Schneider Shorts

Schneider Shorts 4.02.2022 – Infallibly Fragile Male Ego

Schneider Shorts 4.02.2022 - great men of science under attack wherever one looks, British doctors had fun with coronavirus, plus saving the climate with Arctic Elephants, saving billionaires from old age, and why saving a violent gormless crook is an ungrateful task.

Schneider Shorts of 4 February 2022 – great men of science under attack wherever one looks, British doctors had fun with coronavirus, plus saving the climate with Arctic Elephants, saving billionaires from old age, and why saving a violent gormless crook is an ungrateful task.


Table of Discontent

Science Elites

Science Breakthroughs

Scholarly Publishing

News in Tweets


Science Elites

Raging Zauli

Turns out, the travesty around the former rector of the University of Ferrara and cancer research cheater Giorgio Zauli, was even more bizarre than we thought. And Zauli, nasty, conceited and crooked as he is, proved to be even more, ahem, intellectually challenged, than I thought. We learn it from the new report by the journalist Danielle Oppo at the local newspaper L’Estense, who has been investigating the Zauli affair from the very beginning.

Andrea Pugiotto used to be head of the Ethics Commission at the University of Ferrara. A boring job, probably the most exciting thing they had to do was to berate some students for submitting Wikipedia-plagiarised essays. But then, in May 2018, I published my article about fake data in Zauli’s papers and reported him for suspected research misconduct to the Ethics Commission, with my full name and postal address (I refused to send a scan of my ID though).

Zauli swiftly reacted with threats of legal and criminal persecution against me, in an official letter he issued in his official capacity as university rector, because his university conveniently provided him with all my personal details. Later on, Zauli reported me to Italian privacy protection authorities because I published his official letter (the charges never led anywhere, as far as I know). He also deployed lawyers and courts against Oppo and the Milan-based journalist Sylvie Coyaud when they picked up coverage of the affair.

Now imagine what may have happened to Zauli’s PhD students who tried to complain about the research fraud, or worse, to blow the whistle. The university gave its rector a free reign to retaliate as he pleased.

In between, Pugiotto had to investigate, rules are rules. Out of over 30 papers on PubPeer (now it’s 45!), Zauli allowed him to investigate only 10. The report was first declared secret, then officially DESTROYED on orders of Zauli’s stooge and vice-rector Guiseppe Galvan, who was at the same openly calling Pugiotto names. The Zauli junta then forced university employees to sign a signature campaign in support of their rector, who was busy publicly smearing a peer in Bologna as “Goebbels”. Which is ironic, because it is Zauli who is in bed with Italian fascists.

But all good things come to an end. Zauli’s term as rector ended regularly and peacefully, the new rector Laura Ramaciotti promised to make sure the Zauli fascistoid system of research fraud remains in place and her predecessor remains untouchable. There are no more misconduct investigations (e.g., Zauli’s collaborator Luca Maria Neri runs his own research fraud scheme), and the old Pugiotto report has been burned or fed to pigs or just flushed down the toilet after Zauli wiped his arse with it.

But what was in that report? How bad must Pugiotto’s findings have been that Zauli reacted so violently? Well, now we know a bit, from Pugiotto’s own mouth, in court no less, because he is suing Galvan for slander. The journalist Oppo wrote in L’Estense on 28 January 2022 (highlights theirs):

“Those reports requested by the Commission to understand if there was anything in primis to deliberate, on which Zauli gave his clearance, they did find something. It is Pugiotto himself who reveals it at the hearing: “Anomalies emerged related to part of the ten publications under investigation. In particular, in seven publications concerning flow cytometry experiments, the expert found a possible clerical error in one of them and in six a copy/paste of the same image to illustrate different experiments concerning different publications, qualifying them as manipulations”.

In any case, the Commission did not detect any willful misconduct or gross negligence on the part of Zauli.

[…]

Pugiotto reveals yet another detail, namely that Zauli preliminarily indicated another professor as the original author of the experiments under investigation, saying that he was at the disposal of the Commission […] And in the end, “that professor […] who was the original author does not emerge from the documentation available to the Commission: out of ten publications he is co-author of only one”.

Basically, Pugiotto failed. He may have meant well, but he ended up whitewashing Zauli by utterly disregarding fake western blots and finding a few manipulations in flow cytometry only. For which Pugiotto’s report basically declared Zauli as not primarily responsible. The investigator was even prepared to accept some Ferrarese scapegoat, but Zauli proved that gormless as to finger someone who wasn’t even a co-author.

Instead of celebrating Pugiotto’s exoneration though all Italian media, especially since no editor was willing to retract or even to correct Zauli’s fraudulent papers (because this is how crooked and f***ed-up cancer research is), Zauli created a scandal which was too unsavoury and too embarrassing even for Berlusconi-tested Italian standards.


Adam resigned

Zauli completed his rectorship term in full and passed on the reigns to someone totally loyal to him. He has nothing to fear in Italy.

Different in Czechia, where the newly elected rector of Mendel University in Brno Vojtech Adam was found guilty of research misconduct, yet still insisted to take the office, despite protests. There was even a signature campaign in his support by his department members.

But at the end of the day, Adam was untenable. So he resigned, as the university announced on 31 January 2022, there will be new elections soon.

Here is Adam’s statement, quote:

Errors occurred and under these I was signed as a correspondent author. My goal was from the beginning to search for and to correct mistakes, even if it was a simple and in fact a legitimate way to point at the members of my team who were in charge of the given work segments. Still, I didn’t do it and
I will never do it. I believe in a team, which is why I accept my share of responsibility for mistakes.”

The message from his entire statement is: Adam is an innocent martyr saint who took the sins of others upon himself and was crucified by those he though to be his peers.
What did the world come to. I wish Prof Adam a swift recovery from COVID-19 which he says rendered him defenceless against baseless attacks by his university and the media. He might use the occasion to contemplate an alternative career.

The current office holder Danuše Nerudova, who called for Adam’s resignation, also issued a statement:


“I fully respect the independence of the Academic Senate, and therefore its decision not to deduce from the report of the Ethics Committee the next steps. However, I consider the conclusions of the commission to be serious and incompatible with the function of the rector. That’s why after the meeting of the academic senate on January 26, I asked prof. Adam to consider resignation.”

It seems the Senate took Adam’s side which is probably why he kept insisting to be appointed as rector. We must be grateful to Prof Nerudova not only for initiating and conducting a proper misconduct investigation, but also for preventing this scheduled travesty from happening.
A lesson especially to all her peers at the University of Ferrara who decided to openly side with fraud and oppression.

As Czechia grapples with the Adam affair, questions are asked about other rectors, like Kamil Kučá, rector of the University of Hradec Králové. The forum Věda žije!, (“Science lives!”) commented on 24 January (highlights and hyperlinks theirs):

“In the portfolio of Professor Kuča, there are the least 268 publications in journals and publishers that raise serious doubts about the quality of the review process and publication ethics. This is a publishing house Bentham science (114 articles), which appears on Beall’s list. It is a company based in the United Arab Emirates, with a reputation for publishing articles without a review procedure and spamming scientists with spam emails. Frontiers is on the same list (8 articles), Dovepress (18 articles), and American Scientific Publishers (3 articles). Here you can find Spandidos (2 articles) and several articles in „standalone journals” from Beall’s list (6 articles) (reference eg. here or here). At the controversial Swiss-Chinese publishing house MDPI 117 articles have been published (MDPI concerns eg. here a here). The publication scheme does not differ in principle from what we described for Professor Adam of Mendel University, with whom Professor Kuča also has several joint publications.”

Those Czechs, still learning about basic research ethics. A university rector making his entire academic career by publishing in predatory journals? This would never happen in Germany. Oh wait. With University of Bremen’s immovable rector Bernd Scholz-Reiter you would wish he published in Frontiers, MDPI, Spandidos or even Bentham, but no, he went for the trashiest predatory publishers like WASET and WSEAS, some papers were even published twice or more, and he used this trash publication record to become rector and even DFG Vice-President.

The Czechs should learn from western Europe!


Crooked expert

Science covers the fraud affair of the Canadian botanist Steven Newmaster, professor in University of Guelph, who in 2013 published a DNA barcoding system to certify plant ingredients in herbal supplements.

Steven G Newmaster, Meghan Grguric , Dhivya Shanmughanandhan , Sathishkumar Ramalingam , Subramanyam Ragupathy DNA barcoding detects contamination and substitution in North American herbal products BMC Medicine (2013) doi: 10.1186/1741-7015-11-222 

The paper was immediately criticised by his peers for “various errors and misleading quotes“. Science writes:

“Almost overnight, Newmaster became an authority on the verification of food and supplement ingredients. He quickly went from industry adversary to ally, as major supplementmakers hired companies he created to certify their products as authentic.”

Now, the paper was exposed as fraudulent:

“…eight experts in DNA barcoding and related fields now charge that the 2013 paper that indicted an entire industry and launched a new phase in Newmaster’s career is itself a fraud. In a 43-page allegation letter, sent to UG in June 2021 and obtained by Science, the researchers—from UG, the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia, and Stanford University—cited major problems in the study and two others by Newmaster and collaborators. “The data which underpin [the papers] are missing, fraudulent, or plagiarized,” the letter flatly stated. The group also charged that Newmaster “recurrently failed to disclose competing financial interests” in his papers.

The accusers include co-authors of two of the suspect papers, who now say they believe Newmaster misled them.”

It seems, the affair was started by an honest postdoc who was not afraid. Newmaster’s coauthor Ken Thomson declared in May 2021 on PubPeer and in a blog post that their joint paper on DNA barcoding cannot be trusted:

“I have had concerns for a while but was too afraid to say anything. Related recent events motivated me to get to the bottom of it. I reached out folks who are familiar with COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics) guidelines (who I won’t name but you can name yourselves if you wish) and they advised me to reach out to the University of Guelph to investigate. 

I did just that in February of 2020, and after launching an inquiry — which took approximately eight months when it should have been less than one — the University of Guelph declined to investigate further. Even as I transmitted additional information, they continued to see no reason to investigate further. They did not provide any justification, nor did they speak to me at any point. 

I then went to the journal (Biodiversity and Conservation) and asked them to investigate. After several months, the Springer Nature Research Integrity Group decided that it was not their responsibility since the University of Guelph had already drawn a conclusion.

Having come up short with both the University of Guelph and the journal, I feel it is now prudent to share details publicly. I submitted a technical Comment on bioRxiv as a pre-print to publicly discuss in detail my issues with the data, and at the same time submitted the Comment to the journal for formal review. BioRxiv declined (as a matter of policy) to post a Comment on another paper, so I have posted it on my own platform. […]

I do have another reason for going public. I truly feel that the University of Guelph and Springer Nature have failed to uphold their standards of research integrity.”

Going public helped. The retraction notice from October 2021 declared:

“Post-publication review of the article confirmed concerns with the data availability, and the validity of the data included in the article could not be confirmed […] The Editor-in-Chief therefore no longer has confidence in the validity of the data reported in this article.”

The scientific community gathered its courage, and the snowball went rolling. Science reports:

“An investigation by Science found the problems in Newmaster’s work go well beyond the three papers. They include apparent fabrication, data manipulation, and plagiarism in speeches, teaching, biographies, and scholarly writing. A review of thousands of pages of Newmaster’s published papers, conference speeches, slide decks, and training and promotional videos, along with interviews with two dozen current and former colleagues or independent scientists and 16 regulatory or research agencies, revealed a charismatic and eloquent scientist who often exaggerated, fabulized his accomplishments, and presented other researchers’ data as his own.

UG, which has been investigating the allegations since August 2021, declined to answer questions about its own investigation or Science’s findings, citing confidentiality rules.”

There is another aspect to this scandal.

“Newmaster developed close ties with one sponsor, Herbalife, despite its checkered history. […] Newmaster has touted Herbalife’s products in promotional materials, effusively praised its cultivation practices after a 2018 visit to a Chinese tea farm, and lauded its efforts “to achieve excellence.” He also came to the company’s defense in 2019, when Indian researchers published a paper in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hepatology about a woman who died from liver failure, which the researchers associated with her use of Herbalife dieting products. In a letter to the editor, Newmaster—who has no medical background—castigated the paper. (Elsevier, the publisher, removed the paper from its website in 2020 after legal threats from Herbalife.)”

The Indian hepatologist whom Newmaster was paid by Herbalife to discredit, was Cyriac Abby Philips. Elsevier retracted his paper exposing lethally tainted Herbalife products (read his interview here). While that greedy cheater Newmaster was busy stuffing his pockets with herbal industry money, Philips was threatened with lawsuits not just by Herbalife, but even by Indian government.

If you can’t get enough of research fraud-pushing Herbalife shills, I have a Nobelist to offer.


Science Breakthroughs

Fun with the Coronavirus

The results of the Great British Human Challenge Trial are in! It was funded by the UK government with £33.6m to Imperial College London, Royal Free Hospital and the clinical trial service provider hVIVO, and announced in October 2020. The principal investigators are Imperial College professors Chris Chiu and Peter Openshaw. A parallel project in US quickly lost all support and was quietly buried because such things are unethical outside of Britain.

The 34 young participants (out of 36 recruited) received £4,565 each, and starting early 2021 they were exposed to “a very low dose — roughly equivalent to the amount of virus in a single respiratory droplet” of the original SARS-CoV2 strain (i.e., not the more dangerous Delta).

The press release stated:

“Eighteen of the volunteers became infected, 16 of whom went on to develop mild-to-moderate cold-like symptoms, including a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, and a sore throat. Some experienced headaches, muscle/joint aches, tiredness and fever.”

Here the preprint (we learn it’s under a review in a Nature portfolio journal):

Christopher Chiu , Ben Killingley , Alex Mann , Mariya Kalinova , Alison Boyers , Niluka Goonawardane , Jie Zhou , Kate Lindsell , Sam Hare , Jonathan Brown , Rebeeca Frise , Emma Smith , Claire Hopkins , Nicolas Noulin , Brandon Londt , Tom Wilkinson , Stephen Harden , Helen McShane , Mark Baillet , Anthony Gilbert , Michael Jacobs, Christine Charman, Priya Mande, Jonathan S Nguyen-Van-Tam, Malcolm Semple, Robert Read, Neil Ferguson, Peter Openshaw, Garth Rapeport, Wendy Barclay, Andrew Catchpole Safety, tolerability and viral kinetics during SARS-CoV-2 human challenge Research Square Platform LLC (2022) doi: 10.21203/rs.3.rs-1121993/v1 

Nature sums up:

“People developed their first symptoms and tested positive, using sensitive PCR tests, less than two days after exposure, on average. That contrasts with the roughly five-day ‘incubation period’ that real-world epidemiological studies have documented between a probable exposure and symptoms. High viral levels persisted for an average of 9 days, and up to 12.

The most common symptoms were typical of other respiratory infections: sore throats, runny noses and sneezing. Fever was less common, and no one developed the persistent cough that had been used as a hallmark of COVID-19, says Catchpole. 70% of infected participants lost their senses of smell or taste — another COVID-19 signature — to varying degrees. Such problems persisted for more than 6 months in five participants and more than 9 months in one. Some people developed no symptoms at all, but had the same high viral levels in their upper airways that lasted as long as they did for others who exhibited symptoms.”

I am not sure what the point of all that was. What practical use does this data have now? This information would have been old news even a year ago. Maybe society would have been better served if these 36 people received a vaccine instead? Sure it’s fun to experiment on humans thanks to the lax British regulations on human experimenting, especially when you gratuitously cause prolonged damage to your participants and get celebrated for that in the media. Let’s do it again! – says hVIVO. Primum non nocere.


Bezos to live forever

When you are world’s richest man, it is perfectly reasonable to try to buy one thing not on sale yet: Eternal Life. This is what the Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is trying. He found yet another anti-aging company to invest in. The Times reports:

“An effort to vanquish death moved up a gear yesterday as a new “anti-ageing” company backed by Jeff Bezos revealed it had recruited one of the world’s most respected scientists.

The venture, called Altos Labs, has poached Hal Barron, 59, to be its chief executive. He had previously been chief scientific officer for the British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline.

That alone would have secured Altos credibility — but the biotech start-up also revealed $3 billion in funding yesterday, as well as a board of directors brimming with Nobel laureates.”

Altos, which describes itself as “a new biotechnology company focused on cellular rejuvenation programming to restore cell health and resilience, with the goal of reversing disease“, issued a press release on the occasion of its founding:

“The three Altos Institutes of Science will be led by Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, PhD, Wolf Reik, MD, and Peter Walter, PhD. Thore Graepel, PhD, will serve as global head of computational science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. Prior to joining Altos, Izpisua Belmonte was professor and chair at the Salk Institute, Reik was director of the Babraham Institute and is an honorary professor at the University of Cambridge, and Walter was professor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Graepel previously served as research lead at Google DeepMind and professor at University College London. Within the Institutes of Science, an extraordinary group of Principal Investigators (PIs) will collaboratively pursue the many aspects of cell health and programming. A full listing of PIs is found at altoslabs.com. “

I wrote about Izpisua-Belmonte before, glad to hear he left academia to put his bullshitting skill to good use. Let Bezos finance these fairy-tales instead of taxpayers.

Here is the advisory board, we can’t blame underpaid Nobelists and other financially struggling science elites for wanting a piece of the Bezos’ bonanza:

“The Altos Board of Directors and advisors include Nobel Laureates and scientific leaders. The Board will be co-chaired by Rick Klausner, Hans Bishop, and Hal Barron (current director and incoming co-chair) and includes the following Board directors: Frances Arnold, PhD (Linus Pauling Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry at the California Institute of Technology and Nobel Laureate), Hal Barron, MD (Chief Scientific Officer and President, R&D, of GSK), Jennifer Doudna (Li Ka Shing Chancellor’s Chair and Professor of Chemistry and Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, President of the Innovative Genomics Institute, and Nobel Laureate), Maria Leptin, PhD (President of the European Research Council), Robert Nelsen (Co-founder and Managing Director of ARCH Venture Partners), Rajiv Shah, MD (President of the Rockefeller Foundation), and David Baltimore, PhD (President Emeritus and Judge Shirley Hufstedler Professor of Biology at the California Institute of Technology and Nobel Laureate), as lead independent director. Shinya Yamanaka, MD, PhD (Director of the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application at Kyoto University and Nobel Laureate), will serve as senior scientific advisor to Altos without remuneration, overseeing research activities in Japan.”

The good thing about nature is that it cannot be bribed, no matter how many millions of dollar you offer, biology rules will apply to everyone. But again, better to waste Bezos’ money on this anti-aging silliness than public funds which can be used for serious science.


Arctic Church

We remain on the topic of white men with huge ego. Incidentally, MIT professor George Church works for another anti-aging telomere-extension company (Bioviva), to make money and to evade death. He also peddled a eugenics dating app for eugenicists like himself.

But Church is of course even more famous for his plans to resurrect mammoths, Neanderthals, and dinosaurs. He even founded a mammoth breeding company, named Colossal Wanker, sorry, just Colossal.

IT entrepreneur Ben Lamm (left) gave George Church $15 million to set up Colossal (Wanker)

Now please just read how Newsweek celebrates Church and for his Colossal new idea of an “Arctic Elephant”, i.e. an Asian elephant with mammoth genes:

“Speaking to The Times, Church said this new animal should not be called a wooly mammoth: “An Arctic elephant is a better term,” he said.

Church told HMNews these hybrids could also help extant elephants living today. “All elephant species are endangered,” he said. “We’re trying to give them new land in the Arctic that’s far away from humans, who are the major culprits causing extinction.”

As climate change accelerates and heats the atmosphere, it is warming the Arctic faster than any other region on the planet. In the coming decades this is expected to have potentially disastrous effects.

Among them are the melting of Arctic permafrost and the release of the vast quantities of carbon and methane locked away underneath its frozen shell, further exacerbating climate change and global heating.

By re-wilding certain regions—including the Arctic—with elephant-mammoth hybrids, scientists believe they could help avert that particular disaster.

The animals could do so by helping to trample and suppress the rapid tree growth now seen in the Arctic that makes it harder for frost to penetrate the ground and freeze it. If they were successful, the permafrost could be saved, and the carbon it stores would remain locked away.

“The two-for-one is that not only would the elephants get a new homeland, but their homeland is in desperate need of environmental restoration, and they can help,” Church told HMNews. “Moving genetically adapted elephants to the Arctic offers an opportunity to sequester, or remove from the atmosphere, significant amounts of carbon and to prevent more carbon from escaping.”

As scientist, the MIT professor Church seems to be a bit of a moron. But as a bullshitting fundraiser, he is truly a genius.


Scholarly Publishing

Nothing to see here

Nature’s trash bin Scientific Reports definitely puts the needs of their paying customers (€1,790 a pop) above research ethics. Look at this paper:

Bin Zhu , Wenjia Liu , Yihan Liu , Xicong Zhao , Hao Zhang , Zhuojing Luo, Yan Jin Jawbone microenvironment promotes periodontium regeneration by regulating the function of periodontal ligament stem cells Scientific Reports (2017) doi: 10.1038/srep40088

Actinopolyspora biskrensis: “Some regions in Figure 6C seem to have been “cloned” although none are identical. “

The issue in 1C was corrected in May 2020:

“This Article contains an error. In Figure 1C, the incorrect image was used for PLSCSs after 2 hours. The correct version of Figure 1 appears below.”

But what about Figure 6C? Here, the journal’s Senior Editor Madushi Wanaguru decreed in an email to Cheshire:

“I’m writing to follow up on our previous correspondence regarding the Scientific Reports paper, https://www.nature.com/articles/srep40088.

We have looked into the recent issues raised at https://pubpeer.com/publications/F7F0932ABD14AD994B78F0D05B9442#3 but given the information received from the authors (including original images), we are not convinced that formal editorial action is warranted at this time.

Thank you for your willingness to bring these concerns to our attention.”

Thank you, Scientific Reports!

Silent part aloud

Clare Francis reminded Nature’s editor Barbara Marte about an old paper by Bert Vogelstein, Johns Hopkins University’s own god of cancer research, who has 25 papers on PubPeer. A number of those, like the paper in question, features Vogelstein’s former postdoc, Heiko Hermeking, now pathology professor at the LMU Munich (he has 16 PubPeer-flagged papers).

Timothy A. Chan, Heiko Hermeking, Christoph Lengauer , Kenneth W. Kinzler, Bert Vogelstein, 14-3-3Sigma is required to prevent mitotic catastrophe after DNA damage Nature (1999) doi: 10.1038/44188

Reported in 2014. Hermeking: explained a PhD student made a mistake by rotation, otherwise Cdc2 and cyclin B1 images are supposed to look identical because it’s allegedly a double-staining and the proteins bind each other.
Elisabeth Bik: “The duplication in Figure 4a (as discussed above and illustrated in comment #3) was reported to the journal in May 2015, but it has not yet been addressed by the journal, more than six years later.
In addition, would the two panels in Figure 2A marked here with red boxes expected to look so similar?
” Hermeking says: “I think, those are not the same cell nuclei

Hermeking explained to me in an email that all allegations of gel band duplications in his papers on PubPeer were false. The bands are just similar, but not same. His university accepted this explanation.

Regarding the 1999 Nature paper, Hermeking insisted the sole responsible was the first author Timothy A. Chan, and otherwise:

I would also like to note that since the comments are anonymous, the PubPeer Forum is unfortunately sometimes used to express personal opinions on the research of others that are not purely factual in nature. Whatever the motivation. This unobjective criticism is also expressed in the discussion of the Nature Paper from 1999 (Chan et al., position 2 in your list) and this is discussed/criticized at length by the other participants (I myself have never made a contribution/another contribution in this forum Written answer because colleagues advised me against it). In my opinion, it is well known that not all studies on the same topic come to the same conclusion. In this case, an author with a publication on the function of 14-3-3sigma that had a different/different result appears to be using the PubPeer forum to discredit authors and their co-authors who disagree with him. This is the common conclusion the authors came to in the Nature 1999 publication. The last author, Prof. Bert Vogelstein (Johns Hopkins Medical School Baltimore, USA), had already proposed legal action against these comments a few years ago, as they are obviously not objective. So far we have refrained from doing so.

Legal action? Against whom? Hermeking swiftly warned me that he will sue me for so-called hate-posting if I dare to mention the PubPeer criticisms of his papers.

The pseudonymous Clare Francis, unaware of these threats, kept complaining to Nature. By mistake, the editor Marte hit reply-all instead of forward:

Just what I needed before the weekend. So she (which I think is a he) is back. I think I handled this paper. 1999. I don’t believe at all that they had contacted us, because as you know I take these things seriously.  They do look very much like duplications. PubPeer also refers to papers that couldn’t reproduce the findings. Oh lord…. I doubt it’s on ejp Vic and I will look into it. Barbara

Claire Francis send Marte three more Nature papers with problematic data: Fiore et al 1998 from the Weill Cornell lab of Ethel Cesarman, Hirosumi et al 2002 from the lab of Gökhan Hotamisligil and Minokoshi et al 2022 from the lab of Barbara Kahn, both in Harvard.

Marte replied this time to Clare Francis:

we will in each instance carefully look into your concerns.”

Good luck, Dr Marte. Professors Hermeking and Vogelstein are tough men not to be messed with.


News in Tweets

  • One of the world’s largest publishers of academic papers said it adds a unique fingerprint to every PDF users download in an attempt to prevent ransomware, not to prevent piracy. Elsevier defended the practice after an independent researcher discovered the existence of the unique fingerprints and shared their findings on Twitter last week. ” (VICE)
  • Former Leiden psychologist Lorenza Colzato has committed fraud in at least fifteen scientific publications, according to research by the University’s Scientific Integrity Committee (CWI). […] Two studies by the Italian professor were withdrawn after it was found that she had taken blood from test subjects without asking permission. The case came to light thanks to several whistleblowers. […] For example, the study design was changed, control groups were added afterwards, experiments were made up and data was omitted without mentioning this. In seven of the fifteen publications, the changes are “so serious” that several scientific journals that published the publications have been asked to withdraw the studies.” (NU, in Dutch). Colzato is apparently now at the University Clinic Dresden in Germany.

Australian scientists are no more honest or dishonest than those in other countries. However, we rarely hear of cases of research misconduct, because the reflex action of institutions is to try to protect their reputations by covering things up. […] We need to recognise and applaud the whistle-blowers who report research misconduct and those institutions that do take a rigorous stand. […] Australia needs an Office for Research Integrity to handle cases in all kinds of scholarly practice, not just in biomedical research, but also in physics, engineering and the humanities.” (David Vaux, The Conversation)

  • PubPeer sleuth Artemisia stricta gets credit (and death threats): “What the whistleblower has uncovered is shocking: Hundreds of published scientific papers dating back a decade based on dodgy science involving multiple researchers working at Australian universities. The most infamous is former Swinburne University engineer Ali Nazari, who left the university under a cloud in 2019 after one publisher took the unusual step of simultaneously retracting 22 of his papers.” (ABC News)
  • Let’s end with a really good joke about western blots by a Cassava troll.

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6 comments on “Schneider Shorts 4.02.2022 – Infallibly Fragile Male Ego

  1. New find!
    Helge Siemens , Jens Neumann , Rene Jackstadt , Ulrich Mansmann , David Horst , Thomas Kirchner , Heiko Hermeking Detection of miR-34a promoter methylation in combination with elevated expression of c-Met and β-catenin predicts distant metastasis of colon cancer Clinical cancer research (2013) doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.ccr-12-1703

    I asked Hermeking which PhD student was it this time, he replied:
    “I will discuss this with the doctoral student at the time, Helge Siemens.
    However, Fig. 1B (miR-34b/c methylation) is irrelevant for the statement of the publication. Like in result text, we have focused all further analyzes in this publication on miR-34a methylation, since miR-34b/c is associated in almost all tumors, whether with (M1) or without (M0).distant metastasis, is methylated. We had found this in other studies as well.
    However, this should not be an excuse for this figure.
    We will of course try to work on a corrigendum for this.”

    Like

  2. Pingback: Gli ultra-metanogeni – ocasapiens

  3. Curious Ladybug

    There is a other big fish catched by E. Bik in Czech Republic.

    Like

  4. Curious Ladybug

    Ask Betty. Double lines in gels, the authors defend themselves vehemently, but always proved fraud. Like four records on Pubpeer. Former Dean.

    Like

  5. According to his blog post, Ken Thomson did the work with Newmaster as an undergraduate. At least for me that makes Thomson’s role even more relatable, and Newmaster’s behavior that much worse.

    Liked by 1 person

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