Schneider Shorts of 15 July 2021: TCM robots and Russian lasers in space, Swedish whistleblowers at the EU Court of Justice, fraudsters and bullies retiring, an ivermectin setback, German stinginess, how Vitamin D prevents colon cancer, and how paper-mill narrative gets purged of Smut.
Updated on For Better Science
Another Paper Mill Hero!
Hooray! After first Science, then Wiley told you who Smut Clyde and Tiger BB8 really are (Jennifer Byrne and Jana Christopher, respectively, read here), another peer-reviewed source, Naunyn-Schmiedeberg’s Archives of Pharmacology (NSAP) arrives with more paper mill heroes.
Marcel A. G. van der Heyden, The 1-h fraud detection challenge Naunyn-Schmiedeberg’s Archives of Pharmacology (2021) DOI 10.1007/s00210-021-02120-3
The author Marcel van der Heyden is associate professor in the department of Medical Physiology at the University Medical Center Utrecht, Netherlands. The article is rather useless, a self-congratulatory piece of one of those academics who usurp research integrity topics to angle grants and peer-reviewed papers for their CV. van der Heyden’s article hints that he is himself an image integrity sleuth who exposes data manipulations, just like Elisabeth Bik, who knows if this is true.
There is a story connected to his piece in NSAP.
My above interview with Smut Clyde and Tiger BB8 was originally invited by the Editor-in-Chief of NSAP, Roland Seifert. I agreed, because I wanted my colleagues to get at least some of the credit they deserve, having done bulk if not most of the work uncovering Chinese paper mills.
No such luck. After many weeks of being forgotten, editorially reviewed, sent back to me to be re-written and censored, we eventually parted our ways because I refused to re-write the answers of my interview partners, to attribute to them statements they never said in this way (a bizarre request to start with). I also refused to reference all those who mis-attributed Smut Clyde’s and Tiger BB8’s credit or even attributed it to themselves.
While my undesired interview was kicked around for many weeks, Marcel’s masterpiece passed editorial review in just one day. Why? Maybe it has the real peer reviewed facts. In that world, Smut Clyde and Tiger BB8, or myself as publisher, were never involved in the context of paper mills. There is a however one mention of For Better Science, Elisabeth Bik’s blog and Smut Clyde’s Riddled in the Table 2, the latter is described as “Post-publication peer review“, but that was added by Seifert, who explained to me: “Like in your case, I pre-reviewed his paper and asked for the inclusions of Tables 2 and 3.“
Instead, as authoritative sources on paper mills referenced by van der Heyden are of course Byrne & Christopher, then other academics, Nature journalists, and brace yourself, the stalker looney Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva (JATdS), who publishes in predatory journals his paranoid brainfarts accusing everyone of everything. Precisely this scholarly study was cited:
Teixeira da Silva JA Paper mills and on-demand publishing: risks to the integrity of journal indexing and metrics. Med J Armed Forces India (2021) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mjafi.2020.08.003
As academic stupidity goes, Jana Christopher referenced that exact same JATdS “paper” in her own recent article on paper mills (Christopher, FEBS Letters 2021). No, she never mentions Smut Clyde, Tiger BB8 (or my site), but she does of course reference those articles which attribute their work to her. To think that I once even admiringly interviewed this unscrupulous person.
Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva , Leonid Schneider calls Springer Nature’s Science and Engineering Ethics Predatory, Without Proof, Journal of Advocacy, Research and Education, (2019)Click to access 1566211959.pdf
See, this is the kind of references the EiC of Naunyn-Schmiedeberg’s Archives of Pharmacology categorically wanted me to add. I refused, so the interview with Smut Clyde and Tiger BB8 was rejected.
Pinche estúpido retired
The Mexican nanofabricator Oscar Portillo Moreno (who once insulted his critic on PubPeer as “Pinche estúpido“) was found guilty of research misconduct in February 2020 and went into retirement in January 2021, as reader comments below. His pension is 25,000 pesos/month (1200 USD/month), as reader found out. Here the Benemérita Universidad Autonoma de Puebla decision on the misconduct (Google-translate):
“Finally, a case of academic dishonesty was presented by Dr. Oscar Portillo of the Faculty of Chemical Sciences and of around thirty collaborators between researchers and students of the Institution, where practices of reuse, falsification and manipulation of images were detected in twenty-three publications that were sent to different scientific journals, in order to have a greater number of publications. Dr. Portillo presents a statement before the Office of the Advocate General and admits oversights and serious errors in at least eleven of his publications, assuming their responsibility for those facts and presents a defence letter before a Notary Public, defining all the others authors free of all responsibility, a group of eight co-author researchers, sent a letter disclaiming any responsibility that involves them with the publications of Dr. Portillo, other authors asked the publisher to withdraw one of the published articles.
Within the opinion that the Commission sent to the Office of the Vice President after analyzing the documentation presented, confirm the aforementioned facts and recommend that instructions are be issued to the authorities institutional institutions, provided that these facts are considered as contrary to the ethical principles defined in the Organic Statute of our University, they also consider that these acts seriously affect the prestige of the Institution. Additionally, they recommend turning instructions to the corresponding instances to prevent these publications are endorsed in the programs of ESDEPED, Recognition of High Profiles, Register of Researchers and S.N.I., as well as the suspension of a series of benefits to Dr. Portillo and some of his collaborators.
“As originally raised on PubPeer , the article was found to have concerns with some of the figures. […] The journal and the editorial board are retracting the article due to concerns that the data in this article are not reliable. The authors do not agree to retraction.”
But Elsevier can’t care less.
What an honour! Prof. Paolo Zanotto, M.Sc., D.Phil, a personal advisor of Brazil’s ruling fascist mass murderer, commented on my site in defence of chloroquine and Didier Raoult:
“Leonid Schneider is a rental horn. His lies are now exposed and outpatient treatment is saving people around the world. Moreover it establishes a sound condition for vaccination without VOCs selection due to sub-neutralizing Ab responses induced by infections taking place just before or after vaccination, before a robust neutralizing response was elicited. The crimes committed against humanity by those who discredited cheap, available treatment will invite justice sooner rather than later. Shame on you Leonid, conducting moral assassination of one of the best French Scientists.“
Zanotto is described to be “A champion of chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, Paolo Zanotto is a virologist and a great friend of Jair Bolsonaro. Known for thinking like the president, he is against mass vaccination.”
Druid in Trouble
Chloroquine Guru Didier Raoult has a new boss. It’s François Crémieux, new director of the Public Care Hospitals of Marseille (AP-HM), and who now is in charge of the Marseille University Hospital, including of Raoult’s IHU. Cremieux is a former right-hand man of Raoult’s arch-enemy in Paris, Martin Hirsch.
Cremieux is quoted:
“When we do research, we do it in accordance with all the rules that apply to clinical research. When we prescribe drugs, we do so in accordance with the recommendations of the HAS and scientific societies. I think we have to come back to that and stick to it. The aim is also to ensure the future of the IHU.“
He further didn’t exclude that Raoult may have to be dismissed as IHU director, and warned that “IHU does not benefit from a right of exception in any of the areas that fall within its missions“.
In panic, Didou the Druid, who himself refused to get a COVID-19 vaccine (according to my sources), went to Twitter to encourage all his medical colleagues to get vaccinated. Imagine how confused his loyal antivaxxer and covidiot followers were.
The Guardian reports a withdrawal of an influential ivermectin preprint. The clinical study from Egypt was fake, you see.
That one was not part of my ivermectin article, as the reader Jarkko Lempiainen commented last December, writing ironically:
“You failed to memtion the Prophylactic part of the study in Egypt. It worked, didn’t it?
Preprint version 2, 16 Nov, 2020. EGYPT, Benha and Kafrelsheikh University Hospitals.
Group V: 100 health care and or household patients’ contacts received a PROPHYLACTIC dose of ivermectin 0.4mg/kg(28mg for 70kg person) single oral dose before breakfast, to be repeated after 1 WEEK in addition to PPE (personal protective equipment).
Group VI: 100 health care and or household patients’ contacts received only PPE.
Results: Ivermectin had significantly reduced the incidence of infection in health care and household contacts up to 2% compared to 10% in non-ivermectin group when used as a PROPHYLAXIS.”
Well, Elgazzar et al 2020 was “withdrawn” now by ResearchSquare. The Guardian writes:
“A medical student in London, Jack Lawrence, was among the first to identify serious concerns about the paper, leading to the retraction. He first became aware of the Elgazzar preprint when it was assigned to him by one of his lecturers for an assignment that formed part of his master’s degree. He found the introduction section of the paper appeared to have been almost entirely plagiarised.”
Lawrence asked the number sleuth Nick Brown for help:
“Brown created a comprehensive document uncovering numerous data errors, discrepancies and concerns, which he provided to the Guardian. According to his findings the authors had clearly repeated data between patients.
“The main error is that at least 79 of the patient records are obvious clones of other records,” Brown told the Guardian. “It’s certainly the hardest to explain away as innocent error, especially since the clones aren’t even pure copies. There are signs that they have tried to change one or two fields to make them look more natural.”
Other studies on ivermectin are still under way. In the UK, the University of Oxford is testing whether giving people with Covid-19 ivermectin prevents them ending up in hospital.”
The Guardian for some reason didn’t ask Oxford if they maybe want to stop. The Principle trial is world’s biggest on re-purposed COVID-19 drugs, it’s chief principal investigator Chris Butler, from the University Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, was obviously referencing the Egyptian study:
“Ivermectin is readily available globally, has been in wide use for many other infectious conditions so it’s a well-known medicine with a good safety profile, and because of the early promising results in some studies it is already being widely used to treat COVID-19 in several countries.“
Maybe the fraudulent preprint’s conclusions are unaffected?
Lab Leak Theory
Michael Balter discusses the new preprint about COVID-19 origins, signed by 21 scientists, many virologists or other relevant experts. Some are known from Twitter as staunch opposers of any lab leak discussion.
So this is the preprint.
Edward C Holmes , Stephen A Goldstein , Angela L Rasmussen , David L Robertson , Alexander Crits-Christoph , Joel O Wertheim , Simon J Anthony , Wendy S Barclay , Maciej F Boni , Peter C Doherty , Jeremy Farrar , Jemma L Geoghegan , Xiaowei Jiang , Julian L Leibowitz , Stuart J D Neil , Tim Skern , Susan R Weiss , Michael Worobey , Kristian G Andersen , Robert F Garry , Andrew Rambaut The Origins of SARS-CoV-2: A Critical Review Zenodo (2021) doi: 10.5281/zenodo.5075888
It is a kind of follow-up to this paper from March 2020, which declared “Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus“:
Kristian G. Andersen, Andrew Rambaut , W. Ian Lipkin, Edward C. Holmes, Robert F. Garry The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2 Nature Medicine (2020) doi: 10.1038/s41591-020-0820-9
The new preprint gained a bunch of new co-authors, but lost an old one. W Ian Lipkin is not on the Zenodo 2021 preprint, he told me however “I have not changed my views,” and that he doesn’t know why he was not invited to sign the new position paper.
“the review is hardly an objective and dispassionate analysis of the existing data. Rather, like many things that scientists are publishing on this subject right now, the paper takes a clear point of view—against the lab-leak hypothesis—and not only selectively marshals evidence for that position, but leaves out some important information that would allow readers to evaluate the objectivity of the authors.”
Balter also points out that the preprint’s lead author, the Australian professor Edward Holmes, forgot to declare his job at the Chinese CDC as his conflict of interests.
Other issues are listed, Balter concludes with:
“But to me the worst fault of the Critical Review is its unquestioning reliance on what Chinese officials and scientists have been willing to say, or not say, about the pandemic. […] As scientists also like to say, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. All of these statements rely heavily, or exclusively, on representations that Chinese scientists and officials have made and which none of the 21 scientists who signed this paper have any direct way of knowing are true.”
This Zenodo preprint is also a kind of next generation sequel to the that infamous Lancet open letter from February 2020, which was organised by WIV’s money man Peter Daszak and which rejected all talk of lab leak as “conspiracy theories“. The Zenodo 2021 team is very different form that of Lancet 2020 though. I underscore the common names between the two papers:
Charles Calisher, Dennis Carroll, Rita Colwell, Ronald B Corley, Peter Daszak, Christian Drosten, Luis Enjuanes, Jeremy Farrar, Hume Field, Josie Golding, Alexander Gorbalenya, Bart Haagmans, James M Hughes, William B Karesh, Gerald T Keusch, Sai Kit Lam, Juan Lubroth, John S Mackenzie, Larry Madoff, Jonna Mazet, Peter Palese, Stanley Perlman, Leo Poon, Bernard Roizman, Linda Saif, Kanta Subbarao, Mike Turner Statement in support of the scientists, public health professionals, and medical professionals of China combatting COVID-19 The Lancet (2020) doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(20)30418-9
Well, it’s just Jeremy Farrar, the head of Wellcome Trust who signed Zenodo 2021. Some of the other Lancet signatories were reported to have changed their mind 180°, Daszak is too toxic these days, about the motives of others we can only speculate.
The Law is an Ass
- The whistleblowers in the trachea transplant affair of Paolo Macchiarini now sue at the EU Court of Justice, because their former employer Karolinska Institutet (KI) found them guilty of research misconduct (while absolving some of those really guilty). That was because these whistleblowers happened to be co-authors on the Macchiarini papers they themselves later exposed as fraudulent. The KI leadership insists that because there were no rules for whistleblower protection back then, hence Karolinska was perfectly right to punish the whistleblowers for just that, blowing the whistle. The Swedish administrative courts sided with KI, hence the lawsuit at the EU court. (Dagens Nyheter, in Swedish)
- Ian Baldwin, director of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Biology in Jena, Germany, has been exposed as a bully. Baldwin used to scream at his subordinates and humiliated them in front of others. He also put excessive workloads on his lab members which made some physically ill, others were banned from vacations to visit their families abroad. The complains against Baldwin existed already since 2010, but the Max Planck Society seems to have started to really care only recently, after several other bullying scandals came out they also used to suppress (Der Spiegel). Many German professors can’t be sacked no matter what they do, being permanently employed as state servants. A source told me the Max Planck Society now seeks to reach a monetary agreement with the 62 year old to get rid of him into early retirement. Baldwin’s department has been taken over by his Jena colleague Sarah O’Connor. Baldwin will sure not become powerless: he remains member of journal editorial boards, societies and academies like EMBO, Leopoldina and US National Academy of Sciences.
- An Australian virologist was lured to the University Clinic Heidelberg in Germany on a fellowship from the local Schaller Foundation. The scientist was issued with proper work contract, with all employment clauses in place except the salary. The elite university bullshitted him that his fellowship of €5k a month was tax- and social security-free, possibly to save money on health insurance and other social benefit payments (in Germany, the employer must bear 50% of those). So now the German inland revenue office demands €100k taxes from the Australian scientist. Some see here a criminal case of social security fraud by the university clinic (FAZ).
News in Brief
- Vitamin D against bowel cancer! Researchers at the University of California San Diego (Purushothaman et al BMC Public Health 2021) analysed the UV light data from the the NASA EOS Aura spacecraft and concluded that people in the global south have lower rates of colorectal cancer than the Europeans and North Americans because there is more sunlight near the equator (and not less healthcare to detect cancer in the first place). Their solution: “older individuals, in particular, may reduce their risk of colorectal cancer by correcting deficiencies in vitamin D“, via “supplementation and food fortification” (press release here). German media, referencing a similar bullshit colorectal cancer study by Niedermaier et al 2021 from German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), already calculated that no less 30,000 lives can be saved in Germany with Vitamin D supplements (FR).
- TCM in space: China sent on 17.06.2021 a robot into space which is described as a “four-diagnosis instrument of traditional Chinese medicine, to perform on the China Space Station the diagnosis of the world of traditional Chinese medicine, combining with the establishment of a database of “face, tongue, and pulse diagnosis”, analyze the astronaut’s physical index data, and follow the astronaut’s body“. (China.com, hattip Tiger BB8)
- Russian state propaganda channel Sputnik proudly informs that there soon will be a nuclear power station in space, between Sun and Mars, called Zeus (why not Putin?). It will supply the future Russian LGBT-free Mars colony with nuclear energy and deter enemies with LASERS. In case of a space attack by non-traditional relationships on the interplanetary Russian Orthodoxy: “Zeus project’s proposed megawatt-class electric propulsion system would allow it to disable the control systems of adversarial spacecraft using an electromagnetic impulse, and even allow it to fire laser beams.“
- Chlorpyrifos lawsuit: the US company Corteva Inc, created after a merger of the two giants Dow Chemical and Dupont, and once world’s largest manufacturer of chlorpyrifos, is being sued over this highly neurotoxic pesticide. The Independent reports: “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is weighing whether to ban the product or declare it safe, including for infants and children. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in April ordered the EPA to make a decision after studying the product for more than a decade. The Trump administration had halted the rule-making process.” Read this Intercept investigation on how EPA approves pesticides.
- The Amazon forest went from being the carbon sink to carbon emission source, emitting more C02 than taking up, for the first time in history. Reasons: the Amazon is being logged down at a breathtaking speed for cattle pastures and livestock feed like soy, the rest keeps burning because of climate change, as a new study calculated (Gatti et al Nature 2021). This means nothing less than a further disaster for Earth climate, but hey, we must have cheap meat. (coverage e.g. by The Guardian)