Schneider Shorts

Schneider Shorts 28.10.2022 – Indisputable scientific quality

Schneider Shorts 28.10.2022 - the indisputable scientific quality of a Dutch harasser, a jailed rapist professor in Belgium, misconduct allegations in Sweden, a petit French cock croaking, plus some retractions, stem cell quacks, and an Arte documentary uncovering a horrendous COVID-19 conspiracy!

Schneider Shorts of 28 October 2022 – the indisputable scientific quality of a Dutch harasser, a jailed rapist professor in Belgium, misconduct allegations in Sweden, a petit French cock croaking, plus some retractions, stem cell quacks, and an Arte documentary uncovering a horrendous COVID-19 conspiracy!


Table of Discontent

Science Elites

  • Astronomic bully – Dutch astronomer Tim de Zeeuw retires from career of bullying and harassment
  • Rapist jailed – Belgian psychologist Filip Dochy enforced sex for grades
  • Noble Nature – breaking news and exclusive journalistic scoop on Nobelist Semenza’s fake science!
  • Oopsala – Swedish rector Anders Hagfeldt under misconduct investigation
  • AI morality – Sweden’s rising star Andreas Theodorou accused of plagiarism
  • A painful lesson – another Karin Schumacher paper flagged
  • Little Antoine – a petit French cock croaks in defence of research fraud

Science Breakthroughs

  • Miracle molecule – an Arte documentary how a huge conspiracy prevented Pasteur Lille geniuses from saving the world from COVID-19

Retraction Watchdogging

News in Tweets


Science Elites

Astronomic bully

Leiden University in the Netherlands has banned one of its astronomy professors form the premises. He still receives full salary and remains unnamed.

A press release was issued by the university on 18 October 2022 (here archived copy in English):

“A professor from Leiden University has subjected various colleagues to intimidating and unacceptable behaviour for a longer period. These are the findings of an investigation carried out by the University’s independent Complaints Committee for Unacceptable Behaviour at the request of the Executive Board after various members of staff had submitted a complaint to the Dean about the professor in question. The Complaints Committee has upheld the complaints.

The professor was suspended with effect from the start of the committee’s investigation. Based on the advice of the Complaints Committee, the Executive Board decided on 18 October 2022 that the professor will not be allowed to return to the University, will no longer be allowed to supervise PhD candidates and will not be able to make future use of the provision for professors and emeritus professors.”

The university newspaper Mare quotes Annetje Ottow, president of university’s Executive Board (translated):

“On Tuesday evening she said in a conversation with Mare that there had been ‘abuse of power and undesirable behaviour’. It concerns ‘a systematic pattern of denigration, abuse of power, gender discrimination, belittling in public and the constant threat that the complainants’ careers would be damaged’.

The professor also made comments ‘with a sexual charge’ and the committee found in one case that he ‘physically approached a female employee in an undesirable manner’.”

Good to hear that things changed. All these practices were considered as perfectly acceptable for a professor less than 20 years ago. Part of the entitlement, or sign of strong leadership even.

Mare continues (translated):

“Based on these findings and hearing from the professor, it was decided to permanently send him out of the university. ‘He will never be welcome at this university again,’ says Ottow.

However, that is not the same as dismissal. ‘Because the committee has also established that the scientific quality of this professor is indisputable, there is no reason to deprive him of his professorship.’ He can therefore still conduct research in a personal capacity, but is no longer allowed to teach or show himself in the workplace…”

the scientific quality of this professor is indisputable” – this is an idiotic attitude. Bullying and bad science always go hand in hand, simply because when your lab members are afraid of you, they will deliver exactly the scientific results you expect.

Apparently Leiden University is now engaged in legal proceedings to dismiss this astronomy professor while trying to avoid naming him. So faculty members have to go to social media to declare it’s not them.

Of course the name eventually became public. Mare reported on 26 October 2022, in English:

“Multiple sources have independently informed Mare that the professor in question is Tim de Zeeuw.

NRC was the first to make the name public.

De Zeeuw has been a professor in Leiden since 1991 and between 2007 and 2017, he was director of the European Southern Observatory (ESO). In 2018, he was appointed a Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion. De Zeeuw is a member of the Royal Netherlands Acadey of Arts and Sciences.”

As a reader commented:

His date of birth is 12 May 1956. This implies that the university will need to pay his salary until ultimately 12 December 2022. The age of retirement for people of his age is 66 years and 6 months.

It’s not the first time Leiden University keeps privacy protected on the wrong corner. It took them ages to reveal which papers by their former psychologist Lorenza Colzato were exposed as fraudulent and slotted for retraction. And Colzato’s husband, coauthor, PhD mentor and institute director Bernhard Hommel escaped investigation completely. He still remains salaried professor at Leiden University, incidentally also he was once accused of bullying.

Bad Choices in Dresden III

Lorenza Colzato was a rising star of psychology and a role model for Women in STEM. All Dutch media and even some local German newspapers talk about her now. But I want to talk about her husband Bernhard Hommel instead.

As it happens, also de Zeeuw is listed as Associated Senior Scientist for infrared astronomy at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) in Garching, Germany. There, he used to be Director General of European Southern Observatory (ESO) from 2007 until 2017. An extremely powerful man who for decades could make and destroy careers in all of European astronomy and beyond with a snap of his fingers.

I now received this statement from the Max Planck Society:

“MPE and the Max Planck Society take any form of misconduct in leadership very seriously. Leiden University has recently upheld a complaint of misconduct against one of their Professorial staff who also holds a visiting position as Associated Senior Scientist at MPE. This association will cease with immediate effect. While we have no evidence of misconduct by the Leiden Professor at MPE, we rely on and trust the proceedings and conclusions of Leiden University in this matter.”

The MPE profile page of de Zeeuw was immediately deleted.

Tim de Zeeuw in 2012, with the German then-minister for research, Annette Schavan. Photo: ESO/G.Hüdepohl (atacamaphoto.com)

Rapist jailed

In Belgium, things are even worse. A psychology professor of KU Leuven, Filip Dochy, has been jailed for 54 months for rape and assault on a student.

P magazine reports (translated):

“In its deliberation, the court takes a hard stance at the Leuven professor and calls him a “manipulator” and a “sexual predator”. “The defendant only wanted to stay in the apartment with the victim in order to commit the acts, knowing that she was alone with him and dependent on him. During the journey, he struck twice as a sexual predator in search of prey in the night, by assaulting her in bed on the second night of the journey and by raping her in bed on the fourth night.”

The facts date from July 2016. “If you hadn’t wanted sex, you shouldn’t have come,” Dochy told the student the morning after he raped her during a two-day congress in Barcelona. His ‘favourites’ were allowed to go to conferences. He adds that “eighty percent of men” would rape her. “By the way, I’ve been getting blowjobs in exchange for good grades for years. “

Of course the university failed here, for years. The victim “leaves the faculty for another job, as do six of her female colleagues.”

“Filip Dochy was known as a “cowboy” who had favourites among the students. Someone with power at KU Leuven, who was protected by a strong network within a “toxic” faculty. The confidential counsellor to whom the victim went to confession was intimidated. […]

Only two years after the abuse, the victim is encouraged by KU Leuven to file a complaint, including with the police. She will do so on March 6, 2018. Although the Rectorate is aware of the ongoing criminal file, Dochy will still be presented with the annual prize for the Education Council on May 17.”

Next lecture on professional learning will be given by this rapist from jail

Noble Nature

A scoop by Nature! Intrepid investigative journalist Holly Else uncovered a huge scandal, all by herself, someone give her a Pulitzer or a Nobel Prize now:

“Several research articles co-authored by Nobel-prizewinning geneticist Gregg Semenza are being investigated by publishers after internet sleuths raised concerns about the integrity of images in the papers. Journals have already retracted, corrected or expressed concerns about 17 papers over the past decade, and others are investigating image- and data-integrity issues in further studies.”

What Else forgot to tell her avid reader is that all this was reported on For Better Science 2 years ago. And that after my notification from October 2020, it is not only the journals, but the Johns Hopkins University which started to investigate the affair. And which caused the recent four retractions in PNAS for Semenza, with more to be expected despite publishers’ initial plans to suppress the affair. Same publishers Nature now celebrates as heroes of research integrity.

Fore Nature yours truly and my For Better Science do not exist except as a forever unacknowledged source for Nature’s own reporting, and they also would like you to think that the Nobelist Semenza is a hapless victim of malicious persecution:

“No wrongdoing has been proven, and with a lack of clarity about who contributed what to the papers, it is unclear who might have been responsible for any errors or problems with images.”

The investigative work in Semenza’s case was done by Clare Francis, as I mentioned in my article two years ago. But Nature decided to drag Elisabeth Bik in, maybe as target for retaliation from Semenza’s supporters? Semenza himself is reported to “not respond to requests for comment“.

I suggest to do the usual and credit Retraction Watch for the Semenza scoop.


Oopsala

In earlier Friday Shorts, I wrote about Anders Hagfeldt, rector of the University of Uppsala in Sweden, and the problems in his papers.

Now Hagfeldt is being investigated for suspected research misconduct. The university announced already on 31 August 2022 in a statement (translated):

Rector Anders Hagfeldt reported for misconduct in research

In a report sent to the national board for examination of misconduct in research, suspicions of misconduct in research are raised against the university’s rector Anders Hagfeldt. The complainant believes that at least two of the images in a scientific article published earlier this year contain manipulated images.

– This is of course a difficult situation for me, both as principal and researcher. It is of the utmost importance that the public can have confidence in research and researchers, and therefore I want to be completely open that a report has been received, says Anders Hagfeldt.

The Board for Investigation of Research Misconduct (Npof) is a national government authority that reports to the Ministry of Education and has since 2020 been tasked with examining research misconduct.

– I note that it is a matter of a report that has been received. Npof now has to examine whether there is any reason at all to take up the report for consideration. The rector has continued to have my full confidence and I have informed the consistory. In addition to that, I currently do not have any comment on the matter, says Anne Ramberg, chairperson of Uppsala University’s consistory.”

Asim Arshad , Sining Yun , Jing Shi , Menglong Sun , Nosheen Zafar , Anders Hagfeldt N-coordinated bimetallic defect-rich nanocarbons as highly efficient electrocatalysts in advanced energy conversion applications Chemical Engineering Journal (2022) doi: 10.1016/j.cej.2022.134913

Orchestes quercus: “The Raman spectra in Fig. 2c of this paper show repetitive patterns in their noise
Fig 3 b has repetitive patterns also

The notifier was of course Ivan Oransky, nah, yours truly, as now revealed by the local newspaper UNT (I did ask to be referenced). In that interview, Hagfeldt insists that the article is based on a collaboration he started in Switzerland, several years ago, and that he kept in regular contact with his former colleagues. It is not quite clear which of the other (China-based) authors ever worked in Lausanne (Google search reveals nothing), maybe they once did holidays there and bumped into Hagfeldt while strolling at the lakeside. What Hagfeldt also refuses to say is what exactly he (the last author) personally contributed to that study, just a general “you can contribute in different ways“.

Omer Nour and Magnus Willander guilty of research misconduct

“The Board assesses that there are no scientifically acceptable explanations for why the notified researchers have fabricated research results in the manner that has occurred in the notified articles. Raw data also does not support the reported results. [..]
In summary, the Board finds therefore that the notified researchers have been guilty of misconduct in research.”

It looks, in the very best case, like a gift authorship. On a paper with fake data. But Hagfeldt vehemently denies the accusation of gift authorship in the UNT interview:

We work together as one big heart in academic work.”

So is he saying the fake data is his after all, or what? I also reported another paper Hagfeldt co-authored, for possible problems of repetitive patterns in spectra:

Faranak Sadegh , Seckin Akin , Majid Moghadam, Valiollah Mirkhani, Marco A. Ruiz‒Preciado , Zaiwei Wang , Mohammad Mahdi Tavakoli, Michael Graetzel, Anders Hagfeldt, Wolfgang Tress Highly efficient, stable and hysteresis‒less planar perovskite solar cell based on chemical bath treated Zn2SnO4 electron transport layer Nano Energy (2020) doi: 10.1016/j.nanoen.2020.105038

Don’t expect any editorial action here: that journal’s Editor-in-Chief is Georgia Tech professor Zhong Lin Wang, a hyper-prolific publisher of trash and former business partner of the Swedish scamference fraudster Ashutosh Tiwari. Incidentally, Hagfeldt is Editor-in-Chief of a journal which just published Tiwari’s paper. Small world.

The Indefatigable Ashutosh Tiwari

Four years after Ashutosh Tiwari’s scamferences and research fraud were exposed, his impressive-sounding yet fictional “International Association of Advanced Materials”, or IAAM, still opens doors, hearts and wallets.


AI morality

Elsewhere in Sweden, Andreas Theodorou, a rising-star researcher who specialises on ethics and morality of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being accused of plagiarism, in this blog post:

“There are two Reddit posts in r/AskAcademia and a more detailed and updated vroniplag page (this specific page contains solely segments from ATH[Andreas THeodorou’s]thesis) about a case of academic plagiarism which is shown below:

The academic in question is Andreas Theodorou who obtained his Phd thesis from the University of Bath and who is currently a researcher at the University of Umea.

His thesis contains several plagiarized sentences, most of which are not detectable by plagiarism detection software. It appears that Andreas has taken steps to avoid being discovered. He appears to have methodically inspected each of his plagiarized sentences with a content similarity detector and made minor changes to them in order to avoid being caught. Many of these phrases can still be found via a manual google search. 

Copy-pasting certain words in his Phd thesis(https://researchportal.bath.ac.uk/files/195601231/andreasTheodorouThesis.pdf) is sometimes unreliable perhaps rendered so intentionally in order to minimize the chances of it being searched/checked for similarities with other works .

 A plain text version of it, that was created with an online OCR app(https://www.onlineocr.net/) can be found here.

We have determined that the documents where the copied text originates were published much earlier than his thesis.

Some of the parts of his Phd thesis that are plagiarized can be seen below:

Just in 2020, Theodorou and his long-term mentor, the University of Umea professor Virginia Dignum, received a SEK 1.5 Million (~€140k) grant from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation to study “transparency, fairness, and accountability” in AI. But that was poppycock: in 2021, Theodorou and Dignum’s consortium received from the Swedish funder Vinnova a SEK 20 Million (€1.8 Million).

A history of plagiarism in your own PhD research (on the topic of morality in AI!) would of course bring unexpected qualifications for Theodorou. I wrote to him, Dignum, his UK thesis supervisor Joanna J Bryson and the University of Bath. So far, only University of Bath’s vice-rector for research Sarah Hainsworth replied:

We will look into the issues you raise and respond ASAP.


A painful lesson

Let me quote from an earlier article by Aneurus Inconstans:

Karin Schumacher, Vice-rector for Quality Development at the University of Heidelberg, retracted 2 years ago the paper Patri-Nebioglu et al eLife 2019 soon after it was published, because of “irregularities associated with the western blots […] performed by Gorkem Patir-Nebioglu“. Initially, Schumacher and her first author and PhD student rebutted the concerns of data manipulation by posting on PubPeer what they declared to be raw data. It proved to be fabricated also.

Schumacher then admitted on PubPeer that “the blots in Figure 3E have indeed been manipulated in an inappropriate manner” but insisted: “the manipulation does not affect the outcome of the experiment.” She announced to replace the fake data with repeat experiments, having learned “a very painful lesson“.

The journal eLife announced an investigation, and days later, Schumacher announced a retraction and was saluted for her exemplary attitude. In any case, it was not the only falsified figure in that paper: also Figure 5B proved fishy.

Other papers co-authored by Schumacher still wait for their corrections…”

Caught in a SNARE

“You can be assured that neither I nor any of my colleagues […] would tolerate any data manipulation.” – Natasha Raikhel

And here another painful lesson for Prof Schumacher:

Jan Dettmer , Daniel Schubert , Olga Calvo-Weimar , York-Dieter Stierhof , Renate Schmidt , Karin Schumacher Essential role of the V-ATPase in male gametophyte development The Plant journal (2004) doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313x.2004.02282.x

I asked Schumacher if she can explain this and what she intends to do about this and her other papers on PubPeer. Maybe some labellings were erased in this way?

She did not reply to me but posted raw data on PubPeer, protesting “Cloned portions?

Aneurus Inconstans wondered:

surprisingly, the pictures posted in comment #3 by the author neither present the cloned portions nor an unwanted original label. So, why the cloned portions?


Little Antoine

Antoine Petit, the President of Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS, French national network of research institutes), gave a boring and paywalled interview to someone in France. But there is an interestingly annoying part hidden in it, like what Petit said on the topic of research integrity:

Cases of breaches of integrity do exist, but according to those we have been analyzing for three years, these are more forms of plagiarism than proven cheating, such as the manipulation of results. These are infinitesimal.

Infinitesimal is your capacity for ethics and honesty, you pompous lying French git. French academia, including CNRS is stinking to high heaven of massive research fraud which bullying bureaucrats like yourself are busy to deny and cover up, only interested in smoking out and punishing the whistleblowers.

Pravda of Jessus report, CNRS Politburo scared of own people

Following my recent article about attempts to fix data irregularities in the papers by CNRS’ chief biologist and director of l’Institut des sciences biologiques (INSB) Catherine Jessus, this state-owned French research institution, the biggest in Europe, now went full Pravda. Just as the notorious propaganda newspaper of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Pravda meansContinue Reading

French Biologists: CNRS-Sorbonne investigators “totally incompetent”, data manipulations in Jessus papers “intentionally fraudulent forgeries”

Sorbonne University in Paris, where the CNRS chief biologist Catherine Jessus, holds a professorship, delivered an outrageous whitewashing report about her manipulations. Now, an Open Letter has been published by around 10 unnamed French biologists. It plucks apart the Sorbonne report of Jessus papers.

Maybe I should mention that after my reporting exposed as research cheaters Petit’s predecessor as CNRS president, Anne Peyroche, and CNRS former chief biologist Catherine Jessus, Petit announced to use secret service tools to spy out PubPeer users whom he called “connards“, i.e., “assholes”.

Jessus investigator identity leaked, CNRS President to expose whistleblowers

An update to the ongoing cartoon Stalinism propaganda and purge activities at the EU largest research institution, the French CNRS, in the wake of the affair around manipulated data of CNRS chief biologist Catherine Jessus, according to their press release an innocent “victim” of my “slanderous” and “unscientific” blogging.  First of all, a reliable sourceContinue Reading

Petit’s drivel in that recent interview gets worse:

For each case treated, I write to the accuser and to the accused to notify them of the results of the investigation and its conclusions. We do not systematically make reports public, only in the event of a disciplinary commission.

That’s a lie also. Petit does not notify anyone or publish anything, certainly when professors are accused. Case at hand: I reported the Strasbourg cheater Laurence Drouard to CNRS research integrity officer, even supplied a dossier.

Petit metaphorically (or possibly literally) wiped his arse with that dossier and with the investigative report by his own CNRS investigator. Instead of sanctioning Drouard, he just recently gave her a promotion to the highest rank in CNRS salary hierarchy.

The Strasbourg Swamp

You know Voinnet, but now meet other great life scientists of Strasbourg: Drouard, Loeffler, Boutillier, Mr and Mrs Egly, and many others.

Petit would not be a pompous French cock he is if he didn’t drop in some causal French chauvinism and racist arrogance, still on the topic of research integrity:

More generally, the problem is often to attribute the paternity of an idea and therefore to decide in this “grey zone”: when two people work around the same blackboard, the situation is never totally deterministic.

Other, inferior nations may have problems with fake science. But not France. French scientists are all supreme geniuses whose only crime is to make so many breakthrough discoveries that they occasionally squabble about who discovered what first.

Who is the connard here 😉

Oh, and I once wrote a short play briefly featuring the CNRS president, who as a former rugby player is not someone you want to mess with.

The Passion of Don Carlos

I obtained a partial script of a stage play which recently premiered in Paris: “La Passion de Don Carlos”. Any similarities with Spanish or French cancer researchers are entirely coincidental.


Science Breakthroughs

Miracle molecule

In case you interested, you can watch this documentary by Jeanne Blanquart for the French-German public TV channel Arte, there is even an English version. It’s called:

Miraculous Molecule – A Treatment for Covid

From the very beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, a taskforce at the Pasteur Institute in Lille worked flat out to find a treatment capable of countering the virus. However their efforts were not always properly supported. This documentary follows their work.

And it’s ridiculously pathetic garbage, pardon, a masterpiece of professional investigative science journalism, which surely will win many awards etc.

It’s about the scientific director Benoît Deprez of Institut Pasteur Lille in France and his postdoc (and president of his company Apteeus) Terence Beghyn, who in autumn 2020 went on French media to announce that they found the cure for COVID-19, a drug already available in French pharmacies. A secret cure, the drug’s identity was not divulged except that it was a “Molécule miracle”, so please give us a lot of money so they can run some clinical trials quick. Soon enough the journalists found out the miracle molecule was actually the old (and failed) pneumonia drug, the antibiotic clofoctol, delivered as suppository.

In between, Antoine Arnault, son of the world’s richest man, Bernard Arnault (owner of LVMH luxury goods concern), saw the news and asked his daddy for €5 million, as you do when your dad is a multi-billionaire. Daddy agreed, Antoine took the money to Lille, had his bum kissed by grateful Pasteur’s scientists, while filmed by the Blanquart’s documentary team. I wrote about it in October 2020, but of course I am just an anti-science troll, you must watch Arte to understand what really happened.

So there is the Arte TRUTH: Deprez’ miracle molecule clofoctol of course worked and could have been the cure for the COVID-19 pandemic, were it not for a huge bureaucratic conspiracy. They were ordered to do monkey trial first which was too cumbersome and expensive! But then, when Arnault’s €5 million arrived and suddenly mouse studies were enough, which of course proved a resounding success which is why there was no need to publish such crystal clear results. Deprez was told to do human trials next, but he said phase 3 clinical trial with thousands of COVID-19 patients or I am not doing it, so he was told, then don’t do it.

Eventually Deprez got his public funding and agreed to do a trial with around 500 participants, and then, rotten luck, the vaccination rate in France skyrocketed and there were no more eligible unvaccinated COVID-19 patients available. The clinical trial (which was never registered because miracle molecule) was first moved to West Indies and then cancelled, with Deprez and Beghyn sulking into the camera. The film-makers never asked them, well, can’t you do your life-saving trial on vaccinated participants, like others do these days?

The documentary is full of other plot holes, but what can you do if you are like Blanquart self-righteously determined to prove an anti-science conspiracy which left hundreds thousands of people dead while a Made-in-France COVID-19 cure was found already in April 2020.

While interviewed for the documentary, Deprez placed himself next to TWO busts of Louis Pasteur. So you don’t miss his message.

PS: I looked it up, the mouse data was submitted to a journal in November 2021 (while the already initiated clinical trial was cancelled), and published in May 2022.

Sandrine Belouzard , Arnaud Machelart , Valentin Sencio , Thibaut Vausselin , Eik Hoffmann , Nathalie Deboosere , Yves Rouillé , Lowiese Desmarets , Karin Séron , Adeline Danneels , Cyril Robil , Loic Belloy , Camille Moreau , Catherine Piveteau , Alexandre Biela , Alexandre Vandeputte , Séverine Heumel , Lucie Deruyter , Julie Dumont , Florence Leroux , Ilka Engelmann, Enagnon Kazali Alidjinou, Didier Hober, Priscille Brodin, Terence Beghyn, François Trottein, Benoit Deprez, Jean Dubuisson Clofoctol inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication and reduces lung pathology in mice PLoS Pathogens (2022) doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1010498 

A preprint was published also in November 2021, simultaneously with PLOS submission, as per the journal’s guidelines.


Retraction Watchdogging

Vaccine fraudsters

Bad news for vaccine fraudster Suresh Vyas, pharmacology professor at the Dr. Hari Singh Gour University in India, whom Smut Clyde wrote about before:

Madhu Gupta , Shailja Tiwari , Suresh P. Vyas Influence of various lipid core on characteristics of SLNs designed for topical delivery of fluconazole against cutaneous candidiasis Pharmaceutical development and technology (2013) doi: 10.3109/10837450.2011.598161 

“Figure 2, “TEM photographs of different FLZ-loaded SLNs formulation (a) FLZ-SA (b) FLZ-MS (c) FLZ-TS (d) FLZ-CA”.
“Figure 1 from Gupta et al (2011), “TEM photograph of optimized fluconazole loaded systems vesicles prepared with (A) Span 40; (B) Span 60; (C) Brij 72“.”

The retraction notice from 25 October 2022 went:

“Following publication of this article, concerns about the duplication of Figure 2B were brought to the attention of the Editor and Publisher. The figure appears to have been duplicated from Figure 1C from:

Madhu Gupta, Bhuvaneshwar Vaidya, Neeraj Mishra & Suresh P. Vyas (2011) Effect of Surfactants on the Characteristics of Fluconazole Niosomes for Enhanced Cutaneous Delivery, Artificial Cells, Blood Substitutes, and Biotechnology, 39:6, 376–384, DOI: 10.3109/10731199.2011.611476

The authors were contacted but could not provide the original image. The Editor has determined the findings of the article are unreliable and requested for the article to be retracted.”

Sure, Vyas is a fraudster, but do tell me how many science fraudsters in Europe or USA ever had to retract a paper for one self-plagiarised image. Zero, maybe?


Nine years

A retraction NINE years after the evidence was reported for San Francisco-based authors. And only because the fraud is too excessive.

N Kikuno , H Shiina , S Urakami , K Kawamoto , H Hirata , Y Tanaka , R F Place , D Pookot , S Majid , M Igawa , R Dahiya Knockdown of astrocyte-elevated gene-1 inhibits prostate cancer progression through upregulation of FOXO3a activity Oncogene (2007) doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1210572

The retraction notice from 19 October 2022 stated:

“The Editors-in-Chief have retracted this article following an investigation by the Investigation Committee on Scientific Misconduct of the Veterans Affair Medical Center, San Francisco, and the University of California San Francisco. The committee concluded that Figures 2b, 4b, 4c, 5a and 5c are the results of fabrication or falsification of data. The Committee could not determine who was responsible for the fabrication or falsification.”

PubPeer user Indigofera tanganyikensis commented in 2019:

UCSF and VA investigated Rajvir Dahiya in 2017 and three articles are so far retracted. I am not sure if this article was included in the investigation.

Rajvir Dahiya, despite being utterly innocent like all his coauthors, is now listed as Emeritus professor of Urology at UCSF, having “retired from UCSF in 2020“. Meaning: they quietly force-retired him to keep the case under wraps and not being forced to return the dishonestly obtained NIH funding. Dahiya has around 30 fraudulent papers on PubPeer.


An inadvertent image assembly error

Srinivas Chinde , Y. Poornachandra , Archana Panyala , Srinivas Indu Kumari , Suresh Yerramsetty , Harikrishna Adicherla , Paramjit Grover Comparative study of cyto- and genotoxic potential with mechanistic insights of tungsten oxide nano- and microparticles in lung carcinoma cells Journal of applied toxicology : JAT (2018) doi: 10.1002/jat.3598 

Actinopolyspora biskrensis: “There appear to be three sets of images in Figure 4 that overlap, although the brightness seems to be quite different.”
Actinopolyspora biskrensis: “The increasing intensity seems to be what is illustrated in the original figure and accompanying bar graph. It seems more likely than not to me that the brightness was adjusted to fit the conclusions

The authors provided an explanation on PubPeer:

Once the DCF reporter is released/activated, it can be photo bleached quite quickly in normal light conditions within 10 minutes. We tried to avoid this by taking multiple images at different time points with the intensity of the fluorescence microscope light reduced at times at this junction, but after taking images, we made an inadvertent image assembly error while preparing the manuscript, and we unknowingly selected the same image for showing the effect at two different concentrations, which is shown in Figure 4 of the published. We immensely thank the pub peer community for bringing this inaccuracy in the publication to our attention. We are in the process of contacting the editorial office about possible image correction/replacement. Furthermore, we will respond to any suggestions from the journal’s editorial office.

The suggestion was a retraction, published on 24 October 2022.

“The above article, published online on 6 February 2018 in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com), has been retracted by agreement between the authors, the journal’s Editor in Chief, Dr. Philip W. Harvey, and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. The retraction has been agreed as the authors introduced errors in figures 4 and 9. The errors impact the article conclusions, and the authors have agreed to retract as a result (Chinde et al., 2018).”


All of the results and conclusions remain unchanged

Here a case which should have been retracted, but this is Elsevier.

Nan Liu , Quan-cheng Kan , Xiao-jian Zhang , Yu-ming Xv , Su Zhang , Guang-xian Zhang , Lin Zhu Upregulation of immunomodulatory molecules by matrine treatment in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis Experimental and Molecular Pathology (2014) doi: 10.1016/j.yexmp.2014.10.004

Elisabeth M Bik:
Concern about Figure 3A. Contrast a bit changed to bring out details.
Green and yellow boxes: Areas in the lower part of the gel, under lanes 2-5, appear to be repetitive
Cyan arrows: A possible sharp transition might be visible under the right two GAPDH bands
Pink arrows: All four GAPDH bands look similar to each other. The arrows point to a little dot.

Elsevier issued a Correction on 20 October 2022.

“In the original article […], we have noticed a mistake in immunohistochemistry pictures in the PBS group of Fig. 5A during figure preparation. The correct Fig. 5A is displayed below.

The authors confirm that all of the results and conclusions of the article remain unchanged. The authors sincerely apologize for this mistake. “


News in Tweets

  • The private banks’ websites list nearly 80 diseases treatable with transplantation—an impressive number, though many are extremely uncommon or closely related to one another. […] They have also recently taken to highlighting the promise of still-unproven treatments: Temporary infusions of cord blood, they say, could eventually treat more common conditions such as cerebral palsy and autism.[…] The current state of cord-blood science might be summed up thus: Proven uses are very uncommon, and unproven uses are, well, unproven.” (The Atlantic)
  • “…private clinics are offering a procedure UK experts warn is potentially dangerous as well as ineffective. It involves injecting stem cells to ‘repair’ diseased joints or as a beauty treatment. […] The Highgate Private Hospital in North London offers to extract patients’ own stem cells then, under general anaesthetic, inject them into a hip or knee joint to treat arthritis or joint damage. […] Meanwhile, the Tiryaki clinic in Sloane Street, London, offers ‘facial rejuvenation’ treatments which involve stem cells being injected into the face.” (Daily Mail)

Get your hard-on with Prof Dr Dr Dr Stehling’s liposuction

“Prof. Dr. Dr. Dr. M. K. Stehling, the founder of ANOVA IRM and the Vitus Prostate Center , is a radiologist (MD) and holds a PhD in physics. […] ANOVA IRM GmbH, located in Offenbach, near Frankfurt am Main, Germany, is an officially controlled German medical company. We have permits to harvest, process and manufacture stem cell products”

  • How Ohio State University helped Carlo Croce sue his critic, David Sanders. From 2017: “Ohio State officials told the Times that, due to Sanders’ charges and questions by the newspaper, they’ve decided to launch an independent external review whether they properly handled previous concerns about Croce.” Croce is still employed by Ohio State.
  • The case of Dan Markingson was the one that plunged bioethicist Carl Elliott, MD, PhD, of the University of Minnesota (UMN), into whistleblowing.” (MedPage)
  • A thread on how in early 2020, Jon Cohen, a Science journalist suppressed clues about possible lab-leak origin of COVID-19 and possibly ratted out the whistleblower to his virology professor friends seeking to stifle the debate.
  • Hey, COVID-19 pandemic, don’t go yet, scientists are still experimenting for another lab leak!
  • Meet Huaying Dong and Wei Wang, two highly cited researchers thanks to papermills. Cell Death & Disease Readers’ Choice!

Cell Death and Depravity

Is the journal Cell Death and Disease a disease itself, parasitised by Chinese paper mills? Can it be cured? Not with this team of doctors on editorial board.

  • Times Higher Education: “The warning from Nick Wise, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge, comes after Hindawi announced that it was examining accusations that its journal Wireless Communications and Mobile Computing may have published dozens of bogus papers produced by paper mills. It follows an investigation by Dr Wise into the journal, the output of which expanded from about 200 papers a year to 2,429 papers in 2022 to date, achieved largely by the creation of special issues on certain topics, most of which published about 200 papers each.” No mention of the work by Smut Clyde and Parashorea tomentella because who are these people, not even British.

Cyclotron Branch, Before the Fall

“sadly, no-one could find any other evidence of existence for these festively-named individuals, who may well be Knock-Knock jokes that somehow gained sentience.” – Smut Clyde

  • Experipsychological what? At Hindawi.
  • Hindawi’s ingenious solution to sleuthing pests
  • A good point.
  • Science‘s Editor-in-Chief Holden Thorp got entangled in his own virtue-signalling and pompous arrogance and started to teach COPE what their guidelines actually say. COPE exec Matt Hodgkinson sets Thorp right, but the latter of course didn’t reply.

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20 comments on “Schneider Shorts 28.10.2022 – Indisputable scientific quality

  1. Klaas van Dijk

    The university homepage of Tim de Zeeuw lists that he is a member of the Advisory council of NWO, the Dutch Research Council. His name is right now not anymore visible at https://www.nwo.nl/en/advisory-council There is towards the best of my knowledge no public information about this topic., e.g. a press release from NWO.

    Like

    • I guess he lost all his offices now. I hope the powerful men of astronomy who supported se Zeeuw in his abuse all these decades, will also lose a little bit of their power and influence now.

      Like

  2. Klaas van Dijk

    Ewine van Dishoeck is married with Tim de Zeeuw. She is also a full professor at Leiden University. It seems highly likely that she was already fully aware what was going on with her husband when this event with Robbert Dijkgraaf, the Dutch Minister of Education, took place. https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/news/2022/10/ewine-van-dishoeck-interview-minister-dijkgraaf—astronomy-celebrates-60-years-of-eso

    Robbert Dijkgraaf, currently the Dutch Minister of Education, is a former President of Royal KNAW. Both Tim de Zeeuw and Ewine van Dishoeck are also members of Royal KNAW. It is towards the best of my knowledge not possible for Royal KNAW to revoke the membership of Tim de Zeeuw.

    Like

  3. I’m on holiday and not reading email, as you must know from the vacation message. If the rest of this blog is as misinformative as saying “I hadn’t responded” when my email autoresponder had given a clear reason why not, then this blog is useless. What you say about Theodorou case is parroting a webpage which is perpetuating the type of bullying you claim to be against. I mean seriously, what is hard about copying and pasting out of PDF? Who would repeat that kind of accusation?

    Like

    • Dr Bryson, I see you do read your emails after all. Well, this is a very professorial ad hominem rebuttal of plagiarism accusations. Thing is, you do understand I am not afraid of you?

      Like

      • Joanna Bryson

        I occasionally skim email while on holiday for names of people I actually know and Andreas had emailed me. Do you think this is somehow unusual email behaviour? You really are revealing yourself here with your tone to anyone who reads this, but you don’t need to be afraid of me personally because I don’t have time for this level of discourse.

        Like

      • Wait, once you do find time I should be afraid?
        How?
        What threats exactly did you have in mind?

        Still not addressing the actual plagiarism evidence of your dear graduate, JJ.
        And thank you for confirming he received and processed my email.

        Like

  4. smut.clyde

    No mention of the work by Smut Clyde and Parashorea tomentella because who are these people, not even British.

    [Checks passport collection] Hey now, I am British, or at least I can be when there’s a good enough reason.

    Like

  5. What’s the reason behind Thorp’s false claim? Plain ignorance or dishonesty? In both cases, he should better resign from being EiC of that journal.

    Like

  6. Am I understanding correctly that, according to Antoine Petit, plagiarism is NOT a form of cheating?

    Like

  7. Do not miss “Science Has a Nasty Photoshopping Problem”
    opinion by Dr. Elisabeth Bik at The New York Times, today.
    A must read. Congrats.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Karin Schumacher initially denied the issues with the TEM images (the same strategy she initially adopted for the then retracted paper Patir-Nebioglu et al. 2019 eLife –> https://pubpeer.com/publications/597F4A6EC25F0EE8787C936C4E7DCD).
    I then posted another comment in PubPeer, with a zoom-in of the cloned portions, to make her better spot the issues.
    Silence from her side for several days.
    I then informed other co-authors on the paper via PubPeer (before I did include only Schumacher’s email address).
    Suddenly Dr. Schumacher acknowledged the problem, saying she will try to understand what went wrong.
    Great attitude for someone who receives an extra bonus for being Vice-Rector for Quality Development (sic!) at Uni HD.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Klaas van Dijk

    See also https://www.knaw.nl/nieuws/reactie-knaw-op-ongewenst-gedrag-hoogleraar-universiteit-leiden (apparently only in Dutch?). Ewine van Dishoeck, wife of Tim de Zeeuw, is still a member of Royal KNAW. It seems to me that Tim de Zeeuw has lost right now all of his positions.

    Like

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