Concerns about Marseille’s IHUMI/AMU papers – Part 2

This is part 2 of a series describing papers from the IHUMI/AMU institutions in Marseille, France, with potential problems. In Part 1, I listed papers with image concerns. In this follow-up I’ll focus on a set of papers that might have problems with human subjects research not having received proper ethical approval. The articles span a decade of research on homeless people in Marseille, and involve different studies and specimens — but all were run under just one IRB approval number.

Photo credit:
Jon Tyson @jontyson
on Unsplash
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Cassava Sciences: Of Posters and Spaghetti Plots

In a previous blog post, I took a look at Western blots in papers from the lab of Dr. Hoau-Yan Wang at City University of New York (CUNY), mostly related to Cassava Sciences (Nasdaq: $SAVA), its predecessor Pain Therapeutics INC, and its flagship Alzheimer’s Disease drug candidate Simufilam.

While those papers were mainly about the preclinical Simufilam data, here I will review a conference poster reporting on Phase 2 data obtained by Cassava Sciences.

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Cassava Sciences: Of stocks and blots

A group of anonymous persons filed a Statement of Concern with the FDA regarding the integrity of research papers about Simufilam, an Alzheimer’s Disease treatment drug candidate developed by Cassava Sciences (Nasdaq: $SAVA). The petition raises concerns about Western blots and methodology. I took a look at the problematic photos included in the report, and agree with most of those concerns. I also found some additional problems.

Continue reading “Cassava Sciences: Of stocks and blots”

Concerns about Marseille’s IHUMI/AMU papers – Part 1

Last March, I shared my concerns about a paper from the IHU-Méditerranée Infection (IHUMI)/ Aix-Marseille University (AMU) claiming that Hydroxychloroquine in combination with Azithromycin could reduce coronavirus viral loads faster than no treatment.

Other papers by this group of researchers led by Professor Didier Raoult and/or his right-hand man Professor Eric Chabrière, also appear to contain problems, ranging from potentially duplicated images to ethical concerns.

In this blog post I have gathered the papers by the Raoult and Chabrière group that have image concerns. This post is not an accusation of misconduct, but a compilation of the potential problems found in 22 different papers by this group. I welcome the authors removing any concerns by providing the original figures.

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Northeastern University professor with 69 papers on PubPeer has resigned

A chemistry professor at Northeastern University in Boston, MA who has almost 70 papers flagged on PubPeer resigned yesterday, May 4, 2021.

On his blog For Better Science (Update May 5, at the bottom), Leonid Schneider shared an email from the Chair of the Department of Engineering, which states that Thomas J Webster has resigned from the university.

Webster has 69 papers flagged on PubPeer, mostly for concerns about image irregularities. I reported 59 to the journals and institution in March 2020.

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Impersonators and fake email addresses

This morning a professor at a US university warned me that they had gotten an email from a person pretending to be me. The email came from elisabeth_bik@yeah.net, and was signed with my name. But that is not my email address!

The email sent to the professor flagged a scientific paper as “The following article is fake. The impact on society is very bad”.

Maybe I should feel flattered, but it is quite disturbing that people pretend to be me.

So here is a quick warning that there are Elisabeth Bik impersonators using fake email addresses. My correct email address is eliesbik at gmail dot com and if an email comes from any other address that is not me!

The Hot-Crazy Matrix paper

Lots of buzz yesterday on Twitter about a paper already published online a year ago, but assigned to the February 2021 issue of Personality and Individual Differences, an Elsevier/Science Direct journal. The paper builds upon a popular — but not scientific — YouTube video in which men are advised to only date women who are “hot and not too crazy”, and women are believed to only want to marry rich guys.

Figures 1 and 2 of the paper — taken from this video but without giving credit — are presented in this paper as scientific data. Of course, I have concerns.

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Springer and the Double Dip

A quick post after stumbling upon a paper that got retracted years ago, but the publisher isn’t going to tell you. Springer still charges $40 (plus tax) to read the retracted paper itself — then will happily charge you another $40 for selling you the retraction notice.

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Similar images from the Technion

The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is the oldest university in Israel, ranking itself ‘among the world’s top science and technology research universities’.

It is here that a group of researchers appears to have been publishing remarkably similar photos for the last decade — or more.

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Newly appointed Boğaziçi University rector accused of plagiarism

Students and faculty of Boğaziçi University, a top university in Istanbul, Turkey, protested this week after the appointment of Melih Bulu as its new president (news coverage in English in The Guardian, The Times, and Bloomberg).

Bulu’s appointment was criticized as being more political than academic, because he is a close ally of Turkish President Erdogan. Critics also accused him of plagiarism in his published articles and PhD thesis. Bulu has a PhD in business management. During this week’s protests, his 2003 thesis suddenly disappeared from a Turkish repository site.

Here, I take a closer look at Bulu’s thesis to see if these accusations hold water.

FILE PHOTO: Students of Bogazici University protest against President Tayyip Erdogan’s appointment of a new rector, in Istanbul, Turkey January 4, 2021. REUTERS/Kemal Aslan/File photo. Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/turkey-security-bogazici/turkish-university-teachers-protest-against-erdogan-appointed-rector-idINL8N2JG2XF
Continue reading “Newly appointed Boğaziçi University rector accused of plagiarism”