Archive for the ‘canada’ Category
While we are often among the first to chuckle at a good sting of a predatory publisher, there have probably been enough of them by now to have made the point.
And even Ottawa Citizen reporter Tom Spears — whose stings have been among the most hilarious — seems to agree. He didn’t want to spoof another predatory journal by submitting a fake article (his last one was retracted in 2016 after he told the publisher it was a “pile of dung”). But when an invitation came towards the end of November, he just couldn’t help himself.
The invitation was from Intellectual Consortium of Drug Discovery and Technology Development, Inc. — often just called “Consortium” — to be on its editorial board. Too curious to resist, Spears accepted. Then, he was told, he had to write an editorial.
So one night in December, he sat down and wrote something connecting predatory-prey relationships in nature to predatory publishing — calling out the publisher along the way. Spears told us:
An investigation into the lab of a prominent cancer researcher in British Columbia has revealed nearly 30 acts of misconduct.
As we detail in our latest feature for Science, the investigation, at the University of British Columbia (UBC), uncovered 29 instances of scientific misconduct, 16 of which were characterized as “serious,” according to university correspondence obtained by Retraction Watch.
The researcher, Sandra Dunn, is prominent in her field, but she left UBC in 2015 under unclear circumstances, shortly after it concluded its investigation. Dunn now heads a private company, Phoenix Molecular Designs, which says it develops therapies for cancer patients and lists local charities among its “partners and supporters.” While at UBC, Dunn obtained at least $1.1 million dollars in Canadian federal funding, some of which was used to support the falsified studies.
To some of the people involved, the most unsettling part of the incident is that it appears Dunn still receives support from Canadian charities. Read the rest of this entry »
This summer, Ottawa Citizen reporter Tom Spears was sitting by a lake on vacation when he opened a spam email from a publisher. Amused to see the sender was a journal focused on bioethics, he got an idea.
I thought, what if I just throw something outrageous at them?
The situation should sound familiar to readers who follow such “sting” operations: Spears submitted a fake paper to the so-called “predatory” journal, it was accepted one month later with no changes, and published.
But after Spears submitted a comment on the paper saying it was “a steaming pile of dung from start to meaningless finish” (which the journal never posted), wrote an article about it (picked up by other outlets, including The Huffington Post Canada) — surprise, surprise! — the paper was retracted.
Most authors don’t celebrate retractions. But Spears told us he felt “sheer triumph:” Read the rest of this entry »
The way we rank individuals and institutions simply does not work, argues Yves Gingras, Canada Research Chair in the History and Sociology of Science, based at the University of Quebec in Montreal. He should know: In 1997, he cofounded the Observatoire des sciences et des technologies, which measures innovation in science and technology, and where he is now scientific director. In 2014, he wrote a book detailing the problems with our current ranking system, which has now been translated into English. Below, he shares some of his conclusions from “Bibliometrics and Research Evaluation: Uses and Abuses.”
Retraction Watch: You equate modern bibliometric rankings of academic performance to the fable about the Emperor’s New Clothes, in which no one dares to tell a leader that he is not wearing an invisible suit – rather, he is naked. Why did you choose that metaphor? Read the rest of this entry »
Earlier this month, Morris Karmazyn, an award-winning cardiovascular researcher who’s published hundreds of papers, was called into a meeting with the office of faculty relations at the University of Western Ontario, and terminated.
The reason? A series of image problems in some of his papers, raised by a former member of his lab. When Karmazyn, Canada Research Chair in Experimental Cardiology, was told it was a case of “misconduct,” he was floored: Read the rest of this entry »
The paper has been significantly revised, an author told us, but it still comes the same conclusions.
In February, the journal Vaccine temporarily removed the study without explanation, and told the authors the editor had asked for further review. Later that month, Vaccine retracted the paper, citing “serious concerns regarding the scientific soundness of the article,” and “seriously flawed” methodology.
In July, another journal — Immunologic Research — republished the paper. The new version of the paper has been significantly changed, co-author Christopher Shaw from the University of British Columbia (UBC) told Retraction Watch:
The last author of a 1999 paper has asked the journal to retract it less than one month after a user raised questions about images on PubPeer.
Yesterday, last author Jim Woodgett posted a note on the site saying the author who generated the figures in question could not find the original data, and since he agreed the images appeared “suspicious,” he had contacted the journal to retract the paper.
By all accounts, science is facing a crisis: Too many preclinical studies aren’t reproducible, leading to wasted time and effort by researchers around the world. Today in Cell Metabolism, Daniel Drucker at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto details numerous ways to make this early research more robust. His most important advice: more transparent reporting of all results (not just the positive findings), along with quantifying, reporting, tracking, and rewarding reproducibility, for both scientists and journals and universities/research institutes.
Retraction Watch: Which of your recommendations will researchers most object to, and why? Read the rest of this entry »
A nutrition researcher with multiple retractions who unsuccessfully sued the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) for libel has been charged with defrauding a state health insurance plan.
The Toronto Star reports that a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Ranjit Kumar Chandra for billing the Ontario Health Insurance Plan for “services that were either not provided or billed inappropriately.” The charges do not appear to be related to his research: Chandra worked once a week as an allergist for the past four years, the Star reports, and the alleged fraud was at least $5,000. Read the rest of this entry »
According to the notice in Molecular Biology of the Cell (MBoC), the contamination occurred by “unknown means” in the senior authors’ laboratory, who told us the mistake was a difficult one to catch. He added that they discovered the problem after other researchers published conflicting results.
He also noted that the contaminated cell lines were not used for experiments in any other papers.