Last month, PubPeer announced that a scientist had threatened to sue the site for defamation. At the time, all PubPeer would say was that the “prospective plaintiff” is a US researcher” who was “aggrieved at the treatment his papers are getting on our site.”
Today, PubPeer revealed the that the prospective plaintiff was Fazlul Sarkar, a distinguished professor of pathology at Wayne State University in Detroit. Sarkar’s attorney, Nicholas Roumel, tells us that Sarkar had a job offer from the University of Mississippi, which rescinded it after seeing comments about his work on PubPeer.
We asked to see the letter rescinding the offer, but Roumel said he couldn’t send it because he and Sarkar are “in the process of making a claim against them.”
We also asked if there was an investigation into Sarkar’s work. Roumel told us:
As for any investigation, federal regulations make such things strictly confidential, so I can’t comment either way.
According to a post on PubPeer:
PubPeer commenters can evaluate for themselves any legal risks to which they might be exposed in commenting on Dr. Sarkar’s research. We cannot give any legal advice, but we have been promised support to oppose lifting of your anonymity should a case be brought. Please note that the litigation hold is still in place – refer to the top post of this thread for background information.
A search on PubPeer suggests that there may be little need to discuss further the work of Dr. Sarkar. However, if any users do wish to make additional comments, we would remind you to continue to respect our commenting guidelines (https://pubpeer.com/howto , https://pubpeer.com/misconduct) and remain scrupulously factual, always basing your posts on publicly verifiable information.
We understand that some comments have been removed from PubPeer.
Sarkar is a highly cited researcher, 38 of whose papers have been cited at least 100 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. He has corrected some papers including:
- one in Brain
- one in Cancer Research
- one in the American Journal of Translational Research
- and one in the Journal of Cellular Physiology.
Update, 5:30 p.m. Eastern: We’ve come across a June 9, 2014, press release about Sarkar joining the University of Mississippi:
Wayne State professor to join pharmacy faculty
Dr. David D. Allen, dean and professor and executive director of the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the School of Pharmacy, has announced that Dr. Fazlul H. Sarkar, Distinguished Professor at Wayne State University and professor at Wayne State’s Karmanos Cancer Institute, Detroit, will join the School of Pharmacy faculty this summer.
Sarkar will serve as Triplett/Behrakis Distinguished Professor in the Department of Biomolecular Sciences, research professor and associate director for translational research at the National Center for Natural Products Research, associate director for translational research at the UMMC Cancer Institute, and professor of radiation oncology at UMMC.
Sarkar has published more than 525 scholarly articles and nearly 300 abstracts. His research interests include understanding the role of NF-kB and its upstream and downstream signaling molecules in solid tumors, including the role of miRNAs and cancer stem cells, and in elucidating the molecular mechanisms of action of “natural agents” for cancer prevention and therapy.
Sarkar’s laboratory pioneered the development of Isoflavones and DIM (B-DIM) for clinical use, and his basic science research findings led to the initiation of a multiple Phase I and Phase II Clinical Trial at the Karmanos Cancer Institute.