Weekend reads: A celebrity surgeon’s double life; misconduct in sports medicine; researcher loses honor
This week at Retraction Watch featured a literally bullshit excuse for fake data, a new record for time from publication to retraction, and news of an upcoming retraction from Science. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:
- “The Celebrity Surgeon Who Used Love, Money, and the Pope to Scam an NBC News Producer:” In Vanity Fair, Adam Ciralsky has a remarkable story about Paolo Macchiarini, whose work has featured prominently at Retraction Watch. Also: A Swedish documentary about the surgeon begins airing next week.
- There is evidence that sports medicine researchers at the University of Freiburg committed misconduct, according to a committee investigating the issue, Der Spiegel reports. Here’s more from Laborjournal.
- Ranjit Chandra, the former Memorial University researcher who had a 26-year-old paper retracted last year after a report of his misconduct was finally made public, has been stripped of his membership in the prestigious Order of Canada, The Canadian Press reports (via The Globe and Mail).
- BMJ editor Fiona Godlee’s “approach has drawn in readers,” Mark Peplow reports for STAT. “It’s also provoked outrage among some clinicians and researchers.”
- A trade group in India is demanding punitive measures for scientists who they say made up data about pesticide contamination of the country’s crops, Outlook India reports.
- Jeffrey Beall’s 2016 list of predatory publishers is out. “The list this year includes 923 publishers, an increase of 230 over 2015.” Related: “Online-Based Approaches to Identify Real Journals and Publishers from Hijacked Ones,” from a group of authors in Iran (Science & Engineering Ethics, sub req’d)
- This little cancer drug didn’t make it to market: Our latest Five Year Watch, for STAT.
- Seven large publishers will now require ORCID numbers for submissions, ORCID said in a press release.
- PLOS ONE shrunk 11%
infrom 2013 to 2015, continuing a decline in papers published, Phil Davis reports (Scholarly Kitchen).
- In a whistleblower lawsuit, a former GlaxoSmithKline employee has accused the company of firing him for “alleging dodgy study data was used to tout the effectiveness of a smoking-cessation product,” STAT’s Pharmalot reports.
- “Biomedical Science Studies Are Shockingly Hard to Reproduce,” Adam Hoffman writes of two new papers in Smithsonian Magazine. More coverage from Anna Azvolinsky at The Scientist.
- The Secretary General of the Fund for Scientific Research in Flanders has stepped down, after questions about an award he received that turned out not to exist. (De Standaard, DeMorgen)
- David Tuller has more questions for the researchers behind the PACE trial of chronic fatigue syndrome (Virology Blog). And more on the situation from James Coyne.
- “You can’t trust what you read about nutrition,” writes Christie Aschwanden in FiveThirtyEight.
- How does misinformation — including about science — spread online? A new study from PNAS.
- Scientific misconduct encountered by Asia Pacific Association of Medical Journal Editors members: A survey (Malaysian Journal of Pathology).
- “The NFL’s ‘unrestricted’ grant to fund brain research has strings attached,” Ike Swetlitz reports for STAT.
- “Of 52 cases, there were no replies in 14 cases,” journal editors write of their experience finding plagiarism. “Focusing on the 38 cases with replies, 31 cases confessed to a plagiarism, 5 cases did not confess but asked for the withdrawal of their article despite that it had already been published. In one case the author denied plagiarism and asked a lawyer to sue the journal and in 1 case the author denied plagiarism and alleged that the problem was due to somebody else.” (Science & Engineering Ethics; sub req’d)
- Five academic papers about Star Wars. (Academia Obscura)
- “A lack of jobs leaves postdocs without a future in academia in the United States,” writes Muhammed Z. Ahmed in The Scientist. “Meanwhile, other challenges threaten the postdoc community abroad.”
- George Washington University vice president for research Leo Chalupa says the most interesting recent scientific news was a compelling explanation for misconduct (Edge).
- According to a new study in Scientometrics, “young researchers who work in large teams are more likely to produce high quality publications.” (sub req’d)
- The New York Times looks at the debate over recommendations on cell phones and cancer at the U.S. CDC.
- Open journals piggybacking on the success of arXiv are gaining momentum, Elizabeth Gibney reports at Nature.
- Academics with cats: A tour from Academia Obscura. More from the site’s Glen Wright in Times Higher Education.
- “Nobody ever teaches us how to run a lab!” Advice from the Mole (Journal of Cell Science).
- An award for innovation in teaching research methodology, from the European Conference on Research Methodology for Business Management.
- “Academic fraud by undergraduate students is pervasive, but should it be taken seriously as an economic problem?” write two researchers in Australia in the European Economic Review. “Our research suggests so.” (sub req’d)
Retractions Outside of The Scientific Literature
- “We recently published an article naming Jupiter ‘the best planet.’ As everyone knows, Saturn is the best planet,” writes The Atlantic. “We regret the error.”
- 18 hilarious corrections in the media from 2015, courtesy of Regret The Error’s Craig Silverman. (BuzzFeed)
- “Small town columnists take note: a humor piece about how easy it is to get free drinks by pretending to be a military veteran will not win you a Pulitzer Prize.” A column in the Weekender is retracted after an outcry.
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