War over whistleblower protection for Kansas ecology prof wages on

nsfA contentious case over whether a fired ecologist deserves whistleblower protection is playing out in Kansas, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) has once again weighed in.

For the second time, the NSF has told the researcher, Joseph Craine, that he does not qualify for protection as a whistleblower after he was fired from Kansas State University (KSU) for sharing misconduct allegations with a journal editor.

Craine initially asked the NSF for whistleblower protection status in 2014, arguing that he had been retaliated against for making misconduct allegations to the journal Ecology. The NSF denied Craine’s claim, but Craine appealed to federal court, which found the NSF’s reasoning opaque and remanded the case back to the agency. On June 24, the NSF’s General Counsel Lawrence Rudolph issued a new 11-page letter that lays out the basis for its decision: Continue reading War over whistleblower protection for Kansas ecology prof wages on

A bullshit excuse? My lab notebook “was blown into a manure pit”

CleanA researcher who studies how to turn dairy cattle manure into natural gas falsified and fabricated data in a journal article and failed to declare a commercial conflict of interest, a Washington State University investigation has found.

The study “Evaluation of Co-Digestion at a Commercial Dairy Anaerobic Digester” was published in 2011 in the journal CLEAN: Soil, Air, Water. First author Craig Frear was a Ph.D. student at WSU Pullman when the study was carried out and an assistant professor at the time of the investigation. The editor-in-chief of CLEAN, Prisca Henheik, told us that the retraction is a done deal even though it has not been posted online: Continue reading A bullshit excuse? My lab notebook “was blown into a manure pit”

Critics of 2008 concussion study failed to note NFL ties

Jama neurWhen a 2008 paper proposed that athletes be kept out of play for four weeks following a concussion, three doctors wrote in to say that the recommendations were “irrelevant and ill advised.” One thing the trio failed to disclose, however, was their own financial ties to the National Football League.

With the release of the 2013 Frontline documentary “League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis” and the publication of Concussion by journalist Jeanne-Marie Laskas, the evidence is growing that the NFL — with the help of doctors working as paid consultants or expert witnesses for the NFL or individual teams  — has downplayed the potential of football to cause long-term brain injuries.

In a 2008, Lester Mayers of Pace University in Pleasantville, New York, published a review paper in Archives of Neurology (now JAMA Neurology), that summarized evidence from tests such as balance and gait testing, along with MRI and PET imaging studies. Mayers, who is now deceased, concluded in “Return-to-Play Criteria After Athletic Concussion: A Need for Revision” that it takes at least four weeks — rather than one or two — for the brain to heal following a concussion:

Continue reading Critics of 2008 concussion study failed to note NFL ties

Crime journal’s meteoric rise due to questionable self-citation: analysis

JCJShould it be a crime for editors to cite work in their own journal?

Last year, the Journal of Criminal Justice became the top-ranked journal in the field of criminology, but critics say that its meteoric rise is due in part to the editor’s penchant for self-citation.

As Thomas Baker of the University of Central Florida, writes in the September/October issue of the The Criminologist, a newsletter of the American Society of Criminology: Continue reading Crime journal’s meteoric rise due to questionable self-citation: analysis

NSF investigation of high-profile plant retractions ends in two debarments

Jorge Vivanco
Jorge Vivanco

A nearly ten-year-long series of investigations into a pair of plant physiologists who received millions in funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation has resulted in debarments of less than two years for each of the researchers.

The NSF Office of Inspector General recently posted its close-out report on its decision and a review of the University’s investigation, which had recommended a total of eight retractions or corrections. Although the investigator’s names have been redacted, the text of retractions and corrections quoted in the report corresponds to papers by Continue reading NSF investigation of high-profile plant retractions ends in two debarments

Trove of VA reports reveals research misconduct, medical malpractice

va logoLast week, the Veteran Affairs Office of Inspector General released eight years of reports investigating allegations of nefarious behavior at VA hospitals and institutions around the country, ranging from mistreating a patient in Florida, misspending grant money in New York, and conducting unauthorized research in Iowa.

In one report, Continue reading Trove of VA reports reveals research misconduct, medical malpractice