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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

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.
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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.”
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Banerjee A. Plagiarism detection: Perils and pitfalls. Med J DY Patil Vidyapeeth [serial online] 2019 [cited 2020 Apr 7];12:481-2. Available from: http://www.mjdrdypv.org/text.asp?2019/12/6/481/269415

(France) He Was a Science Star. Then He Promoted a Questionable Cure for Covid-19 – New York Times Magazine (Scott Sayare | May 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on May 23, 2020
 

The man behind Trump’s favorite unproven treatment has made a great career assailing orthodoxy. His claim of a 100 percent cure rate shocked scientists around the world.

When diagnosing the ills afflicting modern science, an entertainment that, along with the disparagement of his critics and fellow researchers, he counts among his great delights, the eminent French microbiologist Didier Raoult will lightly stroke his beard, lean back in his seat and, with a thin but unmistakable smile, declare the poor patient to be stricken with pride. Raoult, who has achieved international fame since his proposed treatment for Covid-19 was touted as a miracle cure by President Trump, believes that his colleagues fail to see that their ideas are the products of mere intellectual fashions — that they are hypnotized by methodology into believing that they understand what they do not and that they lack the discipline of mind that would permit them to comprehend their error. “Hubris,” Raoult told me recently, at his institute in Marseille, “is the most common thing in the world.” It is a particularly dangerous malady in doctors like him, whose opinions are freighted with the responsibility of life and death. “Someone who doesn’t know is less stupid than someone who wrongly thinks he does,” he said. “Because it is a terrible thing to be wrong.”

Gary’s view of the Commander in Tweet dropped further this week.  Is it possible to have an approval rating below zero?  After the US President announced he was taking hydroxychloroquine to ward off COVID-19, FOX News warned its viewers that copying the President could be lethal.  The response?   The President tweeted Fox’s standards were dropping and he was looking for another news outlet … 😐 …

Raoult, who founded and directs the research hospital known as the Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire Méditerranée Infection, or IHU, has made a great career assailing orthodoxy, in both word and practice. “There’s nothing I like more than blowing up a theory that’s been so nicely established,” he once said. He has a reputation for bluster but also for a certain creativity. He looks where no one else cares to, with methods no one else is using, and finds things. In just the past 10 years, he has helped identify nearly 500 novel species of human-borne bacteria, about one-fifth of all those named and described. Until recently, he was perhaps best known as the discoverer of the first giant virus, a microbe that, in his opinion, suggests that viruses ought to be considered a fourth and separate domain of living things. The discovery helped win him the Grand Prix Inserm, one of France’s top scientific prizes. It also led him to believe that the tree of life suggested by Darwinian evolution is “entirely false,” he told me, and that Darwin himself “wrote nothing but inanities.” He detests consensus and comity; he believes that science, and life, ought to be a fight.
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It is in this spirit that, over the objections of his peers, and no doubt because of them, too, he has promoted a combination of hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug, and azithromycin, a common antibiotic, as a remedy for Covid-19. He has taken to declaring, “We know how to cure the disease.” Trump was not the only one eager to embrace this possibility. By the time I arrived in Marseille, some version of Raoult’s treatment regimen had been authorized for testing or use in France, Italy, China, India and numerous other countries. One in every five registered drug trials in the world was testing hydroxychloroquine.
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Read the rest of this discussion piece

(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.

Read the rest of this discussion piece

(UK) Dishonesty and research misconduct within the medical profession (Papers: Habib Rahman & Stephen Ankier | March 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on May 17, 2020
 

Abstract
While there has been much discussion of how the scientific establishment’s culture can engender research misconduct and scientific irreproducibility, this has been discussed much less frequently with respect to the medical profession. Here the authors posit that a lack of self-criticism, an encouragement of novel scientific research generated by the recruitment policies of the UK Royal Training Colleges along with insufficient training in the sciences are core reasons as to why research misconduct and dishonesty prevail within the medical community. Furthermore, the UK General Medical Council’s own data demonstrates a historic inattentiveness to the ease with which doctors can engage in research misconduct. Suggestions are made as to how these issues can be investigated and alternative incentives for career advancement are adumbrated.

Keywords
Scientific reproducibility, Medical ethics, History of medicine, Royal College of Physicians, Sociology of the medical profession

Rahman, H., Ankier, S. Dishonesty and research misconduct within the medical profession. BMC Medical Ethics 21, 22 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12910-020-0461-z
Publisher (Open Access): https://bmcmedethics.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12910-020-0461-z

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