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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

(China, Australia) Journals have retracted or flagged more than 40 papers from China that appear to have used organ transplants from executed prisoners – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky | April 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on May 29, 2020

Journals have retracted 30 papers, and added expressions of concern to 13 more, because the research likely involved organs from executed prisoners in China.

The issue surfaced as early as 2016, and two of the retractions occurred in 2017, but all of the other retractions, and all of the expressions of concern, happened after a February 2019 paper by Wendy Rogers of Macquarie University, in Sydney, Australia, and colleagues calling for the retraction of more than 400 papers

reporting research based on use of organs from executed prisoners, and an international summit to develop future policy for handling Chinese transplant research.

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Plagiarism detection: Perils and pitfalls (Editorial: Amitav Banerjee | October 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on May 24, 2020

Few years ago, we got an alert from a whistleblower in South Africa as follows, “I read the article Surgical repair of giant inguinoscrotal hernia containing the urinary bladder, published in your journal with great interest.[1] I came across another article, which discusses similar issues.[2] Unfortunately, the authors of the first paper have plagiarized the article extensively (229 words, 25%) from the latter article. The source has not been acknowledged in the published paper. It is unfair to publish such an article in your esteemed journal. I wish that the editors will consider this as an offense as this will compromise the quality of the journal as well as put a question on its credibility.”

A sensible prompt for the investigation of alleged plagiarism. We have included links to eleven related items.

This whistleblowing evoked mixed feelings in us. First, we were happy to know that our journal, which was not very old, was being read in another part of the globe. We were also pleased with the word “esteemed” to describe our journal. On the downside, we were greatly perturbed at the allegation of plagiarism and really concerned about the future credibility of our journal.

We went about investigating the allegation. For ease of narration, let us call the alleged source,[2] paper A, and the alleged plagiarism,[1] paper B. Imagine our surprise when we found that paper A was authored by one of the reviewers of paper B. We replied to the whistleblower, “We have examined the matter. It would interest you to know that one of the referees of the paper was Dr. Panagiotakis himself, the lead author of the paper from which you say the paper published by us has been plagiarized. He approved the paper after minor corrections. We are attaching the screenshot from the reviewer’s panel of the journal system to indicate the date of review by him. There are likely to be common technical terms in both the papers which will inflate the similarity percentage by the plagiarism software. In such cases, we should use our judgment and grant benefit of doubt to the authors.”

Banerjee A. Plagiarism detection: Perils and pitfalls. Med J DY Patil Vidyapeeth [serial online] 2019 [cited 2020 Apr 7];12:481-2. Available from:

(US) JetBlue’s Founder Helped Fund A Stanford Study That Said The Coronavirus Wasn’t That Deadly – Buzzfeed News (Stephanie M. Lee | May 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on May 22, 2020

A Stanford whistleblower complaint alleges that the controversial John Ioannidis study failed to disclose important financial ties and ignored scientists’ concerns that their antibody test was inaccurate.

A highly influential coronavirus antibody study was funded in part by David Neeleman, the JetBlue Airways founder and a vocal proponent of the idea that the pandemic isn’t deadly enough to justify continued lockdowns.

That’s according to a complaint from an anonymous whistleblower, filed with Stanford University last week and obtained by BuzzFeed News, about the study conducted by the famous scientist John Ioannidis and others. The complaint cites dozens of emails, including exchanges with the airline executive while the study was being conducted.

The study — released as a non-peer-reviewed paper, or preprint, on April 17 — made headlines around the world with a dramatic finding: Based on antibodies in thousands of Silicon Valley residents’ blood samples, the number of coronavirus infections was up to 85 times higher than believed. This true infection count was so high that it would drive down the virus’s local fatality rate to 0.12%–0.2% — far closer to the known death rate for the flu.

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Transatlantic editorial: Institutional investigations of ethically flawed reports in cardiothoracic surgery journals (Papers: Robert M Sade, et al | January 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on May 21, 2020

A growing body of evidence suggests that research misconduct has been rising steadily over the last few decades. The mass media have sensationalized high profile cases of scientific fraud. Several surveys have attempted to define the incidence of scientific misconduct, but the available evidence is unreliable owing mostly to underreporting of misconduct [1]. An indirect indication of the extent of research misconduct is the incidence of article retractions from the scientific literature, which is tracked by the Retraction Watch database. Among science journals the number of retractions rose from 114 in the 5-year period 1990–1994 to 10 738 in the corresponding period 2010–2014, a 94-fold increase [2]. A well-known survey of early- and mid-career scientists found that 33% said they had engaged in serious misconduct in the previous 3 years [3]. The apparent growth in misconduct may be merely an artefact of increased focus on the issue or it may be real, but the question of a recent surge is not as important as the fact that misconduct is widespread and undermines the foundation of science, which is built on honest and transparent investigation.

Ethics, Health policy, Professional affairs

Sade, R. M., Rylski, B., Swain, J. A., Entwistle, J. W. C., Ceppa, D. P. & Members of the Cardiothoracic Ethics Forum who contributed to this work, for the Cardiothoracic Ethics Forum, Transatlantic editorial (2020) Institutional investigations of ethically flawed reports in cardiothoracic surgery journals, European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, Volume 57, Issue 4, April 2020, Pages 617–619,
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