Schneider Shorts of 6 January 2023 – lawsuit warnings from cardiology society and from editor against whistleblowers, an elite nanotech lab terminated in Czechia, award-winning cheater’s first retraction, more papermilling at Germany, humour by research fraudsters, and why your kids must play video games.
Table of Discontent
- The Fall of Adam, now total – Vojtech Adam’s lab closed, co-fraudsters sacked
- Take a Chance on AHA – American Heart Association loves research fraud and hates Wilmshurst
- Defamation of character – Academic editor intimidates whistleblower
- Maintain Focus and Aim High – Chung Owyang investigation concludes, first retraction out
- A certain Changhe Li – once again, Saarland University embraces papermills
- An attractive and “natural” target for fraudsters – A German journal plagued by traditional medicine fraud
- Make editor happy – I am calling Graph Police!
- Steal from the best – you won’t believe who these Chinese fraudsters stole from
- Call of Duty – video games make kids smart like a professor
The Fall of Adam, now total
Remember Vojtech Adam, the former star of Czech nanotechnology and biomedicine? The young super-scientist with a thousand of papers and several professorships, who in autumn 2021 was just elected rector of his Mendel University in Brno, but then I wrote about Elisabeth Bik’s findings regarding his research and Adam was not allowed to become rector. In parallel, he was found guilty of research misconduct.
“Please, can you tell me more about the web page and mechanism behind? Is there any “scheme” of scanning published papers?” asks Professor Vojtech Adam. Yes, it’s Elisabeth Bik.
Well, now it is really the end of the road for Adam and his mates, these failed scientists are free to explore alternative careers. A public statement by CEITEC (Central European Institute of Technology) in Brno:
“The management of CEITEC BUT has now concluded the internal investigation regarding the case of alleged data fabrication in certain publications produced by the Smart Nanodevices research group headed by Prof. Vojtech Adam. We deeply regret the occurrence of this incident within CEITEC research and strongly condemn the unprofessional behaviour and scientific misconduct of some individuals within the group. These individuals responsible for manipulating research data were identified and their contracts were terminated because of their actions. The alleged articles were either retracted or errata were issued accordingly. However, in the process of investigation, it has been revealed that there was historical and remaining negligence in publishing practices, data management and further organizational and unresolved personal issues, to some degree inherited from the past group leaders. Taking all of this into account, we have decided the best course of action will be to terminate the research group of Prof. Adam as of the end of 2022. However, in line with the findings of the internal investigation of the ethical committee of the ERCEA agency regarding the scientific integrity of Prof. Adam himself, the ERC project will be allowed to continue to its natural end by the first quarter of 2023.
During the past few years, CEITEC has adopted a number of measures to ensure research integrity (Ethical Codex) and good research practices (Code of Research Conduct), which in summary ranks CEITEC among research organizations with an international standard of research management in place. As result of the recent event, CEITEC BUT will also adopt extra training in the areas of scientific transparency, research integrity and principles of open data policy for its staff and students.
CEITEC and Brno University of Technology strongly distance themselves from any unethical behaviour and scientific misconduct and will always take decisive action against any individual found guilty of scientific misconduct or unethical behaviour. “
It is not clear if Adam was sacked like his junior coauthors were. First, it seems he was spared the harshest misconduct findings in order to retain the ERC grant. Second, tenured professorship in continental European universities does not allow contract termination except for criminally-relevant misconduct, which as we all know, research fraud never is. Adam can’t continue research without a lab, if he doesn’t quit himself, he will be assigned to teaching. Probably research ethics?
I hope my readers in Spain, France and Italy understand that a) their academia is full of fraudsters like Vojtech Adam and what is much worse, b) not only are these fraudsters never sanctioned or even investigatted, they get publicly awarded in spite, while their whistleblowers get sacked or where unreachable, at least publicly denounced as criminals. In Czechia, even the most powerful fraudsters get in trouble:
“I should remind you that the editorial offices that investigated your allegations did not found any evidence of scientific misconduct or data fabrication. In my opinion, your allegation may bear the elements of defamation and false accusation” – Prof Radek Zboril
Take a Chance on AHA
The cardiologist and whistleblower Peter Wilmshurst has been fighting for years to get a fraudulent clinical trial paper retracted from American Heart Association’s (AHA) journal Circulation. The experienced activist for medical ethics knew what he was up to, after all, he was repeatedly sued for libel by this trial’s sponsor NMT Medical. Wilmshurst won in every case, and the company went bankrupt. The doctors behind the trial were exposed as fraudsters and sanctioned. Will the AHA journal retract this fraudulent paper?
Andrew Dowson , Michael J. Mullen , Richard Peatfield , Keith Muir , Arif Anis Khan , Christopher Wells , Susan L. Lipscombe , Trevor Rees , Joseph V. De Giovanni , W. Lindsay Morrison , David Hildick-Smith , Giles Elrington , W. Stewart Hillis , Iqbal S. Malik , Anthony Rickards Migraine Intervention With STARFlex Technology (MIST) Trial Circulation (2008) doi: 10.1161/circulationaha.107.727271
Well, now Wilmsthurst got warned to finally keep quiet by AHA’s lawyer:
This letter was quoted by Wilmshurst in his blog post, where he also shares his original letter to Circulation‘s Editor-in-Chief Joseph A Hill, professor of cardiology at UT Southwestern, USA. Excerpts:
“Circulation published an amended version, correction and data supplement in 2009. I request that both of the published versions of the paper (2008 and 2009), the correction and the data supplement all be retracted because they are all false.
The 2009 correction was published because, a few days after Circulation published the paper in March 2008, I wrote to Dr Lozcalzo, the Editor of Circulation at that time. I said that I was the MIST Trial’s principal cardiologist. I sent to Circulation documents which showed that Dr Simon Nightingale (another member of the trial steering committee) and I had informed the three other steering committee members (Dr Dowson, Dr Mullen and Dr Muir) that we refused to be authors because NMT Medical, the MIST Trial’s sponsor, had refused to allow the clinicians to see the complete trial dataset but, even without access to the full data, it was clear that the published data were false.
I provided documentary evidence that concerns about the original 2008 version of the paper included misrepresentation of the methods, falsification of data, concealment of adverse events, inappropriate authorship, failure to properly acknowledge the work of contributors and failure to disclose financial conflicts of interest.
I told Circulation that in March 2004 the Northern and Yorkshire Region Multicentre Research Ethics Committee (MREC) had removed Dr Dowson from his role as the principal investigator in an unrelated multicentre migraine trial sponsored by Allergan, because he had entered false data for vital signs (such as blood pressure and pulse) on clinical record forms of trial patients that he had not seen and signed the forms to certify that they were a true record. That MREC said that Dr Dowson was not fit to be a trial principal investigator and they reported Dr Dowson to the General Medical Council (GMC). The GMC is the statutory body that licences doctors to practise in the UK.
I told Circulation that in 2006 a Fitness to Practise Tribunal of the GMC found Dr Dowson guilty of misconduct in the Allergan trial and placed conditions on his practise as a doctor. This evidence of Dr Dowson’s misconduct is a matter of public record. It is available on the GMC website now, as it was in 2008 when I informed Circulation.”
You may wonder, why the previous long-term EiC of Circulation, the Harvard professor Joseph Loscalzo, defended outright fraudsters, allowing them to cover up the massive fraud with a correction?
Well, that’s because Loscalzo is a toxic crook himself, who was part of the biggest fraud scandal in cardiology, a member of the Piero Anversa gang which poisoned an entire research field for decades with fraudulent claims of non-existent heart stem cells.
Anversa’s and Loscalzo’s employer, the Harvard Medical School ran an investigation, sacked Anversa and ordered oodles of retractions, one of them with Loscalzo in Circulation, its retraction notice declared:
Obviously Circulation can retract papers when ordered by someone as powerful as Harvard. By the way, Loscalzo published lots of fake science, not all of it with Anversa, for example this:
P C Kuo , R A Schroeder , J Loscalzo Nitric oxide and acetaminophen-mediated oxidative injury: modulation of interleukin-1-induced nitric oxide synthesis in cultured rat hepatocytes Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (1997) 282 (2) 1072-1083
Wilmshurst also mentions that Loscalzo’s department colleagues were paid by NMT, for example by “received royalties from sale of STARFlex devices” and other payments. So you see why Loscalzo sided with the fraudsters like Dowson and their fraudulent MIST trial. Wilmshurst notes how the journal and AHA reacted to his evidence of fraud:
“Circulation published a new version of the paper, a long correction and a data supplement in 2009. Dr Nightingale and I would have told Circulation that they are also false, but Circulation refused to allow us to see them before publication. […] In December 2020 I discovered that Circulation had removed from its website the correction and data supplement, leaving only the false 2009 version of the paper. Removal of these documents had the effect of concealing concerns about the paper.”
This is what Loscalzo, Hill and AHA are covering up:
“The MIST Trial was sponsored by NMT Medical, a Boston-based corporation that manufactured and marketed the STARFlex device used in the MIST trial under licence from the patent holder, Boston Children’s Hospital.
In late 2006, when Dr Nightingale and I raised concerns about the failure of NMT to provide the steering committee with the full data, NMT dissolved the steering committee and replaced it with a writing committee consisting of the remaining three members of the steering committee (Dr Dowson, Dr Mullen and Dr Muir), two of whom were NMT shareholders, plus an additional investigator, Dr Peatfield. Because I was named in the protocol as the trial’s principal cardiologist, it is clear that my removal from the steering committee would require a protocol amendment, and one was never obtained. In fact the West Midlands MREC, which approved the MIST trial, specifically instructed NMT that they could not exclude Dr Nightingale and me from the trial. NMT ignored the MREC’s instruction. The issues were taken up by the National Research Ethics Service (NRES), which has oversight of the Regional MRECs, and NMT threatened senior officials of NRES with legal action against them personally.
Around that time, the Chair of the West Midlands MREC reported Dr Dowson to the GMC because of concerns that Dr Dowson was conspiring with NMT to misrepresent the trial data.
NMT brought various libel actions against me between 2007 and 2011. NMT also instructed their lawyers to sue Dr Nightingale, but did not serve the claim on him. NMT’s legal actions started six days after Dr Nightingale and I said that we were not prepared to be authors of the paper in Circulation because it contained false statements. The reason given by NMT for the libel actions was that I publicly stated that the MIST Trial’s results were being misrepresented. […] NMT’s libel actions against me ended in 2011 when NMT went into liquidation.”
Dowson and NMT can be best described as sociopathic criminals, but of course for AHA and Circulation they are the good guys and it’s Wilmshurst who is evil:
“The GMC transcripts confirm that in July 2004, when NMT asked Dowson to be principal investigator in the MIST Trial, Dowson told NMT that earlier that year he had been found to have falsified data in a trial sponsored by Allergan and that the Northern and Yorkshire Regional MREC had removed him from being principal investigator in that trial. The MREC also said that Dr Dowson was not fit to be a trial principal investigator. Nevertheless NMT wanted Dr Dowson to be principal investigator in the MIST Trial. […]
In addition Dowson admitted to the Tribunal that he bought NMT shares one week after the steering committee heard preliminary encouraging results. That was six weeks before we released those data during a presentation I made at EuroPCR 2005. After my presentation, NMT’s share price increased. Dowson sold the shares before the final negative results of the MIST Trial were published and he made a profit from his share dealing.
Before the 2009 version and correction were published, I informed Circulation that Dr Dowson had not disclosed his conflicts of interest in the 2008 version. Despite that, no conflicts of interest are disclosed for Dr Dowson in the 2009 version and the correction contains the statement.”
“This is a fight between two distinguished academics and the University at which they have tenure over a Pig Model….”
Other things AHA and Circulation don’t give a flying toss about are ghost authorships and authors who died before the trial was even set up:
“In 2008 I told Circulation that a vice president of NMT wrote important parts of the paper published in 2008 but it was not disclosed. His contribution was apparent from track changes on drafts of the paper that I sent to Circulation. Dr Dowson’s 2015 Tribunal found that the same track changes in the drafts of the paper proved the vice president wrote significant parts of the published text. His contribution to ghost authorship of the paper is confirmed in NMT’s legal pleadings in the libel cases. NMT’s pleadings are publicly available documents. […]
Dr Anthony Rickards is the last author of both versions (2008 and 2009) of the MIST paper. Dr Rickards died in May 2004. The day before he died, Dr Rickards had attended a lunch-time meeting at the British Cardiovascular Society’s Annual Conference for cardiologists who we hoped would participate in the MIST trial. Dr Rickard was not on the trial design committee. (The members of the trial design committee are not named in either version of the paper. I was on that committee.) Dr Dowson joined the MIST Trial in July 2004, two months after the death of Dr Rickards. The protocol was submitted for ethical approval even later in September 2004 and the trial started in January 2005. […]
I knew Dr Rickards, both as a UK cardiologist and because we were jointly involved in exposing an unrelated case of research misconduct. I believe that he would have been embarrassed by what has gone on to link him, without his agreement, to the flawed MIST Trial paper.”
Pissing on someone’s grave? Research fraudsters love this. And so does AHA obviously. Rest assured that Dowson and the rest have blamed the long-deceased Rickards for everything, and this is why AHA and Circulation put the case to rest as unresolvable. And threatened Wilmshurst with a lawyer.
This is a new episode of the data manipulation affair around Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel (and another guest post by “Smut Clyde”), with the hope that Israeli researchers and their state officials finally step in and investigate what goes on in this institute, supported by external experts from the academic community. There are…
On 7 April 2010 the Spanish diabetes researcher Margarita Lorenzo died of metastatic melanoma, aged only 51. Two months after her death, Lorenzo’s colleagues submitted a paper to the journal Diabetes. The paper, which studies the mechanisms of obesity and insulin resistance, seems to be full of manipulated western blot data. While Lorenzo was dying…
Wilmshurst then describes at length how the trial results were forged, you cna read the details on his blog. AHA and Circulation know this even from before the paper was even published. They don’t care. Fraud is AHA’s business model.
Do you know why University of Louisville’s professor Roberto Bolli got sacked as the Editor-in-Chief of another AHA journal, Circulation Research? Not because he was of course also an active member of the Anversa’s fraudster gang, not at all. AHA does not mind research fraud and patient abuse, as you read above. Bolli published lots of fraud with Anversa, also with the stem cell fabulist Mariusz Ratajczak (Dawn et al 2008), but also on his own:
Chuanxi Cai , Lei Teng , Duc Vu , Jia-Qiang He , Yiru Guo , Qianghong Li , Xian-Liang Tang , Gregg Rokosh , Aruni Bhatnagar , Roberto Bolli The heme oxygenase 1 inducer (CoPP) protects human cardiac stem cells against apoptosis through activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)/NRF2 signaling pathway and cytokine release Journal of Biological Chemistry (2012) doi: 10.1074/jbc.m112.385542
Bolli was sacked by AHA in 2019 for being a homophobic bigot. BMJ wrote about this:
“Bolli was incensed by a flyer that came to his house in February promoting the ballet production Human Abstract, about a gay relationship, which included a photograph of two men in ballet leggings holding hands. He wrote to the ballet company saying that he would “never attend a ballet performance again” and accused the company of “promoting sodomy” with “the lurid picture of two sodomites that you included.” “Your organisation is evil,” he wrote. “You people are minions of Satan, polluting our culture with your repugnant ideology and peddling perversion and immorality.”
Do you really think AHA for all these years had no clue about the heart stem cell fraud by Anversa, Loscalzo and Bolli? Or about Bolli’s vile homophobia? Of course they knew, just like they knew everything about Dowson and his MIST trial.
For more corruption in cardiology, read here:
Christmas season is the time to eat lots of chocolate. And as science teaches us, your confectionery is actually the superfood which will make you healthy, slim and clever. Good for you, good for the chocolate industry which often generously sponsors such scientists. In May 2016, I brought a story about chocolate health research and…
In this 3rd instalment of her Celixir investigation, Patricia Murray learns whose side the British authority MHRA is on. Not the patients’, and certainly not on the side of facts.
Defamation of character
A whistleblower reports fraud to a journal’s academic Editor-in-Chief and gets threatened with libel lawsuit.
The whistleblower emailed Bruno Frenguelli, Editor-in-Chief of the Elsevier journal Neuropharmacology and professor at the University of Warwick, UK. The email subject was “Teema et al 2016 Neuropharmacology image fraud” and it contained this evidence:
Asmaa M Teema , Sawsan A Zaitone, Yasser M Moustafa Ibuprofen or piroxicam protects nigral neurons and delays the development of l-dopa induced dyskinesia in rats with experimental Parkinsonism: Influence on angiogenesis Neuropharmacology (2016) doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2016.03.034
Obviously partial image overlaps, or repetitive image elements (in this case likely done to remove labelling from stolen figures) cannot be innocent mistakes of oversight. Also this was reported to Frenguelli:
Shaimaa S Ibrahim , Omar G Abo Elseoud , Mohamed H Mohamedy , Mohamed M Amer , Youssef Y Mohamed , Shehab A Elmansy , Mohamed M Kadry , Ahmed A Attia , Ragy A Fanous , Mahmoud S Kamel , Youssef A Solyman , Mazen S Shehata , Mina Y George Nose-to-brain delivery of chrysin transfersomal and composite vesicles in doxorubicin-induced cognitive impairment in rats: Insights on formulation, oxidative stress and TLR4/NF-kB/NLRP3 pathways Neuropharmacology (2021) doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2021.108738
So here comes the patronising and intimidating reaction of an older privileged white dude:
“Thank you Dr […], we shall look into your concerns.
No journals are immune from image abuse and we previously had to retract a paper that showed unequivocal evidence of this.
However, we are very careful to avoid allegations of fraud unless it can be conclusively proven that this has happened – I would thus urge anyone using such language to be very careful lest they are sued for defamation of character should the allegation of fraud not stand.
For the example on PubPeer, it is disappointing that those with concerns choose to make public (but anonymously) their concerns, at the risk of defaming both authors and journal, without bringing their concerns to the journal concerned, which would be the appropriate course of action.
Reputable journals and their publishers have considerable resources to identify image and other publishing ethics abuses across their outputs, and stronger cases can be brought when a pattern of behaviour is identified in a particular author, group, or institution.
There are several things here which make me want to pelter Frenguelli with rotten tomatoes. First, he directly threatens the whistleblower with a defamation lawsuit. Second, he insults the PubPeer sleuths, whom he also would like to see sued. Third, he pushes the tired old bullshit narrative of “proper channels”, his prime example given about how Neuropharmacology and Elsevier investigated a case and retracted a paper for fraud, using their mighty “considerable resources to identify image and other publishing ethics abuses”.
Here is that retraction Franguelli referred to, the paper was indeed not flagged on PubPeer before:
Adam M. Van Dyke , T. Chase Francis , Haiwen Chen , Aileen M. Bailey , Scott M. Thompson Chronic fluoxetine treatment in vivo enhances excitatory synaptic transmission in the hippocampus Neuropharmacology (2019) doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2019.03.005
The retraction notice from 15 September 2022:
“This article has been retracted at the request of the Authors.
After publication, Scott M. Thompson found significant concerns about the data and duly notified The University of Maryland. The University of Maryland conducted an internal investigation which confirmed that the article was compromised. Namely in Figure 2B, the Investigation Committee determined that the western blots used to create the figure were not the ones used for the quantification and concluded that the figure was falsified to fit the hypothesis. In Figure 2C and D, the Investigation Committee determined that the densitometry data (pCaMKII, pS831, CamKII and GluA1) used to create the histogram were falsified to fit the hypothesis.”
Franguelli trusted that nobody will double-check his claims because of his authority. This retraction happened not because his journal found “unequivocal evidence” as he dishonestly claimed, but only because a university investigation certified fraud, the corresponding author then approached Franguelli to request the retraction. If Elsevier ever had any “considerable resources to identify image and other publishing ethics abuses”,they never use them to find fraud in published papers. They only react to institutional requests for retraction or, very rarely, to the evidence on PubPeer or other public platforms. Which Franguelli hates so much because it is “defaming both authors and journal”.
I wrote to Franguelli, but he didn’t reply.
Maintain Focus and Aim High
Speaking of institutional investigations into neuroscience fraud. There was once a case of rats tortured for fake neuroscience which Smut Clyde and I reported in 2019.
Smut Clyde complained of his eyes hurting from all these repetitive patterns in neuron recordings. He now recovered, and wrote this report, about rat torturers of Michigan.
Also in October 2019, I reported the University of Michigan professor of gastroenterology, Chung Owyang and his former mentee Ying Li (now professor in Hong Kong, in China) for research misconduct. It seems the investigation has concluded, and a first retraction already appeared:
Xiaoyin Wu , Jun Gao , Jin Yan , Chung Owyang , Ying Li Hypothalamus-brain stem circuitry responsible for vagal efferent signaling to the pancreas evoked by hypoglycemia in rat Journal of Neurophysiology (2004) doi: 10.1152/jn.00791.2003
Here is the retraction notice from 1 December 2022:
“The American Physiological Society is issuing a retraction of this article at the request of the University of Michigan. Following a review, a university research misconduct investigation committee found that there was falsification and/or fabrication of vagal pancreatic efferent nerve recording data by internal reuse of portions of the same trace data in Figs. 2A, 5A, 5C, 10A, 10B, and 12C. In addition, the committee determined that there was falsification and/or fabrication of immunocytochemistry data by the reuse of single-cell images in Fig. 9A.”
Probably just a start of a retraction avalanche for Professor Owyang, whose champion motto is:
But wait! as a reader ifnorms me, in a parallel universe Dr Owyang is a hero! In March 2022, he received an award from the American Gastroenterological Association:
“AGA honors Chung Owyang, MD, with the William Beaumont Prize in Gastroenterology, which recognizes individuals who have made major contributions that have significantly advanced the care of patients with digestive diseases through clinical or translational research.
Dr. Owyang is an internationally renowned gastrointestinal physiologist who has revolutionized the study of transitional neurohormonal control and behavior that can improve clinical treatments for gastrointestinal patients. During a span of 30 years, he made several seminal observations in the field of gut hormones and is considered a pioneer in gut endocrinology.
He has received continuous NIH funding for more than 30 years. With more than 300 original articles and reviews in major impact journals, Dr. Owyang is one of the most respected physician-scientist gastroenterologists in the world. Dr. Owyang currently serves as H. Marvin Pollard professor in internal medicine at the University of Michigan.”.
Hahaha, “300 original articles” and “major contributions that have significantly advanced the care of patients“, like here in Zhu et al 2001:
A certain Changhe Li
Another Elsevier journal, namely Computational and Theoretical Chemistry became a willing prey to papermills. Probably Iranian ones, but maybe also Chinese. Because their products excessively cite a notorious papermill customer, a certain Changhe Li of Qingdao University of Technology in China. You may have met him here, in articles by Alexander Magazinov:
“here is my advice to Clarivate: better get lost. ” – Alexander Magazinov
Who needs science if you can have a 75 paper strong special edition by Afrand and Karimi? A guest post by Alexander Magazinov.
Here is one example:
V.S. Anithaa , Rahul Suresh , Artem V. Kuklin , S. Vijayakumar Adsorption of volatile organic compounds on pristine and defected nanographene Computational and Theoretical Chemistry (2022) doi: 10.1016/j.comptc.2022.113664
Magazinov commented on PubPeer that the paper’s “bulk citation below has nothing to do with the rest of the content. It has a lot to do with boosting the citation statistics of a certain C Li.“
“In addition recent works investigate the use of carbon based materials as nanofluids for minimum quantity lubrication technique [21–26].”
-  T. Gao, C. Li, Y. Zhang, M. Yang, D. Jia, T. Jin, Y. Hou, R. Li, Dispersing mechanism and tribological performance of vegetable oil-based CNT nanofluids with different surfactants, Tribol. Int. 131 (2019) 51–63, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.triboint.2018.10.025.
-  B. Li, C. Li, Y. Zhang, Y. Wang, D. Jia, M. Yang, N. Zhang, Q. Wu, Z. Han, K. Sun, Heat transfer performance of MQL grinding with different nanofluids for Ni-based alloys using vegetable oil, J. Clean. Prod. 154 (2017) 1–11, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.03.213.
-  S. Guo, C. Li, Y. Zhang, Y. Wang, B. Li, M. Yang, X. Zhang, G. Liu, Experimental evaluation of the lubrication performance of mixtures of castor oil with other vegetable oils in MQL grinding of nickel-based alloy, J. Clean. Prod. 140 (2017) 1060–1076, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.10.073.
-  M. Yang, C. Li, Y. Zhang, D. Jia, R. Li, Y. Hou, H. Cao, J. Wang, Predictive model for minimum chip thickness and size effect in single diamond grain grinding of zirconia ceramics under different lubricating conditions, Ceram. Int. 45 (12) (2019) 14908–14920, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ceramint.2019.04.226.
-  T. Gao, C. Li, D. Jia, Y. Zhang, M. Yang, X. Wang, H. Cao, R. Li, H.M. Ali, X. Xu, Surface morphology assessment of CFRP transverse grinding using CNT nanofluid minimum quantity lubrication, J. Clean. Prod. 277 (2020) 123328, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.123328.
-  Q. Yin, C. Li, L. Dong, X. Bai, Y. Zhang, M. Yang, D. Jia, R. Li, Z. Liu, Effects of Physicochemical Properties of Different Base Oils on Friction Coefficient and Surface Roughness in MQL Milling AISI 1045, Int. J. Precis. Eng. Manuf. – Green Technol. 8 (6) (2021) 1629–1647, https://doi.org/10.1007/s40684-021-00318-7.
There are more papers like this, see here. Magazinov decided to urgently inform the editor to stop the fraud pipeline. Elsevier informs us about the seemingly senior among the three of journal’s editors:
“Since May 2000 Michael Springborg is a full professor of Physical Chemistry at Universität des Saarlandes, Saarbrücken, Germany, and since 2010 he is a guest professor at Tianjin University, China. Professor Springborg is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and he has about 290 publications have resulted from his work.”
The Saarland University! The same one which just recently told Magazinov to get lost because publishing with Iranian papermills is seen as scientific excellence there! In fact, some of the suspected papers by Saarland professors of orthopaedics Henning Madry and his wife Magali Cucchiarini also cited Changhe Li!
“I am not familiar with Iranian papermills!” – Prof Dr med Henning Madry, Saarland University.
So Magazinov and then myself wrote to the Saarland University and to their professor Springborg. Naturally, we were not dignified with a reply. I also tried the journal’s other editor, Ana Martinez Vazquez, professor at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Silence also there.
An attractive and “natural” target for fraudsters
We remain in Germany. At the beginning of 2020, I reported about the massive investigation by Smut Clyde, Elisabeth Bik, Tiger BB8, Morty and others into Chinese papermills and how these infiltrate allgedly respectable scientific journals. One of these badly affected was the German journal Naunyn-Schmiedeberg’s Archives of Pharmacology.
An investigation by Elisabeth Bik, Smut Clyde, Morty and Tiger BB8 reveals the workings of a paper mill. Its customers are Chinese doctors desperate for promotion. Apparently even journal editors are part of the scam, publishing fraudulent made-up science.
You all know how it went from there, Smut Clyde made it his full-time job hunting papermill fraudsters, helped by several other named and pseudonymous sleuths, and yet none of them gets any credit because it was decided that it was actually solely the Australian cancer researcher Jennifer Byrne and the society publisher’s image analyst Jana Christopher who did all this work (plus Elisabeth Bik, who is too famous to sideline and also blogged about the investigation herself).
This “Byrne & Christopher” version was also postulated by the Editor-in-Chief of Naunyn-Schmiedeberg’s Archives of Pharmacology (NSAP), the Hannover Medical School professor Roland Seifert, in his much-celebrated editorial from February 2021. The only credit we got there was this:
In reality, it was on For Better Science where Smut Clyde and Tiger BB8 originally reported Chinese papermills in NSAP in January and February 2022. That article was NOT referenced.
Smut Clyde investigates two more Chinese paper mills. One teamed up with an obscure Italian publisher, the other offers access to respectable society journals. How much of published and allegedly peer reviewed science is real?
I was then invited by Seifert to submit an article of my own to NSAP, an interview with my colleagues, but the expectation was basically that I strip Smut Clyde and Tiger BB8 of credit for their papermill work and give it to someone deemed as more respectable. So I declined and published the interview on my site instead.
Unlike those fake paper mill products, this interview failed editorial review and journal quality control.
In his editorial, Seifert almost kind of admitted that it was yours truly who wrote to him on 27 February 2020:
“Unfortunately, Naunyn-Schmiedeberg’s Archives of Pharmacology became a victim of paper mills. The Editor-in-Chief was alerted of the problem by science blog sites in February 2020 and responded immediately at various levels by posting statements on blog sites and informing associate editors, the publisher SpringerNature, other scientific journals and colleagues. The paper mill crisis was also intensively discussed at the Editorial Board meeting of the journal in March 2020 in Leipzig, Germany. Most importantly, the Editor-in-Chief immediately contacted the authors of suspected fraudulent papers. The paper mill attack on the journal has resulted in several retractions of papers.”
Why am I digging in that dirty laundry again? Well, Seifert hinted to me on 27 February 2020 that his journal virtually stopped accepting papers from China. He then added a statement for publication, on how TCM quackery by Chinese papermills managed to infiltrate his journal:
“In the various excellent texts on paper mills the question is discussed why Naunyn-Schmiedebergs Archives of Pharmacology has become a target for fake papers. I oppose the assumption that we simply want to fill pages with pseudo-scientific content. We actually look for quality and good science. We do not look for perceived “impact” or “novelty”.
The journal has a long tradition of publishing papers in the field of phytopharmacology. […] The Chinese science policy to push TCM fits well to the scope of our journal. Therefore, we receive many papers from this field from China. In the past, we have received many papers on complex plant mixtures. Such papers are immediately rejected. However, many of the fake papers deal with pure active components of medical plants and fit to the scope of the journal. This focus […] renders our journal, most unfortunately, an attractive and “natural” target for fraudsters who want to “develop their careers”. Most of the fake papers deal with medical plant constitutents. It was actually our phytopharmacology editor who initially made me aware of the fakes.”
You are probably still be puzzled about what I am getting at. Well, it’s this paper about the amazing curative powers of licorice on diabetic retinopathy, flagged by the neuroscience sleuth named “Mumumouse” on Twitter.
Sharifa Alzahrani , Sadeem M. Ajwah , Sumayyah Yasser Alsharif , Eman Said , Mohamed El-Sherbiny , Sawsan A. Zaitone , Mohamed Al-Shabrawey , Nehal M. Elsherbiny Isoliquiritigenin downregulates miR-195 and attenuates oxidative stress and inflammation in STZ-induced retinal injury Naunyn-Schmiedeberg s Archives of Pharmacology (2020) doi: 10.1007/s00210-020-01948-5
The panels A and C are not duplicated, they are both totally fraudulent and fake. And the authors are serial fraudsters: the brothers Nehal and Mohamed Elsherbiny have more fake papers on PubPeer, on licorice and nanoparticles:
The NSAP paper was published on 22 July 2020, long after Seifert was alerted to the massive Chinese TCM fraud in his journal. But you see, this is not Chinese, but Middle Eastern traditional medicine, and the authors are not from China but Saudi and Egyptian. Hence, perfectly suitable and non-Chinese study for NSAP! Pity that it was just as fake. I alerted Seifert to this case and surprisingly, he replied and thanked me.
Make editor happy
Usually, research fraudsters are annoying, or just boringly dull at best. But sometimes you encounter a comedian!
Right away, Weina Fu of the Inner Mongolia Agricultural University in China replied on PubPeer:
Right-ho. But what is this “European space structure“?
What about the several utterly irrelevantly placed references to the works by a certain Sangaiah AK? Fu explained:
Sure, but nobody named Sangaiah is listed on this Springer Nature’s trash journal’s editorial board. So Wu insisted it must have been a guest editor. When informed that there are no record to that available, Wu retorted:
The paper was accepted in March 2019, if thsi is “too long ago” for Wu, then Wu must be a short-living rodent. And as for pleasing the editor, someone who may or may not be Smut Clyde found this other Wu paper:
Weina Fu , Shuai Liu , Gautam Srivastava Optimization of Big Data Scheduling in Social Networks Entropy (2019) doi: 10.3390/e21090902
“Dimensions.ai informs me that this paper has been cited 210 times to date. Kudos to the authors!
However, 38 of those citations flowed from chapters in “Advanced Hybrid Information Processing”, the Proceedings of the 4th EAI International Conference, Part I (46 chapters) and Part II (43 chapters). The editors of those volumes were Shuai Liu, Liyun Xia.
24 flowed from chapters in “Advanced Hybrid Information Processing”, the Proceedings of the 5th EAI International Conference, Part I (55 Chapters) and Part II (39 chapters). The editors were Shuai Liu, Xuefei Ma.
58 came from Chapters in “e-Learning, e-Education, and Online Training, 7th EAI International Conference”, Part I (55 chapters) and Part II (48 chapters). The editors were Weina Fu, Shuai Liu, Jianhua Dai.
39 came from Chapters in “Multimedia Technology and Enhanced Learning”, the Proceedings of the 3rd EAI International Conference, Part I and Part II. Editors were Weina Fu, Yuan Xu, Shui-Hua Wang, Yudong Zhang.
33 came from Chapters in the Proceedings of the 2020 IEEE International Conference on Industrial Application of Artificial Intelligence (IAAI). More information on that volume is not so easily accessed.”
Steal from the best
We remain on the topic of comedy relief among research fraudsters. This fake Chinese paper (possibly from a papermill stole data in a way I can only applaud.
Chunyan Tian , Jun Li , Lili Ren , Ren Peng , Binbin Chen , Yumei Lin MicroRNA-381 serves as a prognostic factor and inhibits migration and invasion in non-small cell lung cancer by targeting LRH-1 Oncology Reports (2017) doi: 10.3892/or.2017.5956
So far, so fraudulent and stolen from other fraudsters. But! Observe where this was stolen from:
PubPeer user Apareia labialis commented:
They stole from Alfredo Fusco, Italy’s most famous research fraudster! A man with around ONE HUNDRED fake papers on PubPeer, 23 retractions, and who despite or rather because of all this, remains fully salaried professor at the University of Naples! All because the Italian criminal investigation against him exhausted itself because nobody really cared.
Most certainly nobody cares at where that Tian et al 2017 thievery festival was published. Spandidos Publications (owned by the research cheater Demetrios Spandidos) recently discovered Chinese papermills as its trusty business partners.
Papermills run by Chinese universities and funding a notorious Greek publisher. Smut Clyde tells it all!
Call of Duty
If you thought that people who play video games all day grow stupid, fat, sexless and antisocial, well you are wrong. They actually become professors. Science has spoken once again, as PsyPost reports:
“Findings from a brain imaging study published in JAMA Network Open suggest that playing video games may be beneficial for children’s cognitive development. The study found that children who regularly played video games performed better on two cognitive tasks and showed altered cortical activation patterns in regions of the brain implicated in attention, memory, and visual processing. […]
Study author Bader Chaarani and his team sought to build on past findings by including neuroimaging data, something few past studies have done. The researchers collected data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, a longitudinal study of brain development and child health in the United States. They focused on data from the study’s baseline assessment, resulting in a final sample of 2,217 children between the ages of 9 and 10.
“As a video gamer since my childhood and co-investigator in the ABCD study, I was naturally interested in exploring in a large sample of children how video gaming is associated with brain function and cognition,” said Chaarani, an assistant professor at the University of Vermont.”
The results were clear:
““Our study show that video gaming may be associated with faster reaction times and superior working memory, along with brain function changes in areas involved in vision, attention and memory processing,” Chaarani told PsyPost. […] “Unlike previous studies reporting detrimental effects of gaming on cognition, our data suggests the opposite,” Chaarani said. […]
An important limitation of the study was that there was no data on the genre of video games played — and different types of video games (i.e., action-adventure games, shooter games, single vs. multiplayer games) might have different effects on cognition. “We haven’t investigated the potential impact of different video gaming genre yet,” Chaarani said.”
This is the paper:
Bader Chaarani , Joseph Ortigara , DeKang Yuan , Hannah Loso , Alexandra Potter , Hugh P. Garavan Association of Video Gaming With Cognitive Performance Among Children JAMA Network Open (2022) doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.35721
In an interview with TES magazine, Chaarani said that the minimum amount of gaming is 3 hours per day:
““One hypothesis is that these games are practice for the brain. When a child plays three hours or more per day, that’s an extensive amount of their daily life dedicated to one activity that engages different areas in the brain involved in problem-solving and faster reactions,” he says.
“Practising those skills every day is like going to the gym for the brain.”
In fact, Professor Chaarani even has advice which games your kids must play to increase their brain:
““I looked at international surveys on kids aged 9 and 10, and it seems like the majority prefer to play fast-paced games like Call of Duty, rather than slow-paced games like chess. In fast-paced games, children need to have faster reactions, they need to analyse visual data and problem-solve. These are all cognitive functions, so it’s these games which I predict will make an impact.””
Chaarani will probably buy himself
a new X-Box a new car a new house from the money the gaming industry will pay him for research and consulting. And you? If you have children and you haven’t bought them a video game console yet, and insist on your stupid “books” and “fresh air” and shit, I will report you for child abuse, you science-denying sicko.
News in Tweets
- A thread by Smut Clyde (with hattip to Alexander Magazinov) about Springer Nature’s new esteemed guest editor, Alireza Heidari: “Oh hi there @SpringerPhysics. You do know that “Alireza Heidari” is a fake scientist from a scam university, right? Who may not actually exist? Whose name as Editor is a hallmark of predatory publishing? […] Now in this case the ‘participating journal’ is Applied Nanoscience, which has a history as a pukefunnel for fraudsters.[…] Run by “King Abdulaziz City for Science & Technology” to make the Saudi regime look science-friendly, with Springer as stalking-horse. Neither of the non-Heidari editors betrays any expertise in quantum theory or computing, but that is possibly irrelevant, as the Special Issue is really about some new domain of science-sounding magical jibber-jabber called “DNA computing”.” A Springer Nature research integrity manager informed Magazinov on 5 January 2023: “This Topical Collection will be closed.”
- Another thread by Smut Clyde about mass papermill retractions at an Elsevier journal, often for citation stacking: “Spare a thought for the editors of ‘Ceramics International’, who have not been having a good day. “
Papermill Industry enters its Logical Growth Phage. Smut Clyde explains what coordination polymer chemistry has to do with chickenshit.
- Let’s burn more fossil fuels then, shall we? Again, for those for whatever reason not worried by climate change: there is a genocidal war in the middle of Europe going on, waged by a nuclear-holocaust-threatening fascist dictatorship, entirely financed by our fossil fuel addiction.
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