Posts Tagged ‘Scientific misconduct’

AIDS scientist charged with fraud

June 25, 2014

I have long held that scientists, like many other professionals, should be subject to a sort of “product liability”, if they employ fraud, engage in some other misconduct or in some way fail to meet the standards to be reasonably expected.

If a scientist is to be considered “responsible” for his work then this must be mirrored by a corresponding “liability”. In my experience a lack of liability is always accompanied by the absence of responsibility.

The product that researchers and scientists produce is publications – mainly as papers published in scientific journals and as books. Scientific misconduct (whether plagiarism or faking data or inventing data or cherry picking data) leads occasionally to dismissals (but not always) and generally very little else. It seems to me that the concept of tort or “product liability” should be applicable to the work of scientists and researchers where their work is the result of faking data, fraud or other misconduct since it would be work that “had not been done in good faith”. Tort would apply because the ramifications of their misconduct would extend far beyond their employment contracts with their employers.

Now an AIDS scientist who faked his data is being charged with criminal offences.

Responding to a major case of research misconduct, federal prosecutors have taken the rare step of filing charges against a scientist after he admitted falsifying data that led to millions in grants and hopes of a breakthrough in AIDS vaccine research.

Investigators say former Iowa State University laboratory manager Dong-Pyou Han has confessed to spiking samples of rabbit blood with human antibodies to make an experimental HIV vaccine appear to have great promise. After years of work and millions in National Institutes of Health grants, another laboratory uncovered irregularities that suggested the results – once hailed as groundbreaking – were bogus. 

Han was indicted last week on four counts of making false statements, each of which carries up to five years in prison. He was set to be arraigned Tuesday in Des Moines, but he didn’t show up due to an apparent paperwork mix-up. A prosecutor said Han will be given another chance to appear next week. …….

Experts said the fraud was extraordinary and that charges are rarely brought in such cases. The National Institutes of Health said it’s reviewing what impact the case has had on the research it funds.

…… Oransky, a journalist who also has a medical degree, said there have been only a handful of similar prosecutions in the last 30 years.

He said Han’s case was “particularly brazen” and noted that charges are rarely brought because the U.S. Office of Research Integrity, which investigates misconduct, doesn’t have prosecution authority, and most cases involve smaller amounts of money. …… 

According to the indictment, Han’s misconduct caused colleagues to make false statements in a federal grant application and progress reports to NIH. The NIH paid out $5 million under that grant as of earlier this month. Iowa State has agreed to pay back NIH nearly $500,000 for the cost of Han’s salary.

Han’s misconduct dates to when he worked at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland under Michael Cho, who was leading a team testing an experimental HIV vaccine on rabbits. Starting in 2008, Cho’s team received initial NIH funding for the work. Cho reported soon that his vaccine was causing rabbits to develop antibodies to HIV, which left NIH officials “flabbergasted,” according to a criminal complaint against Han. Cho’s team sent blood samples in 2009 to Duke University researchers, who verified the apparent positive impact on the vaccinated rabbits. The confirmation was seen as “a major breakthrough in HIV/AIDS vaccine research,” according to the complaint.

Iowa State recruited Cho in 2009, and with his team – including Han – he soon received a five-year NIH grant to continue the research. The team kept reporting progress. But in January 2013, a team at Harvard University found the promising results had been achieved with rabbit blood spiked with human antibodies.

An investigation by Iowa State pinpointed Han, after he was caught sending more spiked samples to Duke University. In a Sept. 30, 2013 confession letter, Han said he started the fraud in 2009 “because he wanted (results) to look better” and that he acted alone.

Individual researchers are unlikely to have the means to make restitution for all the financial waste they may have caused by their misconduct. Universities and Institutions have  some possibility of being forced to repay grants obtained by fraud but are rarely asked to do so. Careers of other researchers could also have been compromised.

It should still be possible for someone damaged by scientific misconduct to make a civil case for damages even if criminal charges are not brought.  But what that needs is that the output be considered “product” and that the scientist and his institution have then some “product liability”. That implies a duty of good faith and of application of some reasonable level of competence. Misconduct and even gross negligence on the part of the institution or the scientist could then give rise to a claim for damages. Even the journals, their editors and reviewers  ought to have some responsibility and potential liability.

If every published paper carried some product liability, the rush to publish nonsense and lies may reduce even if the publications industry would not be pleased. But it would improve the quality of publications no end.

Retraction Watch covers the story and has a discussion about the criminalisation of scientific fraud.

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Pfizer writes off $725 million – were they a victim of scientific fraud?

January 20, 2014

Whether it is just error or bad judgement or fraud we will never know. Perhaps all three.

NewsObserver: In 2008, Pfizer paid $725 million for the rights to a Russian cold medicine called Dimebon. The pharmaceutical giant thought the drug could help ameliorate the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Several clinical trials showed the medicine had no more impact than a placebo. Pfizer has largely abandoned the project.

Earlier this week came the news that Pfizer have now written off the entire $725 million.

The last flickering hope that Medivation’s Dimebon could help Alzheimer’s disease patients has just been extinguished. The biotech announced this morning that a 12-month study of the drug failed to register significant improvements for patients, mirroring two shorter Phase III studies in which Dimebon failed to outperform a sugar pill. Pfizer took the opportunity to bow out of its partnership, writing off its $225 million upfront and $500 million milestone program for what proved to be another embarrassing pipeline failure.

In 2008, Dimebon looked like an odds-on success, with positive data from a Russian study and 10 years of sales experience to underscore its safety. But Medivation was shaken to the core when its first late-stage study ended in failure, with an additional pratfall for Huntington’s disease to cap the disaster.

In the end, Dimebon’s failure helped tarnish the reputation of Russian drug studies while raising severe doubts about Medivation.

It is not only Pfizer which has been forced to make costly write-offs. Not long ago  GlaxoSmithKline was forced to shut down Sirtris Pharmaceuticals which it had acquired in 2008 for $720 million:

Xconomy:

Glaxo paid $720 million to acquire Sirtris in April 2008, to get ahold of technology that generated lots of breathless media coverage as a modern-day fountain of youth. The company sought to make drugs that act on sirtuins, a class of proteins that scientists believe play a role in aging, programmed cell death, and other key cell processes.

Even though the company is closing the Sirtris site, Stubbee says Glaxo remains confident in the drug candidates it got from that acquisition. ….

…. Sirtuins are known to be active when the body is in a calorie-restricted state, which scientists have shown contributes to longer lifespan. The idea at Sirtris was to make small-molecule chemical compounds that activated sirtuins as a way of fighting diseases that develop as people age—including Type 2 diabetes and cancer. ….. The research into the biological role of sirtuins, from Sirtris co-founder David Sinclair, has attracted its share of skeptics. Just last week, Sinclair, a researcher at Harvard Medical School, sought to buttress his early work with a new article in Science that says resveratrol and related compounds can activate sirtuins. One critic, quoted by the Boston Globe last week, said the role of one sirtuin called SIRT1 in aging, “is still as clear as mud.”

GSK is putting a brave face on all of this.

But for many medical and biotech researchers, the path to fame and fortune is by starting a start-up with some new compound or technique and by “leveraging the promise”. For pharma and biotechnology start-ups the objective is to be bought up by one of the majors for as exorbitant an amount as can be managed. And it seems that one way to inflate the value is by making preliminary data and trials show very optimistic results. Negative results never see the light of day and the positive aspects are exaggerated and at worst manipulated.

The ten-fold growth of retractions in medicine related fields since 1975 is mainly due to misconduct according to this report in Nature where “fraud or suspected fraud was responsible for 43% of the retractions”.

For Big Pharma this is simply a consequence of having “outsourced” part of their research. They can afford a few failures it could be thought. Of course the final cost is eventually borne by the consumers but some start-ups make a killing along the way.

A quick fix for plagiarism

November 8, 2013

It doesn’t seem right. In fact it sounds like an abdication of responsibilities and like covering up a crime if and when the crime is discovered.

But it also sounds a simple fix. A stroke of genius – somewhat crooked but very clever. Just eliminate the plagiarism by punctuation!

If accused of plagiarism, just put the impugned text within quotation marks!

Retraction Watch has the story:

PNAS has a curious correction in a recent issue. A group from Toronto and Mount Sinai in New York, it seems, had been rather too liberal in their use of text from a previously published paper by another researcher — what we might call plagiarism, in a less charitable mood.

To paraphrase Beyoncé: If you like it, better put some quotation marks around it. But we’re pretty sure she meant before, not after, the fact.

The article, “Structural basis for substrate specificity and catalysis of human histone acetyltransferase 1,” had appeared in May 2012, in other words, some 17 months ago. It has been cited twice, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

……..

Parthun is Mark Parthun, a professor at Ohio State University. It was he who brought the misused text to PNAS’s attention. He tells us:

I read this paper with great interest because my lab also studies the Hat1 enzyme.  While reading this, a number of the passages in the Introduction and Discussion sections started to sound very familiar.  These passages were familiar because they were plagiarized from a review article I had published earlier (Parthun, M.R. Oncogene 26:5319–5328, 2007).  I also found some sentences that were plagiarized from another manuscript from another lab (Campos, et al, NSMB 2010).  I brought this plagiarism to the attention of the editors at PNAS and suggested that this manuscript be retracted.  After more than a year, PNAS published a correction (http://www.pnas.org/content/110/45/18339.full).  This correction lists all of the passages that were plagiarized and simply says that they should have had quotation marks around them.  This seems like a woefully inadequate response.  PNAS has essentially made plagiarism irrelevant because if you are caught, all you have to do is retroactively say that you should have used quotations.  Is this a common practice with journals.  I hope not because I think this represents a serious step in the erosion of scientific ethics.

….

We asked Daniel Salisbury, a PNAS editor, why the journal opted to correct rather than retract the paper. This was his reply:

In light of recent concerns from the author of the plagiarized text, we are following up with the PNAS authors’ institution.

Parthun, who said he received a similar message, was not impressed:

My problem with his response [is] that they are simply passing the buck.  I would have thought that PNAS had the ultimate responsibility for the manuscripts that it publishes.  I don’t understand why they need Mount Sinai to tell them when something is improper.

To which we say, we agree.

We’ve emailed Plotnikov for comment and will update this post if we hear from him. Meanwhile, although we think there might be room in science publishing for correcting improperly attributed text, an instance of multiple examples of frank plagiarism such as this probably isn’t the test case.

University of Queenland completes misconduct investigation

November 8, 2013

I had posted earlier in September about the unusual, and laudable, actions of the University of Queensland in itself requesting retraction of a paper for misconduct after a preliminary investigation had found that primary data could not be located.

The University has now completed its investigation and issued a press releaseThe work reported may never even have been done.

The paper, titled Treatment of articulatory dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease using repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, was published online in the European Journal of Neurology in October 2011. …..

The final report confirmed the interim finding that no primary data could be located, and there was no evidence that the study described in the article had been conducted. 

The paper’s authors have resigned from UQ, which means the University is not in a position to take disciplinary action in relation to the matter. 

A systematic review of other papers involving the authors of the retracted paper is nearing completion. 

The review of approximately 100 papers published since 2007 has so far found no further evidence of incorrect or non-existent data or of failure to obtain ethical approval. 

The review has raised questions about the authorship of a small number of papers, and this is being examined further. …. 

The paper in question seems to be this one:

B. E. Murdoch(1), M. L. Ng(2) and C. H. S. Barwood(1), Treatment of articulatory dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease using repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation,  European Journal of Neurology, 19: 340–347. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2011.03524.x

Melendez challenges murky process at National University of Singapore

October 24, 2013

Alirio Melendez has not distinguished himself by his less than rigorous supervision of research carried out under him. So much so that 13 of his papers have been retracted and there be many more retractions to come. But the National University of Singapore has also shown itself to be less than transparent in handling cases of alleged misconduct. And now Melendez, while acknowledging his failings in supervising research, challenges the NUS on two counts; first for not being specifically able to detail any misconduct directly by him and secondly for its “unfair” process of investigation which ignored his submissions. Retraction Watch has been following the case(s).

Now the murky story reaches the Nature News Blog. The National University of Singapore does not come out of all this very well. When there is muck – they first try to hide it. If that doesn’t work they carry out opaque investigations and political considerations and protecting the “reputation” of the University seem to take priority.

An immunologist accused last year by the National University of Singapore (NUS) of “serious scientific misconduct” relating to 21 research papers says that he refutes the accusations and is calling on the university to make public its report into the matter.

“I categorically deny having been party to any fraudulent or scientific misconduct,” Alirio Melendez, who worked at NUS before joining the University of Glasgow and the University of Liverpool in the UK, wrote on a new website on 16 October, and at the site Retraction Watch, which has been tracking the case.

Melendez has maintained for two years that he is not to blame for the problems found in papers that he co-authored. Yet in December 2012, NUS said that a committee report had found fabrication, falsification or plagiarism associated with 21 papers, and no evidence indicating that other co-authors were involved in the misconduct. Or as Melendez sees it: “without showing any proof whatsoever that I am the guilty party for scientific fraud”.

Thirteen of those papers have now been retracted, and Melendez concedes that as corresponding author he is at fault for signing off the work without overseeing it adequately — a form of misconduct in itself. But in seven of the papers in which NUS found irregularities, he stated last week, he did not contribute data generation, analysis or any part of the manuscript writing.

So far, Melendez’s counterclaims have lacked convincing detail. That is, in part, because neither Melendez nor NUS would provide details of the papers, nor the committee report. Now, Melendez tells Nature that he will shortly post a “paper-by-paper response” on his website, but that it will be his “personal statement” on the papers, not the whole report. “Since this report is confidential I cannot publish it myself without NUS permission,” he claims. ……. 

……. There is also dispute about whether Melendez’s concerns have been given a fair confidential hearing by  NUS. The university says that it “conducted interviews with as many authors as possible” and that Melendez declined responses when a committee visited the United Kingdom in 2011 (which Melendez puts down to ill health).

Melendez says that last year, he did send two replies to the NUS investigation, but that they did not take these responses into consideration for their final report. The NUS spokesperson agrees, and says that Melendez’s responses in 2012 did not address the irregularities that NUS found and were also not sent in time for the deadlines that the university allowed, as guided by its research integrity code. Therefore, they “were not considered part of the record of the inquiry”. But Melendez says he was never made aware of this.

There would seem to be a whole lot of muck hiding under the carpets of the National University of Singapore and while the dirt may be invisible, the smell is spreading.

Multiple investigations of multiple allegations of image manipulation at University of New South Wales

October 22, 2013

A supposedly game changing skin cancer drug, a number of retractions of papers, drug trials suspended, allegations of image manipulation, allegations of misconduct from other noted scientists and at least 3 different investigations by his Univesrity, surround Professor Levon Khachigian of the School of Medical Sciences at the University of New South Wales.

At least 6 papers are involved (of which 4 have already been retracted). The University is facing criticism for the pace of their investigations and there are some suggestions that commercial interests may be involved.

ABC News reports:

Research overseen by an eminent scientist at the University of New South Wales is again under investigation following concerns about alleged research misconduct.

The latest allegations centre on a scientific paper into the genetics of heart disease co-authored by Professor Levon Khachigian.

A research team overseen by Professor Khachigian has received many grants from bodies such as the National Health and Medical Research Council, including an $8.3 million grant for 2014 looking at cardiovascular disease research.

The research in question was published in the journal PLOS One in July 2012.

It focused on how muscle cells change into plaque – a key cause of heart attacks.

A scientist complained to the university, saying he believed one of the images appeared to have been manipulated. A letter sent to the university’s vice chancellor of research says “in figure 5, one of the panels has been duplicated, rotated 180 degrees and then used to represent cells treated with a different compound.”

“If anomalies are found, it will be necessary to (conduct interviews) individually to determine who was responsible and whether they were deliberate or accidental,” it says.

The university has conducted an initial investigation and the ABC understands it believes there is a prima facie case of research misconduct.

Professor Khachigian was in the news earlier this year about image manipulation and the suspension of the skin cancer drug DZ13.

ABC News (August 2013):

Clinical trials of an experimental cancer drug have been suspended after serious questions have been raised about the accuracy of some of the scientific data behind it.

The ABC has learnt that the University of New South Wales (UNSW) is investigating a number of allegations concerning the science and data underpinning the DZ13 compound.

DZ13 was developed by an Australian team of researchers led by Professor Levon Khachigian and heralded as a super drug in the fight against skin cancer.

Two investigations conducted at the UNSW into allegations against Professor Khachigian and his team found that there was no evidence of research misconduct.

But the current investigation was prompted by further concerns raised separately by an eminent Australian scientist and one of the former researchers on DZ13.

Both are concerned that images in a paper on DZ13, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry in 2010, may not be genuine. ……

….. Professor David Vaux is an internationally acclaimed cell scientist at Melbourne’s Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and lectures worldwide on research ethics.

“I think that anybody who has concerns of scientific misconduct, there’s an ethical responsibility for them to raise those concerns with either the designated person to receive allegations of misconduct or with the journal editors or with the authors of the paper,” he said.

In late 2009, he came across images in three papers from Professor Khachigian’s lab relating to genetic research in the Journal of Biological Chemistry that he was concerned were inappropriately duplicated. 

He wrote twice to the journal about his concerns that the images were not genuine.

In July 2010, the three papers were retracted by the authors, who said that the presentation of the images was a genuine error.

In February this year, Professor Vaux came across another paper in the Journal of Biological Chemistry that he said raised similar concerns of image duplication. This paper was focusing on DZ13.

Professor Vaux says this time there was more urgency, as the paper gave support to DZ13, which was about to be administered to patients in clinical trials.

He wrote to the vice-president and deputy vice-chancellor (research) at the University of New South Wales, Professor Les Field, asking for him to carry out an investigation.

I wish to alert you to concerns I have over a possible case of research misconduct at the UNSW. In the paper attached I have annotated the images that I am concerned about…

They appear to contain duplications and/or alterations of images in such a way that the same data is used to represent two different conditions.

Professor Vaux also contacted the National Health and Medical Research Council in June.

I believe it would be important to act quickly, as patients may currently be receiving the agent described in the publication, DZ13, as part of a clinical trial.

If the results in this paper are not genuine, the Human Research Ethics Committee that approved the trial might have been misled, and the patients receiving the drug might not have been able to give properly informed consent.

One more scientist of Indian origin found to have faked data in the US

October 18, 2013

Nitin Aggarwal – a researcher in cardiology – apparently falsified and invented data. Once again a scientist of Indian origin caught faking data. Perhaps it’s the peer pressure – but it does make for depressing reading.

This is scientific fraud and  – once again – I wonder why scientists and scientific bodies should not be held liable and accountable for their “product” which is whatever they publish.

Maybe it is time to sell my shares in BMS.

Retraction Watch reports:

Nitin Aggarwal, formerly of the Medical College of Wisconsin, faked data in his PhD thesis, grant applications to the NIH and American Heart Association, and in two papers, according to new findings by the Office of Research Integrity.

(The case would have apparently first been published in the Federal Register on October 2, except for the government shutdown.)

Here were their findings:

…the Respondent engaged in research misconduct by falsifying and/or fabricating PHS-supported data in six (6) figures that were included in the following two (2) publications, one (1) grant application to the American Heart Association (AHA), one (1) grant application to NIH, and the Respondent’s Ph.D. thesis:

  • Aggarwal, N.T., Principal Investigator (P.I.), National Scientist Development grant application to the American Heart Association No. 11SDG7650072, “Sulfonylurea rReceptor-2 splice variant and mitochondrial mechanisms for cardioprotection and arrhythmia” (hereafter the “AHA grant application”).
  • K99 HL113518-01, “Mitochondrial ATP-sensitive K-channels and pharmacological approaches for cardioprotection,” Aggarwal, Nitin, Ph.D., P.I.
  • Aggarwal, N.T. “Endothelial 15-lipoxygenase regulates vasorelaxation and blood pressure in rabbits in normal and pathological condictions.” A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Biomedical Science of the Medical College of Wisconsin in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 2008 (hereafter the “thesis”).

…………

Aggarwal won a $1,000 award for his dissertation in 2009. According to his LinkedIn profile and a recent speaker announcement, he’s now working at Bristol Myers-Squibb. We’ve tried to reach BMS for comment, along with the Medical College of Wisconsin, and will update with anything we learn.

Update, 6 p.m. Eastern, 10/17/13: The Medical College of Wisconsin tells us they have no comment on the ORI’s findings.

Upstate Medical University researcher fabricated data to benefit his own company

October 10, 2013

UPDATE!!

Stem cell scientist says data in retracted paper “is not falsified or fabricated”

=========================

Researchers are not angels.

Just normal human behaviour from a man in a white coat.

GeroldFeuer2.jpg

Gerold Feuer, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Upstate Medical University

Syracuse.com:

A scientific journal has retracted a study by an Upstate Medical University researcher accused of using fake data.

The paper was authored by Gerold Feuer, who was found guilty last year of using state money and employees to benefit his private biotechnology company.

The article, first published in 2008, was retracted Oct. 4 by the journal Stem Cells. It focused on a virus that causes cancer in humans.

The retraction notice was published today by Retraction Watch, a blog that reports on retractions of scientific papers. The notice said the article was retracted after an investigation by Upstate’s research misconduct committee showed data used in the study had been “fabricated and/or falsified.”

Feuer, 53, of the town of Onondaga, landed $6.2 million in state grants in 2009 for stem cell research at Upstate. He oversaw a lab that bred mice without immune systems, then “humanized” them with stem cells to mimic the human immune systems. The mice are used in research studies.

Upstate suspended Feuer without pay in late 2010 while investigating his management of a research contract and the way he was operating his lab at Upstate. In 2008 Feuer had started his own private company to develop the same kind of mice for use in testing by universities and companies.

Upstate brought 53 charges of misconduct against Feuer, accusing him of using Upstate’s employees to perform services for his company and charging the cost to a state grant.

An arbitrator reviewed the case and in an Aug. 20, 2012 decision found Feuer guilty of 30 of the 53 misconduct charges. But the arbitrator said Feuer never intended to personally profit from the arrangement and should be reinstated.

Upstate reinstated Feuer, a tenured professor of microbiology and immunology, Feb. 18 at an annual salary of $116,196 and placed him in an undisclosed off-campus assignment.
It’s unknown what effect the latest misconduct finding will have on his employment status, said Darryl Geddes, an Upstate spokesman.

Upstate officials said they completed a separate investigation in April that found Feuer and Prabal Banerjee, a co-author of the paper, guilty of scientific misconduct. Banerjee now works for Feuer’s company, HuMurine Technologies Inc. Upstate officials said two other researchers involved in the study, Michelle Sieburg and Elizabeth Samuelson, did not do anything wrong.

Upstate has requested retractions of two other papers by Feuer published in other journals.

Marc Hauser publishes on “Evil”

September 27, 2013

Following in the footsteps of other fraudsters (Diedrik Stapel for one), Marc Hauser has published a new book on “Evil”. Since he left Harvard he has been involved with “brain training  (brain-washing?) of children at risk.

I suppose that a transgressor cannot be said to have no practical experience of morality though to say that he is particularly qualified to write about “Evil” is perhaps pushing it a bit. What constitutes “Evil” is of course rather subjective. Just as with Stapel there is no shortage of his advocates and apologists now rushing to praise his book. Just as with Stapel the New York Times (Nicholas Wade) appears to be providing some free promotion. Good Luck to him though I shall not be acquiring a copy.

Boston.com: 

Marc Hauser, the former Harvard University psychology professor who was found by federal officials to have fabricated and manipulated data, is publishing a book on the nature of evil, “Evilicious: Desire + Denial = Cruelty.”

The former professor, who has worked with at-risk youth on Cape Cod since leaving Harvard, announced on Twitter his book would be available October 15. On his blog, he said that the book will be available through Kindle Select, as an audio book, or as a print-on-demand book. ….

At the blog Retraction Watch, two who blurbed the book—Nicholas Wade, a New York Times science reporter and science writer Michael Shermer—said that they believe in second chances.

University of Queensland asks for a paper to be retracted and returns a grant!

September 3, 2013

An unusual event in the academic world. Commendable and exemplary – I think.

The University of Queensland (not to be confused with the Queensland University of Technology – QUT – which has also recently been in the news) has taken the unusual step of asking a major journal to retract a paper published by a former staff member and has returned a grant from an NGO thought to have been awarded on the basis of the discredited paper.

The University Press Release ;

The University of Queensland (UQ) is investigating events that have led to the retraction of a paper published in an academic journal. 

As a result of its investigation to date, UQ has asked the journal that published the paper to retract it on the grounds that: “no primary data can be located, and no evidence has been found that the study described in the article was conducted.” 

A former UQ staff member from the Centre for Neurogenic Communication Disorders Research was corresponding author on the paper. 

Published online in October 2011 in the European Journal of Neurology, the paper was titledTreatment of articulatory dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease using repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation

The journal has agreed to the retraction. 

The paper in question seems to be this one:

B. E. Murdoch(1), M. L. Ng(2) and C. H. S. Barwood(1), Treatment of articulatory dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease using repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation,  European Journal of Neurology, 19: 340–347. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2011.03524.x

The paper has been cited 8 times.

Author Information

  1. Centre for Neurogenic Communication Disorders Research, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Qld, Australia
  2. Speech Science Laboratory, Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

*B. E. Murdoch, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Qld 4072, Australia

ABC News reports:

The University of Queensland says a Parkinson’s disease study published by a former staff member may not have actually been carried out.

The university released a statement today saying that “no primary data can be located, and no evidence has been found that the study described in the article was conducted.”

UQ has asked the academic journal that published the research to retract the article, and the journal has agreed. The university said Professor Bruce Murdoch, a former staff member from the university’s Centre for Neurogenic Communication Disorders Research, was one of the authors of the article.

… The investigation is continuing and the Crime and Misconduct Commission has been informed, the statement said.

UQ has also returned a $20,000 grant from “a non-government organisation” because it fears the money was allocated on the basis of information in the article.

It said there was no National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funding for the paper.

“By having the paper retracted, the university enables the global scientific community to learn that the research reported in the paper has no place in the body of scientific knowledge and so cannot be used as a basis for further research,” the statement said.


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