Weekend reads: What lurks in clinical trial databases; plagiarism by Russian ministers; why journals shy away from fraud allegations

booksThe week at Retraction Watch featured a PhD student expelled for submitting a paper without her co-authors’ permission, and a look at the six types of peer reviewers. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:

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7 thoughts on “Weekend reads: What lurks in clinical trial databases; plagiarism by Russian ministers; why journals shy away from fraud allegations”

  1. The first sentence has a mistake – the PhD student submitted a paper without *her* co-authors’ permission.

  2. The story about “academic institutions remain silent about the alleged scientific misconduct by some of their researchers.” by Trudo Lemmens really should have links to the two articles that are discussed there as well. They are actually very easy to read for the layperson and written like a good news-story. Here’s the link to the one that I liked more, although both are good:


    To me, this is probably the most serious case of wrongdoing that I was not aware of in many a weekend read. I have no idea how Karen Wagner plans on going about not suffering serious professional consequences from this. Since patient safety was involved, some of the authors could face jail time in the future, including ghost authors and their managers. Never mind just losing an academic position. Although who knows, these are early days of all these misconduct thingies and maybe the penalties will only really start to bite 20 years from now.

    1. Nothing ever seems to happen to successful medical academics for producing bad research outputs, they are usually worth to much to the institution. Maybe it will be different this time.

      The article does mention something that I have seen elsewhere that there is hypomania but also other events that are also activating. For anti-depressant trials this is so common that they should be performing an analysis for any of these events.

  3. Looking at the details of the StemGenex trial it seems that there are many ethical problems. They are using a treatment that has no proven efficacy. It is then simply observational as they have no control group, and osteoarthritis is a disease where there is generally a reasonable effect in the control group, so they essentially won’t know anything useful as a result. And they charge people for it. So how it got through ethics is an interesting question and all they mention about an IRB is United States: Institutional Review Board.

    1. From the web page of StemGenex “Stem cell therapy is not FDA approved and is not a cure for any medical condition.”. Always helps to read the fine print, and it is the smallest font on the page, especially if you are going to spend $14,000.

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