Schneider Shorts of 5 May 2023 – Spanish Saudi Shills: a trilogy, state-of-the-art tools to cure diabetes, papermilling gang moves to new Elsevier journal, congrats on 1000 citations, with legitimate images, imaginary American co-authors, rapamycin longevity advice, catfish as COVID-19 origin, and finally, why German universities sponsor Hindawi.
Table of Discontent
- State-of-the-art tools – a trouble-maker in George Gittes lab?
- Contaminants in wastewater – Spanish Saudi Shills I: Damia Barcelo
- Meat Craving – Spanish Saudi Shills II: José Manuel Lorenzo
- Make the world slightly a better place – Spanish Saudi Shills III: Carlos Duarte
- Freedom and responsibility of the scientists – German universities sponsor Hindawi
- Ming’s American friends – how to best republish a retracted paper
- These references does not affect the article’s fundamental conclusion – a Gene for papermills
- Boundary Elements – Masoud Afrand’s gang moves to a new Elsevier journal
- 1000 citations – a moth pheromone editorial reaches over thousand citations thanks to papermillers
- The legitimacy of image – Scientific Reports editors sees no need for action
- Rapamycin’s high-profile users – science wisdom from WSJ
News in Tweets
Something strange is going on in the lab of George K. Gittes, Chief of Pediatric General and Thoracic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (UPMC) and Scientific Co-Director of Research at the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. In fact the responsible factor for these strange goings-on might be Gittes’ mentee and currently assistant professor of Surgery at UPMC, Xiangwei Xiao.
In 2018, Gittes and Xiao presented the world with an elegant cure for Type 1 diabetes, in a Cell Stem Cell paper. The approach, of which Gittes with false modesty said “We fully expected it to not work”, was hailed by media and experts as “beautiful and elegant work” and “interesting and creative”, we were informed 5 years ago:
On his institutional profile, Xiao declares:
Xiao’s state-of-the-art tool is Adobe Photoshop. The monkeys suffered for nothing, and humans were given false hope.
Xiangwei Xiao , Iljana Gaffar , Ping Guo , John Wiersch , Shane Fischbach , Lauren Peirish , Zewen Song , Yousef El-Gohary , Krishna Prasadan , Chiyo Shiota , George K. Gittes M2 macrophages promote beta-cell proliferation by up-regulation of SMAD7 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2014) doi: 10.1073/pnas.1321347111
Xiao immediatedly replied on PubPeer with raw data for the SMAD2 gel:
But Cheshire has his doubts about the provided gel scan:
Obviously the raw data is fake. This paper is even worse:
Xiangwei Xiao, Congde Chen, Ping Guo , Ting Zhang , Shane Fischbach , Joseph Fusco , Chiyo Shiota , Krishna Prasadan , Henry Dong , George K. Gittes Forkhead Box Protein 1 (FoxO1) Inhibits Accelerated β Cell Aging in Pancreas-specific SMAD7 Mutant Mice Journal of Biological Chemistry (2017) doi: 10.1074/jbc.m116.770032
That earlier paper with the same GAPDH gel, Chen et al, Cancer Cell International (2015), is completely fraudulent, very likely made by a Chinese papermill, and it has NO common authors with the study by Xiao and Gittes above. Xiao was unfazed, and stated on PubPeer:
An even more creative reply here:
Yinan Jiang , John Wiersch , Wei Wu , Jieqi Qian , Maharana Prathap R. Adama , Nannan Wu , Weixia Yang , Congde Chen , Lingyan Zhu , Krishna Prasadan , George K. Gittes, Xiangwei Xiao Bone-marrow derived cells do not contribute to new beta-cells in the inflamed pancreas Frontiers in Immunology (2023) doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2023.1084056
The paper is barely weeks old, how does one refuse to share raw data here? Xiao says it’s actually ancient:
Here some stealthily spliced gels, also from Gittes’ lab and also co-authored by Xiao:
In case you wonder where Xiao learned his skills: he did his residency at the 2nd hospital of Tianjin Medical University in Tianjin, China.
Ticket to Tianjin
“So here is a novelty in the annals of fictional research: a nomadic digital caliper. It visited a series of laboratories, accompanied by a backing troupe of mouse-mined xenograft tumours for it to measure” – Smut Clyde
But then again, maybe it is not the dishonest Xiao who bites Gittes’ honest hand which feeds him. Maybe Gittes is the problem, by recruiting a certain kind of researchers to his lab? Maybe all the honest Asian members in Gittes’ lab are being sacked and sent back home, and “performers” like Xiao get faculty jobs? How does one explain this:
Kok-Hooi Yew , Krishna L. Prasadan , Barry L. Preuett , Mark J. Hembree , Christopher R. McFall , Christina L. Benjes , Amanda R. Crowley , Susan L. Sharp , Zhixing Li , Sidhartha S. Tulachan , Sheilendra S. Mehta , George K. Gittes Interplay of Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 and Transforming Growth Factor-β Signaling in Insulin-Positive Differentiation of AR42J Cells Diabetes (2004) doi: 10.2337/diabetes.53.11.2824
Contaminants in wastewater
Manuel Ansede continues investigating Spanish academic crookery in El Pais. A new article from 27 April 2023 (Google-translated):
“14 principal scientists of the Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA) have requested this Thursday the immediate precautionary suspension of its director, the chemist Damià Barceló , barely a week after this newspaper revealed that the director falsely declares since 2016 that his main place of work is the King Saud University, in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), instead of his institute in Girona. […]
Barceló is one of the most awarded chemists in Spain. In 2007 he won the Rey Jaime I Prize , with an endowment of 100,000 euros , for his research on contaminants in wastewater and natural waters, such as the detection of traces of cocaine in Spanish rivers. Six years later, he received the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Water Award, an award accompanied by some 120,000 euros from the current Saudi king , Salman bin Abdulaziz. And, just a couple of weeks ago, he was honored by the European Chemical Society for his lifetime achievement.”
All which Barcelo had to do was to change his affiliation on Clarivate, and the money started to flow.
The man authors so many papers per year that some papermills might struggle to catch up:
“Damià Barceló is a hyperprolific scientist. He has signed more than 1,600 works in his lifetime, according to the Scopus bibliographic references database, reaching peaks of one new work every three days some years. John Ioannidis , an expert in biomedical statistics at Stanford University (USA), has analyzed Barceló’s production for this newspaper. Ioannidis stresses that the Spanish chemist reached a maximum of 67 studies published in 2015, without counting book chapters, editorials and other minor contributions. “What is impressive about Barceló’s track record is that he has published 196 articles in the same journal, Science of the Total Environment , of which he has been co-editor-in-chief for many years,” says Ioannidis. “It is very controversial to publish many articles in the magazine where you are the editor-in-chief,” he adds.”
Barcelo previously featured on For Better Science, because he defends research fraud and goes to bed with covidiots and antivaxxers.
Elsevier’s research integrity
A Chinese paper gets rejected at Elsevier after reviewer spotted fraud. Same paper re-appears unchanged in another Elsevier journal, the editors refuse any action.
Elsevier’s Pandemic Profiteering
Aristidis Tsatsakis, Konstantinos Poulas, Ronald Kostoff, Michael Aschner, Demetrios Spandidos, Konstantinos Farsalinos: you will need a disinfecting shower once you read their papers.
Elsewhere in Spain, another hyper-prolific papermiller is at work, while paid by the Saudis. GCiencia reported on 28 April 2023 (Google-translated):
“An article published every 47 hours. An unbridled scientific production that amounts, no more and no less, to 211 investigations in just one year , according to the Scopus database. This is how prolific the scientist José Manuel Lorenzo , who works at the Meat Technology Center (CTC), dependent on the Xunta de Galicia, and is an associate professor at the University of Vigo (UVigo). In addition, Lorenzo is the leader of the research group to which Mirian Pateiro and Rubén Domínguez , the two Galicians associated with the CTC for more than a decade, who registered falsely in an Arab university and billed with the company of their intermediary , which paid allegedly up to 70,000 euros for the false affiliations. […]
Although Lorenzo began his scientific production in the year 2000, there were six years in which he did not publish any article. There were more prolific periods, but until 2015 it did not exceed twenty investigations per year. From there, his activity began to soar. In 2019, it reached 109 published studies : almost one every three days. An exponential increase that continues during the following years: in 2020 it reaches 143; in 2021 he managed to publish 195 articles and in 2022 he broke the 200 barrier and published a total of 211 investigations.”
Lorenzo’s secret is of course papermilling.
Time to go vegan and get rid of such Highly Cited meat researchers.
Make the world slightly a better place
On topic of Spanish researchers and Saudi money, there is also the following Reuters long read.
For background (not in the Reuters article): the Saudis have been fighting against energy transformation efforts for decades, for obvious reasons. And they always won. Previously, the Saudis and their fellow oil terrorists managed to convinced the industrial nations that climate change is not real, or not man-made, or not fossil-fuel related. Since this method stopped working, the Saudis now preach the dogma of “emission-neutral” instead of “carbon-neutral” energy production. This is where carbon capture comes into play, where the humanity can burn as much fossil fuels as before, because the CO2 can be made to miraculously disappear using the magic wand of science and technology.
Now, Reuters writes:
“Spanish biologist Carlos Duarte had been at a Saudi royal palace until three o’clock in the morning, waiting for the country’s most powerful man.[…] Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was ready for them. […]
And it is Saudi petro-dollars that fund Duarte’s dreams of creating “blue carbon” marine ecosystems – oceanic preserves that, along with revitalized forests and wildlife on land, can gently scrub the atmosphere of excess carbon dioxide. Over time, some experts estimate, such restorations could remove 300 gigatons of carbon dioxide, about a third of the amount that humans have added to the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution in the mid-1800s. And the restoration of seagrass meadows, in particular, has tremendous promise. In fact, Duarte estimates they can store up to 15 times more carbon than similar areas of rainforest.
Recently, as virtual hosts of a G-20 summit of the world’s largest economies, the Saudis highlighted Duarte’s coral research along with several planned projects that could shift the country’s economy away from oil. One of the world’s top climate scientists, Duarte ranks 12th on the Reuters Hot List, which measures the influence of the top 1,000 scientists in the field among both peers and the public. He joined King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in 2015 after a career that spanned Europe, North America and Australia.”
Of course Duarte’s plans of carbon capture into seagrass are bullshit and quite possibly he is aware of it. At best he will succeed to suffocate all animal life in the area, which is what happens during “natural” algae blooms. But Duarte is now obscenely rich and protected by a billionaire terrorist who can have anyone anywhere in the world killed with a piano string and chopped up. For Duarte, it is the USA who are the villains and the Saudi ruling clan who are the good guys caring about the climate change. He makes this clear in the article.
Maybe the amount of Saudi money really makes Duarte believe his own drivel. He is quoted:
I like this bit:
A paper every 3 days. On topic he has no clue about. What does this tell you?
I had a brief look into his Google Scholar record. What the heck is this all-Saudi masterpiece of expertise: Duarte et al, “Rapid evolution of SARS-CoV-2 challenges human defenses”, 2022?
Helping Saudi terrorists undermine global energy transformation efforts while personally getting rich and powerful in the process, what a scientific legacy. Duarte certainly made HIS world a better place.
Freedom and responsibility of the scientists
The scholarly publisher Wiley (which purchased Hindawi in 2021, turning it into a massive papermill operation) is promoting this announcement in Germany:
“As of 2019, corresponding authors from German institutions can publish their own primary research and review articles open access under the agreement with Projekt DEAL, retaining copyright of their works.
Wiley will not charge fees to authors covered by the agreement. The Publish and Read (PAR) fee for publications in hybrid journals and the APCs for publications in gold OA journals* related to the agreement are paid centrally via Projekt DEAL and the participating institutions.”
The agreement applies to Wiley journals which publish in Open Access in full or hybrid, and to all Hindawi journals. I see several problems here. First of all, this invites German scientists to publish with Hindawi, despite its papermill reputation.
Hindawi Garbage Sorting System, Based on Citations
Parashorea tomentella continues their investigation of Hindawi’s uneasy collaboration with Chinese papermills. Can it be solved with the promised 511 retractions?
I contacted Projekt DEAL, and exchanged several emails with Ralf Kellershohn, Press Officer for the German Rectors‘ Conference (HRK), which represents all public German universities. I asked him if thise deal doesn’t invite German scientists to collaborate with Asian papermilers who always need someone willing to pay these hefty PAR (or APC) fees. In fact, it is quite likely that the European and US American authors don’t have to pay for their authorships – their whiteness is a special added value to every papermill publication, so their Asian “colleagues” eagerly cover the costs. This happened in Germany and the university refused to even investigate:
German Authorities on Papermills and Whistleblowing
“I am not familiar with Iranian papermills!” – Prof Dr med Henning Madry, Saarland University.
So what does the HRK say of the responsibilities of universities to hold back and sanction their papermill-greedy researchers? Kellersohn replied:
So it is between the publisher and the “authors” then. I guess the Saarland University did right by refusing to meddle into Iranian activities of their professors!
But does Projekt DEAL and HRK recommend to publish with Hindawi? Or do they warn against it?
Right, publish where you want, even in delisted journals. We (i.e., the German taxpayer) will still pay. Ok, what is the main problem with papermills, Mr Kellersohn?
This is actually active denial of the actual problem. It is indeed with peer review, but less so with fake reviewer identities. For one, Hindawi doesn’t care how unqualiifed and crooked the reviewers and the editors are, there is no need to hide the identity, certainly not with Special Issues. Second: I even sent Kellersohn my article about German professors constantly falling for Asian papermill products, in their roles as academic editors and peer reviewers:
An attractive and “natural” target for fraudsters
“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.” – Prof Dr Roland Seifert, Editor-in-Chief
The fact that many proven papermill forgeries actually passed “proper” peer review by actual “experts” is exactly the reason why publishers refuse to retract those.
11 days of email exchanges. To find out HRK and other DEAL partners have no clue of how papermills actually work and have no plans to prevent the German scientists from papermilling while the German public pays for it. They trust Wiley to have it all under control.
Ming’s American friends
Let’s talk about Hindawi then. Here is yet another case of white western yet this time fictional co-authors on a fraudulent paper. We had something like this before, mentioned here:
The incredible collaborations of Renaissance men and women
Nick Wise and Alexander Magazinov on the authorships-for-sale market on social media. Merely $700 for the 7th position on some paper way outside your expertise!
Now this, in Hindawi:
Yu Feng , Jacob Clayton , Wildman Yake , Jinke Li, Weijia Wang , Lauren Winne , Ming Hong Resveratrol Derivative, Trans-3, 5, 4 ′-Trimethoxystilbene Sensitizes Osteosarcoma Cells to Apoptosis via ROS-Induced Caspases Activation Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity (2021) doi: 10.1155/2021/8840692
The new Hindawi paper is basically a republished version of the older one in MDPI, with slight changes. It was retracted for massive image fraud.
Ming Hong , Jinke Li , Siying Li , Mohammed M Almutairi Acetylshikonin Sensitizes Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells to Apoptosis through ROS-Mediated Caspase Activation Cells (2019) doi: 10.3390/cells8111466
The Retraction notice from July 2020 went:
“The Editorial Office and the authors have taken the decision to retract the published article . The images in Figures 2, 6 and 8 contain identical cells with rotations. These errors were reported by two readers of the journal. The authors would like to acknowledge both readers for pointing out such important mistakes. The authors apologize for not using the final data to conduct the analysis, producing unreliable results. The academic editors of Cells have checked this case and approved the retraction. Both readers have been informed about the retraction decision. The published paper  will therefore be marked as retracted.”
There was more, as Cheshire noticed. Figure 1 turned out to had been stolen from an earlier paper in Bian et al Scientific Reports 2014, with no common authors:
The Hindawi copy was submitted in September 2020, passed peer review and got accepted in March 2021. Now, despite the massive fraud, the copy-cat publication, and the previous retraction, why did Hindawi accept this crap then?
Well, first of all, it has resveratrol in the title. But also because of the newly added white American co-authors. Whom the Asian fraudsters cleverly made up to play on certain people’s racist bias.
Cheshire commented on PubPeer:
Even the postal address where the non-existent WASPs Jacob Clayton, Wildman Yake and Lauren Winne are meant to reside, namely that of the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology of the University of Kansas, was wrong. Another PubPeer user, Tulipa fosteriana, noticed that the acknowledged NIH grant NIEHS (1R21 ES029730-01 doesn’t exist anywhere outside of this Hindawi paper.
But the co-author Ming Hong is real. He also replied on PubPeer, playing a research integrity champion while blaming a student for everything. As Tiger BB8 found out, Hong did work at University of Kansas, for exactly one month – June 2018, as this travel grant record reveals. He is also quoted here (Google-translated):
He can even show an international collaboration with the Americans Jacob Clayton, Wildman Yake and Lauren Winne now!
Ming Hong has 17 entries on PubPeer now. Some may be by name-sakes, I didn’t check. This retraction in Springer Nature’s BMC is his though:
Ming Hong , Selena Lee , Jacob Clayton , Wildman Yake , Jinke Li Genipin suppression of growth and metastasis in hepatocellular carcinoma through blocking activation of STAT-3 Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research (2020) doi: 10.1186/s13046-020-01654-3
The Retraction notice from 15 March 2022 stated:
“The Editor-in-Chief has retracted this article. After publication concerns were raised with respect to the overlap of figures with a previously published article from another author group . Specifically:
- Figure 1b, 1c, 1d, 1e and 1f with Figure 1c, 1d, 1e, 1f and 1h of Figure 1 of 
- Figure 2 with Figure 2 of 
- Figure 3b and 3c with Figure 3b and 3d of 
- Figure 4b, 4c and 4d with Figure 4b, 4c and 4d of 
- Figure 5 with Figure 5 of 
- Figure 6 with Figure 6 of 
- Figure 7 with Figure 7 of 
The Editor-in-Chief no longer has confidence in the results and conclusions reported. Ming Hong agrees with this retraction. Jacob Clayton, Wildman Yake and Jinke Li have not responded to correspondence from the Publisher about this retraction. The Publisher was not able to obtain a current email address for Selena Lee.”
Maybe Ming Hong’s current imaginary girlfriend Lauren Winne knows the email address of his former imaginary girlfriend, Selena Lee?
These references does not affect the article’s fundamental conclusion
Another story of total and complete editorial failure.
Shao-Bo Ke , Hu Qiu , Jia-Mei Chen , Wei Shi , Yong-Shun Chen MicroRNA-202-5p functions as a tumor suppressor in colorectal carcinoma by directly targeting SMARCC1 Gene (2018) doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2018.08.064
An author replied on PubPeer under the name of Yong-Shun Chen:
But Dr Sun Chen-Cao contributed so much more than valuable suggestions. In fact, what else does not affect the article’s fundamental conclusion is the fact that this paper is copied from a different paper by Sun. The templates are:
- “Hsa-miR-139-5p inhibits proliferation and causes apoptosis associated with down-regulation of c-Met” (Sun et al 2015) [retracted]
- “MicroRNA-187-3p mitigates non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) development through down-regulation of BCL6” (Sun et al 2016)
- “MicroRNA-346 facilitates cell growth and metastasis, and suppresses cell apoptosis in human non-small cell lung cancer by regulation of XPC/ERK/Snail/E-cadherin pathway” (Sun et al 2016)
- “Hsa-miR-326 targets CCND1 and inhibits non-small cell lung cancer development” (Sun et al 2016)
- “MicroRNA-187-3p mitigates non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) development through down-regulation of BCL6” (Sun et al 2016)
- MicroRNA-1976 functions as a tumor suppressor and serves as a prognostic indicator in non-small cell lung cancer by directly targeting PLCE1″ (Chen et al 2016)
Elsevier claims of course to be screening all submissions with plagiarism software, but the above lets one doubt it. In any case, the mass citations to Sun should have been enough reason for rejecting this paper and blacklisting its authors. Instead, the manuscript passed editorial screen and peer review from submission to acceptance in 12 Days, in August 2018.
In fact, the journal has serious problems. Smut Clyde explains:
Indeed, De-Jia Li from Wuhan University is a member of the editorial board, specialising in “Cancer, non-coding RNA, biomarkers, polymorphism“. Here a list of Sun’s papers which Li smuggled in, part of a much bigger Cheng-Cao Sun papermill:
Is Gene some Chinese-run quasi-predatory journal then?
Not really. Impact factor 3.9. The Editor-in-Chief of Gene is Marianna Kruithof-de Julio, professor at the University of Bern, Switzerland. The Executive Editor is Andre van Wijnen, professor at the University of Vermont, USA. I wrote to them asking how they intend to rectify the situation, and if they see no problem, they should feel free to not reply. They didn’t reply.
The four consulting editors are from USA, Japan and Hungary. Four out of five section editors are US Americans and Europeans, the fifth is Chinese, from Nanjing. Not really a Chinese conspiracy going on here, rather white professors’ laziness and incompetence. They probably all think Li and Sun are great, because oh so productive.
At least Elsevier announced to investigate.
On 25 April 2023, Elsevier proudly tweeted:
Erm. All three guest editors, Masoud Afrand, Mohammad Arjmand and Cong Qi are known papermill fraudsters. Alexander Magazinov fought long and hard to convince the publisher to stop a special edition run by these crooks in a different Elsevier outlet, the Journal of Energy Storage. Even one recalcitrant German chief editor was removed in the process. Read here:
Maybe stop accepting submissions, Herr Prof Dr Sauer?
Who needs science if you can have a 75 paper strong special edition by Afrand and Karimi? A guest post by Alexander Magazinov.
Is Elsevier taking the piss here? The new collection in Engineering Analysis with Boundary Elements already contains 45 papers. We can all guess their origin. Indeed, among esteemed authors are further papermill fraudsters like Davood Toghraie, Mohsen Sharifpur, Sara Rostami, Kamal Sharma, Masood Ashraf Ali, Hakan F. Öztop and others. Most of the citations go to papermillers Changhe Li
I was about to write to the journal’s editors. The editorial board is presided by the Editor-in-Chief Alexander H.-D. Cheng, professor at the University of Mississippi School of Engineering, USA, and, despite his death in 2018, by the Founding Editor-in-Chief Carlos A. Brebbia of Wessex Institute of Technology, UK (where Cheng is member of board of directors).
Now, the editorial board also includes Masoud Afrand, plus his fellow papermill fraudsters Nader Karami and Arash Karimipour as permanent members, not as guest editors mind you. Even more shockingly, journal archives revealed that these crooks were added by Cheng to the editorial board in March 2023, because they were not yet listed in February 2023 (cf volume 148 vs volume 147).
Basically, the gang stayed with Elsevier, but moved to a new journal. Magazinov calculated the citation statistics of two “special issues” – the older in Journal of Energy Storage and the newer in Engineering Analysis with Boundary Elements. The top 10 citation recipients are:
|J Energy Storage (87 papers)|
|189||Pordanjani, Ahmad Hajatzadeh|
|161||Ali, Hafiz Muhammad|
|Eng Anal Bound Elements (44 papers)|
|67||Ali, Hafiz Muhammad|
|54||Öztop, Hakan F.|
COPE, having been contacted by Magazinov, is currently pleading with Elsevier to reconsider this practice. Do you think there is hope? Because most of these citations go to Elsevier journals: 71.7% (4749 of 6624) in the older Special Issue and 75.2% (1560 of 2074) in the newer one.
Neil Vickers’ editorial about insect pheromones has recently passed a 1000 citations mark. Through no blame of Vickers’, his paper got mistakenly entered as reference into countless papermill fabrications, by mistake of cack-handedness and outside of any context. Not that this bothers any of the scholarly publishers or the employers of the papermilling authors. Read the story here:
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!
Here one such discovery. In MDPI, a global collaboration of scholars from France, Malaysia, Ukraine, russia, Iran, Brazil, India, UK and the North Pole. No wait, not the North Pole (yet).
Rambod Abiri , Hazandy Abdul-Hamid , Oksana Sytar , Ramin Abiri , Eduardo Bezerra De Almeida , Surender K. Sharma , Victor P. Bulgakov , Randolph R. J. Arroo , Sonia Malik A Brief Overview of Potential Treatments for Viral Diseases Using Natural Plant Compounds: The Case of SARS-Cov Molecules (2021) doi: 10.3390/molecules26133868
One of the authors blamed the reference software on PubPeer:
Cheshire found more after a cursory glance:
Reference 35 (Loizzo, M.R.; Saab, A.M.; Tundis, R.; Statti, G.A.; Menichini, F.; Lampronti, I.; Gambari, R.; Cinatl, J.; Doerr, H.W. Phytochemical Analysis and in vitro Antiviral Activities of the Essential Oils of Seven Lebanon Species. Chem. Biodivers. 2008, 5, 461–470.) was published in 2008, so it cannot discuss COVID-19, nor does it even mention protease“
Maybe the authors are all calling the papermill to demand their money back.
The legitimacy of image
No papermill likely at work here, but the senior authors, like the last and corresponding authors Carine Van Lint and Georges Herbein, are white Europeans, professors in Belgium and France, respectively. The publisher put its foot down.
Amit Kumar , Wasim Abbas , Laurence Colin , Kashif Aziz Khan , Sophie Bouchat , Audrey Varin , Anis Larbi , Jean-Stéphane Gatot , Kabamba Kabeya , Caroline Vanhulle , Nadège Delacourt , Sébastien Pasquereau , Laurie Coquard , Alexandra Borch , Renate König , Nathan Clumeck , Stephane De Wit , Olivier Rohr , Christine Rouzioux , Tamas Fulop, Carine Van Lint, Georges Herbein Tuning of AKT-pathway by Nef and its blockade by protease inhibitors results in limited recovery in latently HIV infected T-cell line Scientific Reports (2016) doi: 10.1038/srep24090
On 4 may 2023, the Deputy Editor of Scientific Reports, Elizabeth Mann, informed Clare Francis:
She then added:
To translate: yes, the gel image is fake. But the authors explained it was just a loading control, offered a replacement, cited papers to prove the unaffected conclusions, and really, these white European professors’ loyalty is more important to us as publisher than your annoying concerns.
Rapamycin’s high-profile users
Wall Street Journal informs us about the amazing achievements of science, under the headline: “Can a Kidney Transplant Drug Keep You From Aging?“
As Smut Clyde pointed out, the Betteridge’s Law applies here. WSJ article begins with:
“Some people looking to extend their lifespan have for years turned to a decades-old diabetes drug, metformin. Now, rapamycin, an immunosuppressant medication, is capturing their attention because some aging researchers believe it holds more promise.
Rapamycin was originally approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to prevent organ rejection in kidney transplant patients. Scientists have studied its potential to fight aging, too, and animal studies of rapamycin have yielded encouraging results, although there is little evidence of its longevity benefits in humans.”
Well, those animal studies were fraudulent. The people pushing rapamycin are mostly quacks and fraudsters, the entire field of mTOR signalling seems to mostly consist of fraud, including the works of the “mTORman” himself, David Sabatini.
mTOR: conclusions not affected?
David Sabatini, remember that story? Well, it seems the conclusions were not affected. I take an ill-informed look at the mTOR signalling research field, to understand how photoshopped data gets to be independently verified by other labs.
But then again, WSJ has the biggest scientific authority on its and rapamycin’s side, so who I am to argue here.
Deepak Chopra, FFS. Funny, he seems to have stopped being professor at University of California San Diego.
Guilty pleasures of meditating with Deepak Chopra
Smut Clyde will take you on a meditative Ayurvedic trip where the most respectable of research institutions and their world-renowned academics were caught dancing with the Guru Deepak Chopra himself. Famous cardiologist and medical writer Eric Topol and the Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn were just two most prominent US academics listed on Chopra’s Panchakarma…
Chopra is indeed a successful businessman, and WSJ has other rapamycin entrepreneurs as its witnesses. Like Matt Kaeberlein of University of Washington, who markets rapamycin for dog anti-aging, a topic I wrote about before. It seems many age-conscious people in sunny California pay big money to risk infection and death with this immunosuppressive drug:
“Dr. Bradley Rosen, a physician who runs a longevity-focused practice in Los Angeles, says rapamycin is the drug patients ask about most often. Dr. Kaeberlein, the aging researcher, says he gets “contacted once a week by someone who’s a CEO or a major partner in a venture-capital fund because they’re taking it.”
Dr. Alan Green, who runs a longevity-focused practice in Queens, N.Y., says he has prescribed rapamycin off-label to more than 1,200 patients. The most common side effect he has observed is an increased risk of bacterial infections. He recommends patients not start taking the drug unless they have antibiotics on hand.”
Nah, go ahead, take as much rapamycin as you can swallow. What better way to do anti-aging than to die young and leave a beautiful corpse.
News in Tweets
- Jesse Bloom debunks in his new preprint the raccoon dog theory which certain anti-lab-leak truthers celebrated throughout all the big media just weeks ago. “Recently the Chinese CDC released data from deep sequencing of environmental samples collected from the market after it was closed on January-1-2020 (Liu et al, 2023). Prior to this release, Crits-Christoph et al (2023) analyzed data from a subset of the samples. Both studies concurred that the samples contained genetic material from a variety of species, including some like raccoon dogs that are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2. […] However, the number of SARS-CoV-2 reads is not consistently correlated with reads mapping to non-human susceptible species. […] Instead, SARS-CoV-2 reads are most correlated with reads mapping to various fish, such as catfish and largemouth bass.” Maybe let’s settle on catfish as the REAL source of COVID-19? Anything, but lab leak, because grants and prestige might suffer…..
The Lab Leak Theory
A lab leak theory of the COVID-19 origins has enough circumstantial evidence and historical basis to support the urgent need for an independent and unbiased investigation. But until recently, scientists dismissed lab leak as a conspiracy theory. In public at least.
Viral by Alina Chan & Matt Ridley – Book review
Alina Chan’s book with Matt Ridley on the Origins of COVID-19 is finally out. It is a very informative read!
- Last Wednesday, the far-right members of the EU Parliament hosted a covidiot antivaxxer conference called “International COVID Summit III” featuring Didier Raoult, Pierre Kory, Robert Malone, Christian Perronne and other toxic characters. French newspaper Liberation writes about the event (Google-translated): “As indicated by the European assembly, contacted by CheckNews , the latter neither “organized nor financed” this event. “Some MEPs will take part, thus exercising their freedom of mandate” , it is stated soberly. The meeting, which is to take place in early May in the Belgian capital, thus mentions members of Identity and Democracy, a group of far-right European parliamentarians (in whose ranks we find, for example, French MEPs RN [Rassemblement National, Marie Le Pen’s far-right party -LS]). Among the elected officials behind the organization of this “international summit” : MEP Christine Anderson, from the far-right German party AfD, or her Romanian colleague, the climatosceptic Cristian Terheş“.
- Sabine Hazan‘s covidiot paper is now retracted as of 3 May 2023: “The journal retracts the 11 July 2022 article “Microbiome-based hypothesis on Ivermectin’s mechanism in COVID-19: Ivermectin feeds Bifidobacterium to boost immunity”. Following publication, concerns were raised regarding the scientific validity of the article. An investigation was conducted in accordance with Frontiers’ policies. It was found that the complaints were valid and that the article does not meet the standards of editorial and scientific soundness for Frontiers in Microbiology; therefore, the article has been retracted. This retraction was approved by the Chief Editors of Frontiers in Microbiology and the Chief Executive Editor of Frontiers. The author has not agreed to the retraction.”
- From HHS-ORI case summary from 3 May 2023: “ORI found that Johnny J. He, Ph.D. (Respondent), who is a Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, RFUMS, engaged in research misconduct in research reported in grant applications submitted for U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) funds […] Respondent engaged in research misconduct by intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly falsifying, fabricating, and plagiarizing experimental data and text that described the research from one (1) pre-print and four (4) published papers and represented the data and/or ideas as his own under different experimental conditions in four (4) NIH grant applications and in one research record.” He is banned from NIH funding and reveiwer activities for 3 years. Cheshire decided to have a look into He’s papers and posted his findings on PubPeer. Now, the irony is that Johnny He was in 2020 appointed as Director of the Center For Cancer Cell Biology, Immunology and Infection at the Rosalind Franklin University. Poor Dr Franklin is still being harassed by toxic male fraudsters long after her death. In this interview the China-born virologist prides himself for his mentoring skills, being a champion for equity and diversity, and his having graudated from university aged 18.
- Another retraction for Othman Ghribi, whose data forgery was exposed by his former colleague and whistleblowing sleuth Matthew Schrag. Retraction for Prabhakara et al 2008 from 1 May 2023: “The retraction has been agreed due to identification of image manipulation in Figure 4a, showing duplications of the ‘27-OHC’ and ‘24-OHC + 27-OHC’ bands within the TH lane. The corresponding author and their institution failed to provide the original data upon request. As a result, the data and conclusions of the article are considered unreliable. The authors have been informed but did not respond to requests to approve the wording of this retraction notice.“
Sylvain Lesné is a failed scientist
From Lesné’s public shame to successful role models of neuroscience like Aguzzi and Tessier-Lavigne.
- An old tweet with new feedback from Smut Clyde. The responsible scientist is the mega-fraudster S. Sudheer Khan, and this is the paper which was in 2016 declared to be perfectly fine: Alam et al Spectrochimica Acta Part A 2015. Yet in 2017, it received a Corrigendum: “The wrong figures were submitted for Fig. 1c and d in the above referenced article. […] The authors regret for the error.“
Nanodandruff and synthetic spectroscopy
The story of two data fabricators and Elsevier regulars, Sudheer Khan and Ali Fakhri. Smut Clyde brings them together in this new guest post about nanotechnology
- On offer are authorships on papermilled fraud in Frontiers, Elsevier, MDPI, De Gruyter, Springer Nature, and other predatory publishers.
- Retraction Watch and Dalmeet S Chawla are a journalistic match made in heaven. Both parties have difficulties with correct credit attribution, especially when they don’t approve of people whose credit they are attributing to others (or themselves). These Dhanaraj Gopi retractions happened only because of Smut Clyde‘s investigation on For Better Science.
Zombie fingers inside corroded nano-piecrusts
Smut Clyde is back with more fraudulent nanotechnology. This time, he presents the works of Dhanaraj Gopi, who designs fabricated surfaces for surgical implants. In Photoshop, or with a pencil.
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“Something strange is going on in the lab of George K. Gittes, Chief of Pediatric General and Thoracic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (UPMC) and Scientific Co-Director of Research at the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.”
Something strange is going on in Timothy Billiar’s lab, Pittsburgh.
“Now, the editorial board also includes Masoud Afrand, plus his fellow papermill fraudsters Nader Karami and Arash Karimipour as permanent members, not as guest editors mind you. Even more shockingly, journal archives revealed that these crooks were added by Cheng to the editorial board in March 2023…”
There are at least three other very remarkable additions, also in March.
Professor Krzysztof Kamil Żur
Bialystok University of Technology, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering,
Bialystok, Poland >>>>>> An associate of one Timon Rabczuk from Weimar, https://forbetterscience.com/2022/06/27/wiley-committed-to-integrity-get-out/
S. Ali Faghidian
Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran >>>>>> Ditto.
Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran >>>>>> Fractional bullshit, Baleanu-Atangana and all that.
See https://twitter.com/KlaasvanDijk5/status/1653012970111217664 for issues with a side-job by Marc Veldhoen https://imm.medicina.ulisboa.pt/investigation/laboratories/marc-veldhoen-lab/#intro at a commercial company https://www.thematic-ai.eu/expert-panel.html The backgrounds of Raymond Kho, the founder of this commercial company, are unknown.
See https://twitter.com/RaymundKho and https://nl.linkedin.com/in/raymundkho and https://archive.is/www.ctd.institute for backgrounds about Raymund Kho (not Raymond Kho). Kho is born in April 1967 (information from a very solid source).
Raymund Kho has no PhD from UvA (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands) and the information about Raymund Kho in the sources above are from Raymund Kho. The information about his age is from another source ( https://www.kvk.nl/ ).
Naturally “De-Jia Li” specializes in “polymorphism”; it’s simply that the polymorphism is of publications. (And a better transliteration of the name might be “Déjà Lu”.)
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Hole at King Abdulaziz University is uS$ 133.33 millions worth as
Nazaha -Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority- refered:
Scandal involving Saudi Arabian universities that paid Spanish researchers to change their primary affiliation in Clarivate’s Highly Cited Researchers database has major headlines in Nature right now.
As a whistleblower explained to Spanish newspaper “El País”, President of the King Abdulaziz University had been dismissed by King Salman, custodian of the two Holy Mosques, after detecting an uS$ 133.33 worth hole in KAU accounts around 2022 Oct.29
You can read on this:
“Saudi universities entice top scientists to switch affiliations — sometimes with cash”
by Michele Catanzaro
Published at Nature new 2023 May 05
“Saudi scientist tells colleagues, ‘Stop this academic fraud’”
published at “El País” 2023 May 04
It is not only about Spain, this is spread across Europe. Two researchers who are from Italy and build their career with EU and ERC money , happily assign their first affiliation for the last 4 -5 years to Saudi for second salary. They work in Italy and Germany famous research center.
2022 Highly Cited Researchers database includes 6,938 researchers of which 101 researchers work in Spain According to an article in “El País” 19 Spain based researchers have been told a Saudi university as its first affiliated institution to Clarivate. 19 have lied and earned money.It’s 19%
Italy has 105 and 11 Italian based researchers have reported a Saudi university as its first affiliated institution to Clarivate.It’s 10%
I was teached to interpret the data but anyway when I uploaded my first comment to “ForBetterScience” I was told that there were two professors from a Spanish university who worked as recruiters billing the SaudiArabian universities via a front company. I was told that before the article in “El País” and wrote about it.
Reading “El País” article, it is interesting what the professor of a computer science and AI at Public University of Navarra is telling. The front company made contract with OTRI -Research Results Transfer Office- OTRI is an office in each Spanish university. The front company invoiced euR 70,000 to SaudiArabian universities and paid uS$ 11,000 -first offer- or uS$ 12,000 -second better offer- per year to recruited Spanish HCR scientist.
To those scientists who were contacted directly by a professor at King Saud University,
full euR 70,000 were offered. Who would put the difference in his pocket between what the SaudiArabian universities paid and what Spain based HCR scientist received?
What was the role of OTRi and Spanish public universities in scandal?
That’s is why “Spain is different.” LoL
You can find your own numbers in HCR database
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Fake scientific papers are alarmingly common
But new tools show promise in tackling growing symptom of academia’s “publish or perish” culture
Sabel’s tool relies on just two indicators—authors who use private, noninstitutional email addresses, and those who list an affiliation with a hospital. It isn’t a perfect solution, because of a high false-positive rate.
Hmm…. is this irony?
Sabel is a tool….
Science on the other hand can’t count to three?
Sabel’s paper (https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2023.05.06.23289563v1) states: three indicators were identified: “author’s private email”, “international co-author” and “hospital affiliation”.
Science: ‘Sabel’s tool relies on just two indicators—authors who use private, noninstitutional email addresses, and those who list an affiliation with a hospital. ‘
Why didn’t trhey mention ‘international co-author’? Afraid of the woke mob?
“On 25 April 2023, Elsevier proudly tweeted”
“This tweet is unavailable.”
Damn this Schneider and his thugs