Investigating the previous studies of a fraudulent author

UnitedHealth Europe, London SW1P 1SB.
BMJ (online) (Impact Factor: 17.45). 08/2005; 331(7511):288-91. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.331.7511.288
Source: PubMed


This year, the journal Nutrition retracted a study by R K Chandra, and questions have been raised about the integrity of the rest of his work. Who has the responsibility for investigating previous work and if necessary punishing the researcher and correcting the scientific record?

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Available from: Richard Smith, Jul 22, 2014
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    • "Authors responsible for multiple retracted articles have received a great deal of attention [8], [23], [29]–[33], and our results show that they have had a considerable impact on the literature. Prior to the most recent decade, authors with >5 retractions (Fig. 4) were a few highly prolific scientists, including Robert Gullis, who misrepresented hypotheses as experimental results in 8 articles [25], John Darsee who authored 13 articles later retracted for data fabrication [34], [35], and Robert Slutsky, who had 17 articles retracted for fraud [29]. Recognition of serial misconduct has increased in recent years, although retractions by authors with only one retraction are more common (Fig. 3) and proportionally more important (Fig. 4). "
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    ABSTRACT: The number of retracted scientific publications has risen sharply, but it is unclear whether this reflects an increase in publication of flawed articles or an increase in the rate at which flawed articles are withdrawn. We examined the interval between publication and retraction for 2,047 retracted articles indexed in PubMed. Time-to-retraction (from publication of article to publication of retraction) averaged 32.91 months. Among 714 retracted articles published in or before 2002, retraction required 49.82 months; among 1,333 retracted articles published after 2002, retraction required 23.82 months (p<0.0001). This suggests that journals are retracting papers more quickly than in the past, although recent articles requiring retraction may not have been recognized yet. To test the hypothesis that time-to-retraction is shorter for articles that receive careful scrutiny, time-to-retraction was correlated with journal impact factor (IF). Time-to-retraction was significantly shorter for high-IF journals, but only ∼1% of the variance in time-to-retraction was explained by increased scrutiny. The first article retracted for plagiarism was published in 1979 and the first for duplicate publication in 1990, showing that articles are now retracted for reasons not cited in the past. The proportional impact of authors with multiple retractions was greater in 1972-1992 than in the current era (p<0.001). From 1972-1992, 46.0% of retracted papers were written by authors with a single retraction; from 1993 to 2012, 63.1% of retracted papers were written by single-retraction authors (p<0.001). The increase in retracted articles appears to reflect changes in the behavior of both authors and institutions. Lower barriers to publication of flawed articles are seen in the increase in number and proportion of retractions by authors with a single retraction. Lower barriers to retraction are apparent in an increase in retraction for "new" offenses such as plagiarism and a decrease in the time-to-retraction of flawed work.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    • "This appears to make sense, but, in the case of Dr Chandra, proved difficult. Furthermore, with scientific research frequently involving multiple centres and more than one country the argument for an international authority to deal with issues of scientific integrity is strengthened (see also White 2005; Smith 2005). However, institutions and journals should perhaps be the repositories for the electronic data submitted together with manuscripts for publication purposes? "
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    ABSTRACT: Peer review is an essential component of the process that is universally applied prior to the acceptance of a manuscript, grant or other scholarly work. Most of us willingly accept the responsibilities that come with being a reviewer but how comfortable are we with the process? Peer review is open to abuse but how should it be policed and can it be improved? A bad peer review process can inadvertently ruin an individual's career, but are there penalties for policing a reviewer who deliberately sabotages a manuscript or grant? Science has received an increasingly tainted name because of recent high profile cases of alleged scientific misconduct. Once considered the results of work stress or a temporary mental health problem, scientific misconduct is increasingly being reported and proved to be a repeat offence. How should scientific misconduct be handled--is it a criminal offence and subject to national or international law? Similarly plagiarism is an ever-increasing concern whether at the level of the student or a university president. Are the existing laws tough enough? These issues, with appropriate examples, are dealt with in this review.
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