Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Journal of unpublication

This is just getting embarrassing. I missed it when Drugmonkey blogged about it, but at least The Scientist did credit him (yo!).

Two highlights from this article that really stuck out to me:

investigation at the Mayo Clinic concluded that one of the lab's researchers, Suresh Radhakrishnan, "tampered with another investigator's experiment with the intent to mislead"

Um, seriously? This is like something out of a premed organic chem lab! Scary!! Can't leave that shit unattended for even one minute!!

But if you got a weird result, wouldn't you, um, at least, do it, like, OVER AGAIN? Or have someone else try to reproduce it, just in case you were doing something weird?

Does that mean these authors either

a) didn't reproduce the results multiple times or
b) he tampered with the results MULTIPLE TIMES??

Gah! That's one of my worst nightmares. That somebody (let's say for example, my PI) might tamper with my samples! But that's why I try to do everything several times several ways to make sure I'm not imagining it. Still, I don't know if I would be able to detect it if someone were sneaky and consistently screwing around with my stuff.

And as Drugmonkey quoted from the PNAS article, I guess this is the problem:

"..In no case did these repeat studies reveal any evidence that the B7-DCXAb reagent had the previously reported activity."

The missing ingredient was the tamperer!

The other thing from The Scientist article was a point I keep hammering like a very dead horse:

I was surprised about this retraction from [Journal of Experimental Biology]" -- the lab's first publication about B7-DCXAb -- "because the groups involved enjoy an excellent reputation in the field," said Melero of the University of Navarra.

Yeah, because reputation determines the OUTCOME of your experiments.


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At 10:38 AM, Anonymous prodigal academic said...

This is my worst as a PI--that one of my trainees will fake data and I will not find out until after publication. I find it hard to believe that no one suspected for 15 papers worth of data, though. Shades of Hendrik Schon--I've always found it suspicious than none of his coauthors suspected a thing, even though he was performing at an inhumanly fast rate. In this case, it sounds like one guy faked and tampered with a number of experiments, but how did this get far enough to clinical trial without the experiments being replicated from scratch in another lab?

At 12:31 PM, Blogger biochem belle said...

Don't know if you noticed, but earlier this week someone signing as the guy accused of misconduct showed up at DrugMonkey blog to adamantly deny the allegations. Flags were raised after multiple groups tried to replicate the results and failed. The whole thing is a little dicey.

At 3:03 PM, Blogger DSK Samways said...

"But that's why I try to do everything several times several ways to make sure I'm not imagining it."

You see I share this innate paranoia, and I struggle to understand people who don't. Hell, I get the shivers doing experiments aimed to repeat my own previously published data; I have to make a conscious effort not to hold my breath.

This kind of fraud blows my mind. I just can't get inside the head that would perpetrate it.

At 1:18 PM, Blogger Mong H Tan, PhD said...

[Preamble: I tried to post this comment at the DrugMonkey over the weekend; but it’s not released in response to your nice comment therein. So, I now post a file copy of my comment en masse herein below for your information. Thank you!]

RE: Good thinking MsPhD!

That’s exactly what I had in my mind when I first read and inquired of the Mayo case report here: “Promising therapy scuttled by alleged misconduct -- RE: Fraudulent scientific research and misconduct at Mayo!?” (NatureBlogsUK; May 26); and in the DrugMonkey herein above; and elsewhere, including yours as well.

Best wishes, Mong 5/28/10usct2:37p; practical science-philosophy critic; author "Decoding Scientism" and "Consciousness & the Subconscious" (works in progress since July 2007), Gods, Genes, Conscience (iUniverse; 2006) and Gods, Genes, Conscience: Global Dialogues Now (blogging avidly since 2006).

At 1:36 AM, Anonymous investing for beginners said...

Sometimes its very hard to believe how fraudulent some people can become. Fraudulent researches and misconduct in an institute, a management is a very big loophole.


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