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Virus Pushes Science And Its Controversies Centre Stage – Barrons (Stéphane ORJOLLET | May 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on May 27, 2020

Hydroxychloroquine, double-blind studies, convalescent plasma, herd immunity — the coronavirus pandemic has thrust the language of science into public view as never before.

Those of us blessed with an understanding of research must embrace our responsibility to explain the publication process, peer review, questionable publishers, junk science and the clinical trial process to family, friends and neighbours.  Observing social distancing of course.

Having escaped the confines of the laboratory, these and other once-obscure terms are fast becoming part of household parlance.

But familiarity with the terminology does not necessarily lead to a better understanding, especially when there is an avalanche of new findings, experts caution.

When researchers disagree or change their mind on the efficacy of a treatment or policy, the normal back-and-forth of the scientific process can breed confusion, they say.

This is only amplified by a 24-hour news cycle and social networks, they add.


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(UK) Questionable activities of UK company Celixir, by Patricia Murray – ForBetterScience (Leonid Schneider | July 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on May 15, 2020

Patricia Murray uncovers the business secrets of the Nobelist Martin Evans and his partner Ajan Reginald. It seems the magic iMP cells used to treat patients in Greece were drawn from the blood of patients in Swansea, for the purpose of a secret PhD thesis. There is no serious science behind it, only serious investor money and a fraudulent patent.

Troubling story from the UK highlights that academic superstars can sometimes are not above seriously questionable activity.  An institution’s governance arrangements must never exclude someone just because of what benefits their reputation/performance confers to the host institution.

This guest post by Dr Patricia Murray, Professor of Cellular and Molecular Physiology at the University of Liverpool, UK, follows a previous article on my site regarding the business activities of the regenerative medicine company Celixir, owned by Sir Martin Evans, winner of the Nobel Prize of 2007 and former President of the University of Cardiff, and the struck-off dentist Ajan Reginald. Much of the contents in that story must be credited to Dr Murray, who is also an activist for medical ethics and research integrity in regenerative medicine and played a key role in uncovering the extent of the trachea transplant scandal in the UK in the aftermath of the Paolo Macchiarini affair, which recently made main news in the UK (here and here).

Murray’s activities led to a parliamentary investigations into the role of UCL and their professors, primarily Martin Birchall, in two deadly trachea transplants (here and here) and into the attitude of the journal The Lancet. Three clinical trials were permanently suspended or terminated following Murray’s advocacy for patient safety, it is likely that related trials at UCL and elsewhere in UK were also postponed indefinitely because of that. There were retaliations: UCL’s business partners, the trachea transplant company Videregen, deployed lawyers against Murray and her colleague (read here and here), without any success though.

In my view, Professor Murray is a true hero and the bravest scientist I ever had the honour to know. And yet she doesn’t even have a Twitter account.

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Kinder publishing practices should become the new normal – Times Higher Education (Phil Emmerson | April 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on May 12, 2020

Varying personal circumstances highlight the need for accommodations that outlive the coronavirus, says Phil Emmerson

The impact on teaching of the forced closure of university campuses around the world has understandably dominated institutional and
press attention, with lecturers scrambling to learn new technologies and pedagogies so that disruption is minimised.

But the implications of the coronavirus-related shutdown on research is also huge. Limited or no access to labs and research participants
combined with the need to share home workspaces with other family members present considerable challenges to productivity.

Moreover, many academics are overwhelmed by worry. Some have family members who are unwell, or are unwell themselves. Some have had to take over the primary care of loved ones. Many are also having to home-school their children. These caring roles mostly fall to women.

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(Korea) Korean professors indicted in admissions case tied to politics – Times Higher Education (Joyce Lau | January 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on May 1, 2020

Former justice minster and wife alleged to have faked materials for children’s university applications

A former South Korean justice minister and his wife, both university professors, have been charged following an academic misconduct investigation tied to their children’s university applications.

Cho Kuk, the former minister who is a professor at Seoul National University, and Chung Kyung-shim, a Dongyang University professor, were indicted on multiple charges on 31 December, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office confirmed to Times Higher Education. 

The charges against Professor Cho, which come after months of investigation into academic misconduct, include bribery, falsifying documents and obstruction of business, the Yonhap news agency reported. Professors Cho and Chung are accused of faking materials for their son’s application to law school and their daughter’s entry to medical school.

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