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Swedish review board finds misconduct by Macchiarini, calls for six retractions – Retraction Watch (Alison McCook | October 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on November 1, 2017

An ethical review board in Sweden is asking journals to retract six papers co-authored by former star surgeon Paolo Macchiarini, after concluding that he and his co-authors committed misconduct.

One of the papers is the seminal 2011 article in The Lancet, which described the first case of a transplant using an artificial trachea seeded with the patient’s own stem cells, and now bears an expression of concern from The Lancet editors. Over time, multiple authors have asked to be removed from the paper.

The Expert Group on Scientific Misconduct at the Central Ethical Review Board has determined that concerns over that paper — and five others co-authored by Macchiarini, once based at the Karolinska Institutet (KI) — were justified. In a press release, it says:

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Also see
(29/09/2016) – Macchiarini scandal: overstepping the research ethics mark – Euroscientist
(01/09/2017) – Dr Con Man: the rise and fall of a celebrity scientist who fooled… – The Guardian

Released FDA docs reveal details of agency’s (failed) attempt to retract paper – Retraction Watch (Charles Seife | August 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on October 31, 2017

Earlier this year, a raging controversy regarding a new drug spilled into the pages of a leading medical journal: the head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and another official publicly called for the retraction or correction of a peer-reviewed article about the drug. They didn’t get their wish. Now, documents released by the FDA via alawsuit shed light on the attempt — and show how tricky it can be to correct the official record.

While a US case it highlights how hard it can sometimes be (even for the US FDA) to force a retraction.

The controversy surrounds the approval of eteplirsen, a drug approved last September to treat Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a rare but invariably fatal disease that strikes (mostly) young boys. Eteplirsen was approved over the objections of the FDA team that reviewed the drug, which determined that there was insufficient evidence to approve the drug.
But the controversy didn’t end within the walls of the FDA complex. Ellis Unger, who led the review team, believed that one of the principal studies of the drug, published in the Annals of Neurology, was “misleading” because it was based on “unreliable data.” So in early November, Unger, joined by the then-head of the FDA, Robert Califf, took the extremely rare move of writing to the editor of the journal to “urge that the paper be corrected or retracted….”

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University scandal, reputation and governance (Papers: Meredith Downes | 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on October 29, 2017


While about university scandal as opposed to research ethics scandals, this article provides insight to the impact of looming and actual scandal on university behaviours.

A review of the literature on corporate governance serves to demonstrate the applicability of many governance solutions to the university setting. Based on a review of university scandals, most of which are recent but some of which took place decades ago, it is possible to categorize them as follows: sex scandals, drugs, cheating, hazing, admissions and diplomas, on-the-job consumption, athletics, and murder. Several examples are provided in the paper, along with their impact on various stakeholders. The paper then discusses a variety of solutions designed to either preempt the activities potentially leading to scandal, to deter them or to punish perpetrators. Some of these involve structural changes, institutional policies and procedures, fines, terminations, and sanctions. The paper emphasizes the proactive safeguards which govern and monitor to make sure that universities do not suffer on the back end and that their reputations do not suffer into the future.


University reputation, University governance, Corporate governance, University scandal, Governance solutions, Governance in higher education

Downes, M (2017) University scandal, reputation and governance. International Journal for Educational Integrity 13(1): 8.
Publisher (open access):

Fraud Scandals Sap China’s Dream of Becoming a Science Superpower – The New York Times (Amy Qin | October 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on October 28, 2017

BEIJING — Having conquered world markets and challenged American political and military leadership, China has set its sights on becoming a global powerhouse in a different field: scientific research. It now has more laboratory scientists than any other country, outspends the entire European Union on research and development, and produces more scientific articles than any other nation except the United States.

When thinking about research misconduct in China it’s important to remember the immense size of their research base and how quickly it has grown. Significant sanction and penalty efforts are underway (see the second linked story) but focusing on the culture of research practice would be better.

But in its rush to dominance, China has stood out in another, less boastful way. Since 2012, the country has retracted more scientific papers because of faked peer reviews than all other countries and territories put together, according to Retraction Watch, a blog that tracks and seeks to publicize retractions of research papers.

Now, a recent string of high-profile scandals over questionable or discredited research has driven home the point in China that to become a scientific superpower, it must first overcome a festering problem of systemic fraud.

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Also see China’s High Court issue a warning to Life Science companies