. This is by his own admission (see post above). While he states that he has been found to “not be mentally ill”, I think that psychological problems do not manifest in a black or white manner and that there is a wide spectrum of behaviours that might qualify as pathological but not necessarily make a person “mentally ill”.

      TuringsBrain

      August 27, 2014 at 5:03 am

  12. This case looks a lot like the one that took the life of six back in 1991:

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

    Jelte Wicherts

    August 26, 2014 at 6:19 am

  13. Unfortunately I do not have much time to access the Internet therefore responses from me to questions (such as asked by Professor Ivan Oransky on 25th August 2014 and 24th August 2014 by emails) are not always thorough. For example, I am not always the only person queuing to access the Internet and therefore I do not always have an opportunity to detail everything nor make everything succinct.

    I need to clarify this:
    “that the second scholarship was actually one from before he came to Coimbra”.
    This is the relevant part of what I emailed:
    “[. . .]

    Dear Professor Ivan Oranksy:
    You emailed a web address which redirected to

    http://WWW.IrishMirror.Ie/news/irish-news/irishman-arrested-portugal-after-university-3995691

    (Adelina Campos, “Irishman arrested in Portugal after university
    professor attacked with axe”, “The Irish Daily Mirror”, 2014). This
    webpage contains many false facts [. . .]
    [. . .]

    [. . .]

    Adelina Campos sent:
    |————————————————————|
    |”[. . .] a lawyer helped him get another, second scholarship|
    |[. . .]” |
    |————————————————————|

    [. . .]”

    During 2005 I applied to a so-called university of Pisa. I was misled as to what I would be doing. During 2005 I was offered a Ph.D. scholarship tenable at Pisa so-called University to be commenced during 2006, which it was.

    …During 2007 I still was not given an opportunity to conduct the research in Pisa which I went to Pisa to conduct, and I left.

    Pisa so-called University stopped paying me to keep my mouth shut and the paper by me
    Paul Colin de Gloucester, “Referees Often Miss Obvious Errors in Computer and Electronic Publications”,
    “Accountability in Research: Policies and Quality Assurance” 20, 143 (2013)
    was published.

    During 2007, the so-called University of Coimbra misled me about funding etc. and Prof. Maria Filomena de Osório Pinto dos Santos Figueiredo and others hired me in bad faith during 2008, dishonestly claiming that 36 months of funding had been allocated for me. Instead, they were aware that funding for this project had already been scheduled to be terminated fewer than 36 months later independently of performance. The vacancy advertizement is

    http://WWW.EraCareers.Pt/opportunities/index.aspx?task=showAnuncioOportunities&jobId=11459

    For a copy of this contract, please contact this lawyer who represents me:
    Sofia Coelho,
    Apartado 1035,
    E. C. Santa Cruz,
    3000-995 Coimbra,
    Portugal.
    Telephone: +351 239090347.
    Fax: +351 239090347.
    (An email address for Sofia Coelho can be reported by
    http://WWW.OA.Pt
    –>
    Pesquisa de advogados
    –>
    Nome: Sofia Coelho
    and then finding the relevant contact details.) To write letters for me, please post them to
    Colin Paul Gloster,
    c/o Sofia Coelho,
    Apartado 1035,
    E. C. Santa Cruz,
    3000-995 Coimbra,
    Portugal.

    A file about this original contract for which payments even from the first month still have not been made is
    rudai\first-bolsa_summary.txtof
    rudai.zip
    which I attached to an email for a journal with an impact factor much greater than 20.000.

    After Prof. Maria Filomena de Osório Pinto dos Santos Figueiredo refused to answer a question about unpaid social security from before I enrolled in Portugal, I axed her.

    Colin Paul Gloster

    August 26, 2014 at 7:29 am

  14. I am a former scientist who left science for the reason that the respect and responsibility towards the people following a scientific career is missing from inside science in my opinion. I dont know this case well enough to form a opinion, and I hope that the victim of the attack recovers fully.

    However, when briefly looking at the documents which the supposed provided for download, i would imagine that his case is somwhere in the shady area of evaluating the progress of a PHD thesis, and sombody who may or may not have psychological problems of one kind or the other, which may add up to a complete different (possibly unrealistic) evaluation of his situation than his surroundings.

    What i understood (i can’t read roman languanges very well):

    a) His PHD project was alread in the 4 or 5th year (not unusual)
    b) He was co-author of several publication of the group (which usually should enable him an his supervisor to “just finish” a thesis)
    c) His handwritten letter is not very focused (even if i dont consider the physical form in which it was presented) – and although i am not a phychologist, to me it seems that the indicated diagnosis is not too far fetched.

    So probably, a board, and possibly his own supervisor, seeing this from the outside could come to several different conclusions. And actually the opinion may vary in time between these – as the situation may have varied in reality:

    1) He is a valuable member of the group with some progress in his work
    2) He needs help and a time-out
    3) His mental condition and state of his project does not allow a continuation of his endeavuors.

    I can only assume and hope that at the time of the attack the attacker was influenced by a mental disorder which made him think that the reality is another on than it really is.

    I would like to add a general comment: In academic life, more often than not, such problems (or other problems) are considered to be kind of acceptable personality trait. Often enough supervisors, and postdocs accept that such people work hard if they are suceptible to some illusion about their future. Their work is welcome if it helps the group or the project, but the specific task of adressing the state of the own project and presentable results, which convince some board at some time to give some extra money, is neglected. When the planned financial support runs out, it very often suddenly comes down to “oops, no thesis ready, no first author publication, thats your problem”. In such situations problems, ignored fro a long time, suddenly explode (and that is something i have seen more than once) to the point of no return. Some supervisors deal with it well, but most are not prepared to handle this at all, which also stems from the fact that Universities usually neclect the leadership courses for professors, and the Univertities typically dont like to meddle with “internal affairs” of a chair (which is, in some cases, a mistake).

    drolli

    August 26, 2014 at 7:53 am

    • A Ph.D. is a specific degree program: a DEGREE, a GRADUATE STUDY. The tie-up between grants, publications and a post graduate degree confuses me. I believe it was a matter of insanity when the tragic incident occurred.

      aceil

      August 26, 2014 at 10:44 am

      • Yeah, also should confuse you….

        The proble arises when something goes wrong (which nearly always is the case), and things require the good will and communication skill of everybody to settle the situation.

        Mr. Gloster has a well documented track record in the internet (which he published himself) which indicates that he collided regularly in non-constructive ways with his direct professional surroundings. The intensity and structure of his collisions indicates some severly distorted picture of the reality. The comments he left here above would not be suffice to judge the situation.

        drolli

        August 26, 2014 at 11:46 am

        • Drolli claimed:
          “[. . .]

          Mr. Gloster has a well documented track record in the internet (which he published himself) which indicates that he collided regularly in non-constructive ways with his direct professional surroundings. [. . .]”

          This is not true.

          Colin Paul de Gloucester

          August 27, 2014 at 5:39 am

      • To make this clear: if i would have axed everyone who (supposedly or really) harmed my scientific career by unethical or immoral actions, or did not keep his promises, it would have been a blood bath.

        Something like “the project was supposed to be for three years, but the funding ran out ealier” is a minor crime in my eyes….

        drolli

        August 26, 2014 at 11:51 am

        • Drolli opined:
          “[. . .]

          Something like “the project was supposed to be for three years, but the funding ran out ealier” is a minor crime in my eyes….”

          I am still lacking payment for EVERY month of the first three years, even before funding expired.

          What was unclear about this part of an interaction of the day of the axing?
          Colin Paul Gloster: How many, how much of the social security for my first contract was paid?
          [Incompatibly with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, not even one cent of social security was paid for this contract (for which net salary was received for June 2008 to December 2010). Instead of answering, Maria Filomena de Osório Pinto dos Santos Figueiredo emitted this command:]
          Maria Filomena de Osório Pinto dos Santos Figueiredo: Go.
          [. . . Gloster exhibited the ax.]
          Maria Filomena de Osório Pinto dos Santos Figueiredo: No!

          Colin Paul de Gloucester

          August 27, 2014 at 5:44 am

          • I am very sorry for what may happened to you in repect to investing 3 years of your time, as it seems, without a valid work contract, but i am not going to negotiate my world view with you, and neither am i going to directly converse with you at which points I would have made different decisions. I hope that you find a way to handle the disappointment and frustration which the past years must have brought onto you in a way that you dont damage your life (and possibly others life) further.

            As you rightly said, i opinioned, and i guessed. But i never claimed anything. I would hope that a some point in the future you may be able to understand why it is impossible to reconcile your statements here with the idea that we perceive the reality in any compatible way.

            You see the world in a substentially different way than I do, and I wont be the one (and would not like to be) to determine the consequenses from that.

            drolli

            August 27, 2014 at 7:31 am

          • I don’t quite get this. You state you got salary June 2008-December 2010, and you state you didn’t?

            And what does Maria Filomena de Osório Pinto dos Santos Figueiredo have to do with these payments? She isn’t part of the HR department as far as I can see.

            Marco

            August 27, 2014 at 2:25 pm

  15. I miss when this blog was about retractions. :(

    failuretoreplicant

    August 26, 2014 at 11:34 am

    • Colin Paul Gloster = Nicholas Collin Paul de Gloucester = the author of
      “Referees often miss obvious errors in computer and electronic publications”
      (Accountability in Research: Policies and Quality Assurance, Volume 20, Issue 3, 2013, page 143-166, Paul Colin de Gloucester, Department of Information Engineering, Pisa University, Pisa, Italy).
      http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/08989621.2013.788379#.U_y-YcV_vTo

      Klaas van Dijk

      August 26, 2014 at 1:09 pm

      • Which is an interesting read by itself. An observer may gain quite some insight into Mr. Glosters view on the world and own scientific skills. While I agree that it may be disputed if C++ is an OOP language – it is generally accepted that it’s a multi-paradigm language and not pure OOP, it if also a little bit keen to make the fact that the statement that it is a OOP language or was used as such in the context of a specific publication an indication of bad refereeing, since the referees agree (according to Gloster) with 85% of the literature in the field.

        I mean normally i would assume that this the article was actually a joke on the Journal to prove bad refereeing there, but i am not sure.

        drolli

        August 26, 2014 at 4:58 pm

        • Drolli opined:
          “Which is an interesting read by itself. An observer may gain quite some insight into Mr. Glosters view on the world and own scientific skills. While I agree that it may be disputed if C++ is an OOP language – it is generally accepted that it’s a multi-paradigm language and not pure OOP, it if also a little bit keen to make the fact that the statement that it is a OOP language or was used as such in the context of a specific publication an indication of bad refereeing, since the referees agree (according to Gloster) with 85% of the literature in the field.

          I mean normally i would assume that this the article was actually a joke on the Journal to prove bad refereeing there, but i am not sure.”

          Truth is not a democracy. Dr. Alan Curtis Kay who coined the term object-oriented declared that C++ is not an object-oriented-programming language (OOP language):

          http://users.NinthFloor.org/~de_ghloucester/Blumsohn_et_al/Kay_1997__I_made_up_the_term_object-oriented%2c_and_I_can_tell_you_I_did_not_have_C%2b%2b_in_mind.avi

          Please read “Referees Often Miss Obvious Errors in Computer and Electronic Publications” properly for the purpose of noticing that I pointed out with this paper that I was motivated to produce this paper because of bugs which I encountered. Also note, that claiming C++ is an OOP language is not the only common error made during this century which I documented with this paper.

          Furthermore you seem to not remember that earlier versions were not focused on false boasts that C++ codes are supposedly object oriented. As I had explained on

          http://RetractionWatch.com/2014/02/27/unfortunately-scientific-publishing-is-not-immune-to-fraud-and-mistakes-springer-responds-to-fake-papers-story/

          during March 2014:
          “The IEEE does not care. All the IEEE wants is money which it acquires by acquiring intellectual properties from others for gratis (actually less than gratis when it is paid page charges) and charging for potential access to these properties.

          For example, Ken Campbell emailed with Subject “RE: [vhdl-200x] Code sharing” on 1st June 2012 to a VHDL-standardization email list:
          “Disconnect all this effort from the working group.

          Start up a new reflector.

          Disconnect effort this from IEEE, take it to a public group.

          I would be willing to contribute, but not if there is even a slim chance
          the work could get claimed by an agency like IEEE.

          Ken

          > Hi Jim,
          > I do not think this has anything to do with eda.org since that is an
          > independent organization that has no formal association with the IEEEE.
          > The issue is what constitutes a work product of the working group and what
          > is done by an independent group.
          >
          > I wish you luck on this. The last time I tried to fight this battle there
          > was not much room to negotiate with the IEEE.
          >
          > Regards
          > [. . .]
          [. . .]
          >> Hi Jim,
          >>
          >> As you know, the IEEE owns the copyright to anything developed in the
          >> WG.
          > > The old packages have the IEEE copyright statement in them. Likewise,
          > > IEEE would own the copyright to new packages if they are
          >> developed by the WG.
          >>
          >> Regards,
          >> Joan [Joan Woolery, an employee of the IEEE, who contributes nothing to standardizing VHDL]”

          I submitted a previous version of “Referees Often Miss Obvious Errors in Computer and Electronic Publications” to “IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering”. This version was called “Code Cloning across Paradigms” with this as its abstract:
          “Replication of functionality unnecessarily enacted by copying and pasting has been observed in many codes boasted of in the literature. Problems with cloning exposed in this paper are not restricted to a small set of paradigms (cloning in Fortress; Prolog; Lisp (six dialects); C++; Fortran (more than four dialects); Smalltalk (more than thirty dialects); and more than fifteen other distinct languages is exposed, some in this paper itself and some as supplemental material in the Digital Library). Instead of merely being a case of inexpressive languages, defects in unmaintainable clones result from programmer inertia when noticed or lack of programmer skill when unnoticed.”
          A self-contradictory rejection ensued:
          “The paper immediately launches into a detailed discussion of
          maintenance problems associated with code cloning as observed
          in other papers, without going into any detail.”

          I emailed j.calder@IEEE.org for Managing Editor James Calder this proposal which he ignored:
          “Proposed paper on programming problems including code clones
          Dear Dr. Calder:

          I have a proposal for a paper for the “Proceedings of the IEEE”.

          I have noticed that in many fields, engineering of source code is not fully achieved. When one tries to apply a tool from a domain which one does not specialize in, then naturally the results are not comparable to an expert’s.

          Two popular source bases mentioned in IEEE publications exhibit not managing to match software engineers. One is for electronics, the other for physics. They are the reference implementation of the SystemC® standard (the code is actually published by the IEEE instead of merely being mentioned by the IEEE); and Geant4 (J. Allison, et al., “Geant4 developments and applications”, “Nuclear Science, IEEE Transactions on”, vol. 53, no. 1, 270 to 278, 2006).

          I have detected numerous flaws in these source bases, and in many codes related to them. I have noticed SystemC® (and related) examples of problems in ArchC; FastSysC; Metropolis; the OCCN (the On-Chip Communication Network (OCCN); the OCP (Open Core Protocol); ODETTE; ReSP; and SoCLib. I have also noticed problems in codes related to Geant4, including Cosima and

          http://REAT.Space.Qinetiq.com/xsbias/files/xsbiasing_gras_2007321.tz

          Of course, I have also noticed problems in other codes (such as MCNP, an alternative to Geant).

          An outline of the sections is:
          Introduction
          Code cloning
          Against and for
          Mistakes involving cloning
          Rampant code cloning is not restricted to copy-and-paste
          Conditional branches often exhibit cloning
          Introduction to SystemC® society
          C++, especially Geant code and SystemC® code
          OCCN (and other codes linked with SystemC® code)
          Geant
          Code cloning in C++
          Correctly perceived need to exploit similarities left unexploited
          Geant code
          Comments (even when mistaken) are not noise
          Geant code
          Cloning across conditional branches
          SystemC® code
          A bug from failed cloning which existed for greater than nine years
          Geant code
          Code cloning is a symptom of greater than one hundred bugs
          Geant code
          The Gang of Four
          Singletons
          Manual copying
          Geant code
          SystemC® code
          Not bothering to overload
          Geant code
          Whitespace
          SystemC® code
          Independence where dependence is intrinsic
          Geant code
          SystemC® code
          A bug introduced via code cloning
          Magic numbers
          Geant code
          SystemC® code
          Magic numbers in other code bases in Crap Pooh Pooh
          Cloning in other code bases in Crap Pooh Pooh
          Counterfeit classes
          Geant code
          SystemC® code
          Unused parameters
          Geant code
          SystemC® code
          Lack of familiarity with what C++ already provides
          SystemC® code
          Lack of portability
          SystemC® code
          Poor pseudoC++ code compared to poor Smalltalk code
          Geant code
          People who misname C++ as “C”
          SystemC® code
          Disobeying OSCI licensing terms
          Downgrading from FORTRAN to C++
          Other languages
          Dynamically Linked Libraries of Microsoft Windows
          Pseudo-code
          Negative numbers
          TeX
          Text
          Keyboard configurations
          Electrical harnesses
          Counterfeit classes and emulated enumerations
          Forgetting learnt skills but still deploying them somewhat
          Conclusion

          The type of coverage would involve showing real but not inevitable bugs.

          I discovered most of the problems mentioned in the paper, including more than 100 bugs in Geant4. I played a very minor role in standardizing VHDL. At various stages of my career I have been a computer scientist; an electronic engineer; and a physicist. I am currently a physicist.

          Yours sincerely,
          Nicholas Collin Paul de Glouceſter”

          After getting no answer from James Calder after a long time, I submitted “Code Cloning in Electronics” to “IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics” with this abstract:
          “Hardware designers increasingly draw inspiration from software. Unfortunately, they often repeat abandoned mistakes. Various C++ problems (including bugs) affecting hardware are revealed in this paper. Here case studies of electronic and networking codes resulting from C++, including ArchC; FastSysC; Metropolis; the OCCN (the On-Chip Communication Network (OCCN) ( https://SourceForge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=74058 ); the OCP (Open Core Protocol); ODETTE; the reference implementation of the OSCI; ReSP; and SoCLib, are presented. Many different parts of codes mentioned in this paper are almost identical. Almost identical fragments are so-called “code clones”. Maintenance problems ensue because when one part of a code is updated another similar part can be accidentally overlooked.”
          This submission was rejected with:
          “We use to review paper that comprises of [. . .] the most important of all, does the paper have the potential to earn a high citation.”
          Furthermore this submission was rejected with:
          “The opinion of the reviewers and Associate Editor in charge, the submitted paper is not suitable for publication in the IEEE Transaction on Industrial Electronics”
          despite
          “we do not have reviewers in the field that can provide a proper and fair review”.

          I submitted “Cloning in Networks” to “IEEE Communications Surveys & Tutorials” with this abstract:
          “This tutorial was prompted by noticing code clones in networking software. Almost identical fragments of source code are so-called “code clones”. Maintenance problems ensue because when one part of a code is updated another similar part can be accidentally overlooked. This can result in bugs. Instead of contrived toy examples concocted to prove a point, all the examples in this article are from real systems, including: FastSysC; Metropolis; the OCCN (the On-Chip Communication Network (OCCN) ( https://SourceForge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=74058 ); the OCP (Open Core Protocol); Smalltalk; the reference implementation of the OSCI; ReSP; and SoCLib.”
          “Cloning in Networks” was rejected.”

          Colin Paul Gloster

          August 27, 2014 at 6:12 am

          • You write as if you are someone who is strongly invested in their work/ research. Even if you had felt/were wronged, why did this attack seem like the best course of action to you? Surely you must have known that this revenge in the short term could probably lead to the long term consequence of being unable to continue elsewhere. Why not have just cut your losses and left, or have found a more moral way to fight back since violence is not typically a very sustainable course of action? As someone who is against injustice within the science community, shouldn’t your ethics extend to how you treat others, regardless? Do you not think that it is hypocritical to denounce mistreatment only to replicate it?

            Although, it’s probably better if you don’t perjur yourself by answering…

            Rai

            August 27, 2014 at 10:52 am

  16. I seem to remember reading about a similar case about a starving student and an axe in a novel. I believe it was ‘Crime and Punishment’ by Dostoevsky… Anyways, I think this thread is a bad move, especially for the person involved since he really should not be commenting here and getting himself into more trouble. Good thing Raskolnikov didn’t have internet in Siberia.

    blatnoi

    August 28, 2014 at 7:05 am

  17. Dr. dos Santos was not Gloster’s PhD supervisor. So, why did he make such a random attack on an unrelated individual? Who was Gloster’s supervisor? I guess some formal clarifications by the University of Coimbra would resolve this.

    JATdS

    August 25, 2014 at 6:10 pm

  18. Google the guy’s name online and you shall find a very long confused recording and excerpts of conversation, as mentioned above. On the recording go to around 3h, for example. This is really disturbing and there you will find more details on what happened.

    CR

    August 26, 2014 at 5:21 am

  19. As I announced on email lists including SciFraud (

    https://ListServ.Albany.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A0=SCIFRAUD

    ) on 21st August 2014:
    “Dear all:

    I provide copies of files from Retracted.org and Science-Fraud.org at

    http://users.NinthFloor.org/~de_ghloucester/Partial_archives_of_Science-Fraud.org_on_10th_January_2013.zip

    and

    http://users.NinthFloor.org/~de_ghloucester/Retracted.org_sans_history_by_Gloster.zip

    but all accounts which I utilize on the Internet are very low on disk
    spaces therefore I might delete these copies tomorrow therefore if you
    would want them then download and save them promptly. It might be good
    to copy them to another website (but if you would want to copy the
    Science-Fraud.org contents onto a website then it might to nice to ask
    Brookes first).

    Regards,
    Colin Paul”

    The zip file
    Partial_archives_of_Science-Fraud.org_on_10th_January_2013.zip
    was formerly hosted by the lab LIP. The zip file
    Retracted.org_sans_history_by_Gloster.zip
    was not hosted by the lab LIP but all of the files zipped up by
    Retracted.org_sans_history_by_Gloster.zip
    were formerly hosted by the lab LIP.

    Colin Paul Gloster

    August 26, 2014 at 9:59 am

  20. not sure what is going on here. A bizarre story @JATdS: any thoughts?

    KK

    August 26, 2014 at 10:31 am

  21. I was a Ph. D student like many others commenting on the site and i am aware of how incredibly stressful it can be (though i cannot comment as to the added stress of losing one’s funding). However, while I am by no means a psychiatrist/psychologist/mental health expert, it sounds to me (as a lay person) that there may have been other issues involved and i don’t know about the wisdom of discussing this case here (especially if there are legal concerns). Not sure it is helping the student (would his lawyer(s) advise commenting on the case? ) the university prof. or many others .. Again, this seems like new territory for Retraction Watch and I am not sure what the best way to proceed is in such cases for the people directly involved.

    Maria

    August 26, 2014 at 6:46 pm

  22. KK, I am trying to figure out if this was revenge, or retribution. Was Colin a victim first (even a victim of psychological abuse) before he became the aggressor? I think the real clue will lie in the finances, the apparent source of severe stress. I found two articles on the psychology of revenge that could be important moving forward because this will surely not be the last time something like this happens:
    a) http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/publications/observer/2011/october-11/the-complicated-psychology-of-revenge.html
    b) http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/revenge-evolution/
    Maybe RW could invite Coimbra University to provide comment to the public.

    JATdS

    August 28, 2014 at 7:45 am

  23. I also disturbs me that he is allowed to make statements here which could potentially (i am not a lawyer) be damaging to himself.

    drolli

    August 27, 2014 at 5:14 am

  24. I agree: This is questionable, and probably not in CPG’s interest. How this (“After Prof. Maria Filomena de Osório Pinto dos Santos Figueiredo refused to answer a question (….), I axed her.”) is truely of interest to scientific practice of PhDs eludes me.

    CVDolan

    August 27, 2014 at 5:36 am

  25. Colin, can you please explain in detail what exactly were you were blowing the whistle on? Was it a paper, was it an individual, was it a practice?

    JATdS

    August 27, 2014 at 6:55 am


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