Scientific Misconduct Blog Memory Hole: Events of November 8th
Definitions of the dayLAWFUL, adj. : Compatible with the will of a judge having jurisdiction.
LAWYER, n. : One skilled in circumvention of the law.
LITIGANT, n. : A person about to give up his skin for the hope of retaining his bones.
LITIGATION, n. : A machine which you go into as a pig and come out of as a sausage.
(The Devil's dictionary)
23 years ago today: Arthur Rudolph: US hides Nazi crimes
On 8 November 1984
it was reported that Arthur Rudolph imported from Nazi Germany to head the NASA Saturn Program (which led to the moon landing) was known to be an "Ardent Nazi" and a war criminal. He was operator of a slave camp. More importantly, the US knowingly provided cover for him. This is directly relevant to the more specific concerns on this blog - it concerns the role of government in a democracy."Papers Show Saturn Rocket Chief Was Called 'Ardent Nazi by U. S.": New York Times, 8 Nov 1984.
14 years ago today: Inventing scientific findings is not fraud say lawyers
On 8 November 1993
the muddle of Scientific Misconduct "rules" reached the outer limits of farce
(Hilts, Philip J. "Science and Law Clash Over Fraud-Case Appeals," New York Times, 8 November 1993).
Procedures of science are designed to ensure the integrity of the scientific record, just as court procedures are designed to make sure that the legal game is played. This is an article about attempts to alter the procedures for deciding whether a scientist is operating within the rules of science. This was the midst of the Baltimore and Gallo "investigations". New rules were put in place by Bernadine Healy when director of the NIH to make lawyers the judge of appropriate science, radically altering the game in retrospect, and leading to these two cases being "lost" (at least legally).
"In the first case before the hearing board under the new rules, Rameshwar Sharma, a scientist at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, was charged with making false statements in an application to the National Institutes of Health. He wrote that he had done a series of experiments and described the results, when in fact he had not done the work."
By any definition that would constitute research misconduct and a major offense against science, the public, and patients. This is not a game, and it is exactly how patients die.
In his defense, he said that he no intent to deceive
but that his statements were 'anticipator writing
' because he expected to do the work later. The hearing said this was not misconduct because the Office of Research Integrity could not prove
the deliberately false statements were intended to be false. The need to prove intent is part of the new definition. Falsifying results does not constitute intent.
This is lawyers and the "big boys" of science saying that saying that science and honesty don't matter. The muddle began here
.Source: Hilts, Philip J. "Science and Law Clash Over Fraud-Case Appeals" New York Times, 8 Nov 1993
10 years ago today: UK "initiatives" to tackle scientific misconduct
The Journal Science published a bit of reality-free gobbledegook about a November 8th 1997
meeting concerning UK initiatives to "tackle scientific misconduct and fraudulent publication in a more systematic way". There is a disconnect between what folk say and what they fear to do.
Williams, Nigel. "Editors Seek Ways to Cope With Fraud" Science 278 (14 November 1997), p. 1221 [Full report
]. Some quotes from the article
- A new committee, set up by the editors of nine prominent medical journals called last week for governments to tackle scientific misconduct and fraudulent publication in a more systematic way.
- Cases are still exposed mostly by chance, and we worry about the scale of the problem
- "Normal peer review can sometimes identify problems, but sorting through raw data to investigate them can be a miserable business".
- These incidents were described without revealing names because of worries about libel laws [describing scientific deviations is libel]
- The meeting backed calls by one of the legal experts on the committee, Ian Kennedy of University College London, for the development of a protocol for editors to help protect genuine whistle blowers.
- COPE's efforts are being matched by other initiatives in Europe.
- And at the most recent meeting of the European heads of research councils in Dublin last month, the problem of scientific misconduct was at the top of the agenda.
- The council heads are looking in particular at Danish efforts that have culminated in a new national committee on scientific dishonesty. Unlike the U.S. Office of Research Integrity, which can investigate misconduct claims only when they involve government funds, the Danish committee can work across the scientific spectrum.
- Editors can only go so far," says Kennedy. "Eventually you need an independent body to investigate claims fairly.
So what happened ten years later?:See
: http://scientific-misconduct.blogspot.com/2007/10/memory-hole-15-october-uk-research.htmlUK research misconduct Hit-Squad announced (UK-PRI)Self quotation
: You should treat any offer of support from UK-PRI in the same way you would treat the offer of fellatio from a crocodile
8 years ago today: German Professor fakes 80 clinical studies - not a crime
On 8 November 1999
German investigators report that dozens of bogus scientific papers were published by a cancer research professor over 15 years.
The Professor was Friedhelm Herrmann, a leading cancer research specialist. The report states that "at least 80 of his published papers were faked", and "they developed an aversion to using genuine data."
The last sentence of the news report states: "Faking scientific research, however, is not a criminal offence under German law
".Source: German scientist 'faked cancer research', The Guardian, Nov 8, 1999
4 years ago today: Medical journal editors colluding with fraud
On 8 November 2003
there were some choice quotes from a BMJ article: Have editors got their priorities right
? (BMJ 327:1113; 8 Nov 2003):"Journal editors are much more frightened of being sued for libel by academics or drug companies than they are of publishing fraudulent research" Peter Wilmshurst claimed last week. He said that every time that he submitted an article highlighting research fraud, every word was scrutinised by an army of libel lawyers and the article was frequently rejected.
"I have submitted many scientific articles for publication and many had implications for survival of patients, but no journal has ever asked me to prove that I got the results claimed. This might suggest that medical journal editors are more concerned with the reputations of academics and their institutions than the lives of patients.
"The simple truth is that editors are most concerned with money. Journals are never sued for publishing false results no matter how many patients died. In scientific research they can have the best of both worlds. They are absolved from blame if a study is wrong and gain an improved impact rating if the research is an important advance..."
"I would like to see whether the policies at journals changed if some were sued by patients harmed by implementation of treatments based on their publications."
"I believe that there should be random checks of raw data of work in progress and of submitted work. We know that the use of performance enhancing drugs is common in competitive sports because of enforced drug checks without warning at sporting events and between events. If we did not have these checks we might mistakenly conclude that doping was not common in sport."
"Failure to produce the raw data should be considered the equivalent of failing the inspection and should result in a ban on future research for a specified period and a review of previous research published.
"The code of silence that pervades the medical profession and the research establishment: There is still considerable reluctance to shop another doctor, no matter how dishonest".
2 years ago today: SSRI advertisements not exactly science-based
On 8 November 2005
PLoS medicine published as article titled: "Serotonin and Depression: A Disconnect between the Advertisements and the Scientific Literature
" (Lacasse JR, Leo J 2005 PLoS Med 2(12): e392).
Apparently direct to consumer advertisements for drugs are not exactly truthful. What a surprise. Next episode - the disconnect between the scientific literature and the underlying raw data. Hat tip HCR
Labels: Bernadine Healy, Definition of scientific misconduct, Medical Journals, Nazi and Japanese experiments, SSRI Trials, The Memory Hole, UK Integrity Panel