Browsing further back into the journal’s archive I found an interesting supplemental issue from 2016 that consists of 20 papers on psoriasis – all written by the same group of prolific authors.
The papers are not without problems. Lack of IRB approval, lack of patient consent to have their photos published, unclear patient recruitment and trial locations, inclusion of children in experimental drug testing, and to top it off, incorrect statements about conflict of interest. All papers heavily promote the same product line of herbal ointments and gels – and the founder of the company is one of the authors!
A group of authors has found a way to crank up the number of papers on their resumes. The complete “Global Dermatology” September 30, 2019 issue of the Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences is filled with papers from the same group of authors, headed by Torello Lotti and Massimo Fioranelli, both from the University of G. Marconi in Rome, Italy.
Some of these papers contain photos of patients without consent, others contain duplicated images, and some papers are full of extraordinary claims without any evidence. Just a bunch of pretty diagrams.
The paper suggests that 5G waves (the latest cell phone technology) can spontaneously generate Coronaviruses in skin cells. Yet, there is nothing in this article that proves this extraordinary claim. It is absolute nonsense.
Combining two hot topics into one title, this article is surely asking for some attention. Attention it will get. Because it is one of the worst scientific papers I have seen this year.
Unfortunately, several angry Twitter users pointed out it was insensitive of me and irrelevant to mention the country where the Human Photosynthesis Study Center scientists are located. I am confused about this, but I do not want to be insensitive. It appears it is OK to mention most countries but not certain others. I will just try to continue to be an equal-opportunity science integrity detective.
Yesterday, Twitter user @Arroboso pointed out research on “Human Photosynthesis” through this tweet.
Of course I was curious. Last time I checked, humans are not capable of photosynthesis. Instead, I learned that humans are heterotrophs, organisms that rely on eating other organism to get their energy from.
This blog post is not intended to be an allegation of misconduct. I am just wondering about unclear affiliations, findings, and ethics approval. Be aware that this post contains links to articles about sexual activities and suicide. These links are intended for mature audiences only and might contain sensitive material that is NSFW.
A post about another “peer reviewed” paper published by World Scientific publishers (not included in any predatory publisher list that I could find). Based on this Twitter thread.
This paper is written by the same first author on the pregnancy/virus model from my previous post, a cardiology doctor from Rome. According to his website he “graduated with honors in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Rome “La Sapienza” and is now publishing under the affiliation of the Guglielmo Marconi University in Rome.
The paper was published in the International Journal of Geometric Methods in Modern Physics – which seem to have a consistent problem with the quality of their peer review.
Note: this post has been updated on June 4, to include new information that the author was not affiliated with the RIAAM institute at the time of publishing his papers. The RIAAM takes this false affiliation very seriously and distances itself from the author’s views and ideas.
This blog post is not intended to be an allegation of misconduct. I am just wondering about some unclarities and unexpected similarities in a set of papers. It is about studies showing the effect of space travel by putting volunteers on a tilted bed – or sending volunteers to the Utah desert.