Weekend reads: Retractions at Nature and NEJM; editor resigns after paper with “racist characterizations;” CRISPR babies ethics paper retracted

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The week at Retraction Watch featured a new record for most retractions by a journal; the story of what was missing from a retraction; and authors who blamed language barriers for why they forged their co-authors’ emails. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:

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One thought on “Weekend reads: Retractions at Nature and NEJM; editor resigns after paper with “racist characterizations;” CRISPR babies ethics paper retracted”

  1. From the piece on Koren and Toronto SickKids: “The undertaking means that the college’s investigation into Koren will cease. Had the probe continued, one potential outcome could have seen the college referring allegations of professional misconduct to its discipline committee to hold a public hearing.”

    As described in the link within the article, Koren was investigated almost twenty (20) years ago, and kept his job as head of his lab despite “gross misconduct”, “repeatedly lying”, and “reckless dereliction of duty”:

    “In late 1999, Dr. Gideon Koren was identified as the author of “poison pen letters” sent to SickKids doctors and the media during a heated dispute with a whistleblower colleague, Dr. Nancy Olivieri. For months, Koren had denied writing the anonymous letters that disparaged Olivieri and her four supporters as “a group of pigs,” among other insults. He confessed only after DNA testing provided irrefutable proof.
    “Your actions constitute gross misconduct and provide sufficient grounds for dismissal,” the former presidents of SickKids and the University of Toronto wrote in an April 2000 decision following a disciplinary hearing on Koren, whom they upbraided for “repeatedly lying” and showing a “reckless dereliction of duty.”

    “But, citing his research achievements and the many young doctors he supervised, who they said would be “disproportionately disadvantaged” if Koren were fired, they instead docked him two months’ pay, fined him $35,000 and continued his suspension until June 1, 2000.”

    Koren avoids a public hearing into misconduct, based on his agreeing to give up a license to practice in a Ontario, where he no longer lives and works, after the completion of a lengthy and I would assume well-compensated career at SickKids. And how has it worked out for the many “young investigators he supervised,” that the University of Toronto used to justify retaining Koren in 2000? Is it just Koren that is motivated to avoid a public hearing?

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