Schneider Shorts

Schneider Shorts 18.11.2022 – Race to the bottom

Schneider Shorts 18.11.2022 - a Spanish university hunts "Nazis", Indian elites flock to a scamference, publishers embracing fraud, WHO embracing papermills, the fall of COPE, with a Dutch sexual harasser, Saudi and Egyptian data forgers, other science elites in a race to the bottom, and a diet advice to eat sand.

Schneider Shorts of 18 November 2022 – a Spanish university hunts “Nazis”, Indian elites flock to a scamference, publishers embracing fraud, WHO embracing papermills, the fall of COPE, with a Dutch sexual harasser, Saudi and Egyptian data forgers, other science elites in a race to the bottom, and a diet advice to eat sand.


Table of Discontent

Russia’s War on Ukraine

Science Elites

  • Dutch Elites – details of bullying and harassment by Dutch astronomer Tim de Zeeuw
  • Indian Elites – Ashutosh Tiwari’s scamference festival for India’s 75th anniversary
  • Saudi Elites – meet the King AbdulAziz cheaters Usama Fahmy and Nabil Alhakamy
  • Egyptian Elites – Mahmoud Mubarak’s drunk yet perfectly peer-reviewed spectra

Scholarly Publishing

Industry Giants

  • Eat sand – Swedish startup Sirgid Therapeutics has the solution for diabetes

News in Tweets


Russia’s War on Ukraine

Spanish schizofaschism

Trust Spanish universities to find another ethical low. The Ukrainian city of Mariupol has become a giant mass grave of countless thousands of dead civilians and Ukrainian defenders, so the Polytechnic University of Catalonia in Barcelona decided to piss on this mass grave and call the victims of the rascist genocide “Nazis”.

The dissident emigree newssite The Insider reports:

“The Polytechnic University of Catalonia has removed the photographs of Ukrainian serviceman Dmytro Kozatskyi, Azovstal defender and Azov Regiment fighter, from its exhibition. Pro-Russian Ukrainian blogger Anatoly Shariy demanded their removal and organized a massive campaign of complaints against the exhibition.

On November 13, the university published a statement that the works had been withdrawn and that the university “was unaware of their author’s ideology”.

“The UPC radically rejects Nazism and regrets the situation created,” reads the statement.

Dmytro Kozatkyi is also known by his call sign, Orest, and has been nicknamed “the eyes of Azovstal”. He is the author of most photographs from the steelworks in Mariupol besieged by Russian troops. Many global publications have published his works. His images and videos shed light on the events at the facility, offering an insider’s perspective. He documented the Ukrainian defenders’ valor and the military crimes of Russian troops in Mariupol.

In May 2022, he published his last photographs and wrote he was bracing himself for captivity. “This is it, then. Thanks for the shelter, Azovstal – the place of my death and my life,” Orest wrote. He also asked to submit his works to contests. Orest returned to Ukraine in September among other POWs Putin exchanged for his Ukrainian pal Viktor Medvedchuk.”

Now, Anatoliy Shariy is a rascist whose pro-putin party in Ukraine was banned after the full-scale war began, and who now hides out in the sunny Spain from Ukrainian authorities. Which tried to have him extradited for treason and inciting terrorism and mass murder, but the Spanish courts took the rascist’s side.

But then again, Spain has its own dark fascist past, buried underneath the Spanish bureacracy and society, so you can trust many to embrace russian fascism there. Plus russia has been sponsoring nationalist and separatist movements for decades all over Europe, and especially in Catalonia. Russian mass murderers are the good guys bringing coffers of money for some of these patriots, so they have good reasons to side with putin and other rascists against Ukrainian men, women and children. Like the caviar-communist and crypto-fascist academics at Barcelona’s Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) did now:

Now, UPC accuses the photographer Orest of “Nazism”. A victim of fascist crimes, someone who was starved and tortured and who saw many of his comrades being tortured to death by russian fascists, is called a Nazi because the russo-fascist criminal Shariy says so. This is how russian version of fascism (rascism) works: it is actually schizofaschism, where you yourself are a textbook fascist, but schizophrenically accuse your enemies of being fascists so you can justify your acts of bombing, shooting, raping, starving and torturing them to death.

Nobody in Spain seems to really protest at UPC’s genocide-approving behavior, but I hope to be corrected.


Science Elites

Dutch Elites

As you might recall, Tim de Zeeuw, one Europe’s mightiest astronomy professors has been banned from the campus by the Leiden University for sexual harassment and bullying (he then lost his German affiliation with the Max Planck society also, after my notification of Dutch news reporting).

Now the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant has some details from the whistleblowers (translated):

“Anyone who, in his eyes, was not intelligent enough should not dream of congratulating Professor of Astronomy Tim de Zeeuw on his birthday. He would then safely say that he did not want to receive those congratulations because you had to earn that right first. […]

De Zeeuw was widely known in astronomy as someone who regularly harassed women. But he could also beat down men mercilessly. There was a culture of fear within his department, say the people who were there: ‘Only those who were super smart were less bothered by it. Women seemed to be accused more often of failing to meet that target.’ They did receive compliments about their clothing from De Zeeuw. Or invitations to go out to dinner with him. Tim was the king of monkey rock, these women say. […]

At the end of October, after similar testimonies from eleven people, including men, Leiden University announced without mentioning his name that De Zeeuw displayed ‘undesirable and intimidating’ behaviour. This with a component of sexual harassment plus ‘the constant threat that the complainants’ careers would be damaged. And that unfortunately for several years.'”

For years, de Zeeuw’s sexual harassment was not just ignored, but actually applauded:

“If a young researcher had to give a presentation and De Zeeuw started talking about her fantastic physique halfway through, no one would say anything about it. It was laughed at.”

Poor Professor de Zeeuw did not notice the times a-changing. His bullying and sexual harassment, once admired by his peers as qualities of a strong and virile academic alpha male, now became a liability.

Volkskrant refers to a recent study by Dutch academy of science which found out, who would have known, that sexual harassment and bullying are widespread in astronomy and science in general:

“So this kind of behavior is everywhere,” says radio astronomer Melanie Johnston-Hollitt, now director of the Curtin Institute for Computation for radio astronomy in Perth, Australia. During her studies she was already accused by the leader of her department that she achieved her good results by sleeping with colleagues, ‘because it was impossible for a woman to be so good at math’.

There was hassle at every stage of her studies and work, says Johnston-Hollitt. Between 2002 and 2004 she also worked as a postdoc at the astronomical institute in Leiden. ‘One day I was called into the office by one of my colleagues, who informed me that male professors had discussed my appearance. And they believed that I should wear makeup, jewelery and a skirt more often at work. I was deeply indignant.’ But Johnston Hollitt did nothing with it then either. “This was how things were then.” […]

“One astronomer in this story can’t tell you the worst thing that happened to her. That happened outside the Netherlands and afterwards a settlement was reached that obliges her to keep her mouth shut. That is also more common in top science, she says, just as it is among MeToo victims in the film industry.”

The Sex Privileges of mTORman David Sabatini

“The Plaintiff is Professor Sabatini […] the self-described powerful senior scientist, who had demanded sex of her when she was a graduate student ending her studies and about to start a fellowship at the Whitehead, in a program Sabatini would direct. […] And it is the man who had made it clear – throughout her training and employment with the Whitehead – that he would ruin anyone who dared to speak against him.”


Indian Elites

Ashutosh Tiwari‘s scamference business now enters a new phase of shitshow. It now received official support from the Indian government, which is not surprising, also russian genocide in Ukraine receives Prime Minister’s Modi’s support.

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.

Tiwari’s cunning idea was to dedicate his upcoming scamference travesty in India to the 75th anniversary of Indian independence. So “The International Conclave on Materials, Energy & Climate (ICMEC)” proudly will take place at the Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women. Ashu, who used to invent fake blonde ladies as his fictional assistants, will be presented as the highest academic authority for female students in India. Why not.

And look, not Modi himself (yet?) but some other hindu-fascist kleptocrat in governmental office arrives to open the scamference as the “Chief Guest”:

Look at the scamference organising board, Indian’s highest bureaucratic and academic elites taking their places to get a cut of Tiwari’s cake. His trusty Swedish friend and business patner Mikael Syväjärvi put his mugshot up because Tiwari badly needs some “white” faces to attract white paying customers from North America and Europe. And he always finds some professorial failures eager to embezzle public money for a worthless medal.

Of course they all know Tiwari’s International Association of Advanced Materials (IAAM) is fake, but the money it generates is real.

Like Prof. Dr. Aleksander Gurlo, chair of the institute for ceramics at TU Berlin in Germany. He is originally from Belarus. Or Yavuz Caydamli, postdoc at the polymer research institute at the University of Stuttgart. Their faces decorate the flier as invited speakers.


Saudi Elites

A reader wrote to me asking to check the works of a certain high-publishing lecturer in pharmacology of the King AbdulAziz University in Saudi Arabia. The reader mentioned:

He is a heavy publisher supported by the head of the school of pharmacy and majority of the result of what he publishes is being imported (bought) from Egypt with very minimal edition. I have heard from many sources that a lot of his data is fabricated and being copied and adjusted from many other works. I am wondering if you could help exposing this phony scientist.

So I forwarded this to my sleuthing colleagues, and Tiger BB8 agreed to have a look at Fahmy’s papers. Indeed, Fahmy is a phony scientist who publishes fabricated research. Currently 15 papers on PubPeer, flagged by Tiger BB8 and a certain Mycosphaerella arachidis. For example:

Ahmed Abdel-Lateff , Ashraf B. Abdel-Naim , Walied M. Alarif , Mardi M. Algandaby , Najla A. Alburae , Ali M. Alghamdi , Mohammed Z. Nasrullah , Usama A. Fahmy Euryops arabicus Promotes Healing of Excised Wounds in Rat Skin: Emphasis on Its Collagen-Enhancing, Antioxidant, and Anti-Inflammatory Activities Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity (2021) doi: 10.1155/2021/8891445 

Figure 3 has some identical images that have been rotated.
Fig 2 c and d are identical

The reader also named another productive scholar and Fahmy’s colleague:

This author (Nabil A. Alhakamy) (https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=fBD8qeEAAAAJ&hl=en). He published 172 papers in 3 years !!! at the rate of 2 papers/week!! I think Einstein himself can not do it.  He is a fake scientist who holds many positions and has no time for research.

The pharma entrepreneur Alhakamy is according to his LinkedIn also vice-dean of the Pharmacology faculty of the King AbdulAziz University and Chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Scientific Society for Pharmaceutical Industries. He is a regular co-author of Fahmy’s. Alhakamy’s PubPeer record is at currently 16 papers, with and without Fahmy as co-author. Here they are peddling nanostructured pumpkin oil for gastric ulcers:

Osama AA Ahmed , Usama A Fahmy , Rana Bakhaidar , Mohamed A El-Moselhy , Mohamed A Alfaleh , Al-Shaimaa F Ahmed , Asmaa SA Hammad , Hibah Aldawsari , Nabil A Alhakamy Pumpkin Oil–Based Nanostructured Lipid Carrier System for Antiulcer Effect in NSAID-Induced Gastric Ulcer Model in Rats International Journal of Nanomedicine (2020) doi: 10.2147/ijn.s247252 

Fig 7B of this paper (top panel below) has an overlap with Fig 10B of Alhakamy, et al 2020 (lower panel below)
Question: How could the same rat be obtained in both Egypt and Saudi Arabia?

Here some more nanotechnology garbage, a nasal spray to improve your libido:

Usama A Fahmy, Osama AA Ahmed , Shaimaa M Badr-Eldin , Hibah M Aldawsari , Solomon Z Okbazghi , Zuhair A Awan , Muhammed A Bakhrebah , Mohammad N Alomary , Wesam H Abdulaal , Carlos Medina , Nabil A Alhakamy Optimized Nanostructured Lipid Carriers Integrated into In Situ Nasal Gel for Enhancing Brain Delivery of Flibanserin International Journal of Nanomedicine (2020) doi: 10.2147/ijn.s258791

Fig 6 also appeared in another paper Ahmed, et al from the same group of authors. In below side-by-side comparison, the currently paper is on the left while the other paper is on the right:

I should mention it was published in a papermill-fraud-factory journal once ran by the fraudster Thomas Webster:

One green nanotheranostics turd by Fahmy-Alhakamy was already corrected, but will need another correction:

Usama A. Fahmy , Ahmed L. Alaofi , Zuhier A. Awan , Hani M. Alqarni , Nabil A. Alhakamy Optimization of Thymoquinone-Loaded Coconut Oil Nanostructured Lipid Carriers for the Management of Ethanol-Induced Ulcer AAPS PharmSciTech (2020) doi: 10.1208/s12249-020-01693-1

The Springer Correction from May 2020 went:

“When the article was first published, the incorrect image for Fig. 1 was inadvertently uploaded. The authors reviewed their raw data and found that Fig. 1 was not related to nanostructured lipid carrier and was uploaded by unintended mistake. Although replacing the figure will not affect the conclusion of the paper, but scientific honesty requires correcting the mistaken figure with a correct one.”

And what about Figure 7? It’s fake also, the scientific honesty requires it to be replaced as well (which will not affect the conclusion of the paper)!

Or how about this Prozac nano-nonsense with Italian partners at the University of Catania:

Nabil A. Alhakamy , Giuseppe Caruso , Anna Privitera , Osama A. A. Ahmed , Usama A. Fahmy , Shadab Md , Gamal A. Mohamed , Sabrin R. M. Ibrahim , Basma G. Eid , Ashraf B. Abdel-Naim, Filippo Caraci Fluoxetine Ecofriendly Nanoemulsion Enhances Wound Healing in Diabetic Rats: In Vivo Efficacy Assessment Pharmaceutics (2022) doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics14061133

There are a couple of image reuses among 3 papers from the same lab. Current paper Fig 5A is at the bottom-right of the following comparison, the other two are Asfour, et al, 2022-a and Asfour, et al, 2022-b:

More fake science by Alhakamy, Fahmy and their Sicilian friends led by the pharmacology professor Filippo Caraci. This time, with bee venom:

Nabil A. Alhakamy , Giuseppe Caruso, Basma G. Eid, Usama A. Fahmy, Osama A. A. Ahmed , Ashraf B. Abdel-Naim, Abdulmohsin J. Alamoudi, Shareefa A. Alghamdi , Hadeel Al Sadoun , Basmah M. Eldakhakhny , Filippo Caraci, Wesam H. Abdulaa Ceftriaxone and Melittin Synergistically Promote Wound Healing in Diabetic Rats Pharmaceutics (2021) doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics13101622

One more, because I can’t let go of Sicilian fraud, especially when it meets Saudi fraud. A classic of green nanotech quackery: chitosan nanoparticles combined with fresh fruits polyphenols:

Nabil A. Alhakamy , Osama A. A. Ahmed , Mallesh Kurakula , Giuseppe Caruso, Filippo Caraci, Hani Z. Asfour , Anas Alfarsi , Basma G. Eid , Amir I. Mohamed , Nabil K. Alruwaili , Wesam H. Abdulaal , Usama A. Fahmy , Hani A. Alhadrami , Basmah M. Eldakhakhny , Ashraf B. Abdel-Naim Chitosan-Based Microparticles Enhance Ellagic Acid’s Colon Targeting and Proapoptotic Activity Pharmaceutics (2020) doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics12070652 

Figure 7 in two papers by the same group share a control image which is described as two different time points, either one hour, or half hour.”
Image recycled with Alhakami et al Marine Drugs 2020

Caraci is a pathetic loser. Begging some Saudi crooks to put him on their fake papers, can’t he fake his own science like other Sicilian professors?

The Cigarette Mob of Palermo

On the gate of Constantinople was written, in a steel plate, the order of the Sultan:
“All the males of the Gjomarkaj, generation after generation, from the cradle to the grave, will carry the title of Kapidan”


Egyptian Elites

The PubPeer user and member of our sleuthing team, Thallarcha lechrioleuca, was quite impressed by the deeds of the Saudis above, and decided to match it with the works of Dr Mahmoud Fathy Mubarak of the Egyptian Petroleum Research Institute.

There are “just” 7 fake Mubarak papers on PubPeer, but the artistic quality of the quite literally hand-made fraud compensates for the quantity! Let’s start with a paper aptly named “fabrication”, in a Springer journal:

Hanaa Selim , Rania Elshypany , Salah M. El-Bahy , Mahmoud F. Mubarak, Eman O. Taha Fabrication of electro spun nylon6.12/chitosan @PES nanofibrous UF membrane towards dyes rejection from synthetic wastewater Polymer Bulletin (2022) doi: 10.1007/s00289-021-04031-y 

Bet you can’t draw this nice. More peer-reviewed masterpieces, also in Springer Nature:

Saly R. El-Dakkony , Mahmoud F. Mubarak , Hager R. Ali , Amany Gaffer , Y. M. Moustafa , A.-H. Abdel-Rahman Composite thin-film membrane of an assembled activated carbon thin film with autoself-healing and high-efficiency water desalination Environment, Development and Sustainability (2022) doi: 10.1007/s10668-021-01544-4

And you loser still go to the lab every day. Courtesy of Royal Society of Chemistry:

Abeer El Shahawy, Mahmoud F. Mubarak , Merna El Shafie , Hesham M. Abdulla Fe(iii) and Cr(vi) ions’ removal using AgNPs/GO/chitosan nanocomposite as an adsorbent for wastewater treatment RSC Advances (2022) doi: 10.1039/d2ra01612e 

Hahahaha. MDPI of course also, with XRD peaks behaving like the Pisa tower:

Abeer El Shahawy , Ahmed H. Ragab , Mahmoud F. Mubarak , Inas A. Ahmed , Abdullah E. Mousa , Dina M. D. Bader Removing the Oxamyl from Aqueous Solution by a Green Synthesized HTiO2@AC/SiO2 Nanocomposite: Combined Effects of Adsorption and Photocatalysis Catalysts (2022) doi: 10.3390/catal12020163 
Mahmoud F. Mubarak , Ahmed H. Ragab , Rasha Hosny , Inas A. Ahmed , Hanan A. Ahmed , Salah M. El-Bahy , Abeer El Shahawy Enhanced Performance of Chitosan via a Novel Quaternary Magnetic Nanocomposite Chitosan/Grafted Halloysitenanotubes@ZnγFe3O4 for Uptake of Cr (III), Fe (III), and Mn (II) from Wastewater Polymers (2021) doi: 10.3390/polym13162714 

As a proper patriot, some of the best artworks Dr Mubarak reserved for Egyptian journals, here one issued by Elsevier:

Mahmoud F. Mubarak , Atef Mohamed Gad Mohamed , Mohammed Keshawy , Thanaa Abd ElMoghny , Nabila Shehata Adsorption of heavy metals and hardness ions from groundwater onto modified zeolite: Batch and column studies Alexandria Engineering Journal (2022) doi: 10.1016/j.aej.2021.09.041

This is nice also, Springer again:

A. El-Denglawey , Mahmoud F. Mubarak , Hanaa Selim Tertiary Nanocomposites of Metakaolinite/Fe3O4/SBA-15 Nanocomposite for the Heavy Metal Adsorption: Isotherm and Kinetic Study Arabian Journal for Science and Engineering (2022) doi: 10.1007/s13369-021-05690-9 

You might feel drunk now after watching these spectra. But rest assured: these passed peer review in respectable journals.


Scholarly Publishing

JBC embraces fraud

It’s a story like Starwars: the little society published Journal of Biological Chemistry was fighting on the good side, retracting many papers by the biggest of fraudsters in US and Europe, unafraid of legal threats and national campaigns even.

But then some things happened. JBC was taken over by Elsevier, and sued by one of the US fraudsters. Most of the original editorial team retired, quit or got sacked. The replacement consisted of conceited yet incompetent nincompoops, some, like the new Editor-in-Chief Alex Toker, with own record of bad science.

Reddy vs JBC

Pittsburgh associate professor Raju Reddy and a colleague sued JBC over a retraction. The case has been settled in January 2021, the baddies won and the precedent is set.

JBC first stopped being good. The retractions fizzled out, I’m not sure they even happen now at all. And after some time under Elsevier assimilation, JBC turned to the dark side and now became bad, like the rest of Elsevier.

Look what they just did.

Yu Song , Ke Gong , Hong Yan , Wei Hong , Le Wang , Yingliang Wu , Wenhua Li, Wenxin Li , Zhijian Cao Sj7170, a unique dual-function peptide with a specific α-chymotrypsin inhibitory activity and a potent tumor-activating effect from scorpion venom Journal of Biological Chemistry (2014) doi: 10.1074/jbc.m113.540419 

Actinopolyspora biskrensis: “It seems as if two images from Figure 4 of this paper previously were published (in Demidenko ZN, Blagosklonny MV. Quantifying pharmacologic suppression of cellular senescence: prevention of cellular hypertrophy versus preservation of proliferative potential. Aging (Albany NY). 2009; 1:1008-1016. https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.100115 ), and where they were described differently.
There do not appear to be any authors in common and the Aging paper does not appear to be cited.

What happened here, is that some Chinese fraudsters stole images from a paper by Zoya Demidenko & Mikhail Blagosklonny in the journal Aging. Now, this is a bit meta, because:

  • Demidenko & Blagosklonny own Impact Journals which publishes Aging and Oncotarget. Blagosklonny is Editor-in-Chief of both journals, Demidenko is CEO
  • Demidenko & her former PhD boss Blagosklonny published a lot of falsified science, including in their own Aging.

So how did JBC solve this?

The last author Zhijian Cao proudly announced on PubPeer days ago:

Dear Actinopolyspora biskrensis, I am very sorry to our late response. We had made the corrigendum of our article in Journal of Biological Chemistry (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36279717/). Thanks again for pointing out our mistakes.

This is what the Corrigendum says:

“Images in Figure 4C and Figure 8C (Sh142+Sj7170 and Sh771+Sj7170) were inadvertently misused. The correct panels of Figure 4C and Figure 8C are shown below. All authors agree that the corrections do not affect the results and conclusions of the article. The authors apologize for those mistakes.”

If JBC treats some obscure Chinese fraudsters who steal data from questionable US “scientists”, think of how the new evil JBC treats evidence in papers of bigwig fraudster in US and Europe.

Trash bin.


COPE and cash

Peter Wilmshurst, British cardiologist, whistleblower and activist fighting for decades against fraud in medicine, published another blog post. This time, it’s about Committee on Publication Ethics, a forum for scientific journal which Wilmshurst personally co-founded and used to me a member of. Used to, because COPE kicked him out after Wilmshurst complained about The Lancet refusing to retract a fraudulent trachea transplant paper by Paolo Macchiarini and Martin Birchall. Read here:

Peter Wilmshurst vs Macchiarini cult at The Lancet

The 2008 Lancet paper of Paolo Macchiarini and Martin Birchall about the world first trachea transplant might end up retracted. Until recently, the journal’s editor Richard Horton used to ignore and suppress “non peer-reviewed” evidence, but due to combined pressure of activism, media and politics, things started to move.

Now Wilmshurst returns to this case and blogs about COPE:

“I am concerned that as COPE evolved from a small group of individuals committed to improving the integrity of research and publication to a corporate body with considerable expenses, COPE has become dependent on a few large publishing houses that bankroll it. Five major publishing houses provide half of COPE’s income.”

Wilmshurst gives an overview of COPE’s history:

“The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) was formed “to address breaches of research and publication ethics”. It was a discussion forum providing advice for editors. Its aims were to find practical ways of dealing with issues of concern and to develop good practice. At that time, the members consisted of a small number of editors of medical journals in the BMJ publishing group and the Lancet. There were two individuals who were not journal editors – Professor Ian Kennedy (subsequently Sir Ian Kennedy) and me. […]

Besides participating in discussion of cases, I was one of eight members who wrote the first COPE guidelines on good publication practice in 1999.8 Editors on COPE were keen to specify the responsibilities of authors. I pointed out that we needed a section on “duties of editors” and I drafted that section.”

Later, COPE became a non-profit and started to charge membership fees from journals and publisher to finance itself.

“The majority of COPE’s income is from large publishing houses that obtain COPE membership for their entire portfolio of journals. Because some publishers have enrolled more than one thousand journals and Springer Nature has enrolled more than 3000 journals, there should be a question as to whether all the editors of the journals that are members of COPE are truly signed up to adhere to COPE principles and practices, rather than passively complying with the policy of their publishers.”

The Lancet is published by Elsevier, which is one of biggest COPE members. And as for Macchiarini’s fraud, Lancet‘s Editor-in-Chief and COPE co-founder Richard Horton apprently convinced his colleagues that he received “threats” (meaning, Wilmshurst’s urging emails) and therefore ““the journal…should not be pressured to action by threats.” COPE buried the case:

“Having failed to make further progress, I made a formal complaint to COPE about the Lancet’s failure to retract the falsified papers. On 13 January 2019, COPE informed me “I am writing regarding the concerns you raised to the attention of COPE in relation to the publication in The Lancet by Macchiarini et al. I have raised this case to the attention of a member of the COPE Facilitation and Integrity subcommittee for review and I will be in touch in due course.” It is almost 4 years later and COPE has not responded to my complaint.”

Wilmshurst concludes:

“As far as I am aware, of the original founders of COPE, who set out to improve publication ethics, only Richard Horton remains a member. His transition into a publishing house employee who lectures others on ethics but refuses to retract publications that are patently fraudulent and that harm patients is symbolic of the change in COPE itself.”


Industry Giants

Eat sand

A recent article on Pharma Voice celebrates Sana Alajmovic, a genius scientist who founded a business to sell diabetes prevention medicine. Which is… sand.

“Alajmovic is the co-founder and CEO of Sigrid Therapeutics, a Swedish-based, clinical-stage health tech company whose lead product candidate, SiPore21, is being developed as a novel therapy to improve blood sugar levels in people at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes and obesity. SiPore21, which is classified as a medical device, uses mesoporous silica particles that are administered orally and act as a “molecular sieve” to block food enzyme activity. […]

When Alajmovic teamed up with Tore Bengtsson, a researcher and professor of physiology biosciences at Stockholm University, to co-found Sigrid, she realized the potential that existed for a product that could prevent the kind of lifestyle condition that plagued her father — even if others had doubts.

“I’m proud of our bold vision to prevent disease,” she said. “I have a lot of people telling me there’s no money in prevention, no one cares about prevention, and I think that is changing, and I think COVID helped accelerate that change.”

The mesoporous silica particles in SiPore21 are a finely granulated powder administered either as a gel that you eat or in the form of capsules. The particles themselves are not absorbed into the bloodstream and are expelled harmlessly through stools. SiPore21 is patented in the U.S, European Union, Canada, Australia, Japan and Israel, among other countries.”

Of course there was already a clinical trial, the results of whcih were published in a prestigious predatory journal by Future Medicine (who sell “accelerated publication” services) and dump their less profitable journals to OMICS):

Jeanha Baek , Ghislaine Robert-Nicoud , Carmen Herrera Hidalgo , Melissa L Borg , Muhammad N Iqbal , Roger Berlin , Maria Lindgren , Erik Waara , Anna Uddén , Kirsi Pietiläinen , Tore Bengtsson Engineered mesoporous silica reduces long-term blood glucose, HbA1c, and improves metabolic parameters in prediabetics Nanomedicine (2022) doi: 10.2217/nnm-2021-0235 

The paper declared:

“The effects of SiPore15 were investigated in people with prediabetes and newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetes. SiPore15 was taken three times a day for 12 weeks. It significantly reduced long-term blood glucose levels and improved other factors related to the disease with minimal side effects. The results from this study show that SiPore15 has the potential to be used as a treatment for prediabetes. This may help to delay or prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes.”

Most authors are Sigrid employees, the company’s co-founder and CSO Bengtson merely admits to hold some Sigrid stock.

The clinical trial NCT03823027 by Sigrid Therapeutics was a one-arm open-label trial (without any placebo control) with 43 “Obese and Overweight Subjects With Prediabetes or Newly Diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes“, ran in Sweden and Finland. It was supposed to have 40 participants only, maybe 3 more (out of how many extras?) were recruited in the last moment to, uhm, get the results right.

In case you are unsure about Future Medicine being predatory, here is an antivaxxer paper by notorious antivaxxers Christopher Shaw and Lucija Tomlenovic in one of their journals, with the perfectly sane and peer-reviewed title: “Are there negative CNS impacts of aluminum adjuvants used in vaccines and immunotherapy?“. That paper was actually published three times – also in the predatory journal OA Autism and in Elsevier’s J. Inorg. Biochem, where it was retracted, thanks to Smut Clyde:

But the other two predatory publishers, including Future Medicine, left the Shaw and Tomlenovic antivax trash standing, untouched. So you can decide what the journal choice tells you about the quality of Sigrid Therapeutics’ clinical study.

But hey, Alajmovic announced in the Pharma Voice article:

“She added that the company expects to begin a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized and multicenter study with SiPore21 involving roughly 300 patients in the spring.”

I have the feeling Sigrid’s business model of feeding sand to obese diabetics is inspired by the comedy series Little Britain, where overweight members of “Fat Fighters” are instructed to eat dust.


News in Tweets

  • Remember the chloroquine/ivermectine covidiot quacks America’s Frontline Doctors and their leader Simone Gold? “The nonprofit made millions from connecting people with ivermectin and HCQ prescriptions, plus at least $10 mil in donations. But where did the $ go? The nonprofit’s board says Gold blew it on a $100K jet trip, a $3.6 million mansion, and a whopping $50K in monthly expenses.” (Will Summer for Daily Beast).
  • Smut Clyde on Li et al Gastric Cancer 2019: “a comedy in 3 acts. Act I. “Your paper looks like a product of the ‘All Patients’ papermill, and its Figures have been recycled in a number of other papers.” Act 2. Corresponding author replies: “The first author left my laboratory in 2014, took all the images, & is responsible for them appearing in papermill products. Also I never saw this paper that was submitted to the journal using my email address.” Act 3. Unknown parties corrected this paper that the corresponding author disowned. “In the original publication of the article, Fig. 3 was published with errors. The corrected Fig. 3 is given in this correction.” The paper was actually from the “All Patients” papermill. Well done, Springer Nature and the International Gastric Cancer Association and the Japanese Gastric Cancer Association who issued this journal.

The papermills of my mind

“For as I have often bemoaned in the past, not even the paper-forging industry is free from scruple- and principle-deficient players.” – Smut Clyde

  • Trust WHO to be the highest medical authority in the world. Here they are, authoritatively tweeting a paper about the health benefits of dark chocolate, published by a papermill. Elsevier-published international collaboration of papermill customers from India, russia and South Korea, Samanta et al 2022, even references Vickers NJ. “Animal Communication: When I’m Calling You, Will You Answer Too?” (2017): “20–40% reduction of total antioxidant capacity was observed during fermentation. Antioxidant capacity was measured by DPPH, ABTS, and FRAP (Vickers, 2017; Mattia et al., 2013).

When I’m citing you, will you answer too?

What do moth pheromones on one side have to do with cancer research, petrochemistry, materials science, e-commerce, psychology, forestry and gynaecology on the other? They are separated by just one citation!

Chocolate is good for your funding

Chocolate is good for your health, scientists keep saying. This may sound counter-intuitive; given that chocolate is an extremely calorie-rich confectionery, which mostly contains industrially refined cocoa fat and huge quantities of added sugar, a substance finally about to be recognised as the prime cause for the obesity epidemics. A recent clinical study from theContinue Reading

WHO cures cancer in Photoshop?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has a cancer research unit in France, IARC. Some papers from there contain impressive manipulations. The works of art are authored by Massimo Tommasino and his former junior colleague there Uzma Hasan, now tenured group leader at INSERM. Some of this research took place at the Schering-Plough Research Institute which was taken over by German pharma giant Merck.

  • A Carlo Croce paper in Nature Publishing Group’s journal Oncogene (Semba et al 2006) receives its second correction, despite evidence of massive fraud and absense of raw data. The first correction from 2019 declared: “The scientific conclusions of this paper have not been affected.
  • If it’s in Nature, it’s the absolute scientific truth. Sun et al Nature 2022, from Zhejiang University in China. Expect a “conclusions not affected” correction, because the last author Caiyong Chen already explained on PubPeer: “the student mistakenly put the used hrg-9;hrg-10 slide back on the microscope again thinking it was a “hrg-9” slide. She did not realize it was the same worm because the slide was rotated.” It doesn’t have to make sense to you, it must convince Nature editors.
  • Apparently, papermills started to sell authorships for German patent applications. It is rather unlikely these nonsense patents will be ever granted (although who knows 😉 Still, paying customers can already use the published patent applications for their career advancement.
  • Another victory for US greatest bullshitter and supplement scammer, the Harvard professor David Sinclair. He now made FDA shut down his business competition.
  • Misha Blagosklonny went mad.
  • Retraction Watch in partnership with Clarivate wants to reassure you that the papermilling pseudoscientist like Rafael Luque is definitely a well-deserved “2018, 2019 and 2020 HIGHLY CITED RESEARCHER (Clarivate Analytics)” because, QED: he never retracted a single paper. Good to know someone out there is watchdogging for all of science.

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7 comments on “Schneider Shorts 18.11.2022 – Race to the bottom

  1. Klaas van Dijk

    Tim de Zeeuw was present at this event which took place on 26 September 2022. Ewine van Dishoeck is the wife of Tim de Zeeuw. https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/news/2022/10/ewine-van-dishoeck-interview-minister-dijkgraaf—astronomy-celebrates-60-years-of-eso

    Like

    • Klaas van Dijk

      The proof of the attendance of Tim de Zeeuw at this event is a picture of Tim de Zeeuw and texts about Tim de Zeeuw at https://www.astronomie.nl/nieuws/sterrenkunde-viert-60-jaar-eso-3450 (in Dutch).

      This society has added as postscript in which they state that they were in the end of September 2022 not yet aware that Leiden University had suspended Tim de Zeeuw already for several months.

      It is in my opinion remarkable that Tim de Zeeuw was nevertheless present at such an event.

      Like

  2. Professor Aleksander Gurlo now replied regarding his participation in Tiwari’s scamference:
    How do you know this is a “predatory conference”? Unfortunately, I can’t see that right away.
    And anyway – how do I recognize a “robbery conference”? Is there a “black list”?

    Right…

    Like

    • Yavuz Caydamli’s boss and the Managing Director of the Institute of Polymer Chemistry in Stuttgart sent me this email:
      “Dear Mr. Schneider,
      You have been taken in by a fake homepage/information. Mr. Caydamli is not registered, nor will he be attending. His name/icons was used without his knowledge and without his consent. I hereby request you to stop these insulting allegations immediately, otherwise my employee reserves the right to take legal action.
      Kind regards
      Prof. Dr. rer. nat. habil. Michael R Buchmeiser”

      So Caydamli and his boss Buchmeiser announce to sue me, not Tiwari? Because I found the evidence? And how to explain this then?
      https://www.proceedings.iaamonline.org/article/vpoam-2105219

      Caydamli is listed as “Corresponding and Presenting Author” at Tiwari’s IAAM Conference proceedings. With his institutional email from his previous job at North Carolina State University.

      Like

      • Klaas van Dijk

        Readers might be interested that COPE has removed two key sentences from the new version (version 4) of their “Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing”.

        The details are listed at https://oaspa.org/principles-of-transparency-and-best-practice-in-scholarly-publishing-4/ (“The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), the Open Access Scholarly Publishing Association (OASPA), and the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) are scholarly organisations that have collaborated to identify principles of transparency and best practice for scholarly publications. This is the fourth version of a work in progress (published September 15 2022).”).

        It is stated in version 3 (after item 16): “In the event that a member organization is found to have violated these best practices, or other specific requirements of the organization, OASPA/DOAJ/COPE/WAME shall in the first instance try to work with them in order to address any concerns that have been raised. In the event that the member organization is unable or unwilling to address these concerns, their membership in the organization may be suspended or terminated. OASPA/DOAJ/COPE/WAME have procedures for dealing with concerns raised about members.”

        It is stated in version 2 (after item 16): “In the event that a member organization is found to have violated these best practices, or other specific requirements of the organization, OASPA/DOAJ/COPE/WAME shall in the first instance try to work with them in order to address any concerns that have been raised. In the event that the member organization is unable or unwilling to address these concerns, their membership in the organization may be suspended or terminated. All of the member organizations have procedures for dealing with concerns raised about member journals.”

        Like

    • Gurlo now forwarded me this:
      „Dear Sir or Madam,

      I would like to inform you that I withdraw my abstract and cancel my registration. I am kindly asking you to remove my name from the list of speakers, sessions chairs and participants as well as from the website of the conference.

      I apologize for any inconvenience I caused. 

      Best regards

      Aleksander Gurlo”

      Gurlo then blocked me from sending him further emails.

      Like

  3. magazinovalex

    An account named “Daniel T. Kulp, Chair of COPE” responded to Wilmshurst,

    “In this recent blog post, Dr. Wilmshurst has highlighted some significant ethical concerns about a series of papers authored by Dr. Paolo Macchiarini, which impact the care and health of human patients. These concerns are substantial and are being taken seriously by COPE which is committed to improving the integrity of published research. Nonetheless, I am disheartened that this blog post focuses on a misrepresentation of COPE which detracts from these real concerns.”

    Has this “Kulp” learned from Russian propaganda? Like when someone accuses you based on facts, just throw accusations back, no counter-facts needed.

    Like

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