Tag Archives: misconduct

Does identification of misconduct in studies affect medical guidelines?

This question has been answered by an earlier study of Avenell et al.

By 2016 the affected trial reports were cited in 1158 publications, including 68 systematic reviews, meta-analyses, narrative reviews, guidelines and clinical trials. We judged that 13 guidelines, systematic or other reviews would likely change their findings if the affected trial reports were removed, and in another eight it was unclear if findings would change. By 2018, only one of the 68 citing publications, a systematic review, appeared to have undertaken a reassessment, which led to a correction.
We found evidence that this group of affected trial reports distorted the evidence base. Correction of these distortions is slow, uncoordinated and inconsistent. Unless there is a rapid, systematic, coordinated approach by bibliographic databases, authors, journals and publishers to mitigate the impact of known cases of research misconduct, patients, other researchers and their funders may continue to be adversely affected.

How to push the impact of 2,299 scientists with 8,000 citations each?

Answer: Be co-author of an autophagy guideline

this is another episode of guidelines paper. More participants listed here – Affiliations listed stopped at 2299 – this means that there are 2299 authors in the manuscript. Unbelievable – how did they manage to get a consensus on what is written. May the first author explain, how the authorship on this guidelines is decided?

So many asthma papers under fire

As an avid PubPeer reader, I found a  new  entry  by Elisabeth Bik recently about Andreas Pahl of Heidelberg Pharma who has already one retracted and several more papers under scrutiny.

Unfortunately there are now also many asthma trash papers from paper mills. Another example was identified by @gcabanac, distributed by @deevybee and published at Pubpeer.

In total there are 386 asthma entries at PubPeer. What is  really happening in this field? When I started the field there was just one misconduct case – Ranjit Kumar Chandra. That’s an increase from 1 to 386…

What makes it even more complicated that there is no border anymore to predatory journals if also respected scientists drop their names at predatory journals.  Only recently I received an email addressed to one of my former technical assistants as “professor” inviting her to send a paper…

 

Papers that should have been retracted, not corrected

It has been mentioned many times before  and has been even officially published by COPE

Science is either replicable or not. If not, it should be corrected. If faulty or fabricated, it should be retracted.

Continue reading Papers that should have been retracted, not corrected

Vorbildlicher Umgang mit wissenschaftlichem Fehlverhalten

Mittlerweile gibt es Checklisten, wie wissenschaftliches Fehlverhalten schon frühzeitig beim Review erkannt werden kann. Wie gehen Institutionen aber mit bereits zurückliegendem Fehlverhalten um? Allgemeine Richtlinien gibt es bei der DFG, aber wie sieht das Vorgehen praktisch aus? An einem Leibnitz Zentrum ist in mühsamer persönlicher Erfahrung ein Leitfaden entwickelt worden, der anderen Universitäten und Forschungseinrichtungen eine Hilfe sein kann [link]. Er bestätigt unter anderem, dass es um so schwieriger ist, Fehlverhalten zu ahnden, je höher in der Hierarchie jemand bereits aufgestiegen ist. Stefan Ehlers:

Die Ahndung wissenschaftlichen Fehlverhaltens bei unbefristet angestellten Gruppenleiter/innen oder gar Beamt/innen erfolgt häufig jedoch durch „Rügen“ oder „Abmahnungen“ oder Geldbußen unterschiedlicher Höhe. Dies ist zwar dem derzeitigen Vertragsrecht bzw. Beamtenrecht geschuldet: bei letzterem sind für eine Enthebung aus dem Amt quasi strafrechtlich relevante Tatbestände Voraussetzung (und hierbei handelt es sich bei wissenschaftlichen Fehlverhalten ohne unmittelbar bezifferbaren wirtschaftlichen Schaden meist nicht).

Das stimmt obwohl es erste Anzeichen gibt daß sich das ändern wird.

The reason for retraction

Having a discussion recently with the editor of a small journal, I think it is worth to repeat that withdrawal of a paper is not always a sign of deliberate fraud as it could be just an honest error.  Science had an analysis last year of the retractiondatabase that clearly showed the relationship.

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/10/what-massive-database-retracted-papers-reveals-about-science-publishing-s-death-penalty

What is a predatory journal?

Nature reports a new definition for predatory journals

Predatory journals and publishers are entities that prioritize self-interest at the expense of scholarship and are characterized by false or misleading information, deviation from best editorial and publication practices, a lack of transparency, and/or the use of aggressive and indiscriminate solicitation practices.

This definition is much broader than I would have expected.

Smaller scientific societies prioritize of course their self-interest and even middle and top tier journals occasionally provide misleading information.

There is also a lack of transparency whenever an anonymous referee or editor decides on your paper without any explanation (or justification (as happened to me this morning. “Lack of space” is ridiculous in the internet age).

So what is a predatory journal? I can’t put the answer into one sentence without annoying also serious journals.

And there is already some considerable literature on the inner workings of true predatory journals. I would there suggest for for a scoring system, for example

  • publication costs >1000€
  • turn around time <4 weeks
  • less than 3 experienced referees

and many more details as specified in the Nature report sums up to a predatory likelihood.  All journals passing a threshold, should be officially listed as “predatory”.

Can a research school replace the former role model of a professor?

Nature yesterday about cheating students and misconduct

Institutions need to stop treating education as a product and refrain from determining the value of research by the amount of funding received or the number of papers produced. Instead, they should focus on building academic cultures that are committed to integrity and that place abiding faith in the value of knowledge creation.

Endlich keine Straffreiheit mehr bei Wissenschaftsbetrug

Diskutiert wird es schon lange: Soll Wissenschaftsbetrug weiterhin straffrei bleiben? Friedhelm Hermann, einer der grössten Fälscher der jüngeren Geschichte, kam mit einer lächerlich kleinen Auflage aus dem Verfahren  und konnte danach viele Jahre unbehelligt in einer Praxis hinter dem Marienplatz in München praktizieren.
Das scheint sich nun aber zu ändern. Das berichtet

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern will härter gegen Plagiate in wissenschaftlichen Arbeiten vorgehen. Die Hochschulen sollen künftig Bußgelder in Höhe von bis zu 10.000 Euro verhängen können, wenn sie eine Verletzung der wissenschaftlichen Redlichkeit auf­d­ecken. Das steht im Gesetzentwurf der Landesregierung zur Änderung des Hoch­schul­rechts, der heute in einer öffentlichen Expertenanhörung erörtert wurde. Weitere geplante Änderungen betreffen die Hochschulentwicklungsplanung und das Promotions­recht.

Ich denke – ohne dem “irrational gesteigerten Strafbedürfnis der Öffentlichkeit” (Fischer) zu verfallen – das ist eine überfällige Massnahme in Anbetracht des Schadens der dadurch angerichtet wird – von sinnlosen Replikationstudien bis hin zum Verlust an Menschenleben.

Scientific misconduct deserves more attention and better research committees

Misconduct is ever increasing with the increasing science industry. The spectrum of misconduct is large – as I explained some years ago with an extended version of the N-S-C Diagram. Unfortunately, protection of whistleblowers as well as quality of university investigations remain low (or are even suppressed for various reasons). This is also the view of a new Nature editorial “What Universities could learn from one of the biggest science’s fraud”

university investigations into research misconduct are often inadequate, opaque and poorly conducted. They challenge the idea that institutions can police themselves on research integrity and propose that there should be independent organizations to evaluate allegations of research fraud should.

I agree.

Too many research-misconduct investigations turn out to be inadequate or flawed, says Gunsalus, who had a hand in creating a 26-point checklist that university officials can use to guide probes into research misconduct, which Grey’s team used to rate the investigations.

The 2018 JAMA links to the checklist while the rights seems to be with the National Center for Professional & Research Ethics that has many more resources.

Der chinesische Menschenversuch

This content has restricted access, please type the password below and get access.


Wissenschaftsbetrug und soziale Akzeptanz

Mag sein, daß es immer mehr Wissenschaftsbetrug gibt. Es kann aber auch sein, daß nur das Bewusstsein geschärft ist. Es würde mich jedenfalls nicht wundern, daß der erhöhte Leistungsdruck statt zu weiteren Höchstleistungen zu noch mehr Betrug führt.
Aus einem ganz anderen Gebiet kommt nun eine Erklärung, warum es mit der Moral bei uns doch nicht so weit her ist.

Steuerhinterziehung gilt vielen in Deutschland als Kavaliersdelikt … “Die Steuerpflicht ist keine Norm, die man verinnerlicht hätte. Man trifft erst im Erwachsenenalter auf sie”, sagt Carsten Ullrich … Erstens lässt sich eine Norm wie diese relativ angstfrei missachten … Zweitens ist eine solche Norm, die sich nur intellektuell nachvollziehen lässt, “schwer zu verstehen” … In den neunziger Jahren ordnete ein soziologisches Standardwerk noch 18 Prozent der Bevölkerung dem Milieu der “Konventionalisten” zu, denen Pflicht und Akzeptanz am wichtigsten sind.

Die wissenschaftlichen Normen des exakten Messens und des vourteilsfreien Berichtes kann man nicht angstfrei missachten. Bei aufgeflogenem Betrug ist das Karriereende sicher.
Aber es stimmt natürlich, daß wissenschaftliche Redlichkeit eine relativ spät erfahrbare Norm ist, die sich nur intellektuell nachvollziehen lässt.
Der DHV will Wissenschaftsbetrug strafbar machen während Milos Vec in der FAZ davon nicht recht überzeugt ist und auf die Probleme einer strafrechtlichen Verfolgung hinweist.

The lying Dutchman

Another series of faked studies are reported by washingtonpost

“Many of Stapel’s students graduated without having ever run an experiment, the report says. Stapel told them that their time was better spent analyzing data and writing. The commission writes that Stapel was ’lord of the data’ in his collaborations. It says colleagues or students who asked to see raw data were given excuses or even threatened and insulted.”

Déjà  vu extended

Given my interest in strange phenomena leading to science misperception I wonder why I didn’t find this site earlier as it tells you also everything about Déjà Vu, Déjà Vécu, Déjà Visité, L’esprit de l’Escalier (comeback when it is too late), Capgras delusion (replaced friend), Fregoli delusion (same person appears in different bodies) and prosopagnosia (unable to recognize faces also known as myopia…). Yea, yea.