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More fabbicated data at Harvard Medical


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Initial post: May 31, 2012, 3:37:07 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 31, 2012, 3:41:01 PM PDT
Sorry for the typo in the title.
======================

http://www.boston.com/whitecoatnotes/2012/05/30/former-brigham-and-harvard-cancer-researcher-fabricated-data-federal-authorities-find/AQtt9wf53O12CCccMCyNQO/story.html

Former Brigham and Harvard cancer researcher fabricated data, federal authorities find

By Carolyn Y. Johnson, Globe Staff

A former research fellow at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School has been found by federal authorities to have fabricated and falsified data in a scientific manuscript that was accepted by a journal but withdrawn before publication.

According to a report by the federal Office of Research Integrity, Jian Ma was found to have falsified or fabricated portions of multiple figures that compared different types of mouse lung cancer cells.

The Office of Research Integrity "found that the Respondent [Ma] knowingly and intentionally fabricated and falsified data in portions of figures in an unpublished manuscript," the report states.

Those figures appeared in a paper that was accepted for publication by the Journal of Clinical Investigation in 2008, but it was withdrawn by one of the authors in early 2009, before it was published, according to a report of the finding of misconduct, which is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on Thursday. The finding does not specify which of the authors withdrew the paper.

Ma is no longer affiliated with the Brigham or the medical school, according to both institutions.

The editor of the journal said he was unable to respond until Thursday.

The fabricated images were used to support the paper's finding, which concerned a gene's involvement in lung cancer development and sensitivity to a drug called rapamycin.

In a statement, a spokeswoman from the Brigham said allegations of misconduct came to light "during review of an unpublished article."

The hospital "immediately conducted our own investigation per our policy and in conjunction with Harvard Medical School, and consistent with federal policy," the statement said. "We did find research misconduct and reported our findings to the ORI. We concur with the findings and administrative actions put forward by the ORI."

The finding of research misconduct includes sanctions against Ma, requiring that for three years, if federal funds are used to support research on which Ma works, a "supervisory plan must be designed to ensure the scientific integrity of his research contribution." A research institution that employs Ma must certify that the data provided by him are accurately reported in any application or report of federally-funded research. He is also prohibited from serving as a consultant or adviser to the goverment's Public Health Service.

Dr. Kwok-Kin Wong, the senior author of the paper and a physician and scientist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, wrote in a statement that the fabrication was discovered after the manuscript was accepted.

"It was noted that there were some irregularities with one of the immuno-blots depicted in one of the figures. When we asked the postdoctoral fellow to show us the original film for this piece of data, he confessed to splicing the figure together from several blots," Wong said. "At that time, a formal investigation was launched and the manuscript was withdrawn. All the experiments in the manuscript were subsequently redone and carefully reanalyzed by all the other authors. This series of experiments was then submitted and accepted for publication at Oncogene."

Carolyn Y. Johnson can be reached at cjohnson@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @carolynyjohnson.

Posted on May 31, 2012, 3:43:24 PM PDT
Rev Otter says:
behold the power of peer review!

In reply to an earlier post on May 31, 2012, 4:06:21 PM PDT
Posted on May 31, 2012 3:43:24 PM PDT
Rev. Otter says:
behold the power of peer review!

Damn -- and there was me just thinking that it was a way of keeping creationists from publishing in scientific journals

In reply to an earlier post on May 31, 2012, 4:13:31 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 31, 2012, 4:18:02 PM PDT
Rev. Otter wrote: "behold the power of peer review!"

This is not a case of peer review, since the paper had been accepted for publication but was withdrawn by a coauthor before it was published. One of the scandals is that many medical papers have long lists of coauthors, many of whom have done absolutely none of the research. This appears to be a case of one such coauthor--possibly Dr. Kwok-Kin Wong--who actually read the paper, after it had been accepted for publication, and discovered: "that there were some irregularities with one of the immuno-blots depicted in one of the figures. When we asked the postdoctoral fellow to show us the original film for this piece of data, he confessed to splicing the figure together from several blots." Wong was listed as "the senior author of the paper." I wonder what he actually did to merit this high billing?

In reply to an earlier post on May 31, 2012, 4:19:07 PM PDT
Rev Otter says:
<<This appears to be a case of one such coauthor--possibly Dr. Kwok-Kin Wong--who actually read the paper, after it had been accepted for publication, and discovered: "that there were some irregularities with one of the immuno-blots depicted in one of the figures. When we asked the postdoctoral fellow to show us the original film for this piece of data, he confessed to splicing the figure together from several blots.">>

"This is not a case of peer review" ... it's just a review by a peer.

brilliant! *clinks beakers*

In reply to an earlier post on May 31, 2012, 4:25:37 PM PDT
I interpret "peer review" to mean review by anonymous referees who submit their recommendations to the journal editors, NOT review by the supposed "senior author of the paper" after the referees had approved the paper for publication.

In reply to an earlier post on May 31, 2012, 4:34:50 PM PDT
Rev Otter says:
"Peer review is a process of self-regulation by a profession or a process of evaluation involving qualified individuals within the relevant field."

science, it works. :)

In reply to an earlier post on May 31, 2012, 5:43:53 PM PDT
"Wong was listed as "the senior author of the paper." I wonder what he actually did to merit this high billing? "

Easy. It must have been his lab and his research funding, that's how it works.

It's most unfortunate that the current system of academic funding, where all that matters is quantity of papers rather than quality, does nothing but encourage the premature publication of shoddy research. Plus the universities only tenuring/retaining those with high levels of funding. A bad system, and basically pro-business and anti-science. But people get caught in the trap and can't get out of it without risking their livelihood.

I'm just glad enough to have bought into the system in earlier days, so I can feel proud to say that "I put the fun in unfundable". (Luckily my research is cheap, but it's also extraordinarily well-cited.)

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 1, 2012, 1:32:18 AM PDT
Lj3d says:
Proof that as long as science is a human endevour, it will never be perfect. Its also unfortunate that science finds itself depending so much on corporate funding these days. That in itself can have some influence on scientific findings. But to date, nothing has worked as well as science has for explaining the natural world and providing tools that make life easier. Easy enough to be debating with computers instead of writing in dark caves.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 1, 2012, 9:16:21 AM PDT
As Mike Tyson would say: "I'm fabbergastic!"
Your reply to arpard fazakas's post:
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
 

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 1, 2012, 12:10:30 PM PDT
A chink in Ma's armory of data?

The Office of Research Integrity "found that the Respondent [Ma] knowingly and intentionally fabricated and falsified data in portions of figures in an unpublished manuscript," the report states.
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Discussion in:  Science forum
Participants:  6
Total posts:  11
Initial post:  May 31, 2012
Latest post:  Jun 1, 2012

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