A once-prominent bone researcher whose career crumbled after allegations of misconduct has lost her medical license in Canada.
The researcher, Abida Sophina “Sophie” Jamal, formerly of the University of Toronto, had been considered a rising star in the international community of osteoporosis researchers, winning awards and collaborating with some of the leading senior investigators in the field.
As we’re fond of repeating, sunlight is the best disinfectant. Which doesn’t jibe with the findings in an eye-catching 2018 paper that found people were less fearful of catching a contagious illness if they were in a dark room or were wearing sunglasses.
Fortunately for us, although not for the researchers, we no longer have to live with the cognitive dissonance. The paper, the journal tells us, will be retracted for flaws in the data — which, thanks to the open sharing of data, quickly came to light.
Adeel Safdar was once a rising star in the field of kinesiology. After completing his doctorate degree at McMaster University in Canada, working with one of the titans of his field, Safdar took a postdoc at Harvard, then accepted a newly created chair position at another university in Ontario.
That all came crashing down last year, when Safdar went on trial in Canada, accused of horrifically abusing his wife. Over the course of the trial, allegations arose about his research, prompting two journals to flag papers he co-authored with his former mentor, Mark Tarnopolsky.
If you’re unfamiliar with the work of Tom Spears, a reporter at the Ottawa Citizen, you have missed some clever lampooning of fake journals. But that work has not gone unnoticed in some circles, apparently: In the not-so-cleverly named journal Significances of Bioengineering & Biosciences, whose publisher’s motto is “Wings To The Research,” a researcher named Sam Yosemite seems to have nominated Spears for the Nobel Prize. And in what some might consider a miracle — or just a made-up story — we managed to locate questions that the “late Dr. Adam Oransky, who gave his life rescuing six frostbitten Sherpas from an ascent of the Catskills without oxygen last August,” according to Yosemite’s editorial, meant to ask Spears. (Oransky’s work on time travel has been rumored to be in the running for a Nobel for some time, but his untimely death of course ended that possibility, given the Prize’s prohibition against posthumous awards.) That interview follows.
Retraction Watch: Dr. Yosemite seems to be nominating you for “the Nobel Prize,” but as everyone knows, there is more than one Nobel Prize. Which one do you think he meant? And do you think you deserve this honor?
When Parisa Ariyawas invited to write a review for a special issue of the journal Atmosphere, she asked one of her former doctoral students to take the lead. But she soon regretted that decision after discovering Lin (Emma) Si had plagiarized and duplicated significant portions of the review.
Ariya, chair of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at McGill University in Montreal, told Retraction Watch that she believes it’s important to foster the careers of young women in science and was excited for her former student, Si, to take on the challenge of writing her first review. (Si was cc’d on our email communications with Ariya, but did not respond to our individual request for comment.) Continue reading McGill dept chair says she was blindsided by coauthor’s plagiarism
What Caught Our Attention: Usually, when journals publish corrections to articles, they also correct the original article, except when the original is unavailable online. When Nature noticed that some figure panels in a 20-year-old paper were duplicated, it flagged the issue for readers — but didn’t correct the online version of the original paper. According to the notice, the duplications don’t disturb the conclusion illustrated by the figure, the original data couldn’t be found, and the last two authors had retired. We contacted a spokesperson at Nature, who told us “the information at the start of the paper clearly links to the corrigendum.” Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Yes, a 20-year-old article is wrong — but it won’t be corrected online
The paper has been republished in the same journal, adding another chapter to Shaw and Tomljenovic’s confusing record of publishing and withdrawing papers. The journal did not respond to our request for comment, but Shaw told Retraction Watch: