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Duke University’s huge misconduct fine is a reminder to reward rigour – Nature (Arturo Casadevall | April 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on April 15, 2019
 

US$112.5-million settlement concerning fraudulent data is a casualty of a culture that prizes impact over robustness, says Arturo Casadevall.

Last week, Duke University announced it would pay the US government US$112.5 million to settle claims that fraudulent data were used in dozens of research-grant applications. This is a communal punishment for an institution where the overwhelming majority of scientists are honest, hard-working individuals seeking knowledge for the good of humanity.

The lesson is that scientific misconduct can carry severe institutional costs. (And scientific ones: more than a dozen papers connected to this case have been retracted.) Duke, in Durham, North Carolina, has promised to improve its practices and administration, including setting up an advisory panel on research integrity and excellence.

These steps are laudable. But I worry that the seeds of misconduct, although they grow in only a very few individuals, are planted in the very heart of academic biomedical sciences.

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“Predatory” company uses Canadian universities to sell shoddy conferences – Ottawa Citizen (Tom Spears | April 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on April 14, 2019
 

Omics International is still marketing junky science conferences in Montreal and Toronto this month despite a U.S. judge’s order to stop “deceptive” promoting of its conferences and academic journals.

Does your institution warn researchers about shoddy conferences and predatory publishers?  Does it also state in policy/guidance material not to intentionally use questionable publishers?  Perhaps it should.  We’ve included a long list of related items.

The company has a long record of publishing any research papers for a fee. This allows underqualified academics to pad their credentials with fake research papers and gain promotion. Companies that do this are known as “predatory” publishers.
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But a US District Court judge fined Omics more than $50 million on March 29 and made a sweeping order prohibiting the India-based company from “misrepresenting” its conferences and journals.
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So far, the company is showing no signs of change. It is running a series of 18 small but pricey conferences in Toronto and Montreal in the next few weeks on topics ranging from cosmetology to medicine. Registration fees range up to US$1,399 for two days.
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U.S. judge rules deceptive publisher should pay $50 million in damages – Science (Jeffrey Brainard | April 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on April 10, 2019
 

A U.S. federal judge has ordered the OMICS International publishing group to pay $50.1 million in damages for deceiving thousands of authors who published in its journals and attended its conferences. It’s one of the first rulings of its kind against one of the largest publishers accused of so-called predatory tactics.

But because it’s a U.S. judgment and OMICS is based in Hyderabad, India, it’s not clear that any money will be collected or shared with researchers who claim OMICS deceived them.

Judge Gloria Navarro of the U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, Nevada, granted summary judgment without a trial, accepting as uncontroverted a set of allegations made in 2016 by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in Washington, D.C., in its capacity as a consumer watchdog. The ruling also bars OMICS from similar future conduct.

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(US) Old emails hold new clues to Coca-Cola and CDC’s controversial relationship – CNN (Jacqueline Howard | January 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on April 3, 2019
 

Private emails between employees at the Coca-Cola Co. and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been exposed in a new research paper, raising questions about just how extensive of a relationship the soda company has had with the nation’s public health agency.

While not directly related to academic or clinical research, we thought this CNN story (and the journal papers it references) were startling enough to include in the resource library. This is also a ‘good’ example of non-financial conflicts of interest.

The paper, published Tuesday in the journal The Milbank Quarterly includes excerpts from emails and suggests that current and former Coca-Cola staff tried to influence the CDC by attempting to frame the debate around whether sugar-sweetened beverages play a role in America’s obesity epidemic, as well as trying to lobby decision-makers.
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The email exchanges — obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests — were sent between 2011 and the time the FOIA requests were made in 2016 and 2017.
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