Project

Retracting fraudulent articles on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis

Goal: Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/263688691 and https://www.researchgate.net/publication/277281920 ) contain fabricated and/or falsified data. Both must thus be retracted, and as soon as possible, to ensure the integrity of the scientific body of knowledge. Backgrounds and motives at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318340512 (also posted at https://www.academia.edu/33827046 ).

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Klaas van Dijk
added a research item
Fraudulent studies in peer-reviewed journals are contaminating the academic record. They therefore need to be retracted. This article examines allegations of fraud in a field study on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis, an Endangered bird species which is almost exclusively breeding in Iraq.
Klaas van Dijk
added an update
A preprint at Authorea
A preprint of my manuscript about the long-term efforts to retract the fraudulent study on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler has been posted on 9 October 2020 at https://authorea.com/users/365914/articles/485835
Comments on this preprint are highly appreciated. See also https://www.researchgate.net/publication/344770291
This manuscript is at the moment under review at the journal Ecology and Evolution, see https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/page/journal/20457758/homepage/custom_copy.htm for some backgrounds about this journal.
 
Klaas van Dijk
added an update
There are no experts who are willing to state that this fraudulent Basra Reed Warbler study is based on solid science
A manuscript which is mainly based on the findings in the reports at https://osf.io/j69ue/ and at https://osf.io/ajsvw/ is at the moment under consideration at a peer-reviewed journal.
Contacts in December 2018 about an earlier version of this manuscript with the peer-reviewed Journal of Ornithology https://www.springer.com/journal/10336 yielded the following statement from Franz Bairlein, EiC of this journal: "We agree with you that the Basra Reed Warbler paper by Al-Sheikhly et al. is a case of scientific misconduct".
Kees (C.S.) Roselaar, one of the compilers of The Birds of the Western Palearctic (Cramp et al. 1977-1994, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Birds_of_the_Western_Palearctic ), told me in February 2020 at the Dutch Birding Day at Naturalis in Leiden, The Netherlands, that he agrees with us that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) is based on fraud.
Contacts in March 2020 about this manuscript with the peer-reviewed journal Ardeola https://www.ardeola.org/en/ yielded the following statement from Javier Seoane, EiC of this journal: "The manuscript is a compelling report of a worrying case of scientific misconduct".
Contacts in June 2020 with the peer-reviewed Journal of Zoology https://zslpublications.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/14697998 yielded the following statement from Elina Rantanen, editor of this journal: "the decision is not based on the quality of the science in your paper. We wish you every success in having your paper published elsewhere."
Both comments refer to a virtual identical version of the manuscript which is at the moment under consideration at a peer-reviewed journal.
My extensive correspondence over a period of several years with all kind of stakeholders and other parties has not yielded a single name of an expert / peer / reviewer / editor who was willing to state that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) is based on solid science.
Correspondence in April-May 2019 about an earlier version of this manuscript with Alan Lee, EiC of the peer-reviewed journal Ostrich Journal of African Ornithology https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/tost20/current and Research Associate at the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town, South-Africa http://www.fitzpatrick.uct.ac.za/fitz/staff/research/lee yielded a statement from Alan Lee in which he declared that he had no scientific opinion about any of the topics in the manuscript, because:
(a) he had never visited Iraq;
(b) he had never visited Iran;
(c) he had, towards the best of his knowledge, never observed a Basra Reed Warbler;
(d) he did not know anyone connected to or associated with the journal ZME and with the Basra Reed Warbler study.
It should be noted that the entire population of the Basra Reed Warbler winters in Africa and that it seems likely to state the species spends around half of its annual cycle in Africa (source: http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/basra-reed-warbler-acrocephalus-griseldis ).
 
Klaas van Dijk
added an update
Outcome of recent correspondence with the journal 'Learned Publishing'
Several e-mails about a.o. the whereabouts of the raw research data of Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013) have been exchanged in the period October 2019 - March 2020 with Deleted Profile https://www.pspconsulting.org/, Editor in Chief of 'Learned Publishing' https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/17414857 , and with others of this journal. These e-mail exchanges reveal that no one from this journal has been able to provide a single piece of evidence that the raw research data of Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013), or parts of these data, do exist.
Furthermore, these e-mails have yielded not a single peer / scientist / expert / reviewer from this journal who was willing to state, together with a name and affiliation(s), that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) is based on solid science. It seems thus reasonable to argue that also the peer-reviewed journal 'Learned Publishing' has 0 peers / scientists / experts / reviewers who are willing to state, together with their full name and affiliation(s), that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) is based on solid science.
 
Klaas van Dijk
added an update
Discussions at a Royal KNAW conference in November 2019 about the efforts to retract the fraudulent Basra Reed-warbler study
Our long-term efforts to retract this fraudulent Basra Reed-warbler study were extensively discussed at a research integrity conference of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (Royal KNAW) https://knaw.nl/en on 25 November 2019 at Amsterdam.
I was not invited to join this conference.
Science journalist Maurice Timmermans https://www.maurice-timmermans.nl/ did not contact me for his publications about this topic in several university newspapers. Maurice Timmermans did not respond as well on e-mails about this publications and send to him on 1 and 5 and 25 December 2019.
My views about these discussions at the Royal KNAW conference are since 10 January 2020 published at https://kloptdatwel.nl/2020/01/10/de-zaak-basrakarekiet/ (in Dutch).
The author of this interview with me, Pepijn van Erp, is a member of the council of the Dutch NGO Skepsis https://skepsis.nl/english/ (note that the blog Kloptdatwel is an activity which is independent from Skepsis).
 
Klaas van Dijk
added an update
"From: Neil Morris; Date: 4 May 2015 22:01:14 GMT+1; To: Max Kasparek; Subject: Undermining the reputation of ZME
Sir,
I refer to Al-Sheikhly, OF, N Iyad & F Barbanera. 2013. Breeding ecology of the Basra Reed Warbler, Acrocephalus griseldis, in Iraq (Aves: Passeriformes: Acrocephalidae).  Zoology in the Middle East, Vol.59, No 2:107–117.
As an ornithologist with extensive experience of birds and conservation in the Middle East, I write to express my disappointment at the continuing saga relating to Al-Sheikhly et al's 2013 paper.
The paper, and the fatuous follow-up comments by Al-Sheikhly in response to criticism from some of Europe's pre-eminent ornithologists and conservationists, fall well below the standard set by ZME. I urge you to take a firm editorial stance, accept the initial error made in publishing the paper concerned, and publicly expunge the paper and its findings from the scientific record. Otherwise, a generation of field biologists will in future be using erroneous assumptions, methods and benchmarks for their own research and data - a deceit for which they will not thank you. And I am sure you do not wish your journal to be seen by its readership to be perpetuating this significant ill-service to the cause of field ecology and wildlife conservation.
I personally feel that unless you take positive action, then I will no longer be able to recommend ZME to my librarian, ecologist and ornithological network.
To put it prosaically, for example, all my ornithological associates have found great merriment in the idea that male and female Basra Reed Warblers can morphologically be identified to gender in the field. Behaviourally, there are helpful clues; but using morphology and then keeping track of identified genders under field conditions is absurd.
Please advise me of your current editorial view on the veracity of the original paper, and of the actions you intend to take, in order that the esteem with which I have held ZME might be restored, and so that I might continue to recommend your publication.
I shall also be writing to the responsible executive at T&F in order to express my disappointment that an honest editorial misjudgement is being perpetuated by the lack of remedial editorial action.
Faithfully,
Neil G Morris
Consultant Ornithologist
Sent from my iPad"
 
Klaas van Dijk
added an update
Also professor Ulrich Mayr of the University of Oregon is urging TF to retract the fraudulent Basra Reed Warbler study
Recent contacts with professor Ulrich Mayr , Department Head of the Department of Psychology at the University of Oregon (UO), and with others at UO, have revealed that that it is correct to state that there are 0 experts / peers / specialists / reviewers at UO who are willing to provide a statement that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) is based on solid science (together with their name and credentials, and with a declaration that their statement can be published and that these persons are willing to communicate with us and with others about their statement).
These recent contacts with professor Ulrich Mayr and with others at UO also reveal that it is correct to state that there are 0 experts / peers / specialists / reviewers at UO who have been able to rebut / refute any of the findings of the reports at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318340512 and at https://osf.io/ajsvw/ (see also https://osf.io/5pnk7/ ).
Besides, these recent contacts reveal that professor Ulrich Mayr does not rebut and/or refute, and that in the widest possible sense, that the raw research data of Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013) do not exist.
The laudable statements about research ethics at the website of the University of Oregon imply that also professor Ulrich Mayr of the University of Oregon is urging TF to retract the fraudulent Basra Reed Warbler study (Al-Sheikhly et al. 2013, 2015, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/263688691 and https://www.researchgate.net/publication/277281920
 
Klaas van Dijk
added an update
Also BirdLife South Africa is urging Taylor & Francis to retract the fraudulent study on the Basra Reed Warbler
The Basra Reed Warbler is an Endangered bird species which is exclusively wintering in Africa. Recent contacts with Mark Anderson, Chief Executive Officer of BirdLife South Africa, and with others at BirdLife South Africa, about the long-term efforts to get retracted a fraudulent study on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler (Al-Sheikhly et al. 2013, 2015) have revealed:
(1): not a single expert / reviewer / scientist from BirdLife South Africa has been able to refute and/or to rebut any of the findings in the reports at https://osf.io/ajsvw/ and at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318340512
(2): not a single expert / reviewer / scientist from BirdLife South Africa agrees with the authors of Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/263688691 and https://www.researchgate.net/publication/277281920 that their study (Al-Sheikhly et al. 2013, 2015) is based on solid science;
(3): experts / reviewers / scientists from BirdLife South Africa support the findings in the report at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318340512 that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) contains fabricated and/or falsified data;
(4): BirdLife South Africa urges publisher Taylor & Francis to retract the fraudulent study on the Basra Reed Warbler (Al-Sheikhly et al. 2013, 2015), and as soon as possible;
(5): the above listed items are the main reason why http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/Basra-Reed-Warbler does not refer to (any of the findings in) Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015);
(6): the above listed items are the main reason why https://www.researchgate.net/publication/331478859 does not refer to (any of the findings in) Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015);
(7): there are no objections from the side of BirdLife South Africa to publish this information.
 
Klaas van Dijk
added an update
The University of Pisa, Italy, does not refute that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) contain fabricated and/or falsified data.
I received a few weeks ago a formal letter (# 58146) from the University of Pisa, Italy, which was dated 5 June 2019 and which was signed by professor Paolo Mancarella, the rector of the University of Pisa. It can be concluded from this letter:
(1) the University of Pisa is unable to rebut and/or to refute that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) contain fabricated and/or falsified data;
(2) co-author Private Profile of the University of Pisa is unable to rebut and/or to refute that his articles (Al-Sheikhly et al. 2013, 2015) contain fabricated and/or falsified data;
(3) co-author Private Profile of the University of Pisa is unable to rebut and/or to refute any of the findings of the reports at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318340512 and at https://osf.io/ajsvw/ ;
(4) not a single expert / reviewer from the University of Pisa is able to rebut and/or refute any of the findings of the reports at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318340512 and at https://osf.io/ajsvw/ .
 
Klaas van Dijk
added an update
Preliminary summary of the main findings of a report by experts of the Natural History Research Center and Museum / Baghdad University
The Iraqi Ministry of Environment had also initiated an extensive inquiry about the credibility of the study on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler and published in Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015). This inquiry was conducted by experts of the Natural History Research Center and Museum / Baghdad University.
A report with the findings was published on 12 April 2016.
The report is available at https://osf.io/ajsvw/ Below a preliminary summary of the main findings of this report. (The report is written in the Arab language.)
* the experts conclude that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013) contains inaccurate and wrong conclusions.
* the experts conclude that the study reported in Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013) is in general weak in providing evidences.
* the experts conclude that the research reported in Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013) is not convincing.
* the experts conclude that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013) contains conclusions which are not supported by field data.
* the experts state that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013) contains incorrect information about the occurrence of the species in western Iraq.
* the experts support the statements in Porter et al. (2015a&b) that male and females of the Basra Reed Warbler cannot be identified in the field merely based on seeing them.
* the experts support the other methodological issues which are listed in Porter et al. (2015a).
* the experts propose that all unpublished data will become available.
* the experts support the preliminary investigations which have been published on 1 July 2016 as the report 'Final investigation on serious allegations of fabricated and/or falsified data in Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) - 1 July 2016'.
* the experts were not satisfied with the responses in Al-Sheikhly et al. (2015), in particular in regard to the issues mentioned in their own report and to the issues mentioned in the preliminary investigations (which were published on 1 July 2016, see above).
* the experts propose to ask the opinion of external experts with thorough knowledge on 'reed warblers' (Acrocephalus ssp.). Such an opinion is listed in the report which was published on 1 July 2016.
Comments on this preliminary summary of the main findings of this report by the experts of the Natural History Research Center and Museum / Baghdad University are highly appreciated.
 
Klaas van Dijk
added an update
My paper at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/320830223 does not contain 'bizarre claims'
My paper 'Is partial behaviour a plausible explanation for the unavailability of the ICMJE disclosure form of an author in a BMJ journal?' was published on 2 November 2017. This paper documents (a.o.) behaviour of Elizabeth Moylan which is related to the efforts to get retracted the fraudulent study on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler.
Elizabeth Moylan was at that time a member of the council of COPE, the 'Committee on Publication Ethics'. I have informed Frits Rosendaal, another member of the council of COPE, about the publication of this paper on 4 November 2017. I have informed Frits Rosendaal in this e-mail that my paper is published as 'Discussion Note' and that the editor is looking forwards to comments / responses on my paper, for example from Elizabeth Moylan and/or from BMJ et al., and that such comments will be published alongside my paper.
Frits Rosendaal has until now not responded on this e-mail. I have until now not been informed that such comments and/or responses have been submitted to the journal. Others received on 11 November 2017 an e-mail from Frits Rosendaal about this topic. Frits Rosendaal wrote in this e-mail that my paper contains 'bizarre claims'. Details to substantiate this statement are not listed in this e-mail. Frits Rosendaal and others have until now not substantiated that my paper contains 'bizarre claims'. I have therefore concluded that my paper does not contain 'bizarre claims'. I am looking forward to comments about this conclusion.
 
Klaas van Dijk
added an update
See https://osf.io/ma85h/ for my comments on a new version of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (ACRCR)
Three complaints against publisher Taylor & Francis (TF) were filed to COPE in the first half of July 2015 when it turned out that TF was refusing to work together with us to retract this fraudulent study on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler. COPE informed us on 26 July 2015 to start with processing our complaints. TF would be requested for comments on our concerns, we would be copied in this correspondence and COPE would act as a facilitator of a dialogue with the publisher. It turned out in mid September 2015 that COPE was unwilling to work together with us. This became evident after COPE received a comment from Dr. Burton, one of the 14 authors of Porter et al. (2015a,b). Dr. Burton wrote in an e-mail to COPE, dated 6 September 2015: 'a summary of the whole affair, but concentrating on the Academia cover up in Nature?'. COPE informed us on 13 July 2016 that the processing of the complaints was terminated. There was not yet a dialogue with the publisher and the correspondence was never received. Questions would not be answered.
Some people who bear responsibilities at COPE are affiliated to Australian universities. They therefore need to act according to the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (ACRCR) at https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines-publications/r39 The ACRCR states that 'wilful concealment or facilitation of research misconduct by others' is regarded as scientific misconduct. Australian universities were therefore contacted after it turned out that the behaviour of these people fulfilled the criteria (a) 'intent and deliberation / persistent negligence', and (b) 'false information on the public record', and (c) 'an alleged breach of this Code' (in this case 'wilful concealment or facilitation of research misconduct by others'). The 'false information on the public record' is documented in the report 'Final investigation on serious allegations of fabricated and/or falsified data in Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015)'. This report is since 1 July 2016 in the possession of COPE.
My experiences with contacting several of these Australian universities were used to make comments on a draft of the new version of the ACRCR, see https://consultations.nhmrc.gov.au/public_consultations/australian-code for backgrounds about this public consultation. My comment was submitted on 28 February 2017. It was received in good order. It is stated at https://consultations.nhmrc.gov.au/files/consultations/drafts/resources/frequentlyaskedquestionsfinal.pdf that all comments will be made public. This has until now not happened. I have therefore decided to make a project at OSF with the full version of my comments on the new version of the ACRCR, see https://osf.io/ma85h/ I have informed NHMRC about this decision. I quickly received a response ('Thank you for your email to NHMRC and your ongoing interest in the review of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007).'). This response from NHMRC, the National Health and Medical Research Council, did not contain any information from which it can be concluded that they objected that my comment was published at https://osf.io/ma85h/
 
Klaas van Dijk
added an update
No response on a complaint filed to COPE about the acting of publisher Taylor & Francis
A complaint (called a ‘concern’) was filed on 28 November 2017 to the Facilitation and Integrity Subcommittee of COPE ( the Commmittee on Publication Ethics, https://publicationethics.org/ ) about the persistent refusal of their member Taylor & Francis to provide us with a retraction note of the fraudulent study on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler. See for backgrounds the report "Final investigation on serious allegations of fabricated and/or falsified data in Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015)" at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318340512
The complaint was filed through the online form at https://publicationethics.org/facilitation-and-integrity-subcommittee . A response from COPE was received on the same day:
“Thank you for submitting your concern or issue to the Facilitation and Integrity Subcommittee. Your concern will be reviewed initially by the Facilitation and Integrity Officer who will proceed according to https://publicationethics.org/files/Facilitation%20and%20integrity_November2017.pdf . We will provide an update to you every 4 weeks or, when an update is available, sooner.”
It is right now 1 March 2018 and I have until now not received a single update. This is towards my opinion a worrisome development.
 
Klaas van Dijk
added an update
Call for a copy of a report of the Iraq Ministry of the Environment about the fraudulent study of the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler.
I was informed for already quite a while ago that the Iraq Ministry of the Environment has published a report in the Arab language about the fraudulent study of the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler by Omar Al-Sheikhly et al. The report has an extensive summary in English. I am told that the findings of this report of the Iraq Ministry of the Environment are similar to the findings of the report "Final investigation on serious allegations of fabricated and/or falsified data in Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015)" ( https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318340512 ). I am of course very interested in a copy of this report of the Iraq Ministry of the Environment. I am in contact with a science journalist who is also very interested in getting a copy. Efforts to get a copy of this report are until now unsuccessful.
I would be pleased if a reader of this update is able to provide me with a copy of this report of the Iraq Ministry of the Environment. Salwan Ali Abed Guy M. Kirwan
 
Klaas van Dijk
added an update
Is partial behaviour a plausible explanation for the unavailability of the ICMJE disclosure form of an author in a BMJ journal?
The herculean efforts to get retracted the fraudulent study on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler are until now unsuccessful. One of the outcomes is the publication on 2 November 2017 of a paper with this title in the DOAJ-listed journal “Roars Transactions, a Journal on Research Policy and Evaluation”. The paper is open access and descibes my efforts to get a copy of the ICMJE disclosure form of a paper authored by Dr. Elizabeth Moylan, a member of the council of COPE. See https://www.researchgate.net/publication/320830223 See also https://riviste.unimi.it/index.php/roars/issue/view/1077
Abstract: This case study about the ethical behaviour in the field of scholarly publishing documents an exception on the rule for research articles in the medical journal BMJ Open that ICMJE disclosure forms of authors must be made available on request. The ICMJE, the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, has developed these forms for the disclosure of conflicts of interest for authors of medical publications. The case refers to the form of the corresponding author of an article in BMJ Open on retraction notices (Moylan and Kowalczuk, 2016, [see https://www.researchgate.net/publication/310778980 ]). The corresponding author is a member of the council of COPE, the Committee on Publication Ethics. I will argue that the unavailability of the form relates to personal conflicts of interest with the corresponding author about my efforts to retract a fatally flawed study on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis. I describe my attempts to get the form and I will argue that its unavailability can be attributed to partial behaviour by BMJ, the publisher of BMJ Open. This study complements other sources reporting ethical issues at COPE.
This new paper is published in the section ‘Discussion Notes’. The editors of “Roars Transactions, a Journal on Research Policy and Evaluation” are encouraging readers to submit comments / responses. These comments / responses will be published alongside the paper. I have informed this morning publisher BMJ http://www.bmj.com/ about the publication of this new paper and I have invited BMJ to submit comments / responses.
 
Klaas van Dijk
added a research item
This case study about the ethical behaviour in the field of scholarly publishing documents an exception on the rule for research articles in the medical journal BMJ Open that ICMJE disclosure forms of authors must be made available on request. The ICMJE, the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, has developed these forms for the disclosure of conflicts of interest for authors of medical publications. The case refers to the form of the corresponding author of an article in BMJ Open on retraction notices (Moylan and Kowalczuk, 2016). The corresponding author is a member of the council of COPE, the Committee on Publication Ethics. I will argue that the unavailability of the form relates to personal conflicts of interest with the corresponding author about my efforts to retract a fatally flawed study on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis. I describe my attempts to get the form and I will argue that its unavailability can be attributed to partial behaviour by BMJ, the publisher of BMJ Open. This study complements other sources reporting ethical issues at COPE.
Klaas van Dijk
added an update
Nobel laureate Randy Schekman is urging Taylor & Francis to retract the fraudulent study on the Basra Reed Warbler
It is listed in my comment of 1 August 2017 that Mark Patterson, the Executive Director of the journal eLife https://elifesciences.org , states that Taylor & Francis (TF) must retract both fraudulent articles on the Basra Reed Warbler (Al-Sheikhly et al. 2013, 2015), and as soon as possible, because he has established that both contain fabricated and/or falsified data. It is also listed in this comment of 1 August 2017 that OASPA is refusing to punish TF for the refusal to retract this fraudulent study. Mark Patterson is one of the members of the board of OASPA and therefore co-responsible and co-accountable for the refusal until now of OASPA to start with punishing member TF for their persistent refusal to retract this fraudulent study.
ELife is a high profile open access journal with an extensive list of high-profile ecologists as editors, see https://elifesciences.org/about/people/ecology Professor Randy Schekman, a Nobel Laureate, is Editor-in-chief of this journal. Mark Patterson did not respond on an email of 5 August 2017 with concerns about this refusal of OASPA to start with punishing TF. I have therefore contacted professor Schekman on 15 August 2017 about this issue. This email was sent in cc to several members of the staff of eLife, including Mark Patterson. I have informed professor Schekman about my concerns and proposed professor Schekman to communicate with him and with others at eLife about the findings in https://www.academia.edu/33827046 through the common accepted practice within the field of publication ethics of 'tacit approval within a fixed period of time'. Until now only two out-of-office auto-replies were received. So professor Schekman and publisher eLife do not object -until now- to communicate with me through the concept of tacit approval within a fixed period of time about the findings in https://www.academia.edu/33827046
A follow-up e-mail about this issue was sent to professor Schekman on 27 August 2017. This email was also sent to all at https://elifesciences.org/about/people/ecology and to members of the staff of publisher eLife (including Mark Patterson). Until now only several out-of-office auto-replies were received. There is no information that professor Schekman, and/or all others at https://elifesciences.org/about/people/ecology, are simultaneously sick and/or on leave and/or for a prolonged period of time at a site without access to the internet. So professor Schekman and publisher eLife once again do not object to communicate with me about the main findings of https://www.academia.edu/33827046 through the concept of tacit approval within a fixed period of time.
I state in this e-mail of 27 August 2017 that I have concluded that "also you, Nobel Laureate professor Randy Schekman and Editor-in-Chief of the journal eLife, fully support all findings of https://www.academia.edu/33827046 , and that therefore also you, Nobel Laureate professor Randy Schekman and Editor-in-Chief of the journal eLife, is urging Editor-in-Chief Dr. Max Kasparek and publisher TF to retract the fraudulent study on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler (Al-Sheikhly et al. 2013, 2015), and as soon as possible, because Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) contain fabricated and/or falsified data, and that this retraction is necessary to prevent a further contamination of the scientific body of knowledge."
There is until now no one from the staff of publisher eLife and from any of the high-profile ecologists at https://elifesciences.org/about/people/ecology who has rebutted / refutes this view and who has informed me that there are objections to post a comment about this topic at ResearchGate. I have therefore concluded that it is correct to state that also 'Nobel Laureate Randy Schekman is urging Taylor & Francis to retract the fraudulent study on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler'.
This new development is once again a major set-back for both TF and Editor-in-Chief Dr. Max Kasparek of 'Zoology in the Middle East', the journal which published the fraudulent study. Comments are, as always, highly welcome.
 
Klaas van Dijk
added an update
OASPA is refusing to punish Taylor & Francis for the refusal to retract Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015)
Zoology in the Middle East is published by Taylor & Francis (TF). This publisher is member of OASP, the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association https://oaspa.org/
A formal complaint to OASPA for the refusal of TF to retract both fraudulent articles on the Basra Reed Warbler was filed on 3 March 2017. The processing of this complaint was very professionally. See http://www.birdforum.net/showpost.php?p=3556631&postcount=16 for details. The outcome was a major setback for TF and for Editor in Chief Dr. Kasparek, because all members of the Board of OASPA fully support the main findings of the Final Investigation at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318340512 that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) contain fabricated and/or falsified data and that thus both must be retracted, and as soon as possible.
So Paul Peters (Hindawi, https://www.hindawi.com ), Eelco Ferwerda (OAPEN Foundation, http://www.oapen.org ), Rhodri Jackson (Oxford University Press, http://global.oup.com ), Carrie Calder (Springer Nature, http://www.springer.com ), Catriona MacCallum (PLOS, https://www.plos.org, currently Hindawi), Xenia van Edig (Copernicus Publications, https://www.copernicus.org ), Mark Patterson (eLife, https://elifesciences.org ), Lars Bjørnshauge (DOAJ, https://doaj.org ) and Pete Binfield (PeerJ, https://peerj.com ) state that TF must retract both fraudulent articles on the Basra Reed Warbler, and as soon as possible, because it has been established that both contain fabricated and/or falsified data.
https://oaspa.org/oaspas-second-statement-following-the-article-in-science-entitled-whos-afraid-of-peer-review/ and https://oaspa.org/statement-regarding-the-suspension-of-springers-membership-in-oaspa/ reveal that it is no problem for OASPA to punish members who are violating the ‘Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing’.
I therefore fail to understand why OASPA is not willing to punish their member TF for obvious violations of these ‘Principles' (= the refusal to retract the two fraudulent articles, both open access, on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler, and therefore accepting that the scientific body of knowledge gets contaminated), and in particular because the full Board of OASPA fully underlines the main findings of
I am looking forwards to comments on this topic.
 
Klaas van Dijk
added an update
I noted a research integrity issue which is related to this project with one of the members of the editorial board of the journal 'Research Integrity and Peer Review' https://researchintegrityjournal.biomedcentral.com/
I have therefore contacted Dr. Joerg Meerpohl about this issue on 12 July 2017. Dr. Meerpohl is one of the Editors-in-Chief of this journal and co-director of Cochrane Germany, http://www.cochrane.de/welcome and http://www.open-project.eu/project-partners . I have sent Dr. Meerpohl the next day a follow-up with some backgrounds. I have proposed Dr. Meerpohl in this email to communicate with me about the main findings of the report 'Final investigation on serious allegations of fabricated and/or falsified data in Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) - 1 July 2016' at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318340512 within the framework of tacit approval within a fixed period of time, a common practice within the field of publication ethics. I received the same day a response from Dr. Meerpohl in which he told me to look into this issue and to come back with me in due time. Dr. Meerpohl did not mention in this response that he had objections to work within the framework of tacit approval within a fixed period of time about the main findings of https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318340512
Dr. Meerpohl listed in his response of that day no objections against the statement in my first email of that day to him in which it is stated: "Dr. Meerpohl supports the main findings of the 'Final Investigation' at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318340512 that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) contains fabricated and/or falsified data and that therefore Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) must be retracted, and as soon as possible." I received on 27 July 2017 a follow-up from Dr. Meerpohl. Dr. Meerpohl told me in this follow-up that he had consulted with the other Editors-in-Chief of the journal about the issue with one of the members of the editorial board, and that he had decided to consider this matter as closed. Dr. Meerpohl once again did not object in this e-mail of 27 July 2017 that I am allowed to communicate with him about the main findings of the 'Final Investigation' at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318340512 within the framework of tacit approval within a fixed period of time.
It can therefore be concluded that it is correct to state that Dr. Joerg Meerpohl, the co-director of Cochrane Germany and one of the Editors-in-Chief of the journal 'Research Integrity and Peer Review' "supports the main findings of the Final Investigation at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318340512 that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) contains fabricated and/or falsified data and that therefore Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) must be retracted, and as soon as possible."
That's towards my opinion a major development for this project.
Max Kasparek Private Profile Joerg J Meerpohl Maria Kowalczuk Private Profile
 
Klaas van Dijk
added an update
Dr. Sophien Kamoun and Dr. Cyril Zipfel of the Sainsbury Laboratory in the UK propose in a recent letter in 'Nature' ( http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v531/n7593/full/531173e.html ) that a failure to repair errors must be regarded as scientific misconduct. Extensive information about the policy on scientific integrity at the Sainsbury Laboratory can be read at http://www.tsl.ac.uk/about-tsl/scientific-integrity/ It is stated at this url: "Research misconduct does not include honest error, or honest differences in the interpretation or assessment of data. However, once an error is detected it is the researcher’s responsibility to address the issue and fix the record in a timely fashion. Failure to do so could be construed as research misconduct."
Dr. Max Kasparek is founder and editor-in-chief of 'Zoology in the Middle East', the journal which has published both fraudulent papers on the Basra Reed Warbler (Al-Sheikhly et al. 2013, 2015). Dr. Kasparek is since 1 July 2016 in the possession of
Dr. Kasparek has until now not rebutted / refuted the main findings of this report that both articles contain fabricated and/or falsified data and thus must be retracted. Dr. Kasparek has until now not produced comments / views of experts with opposing views. Dr. Kasparek has until now not retracted both fraudulent articles from his journal. So how to judge this behaviour of the editor-in-chief of 'Zoology in the Middle East' when comparing it with the proposal in the recent letter in Nature and with the policy of the Sainsbury Laboratory at http://www.tsl.ac.uk/about-tsl/scientific-integrity/ ?
I would be pleased to get some feed-back on this topic.
 
Klaas van Dijk
added an update
The biologist Dr. Filippo Barbanera of the University of Pisa is one of the co-authors of the two fraudulent articles (Al-Sheikhly et al. 2013, 2015). Both fraudulent articles are not yet retracted and there is no information that both will soon be retracted.
There are thus serious grounds to argue that the refusal of Dr. Barbanera to (take steps to) retract Al-Sheikhy et al. (2013, 2015) implies that he is at the moment violating the ethical guidelines of the University of Pisa at
This update informs the followers of this project that on 2 July 2017 a formal complaint has been filed to the rector of the University of Pisa with serious allegations of research misconduct / serious allegations of severe violations of the ethical guidelines of the University of Pisa by Dr. Barbanera. This formal complaint was send in cc to Dr. Barbanera and to the members of the 'Commissione etica' of the University of Pisa ( https://www.unipi.it/index.php/organi-dell-ateneo/itemlist/category/443-commissione-etica ).
Dr. Barbanera and others have until now not indicated that there are errors and/or mistakes in the texts of this formal complaint. Dr. Barbanera and others (at the University of Pisa) have until now not rebutted / refuted any of the findings of the 'Final investigation on serious allegations of fabricated and/or falsified data in Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) - 1 July 2016'.
Copy/pasted from http://retractionwatch.com/2017/07/17/diabetes-researcher-sued-prevent-retractions-now-13/#comment-1366857 (a comment by 'rfg', posted on 17 July 2017 at 11:50 am):
'All authors are responsible for all the content of any paper of which you are an author. No this doesn’t mean that you are responsible for the misconduct of others. What it does mean is that you are responsible for cleaning of their mess when it is discovered. Proper response is not “I am not responsible or the correspondent author of this manuscript.” Proper response is: “just as soon as I learned of the errors or misconduct I worked tirelessly with the editors to correct or retract the paper and protect the integrity of the scientific literature.
References:
 
Klaas van Dijk
added a project goal
Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/263688691 and https://www.researchgate.net/publication/277281920 ) contain fabricated and/or falsified data. Both must thus be retracted, and as soon as possible, to ensure the integrity of the scientific body of knowledge. Backgrounds and motives at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318340512 (also posted at https://www.academia.edu/33827046 ).