With thanks to the One Click Group 2.2.12 and the Financial Times‘ Science Editor, Clive Cookson:
UK research is plagued with misconduct, according to a survey of 2,700 scientists by the British Medical Journal. It found that 13 per cent had first-hand knowledge of UK-based researchers deliberately altering or fabricating data, while 6 per cent were aware of misconduct that had not been properly investigated.The British Medical Journal released the results at a conference in London where experts pushed for stronger action to tackle what they said was a problem being ignored by many universities, hospitals and other scientific institutions. Fiona Godlee, BMJ editor, said the survey showed “that there is a substantial number of cases and that UK institutions are failing to investigate adequately, if at all. “The BMJ has been told of junior academics being advised to keep concerns to themselves to protect their careers, being bullied into not publishing their findings, or having their contracts terminated when they spoke out,” she added.
Speaker after speaker at the meeting said Britain should not be complacent just because the most publicised cases of fraud in recent years had taken place in other countries. “The British public do not know what is going on,” said Dr Godlee. “People need to realise that misconduct is affecting patients every day and it is a misappropriation of public funds.”
Journal editors were often the first to come across cases of misconduct, when they spotted inconsistencies in scientific or medical papers, said Elizabeth Wager, chair of the Committee on Publication Ethics, a forum for editors and publishers. “But they are not the right people to investigate misconduct,” she said. “That responsibility lies with the researchers’ institutions.”
“This BMJ survey chimes with our experience from COPE where we see many cases of institutions not co-operating with journals and failing to investigate research misconduct properly,” Dr Wager added.
Ginny Barbour, a senior editor with the PLoS group of journals, said one-third of authors could not find the original data to back up figures in scientific papers when these were questioned.
Unlike some other countries, the UK has no official national body to deal with research misconduct. The closest equivalent is the UK Research Integrity Office, established in 2006 as a voluntary body funded mainly by universities “UK RIO is a fairly modest organisation and we have had a bumpy ride [getting established] because some players wanted us to die a death,” said vice-chair Mike Farthing, vice-chancellor of Sussex University. But he hoped for more institutional support to expand its activities in future.
See Why Most Published Research Findings Are False Ioannidis JPA (2005) Why Most Published Research Findings Are False. PLoS Med 2(8): e124. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124 ‘… There is increasing concern that most current published research findings are false. The probability that a research claim is true may depend on study power and bias, the number of other studies on the same question, and, importantly, the ratio of true to no relationships among the relationships probed in each scientific field. In this framework, a research finding is less likely to be true when the studies conducted in a field are smaller; when effect sizes are smaller; when there is a greater number and lesser preselection of tested relationships; where there is greater flexibility in designs, definitions, outcomes, and analytical modes; when there is greater financial and other interest and prejudice; and when more teams are involved in a scientific field in chase of statistical significance. Simulations show that for most study designs and settings, it is more likely for a research claim to be false than true. Moreover, for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias. In this essay, I discuss the implications of these problems for the conduct and interpretation of research…’
See A key player in stoking this Swine Flu hysteria was Dr Iain Stephenson, a Consultant at University Hospital of Leicester NHS Trust who has been found guilty of vaccine research fraud on a grand scale by the General Medical Council (GMC).
See Thirteen per cent of scientists or doctors have said they know of colleagues who have fabricated data in order to get research published. More than one in ten (13%) scientists or doctors have witnessed colleagues intentionally altering or fabricating data to get published or during their research, a poll suggests. The survey of almost 2,800 experts in the UK also found 6% knew of possible research misconduct at their institution that has not been properly investigated. The poll, for the British Medical Journal (BMJ), is being presented at a meeting aimed at tackling research misconduct in the UK. 13 January 2012
See Mental scores decline precipitously at 30 months after anthrax vaccine, but CDC spins study to say vaccine safe Thursday, January 12, 2012
See http://www.theoneclickgroup.co.uk/news.php?id=6732#newspost Patient No. 28665 was helping a Chesterfield company test a drug dubbed the “female Viagra” but stopped showing up for exams in December 2007. That didn’t stop a staffer of the company, PPS Clinical Research STL, from claiming that six months later the patient came in for an exam, was diagnosed with medical conditions, had undergone tests and even had given a urine sample. That admission was made in the company’s guilty plea to a federal felony charge of obstructing a proceeding of a federal agency. The drug the company helped test, aimed at women who suffered from an unexplained lack of sexual desire, never made it to market. As part of the plea, PPS admitted that it “corruptly influenced, obstructed, and impeded” an inspection by the Food and Drug Administration by providing false patient records in May 2010. During the trials, the drug’s manufacturer faulted PPS for failing to have a trained investigator conduct some exams, for back dating records and for failing to properly oversee one patient’s selection for the study, according to prosecutors. Boehringer did not respond to emails seeking comment.
See http://www.theoneclickgroup.co.uk/news.php?id=6610#newspost A well-known psychologist in the Netherlands whose work has been published widely in professional journals falsified data and made up entire experiments, an investigating committee has found. Experts say the case exposes deep flaws in the way science is done in a field, psychology, that has only recently earned a fragile respectability.
See Reporting of Conflicts of Interest in Meta-analyses of Trials of Pharmacological Treatments. Michelle Roseman, BA; Katherine Milette, BSc; Lisa A. Bero, PhD; James C. Coyne, PhD; Joel Lexchin, MD; Erick H. Turner, MD; Brett D. Thombs, PhD. JAMA. 2011;305(10):1008-1017. doi: 10.1001/jama.2011.257