Archive for the 'Scientific Misconduct' category

Jane Goodall, Plagiarist

From the WaPo article:

Jane Goodall, the primatologist celebrated for her meticulous studies of chimps in the wild, is releasing a book next month on the plant world that contains at least a dozen passages borrowed without attribution, or footnotes, from a variety of Web sites.

Looks pretty bad.

This bit from one Michael Moynihan at The Daily Beast raises the more interesting issues:

No one wants to criticize Jane Goodall—Dame Goodall—the soft-spoken, white-haired doyenne of primatology. She cares deeply about animals and the health of the planet. How could one object to that?

Because it leads her to oppose animal research using misrepresentation and lies? That's one reason why one might object.

You see, everyone is willing to forgive Jane Goodall. When it was revealed last week in The Washington Post that Goodall’s latest book, Seeds of Hope, a fluffy treatise on plant life, contained passages that were “borrowed” from other authors, the reaction was surprisingly muted.

It always starts out that way for a beloved writer. We'll just have to see how things progress. Going by recent events it will take more guns a'smokin' in her prior works to start up a real hue and cry. At the moment, her thin mea culpa will very likely be sufficient.

A Jane Goodall Institute spokesman told The Guardian that the whole episode was being “blown out of proportion” and that Goodall was “heavily involved” in the book bearing her name and does “a vast amount of her own writing.” In a statement, Goodall said that the copying was “unintentional,” despite the large amount of “borrowing” she engaged in.

Moynihan continues on to catalog additional suspicious passages. I think some of them probably need a skeptical eye. For example I am quite willing to believe a source might give the exact same pithy line about a particular issue to a number of interviewers. But this caught my eye:

Describing a study of genetically modified corn, Goodall writes: “A Cornell University study showed adverse effects of transgenic pollen (from Bt corn) on monarch butterflies: their caterpillars reared on milkweed leaves dusted with Bt corn pollen ate less, grew more slowly, and suffered higher mortality.”

A report from Navdaya.org puts it this way: “A 1999 Nature study showed adverse effects of transgenic pollen (from Bt corn) on monarch butterflies: butterflies reared on milkweed leaves dusted with bt corn pollen ate less, grew more slowly, and suffered higher mortality.” (Nor does Goodall mention a large number of follow-up studies, which the Pew Charitable Trust describes as showing the risk of GM corn to butterflies as “fairly small, primarily because the larvae are exposed only to low levels of the corn’s pollen in the real-world conditions of the field.”

And here is the real problem. When someone who has a public reputation built on what people think of as science weighs in on other matters of science, they enjoy a lot of trust. Goodall certainly has this. So when such a person misuses this by misrepresenting the science to further their own agenda...it's a larger hurdle for the forces of science and rational analysis to overcome. Moynihan is all over this part as well:

One of the more troubling aspects of Seeds of Hope is Goodall’s embrace of dubious science on genetically modified organisms (GMO). On the website of the Jane Goodall Foundation, readers are told—correctly—that “there is scientific consensus” that climate change is being driven by human activity. But Goodall has little time for scientific consensus on the issue of GMO crops, dedicating the book to those who “dare speak out” against scientific consensus. Indeed, her chapter on the subject is riddled with unsupportable claims backed by dubious studies.

So in some senses the plagiarism is just emblematic of un-serious thinking on the part of Jane Goodall. The lack of attribution is going to be sloughed off with an apology and a re-edit of the book, undoubtedly. We should not let the poor scientific thinking go unchallenged though, just to raise a mob against plagiarism. The abuse of scientific consensus is a far worse transgression.

33 responses so far

A little reminder of why we have IRBs. Did I mention it is still Black History Month?

Reputable citizen-journalist Comradde PhysioProffe has been investigating the doings of a citizen science project, ubiome. Melissa of The Boundary Layer blog has nicely explicated the concerns about citizen science that uses human subjects.

And this brings me to what I believe to be the potentially dubious ethics of this citizen science project. One of the first questions I ask when I see any scientific project involving collecting data from humans is, “What institutional review board (IRB) is monitoring this project?” An IRB is a group that is specifically charged with protecting the rights of human research participants. The legal framework that dictates the necessary use of an IRB for any project receiving federal funding or affiliated with an investigational new drug application stems from the major abuses perpetrated by Nazi physicians during Word War II and scientists and physicians affiliated with the Tuskegee experiments. The work that I have conducted while affiliated with universities and with pharmaceutical companies has all been overseen by an IRB. I will certainly concede to all of you that the IRB process is not perfect, but I do believe that it is a necessary and largely beneficial process.

My immediate thought was about those citizen scientist, crowd-funded projects that might happen to want to work with vertebrate animals.

I wonder how this would be received:

“We’ve given extensive thought to our use of stray cats for invasive electrophysiology experiments in our crowd funded garage startup neuroscience lab. We even thought really hard about IACUC approvals and look forward to an open dialog as we move forward with our recordings. Luckily, the cats supply consent when they enter the garage in search of the can of tuna we open every morning at 6am.”

Anyway, in citizen-journalist PhysioProffe's investigations he has linked up with an amazing citizen-IRB-enthusiast. A sample from this latter's recent guest post on the former's blog blogge.

Then in 1972, a scandal erupted over the Tuskegee syphilis experiment. This study, started in 1932 by the US Public Health Service, recruited 600 poor African-American tenant farmers in Macon County, Alabama: 201 of them were healthy and 399 had syphilis, which at the time was incurable. The purpose of the study was to try out treatments on what even the US government admitted to be a powerless, desperate demographic. Neither the men nor their partners were told that they had a terminal STD; instead, the sick men were told they had “bad blood” — a folk term with no basis in science — and that they would get free medical care for themselves and their families, plus burial insurance (i.e., a grave plot, casket and funeral), for helping to find a cure.

When penicillin was discovered, and found in 1947 to be a total cure for syphilis, the focus of the study changed from trying to find a cure to documenting the progress of the disease from its early stages through termination. The men and their partners were not given penicillin, as that would interfere with the new purpose: instead, the government watched them die a slow, horrific death as they developed tumors and the spirochete destroyed their brains and central nervous system. Those who wanted out of the study, or who had heard of this new miracle drug and wanted it, were told that dropping out meant paying back the cost of decades of medical care, a sum that was far beyond anything a sharecropper could come up with.

CDC: U.S. Public Health Service Syphilis Study at Tuskegee
NPR: Remembering Tuskegee
PubMed: Syphilitic Gumma

31 responses so far

ORI Finding of Research Misconduct: Bryan Doreian

The NOT-OD-13-039 was just published, detailing the many data faking offenses of one Bryan Doreian. There are 7 falsifications listed which include a number of different techniques but mostly involve falsely describing the number of samples/repetitions that were performed (4 charges) and altering the numeric values obtained to reach a desired result (3 charges). The scientific works affected included:

Doreian, B.W. ``Molecular Regulation of the Exocytic Mode in Adrenal Chromaffin Cells.' Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, August 2009; hereafter referred to as the ``Dissertation.'

Doreian, B.W., Fulop, T.G., Meklemburg, R.L., Smith, C.B. ``Cortical F-actin, the exocytic mode, and neuropeptide release in mouse chromaffin cells is regulated by myristoylated alanine-rich C-kinase substrate and myosin II.' Mol Biol Cell. 20(13):3142-54, 2009 Jul; hereafter referred to as the ``Mol Biol Cell paper.'

Doreian, B.W., Rosenjack, J., Galle, P.S., Hansen, M.B., Cathcart, M.K., Silverstein, R.L., McCormick, T.S., Cooper, K.D., Lu, K.Q. ``Hyper-inflammation and tissue destruction mediated by PPAR-γ activation of macrophages in IL-6 deficiency.' Manuscript prepared for submission to Nature Medicine; hereafter referred to as the ``Nature Medicine manuscript.'

The ORI notice indicates that Doreian will request that the paper be retracted.

There were a couple of interesting points about this case. First, that Doreian has been found to have falsified information in his dissertation, i.e., that body of work that makes up the major justification for awarding him a PhD. From the charge list, it appears that the first 4 items were both included in the Mol Bio Cell paper and in his Dissertation. I will be very interested to see if Case Western Reserve University decides to revoke his doctorate. I tend to think that this is the right thing to do. If it were my Department this kind of thing would make me highly motivated to seek a revocation.

Second, this dissertation was apparently given an award by the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine:

The Doctoral Excellence Award in Biomedical Sciences is established to recognize exceptional research and scholarship in PhD programs at the School of Medicine. Nominees' work should represent highly original work that is an unusually significant contribution to the field. A maximum of one student per PhD program will be selected, but a program might not have a student selected in a particular year. The Graduate Program Directors chosen by the Office of Graduate Education will review the nominations and select recipients of each Award.
Eligibility

Open to graduating PhD students in Biochemistry, Bioethics, Biomedical Engineering, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Genetics, Molecular Medicine, Neurosciences, Nutrition, Pathology, Pharmacology, Physiology and Biophysics, and Systems Bio and Bioinformatics.

This sidebar indicates the 2010 winners included:


Physiology and Biophysics: Bryan Doreian

Now obviously with such an award it is not a given that Mr. Doreian's data faking prevented another deserving individual from gaining this recognition and CV item. It may be that there were no suitable alternatives from his Department that year, certainly it did not get one in 2011. It may also be the case that his apparent excellence had no impact on the selection of other folks from other Departments...or maybe he did set a certain level that prevented other folks from gaining an award that year. Hard to say. This is unlike the zero sum nature of the NIH Grant game in which it is overwhelmingly the case that if a faker gets an award, this prevents another award being made to the next grant on the list.)

But still, this has the potential for the same problem with only discovering the fakes post-hoc. The damage to the honest scientist has already been done. There is another doctoral student who suffered at the hands of this fellow's cheating. This is even before we get to the more amorphous effect of "raising the bar" for student performance in the department.

Now fear not, it does appear that this scientific fraudster has left science.

Interestingly he appears to be engaging in a little bit of that Web presence massaging that we discussed in the case of alcohol research fraudster Michael Miller, Ph.D., last of SUNY Upstate. This new data faking fraudster Bryan Doreian, has set up a "brandyourself" page.

"Our goal is to make it as easy as possible to help anyone improve their own search results and online reputation.

Why should Mr. Doreian needs such a thing? Because he's pursuing a new career in tutoring for patent bar exams. Hilariously it has this tagline:

My name is Bryan and I am responsible for the operations, management and oversight of all projects here at WYSEBRIDGE. Apart from that some people say I am pretty good at data analysis and organization.

This echos something on the "brandyourself" page:

Bryan has spent years in bio- and medical- research, sharpening his knack for data analysis and analytical abilities while obtaining a PhD in Biophysics.

Well, the NIH ORI "says" that he is pretty good at, and/or has sharpened his knack for, faking data analysis. So I wonder who those "some people" might be at this point? His parents?

His "About" page also says:

Doctoral Studies

In 2005, I moved to Cleveland, OH to begin my doctoral studies in Cellular and Molecular Biophysics. As typical for a doctoral student, many hours were spent studying, investigating, pondering, researching, the outer fringes of information in order to attempt to make sense of what was being observed. 5 years later, I moved further on into medical research. After 2+ years and the conclusion of that phase of research, I turned my sights onto the Patent Bar Exam.

At this point you probably just want to take this down my friend. A little free advice. You don't want people coming to your new business looking into the sordid history of your scientific career as a fraudster, do you?

59 responses so far

On scientific fraud

Feb 11 2013 Published by under Scientific Misconduct

Did you ever notice how small time bank or convenience store thieves only get caught after about the tenth heist using the exact same disguise and MO?

Read ORI findings and retraction notices with this in mind.

[H/t: a couple of peeps who made me think of this recently. You know who you are. ]

7 responses so far

Can a fraudster be rehabilitated?

Nov 20 2012 Published by under NIH, Scientific Misconduct

The ORI blog has an entry up about a new program which attempts to rehabilitate those who have committed academic misconduct.

RePAIR’s premise is that an intense period of intervention, with multiple participants from different institutions who spend several days together at a neutral site, followed by a lengthy period of follow up activities back at their home institution, will rebuild their ethical views. ORI doesn’t know whether RePAIR will work and cannot formally endorse it. But ORI staff do find RePAIR an intriguing and high-minded experiment that research institutions may wish to consider as a resource.

I like the idea of experimenting. But I have to admit I'm skeptical. I do not believe that academic misconduct at the grad student, postdoc and professorial level is done out of ignorance. I believe that it occurs because someone is desperate and/or weak and allows the pressures of this career path to nudge them down the slippery slope.

Now true, many cognitive defenses are erected to convince themselves that they are justified. Perhaps the "everyone is doing it" one is something that can be addressed with these re-education camps. But many of the contingencies won't go away. There is no weekend seminar that can change the reality of the NIH payline or the GlamourMag chase.

I suspect this will be a fig leaf that Universities use to cover up the stench should they choose to retain a convicted fraudster or to hire one.

Speaking of which, a Twitt yesterday alleged that Marc Hauser has been reaching out to colleagues, seeking collaboration. It made me wonder if anyone with an ORI finding against them has ever returned in a meaningful way? Whether any University would hire them, whether they would be able to secure funding and whether the peer review process would accept their data for publication.

Can anyone think of such a person?

42 responses so far

Marc Hauser's excuse making for faking data

Sep 07 2012 Published by under Scientific Misconduct

From the CHE:


In the statement, Hauser calls the five years of investigation into his research “a long and painful period.” He also acknowledges making mistakes, but seems to blame his actions on being stretched too thin. “I tried to do too much, teaching courses, running a large lab of students, sitting on several editorial boards, directing the Mind, Brain & Behavior Program at Harvard, conducting multiple research collaborations, and writing for the general public,” he writes.

Utterly ridiculous. This is the J.O.B. of an active, scientific research generating, field leading Professor appointed at Harvard and many other Universities.

It is not part of the job to falsify data.

27 responses so far

Discussion of scientific retraction and fraud is not just entertainment, and co-authors are not the only ones hurt

David Dobbs posted a lengthy comment over at retractionwatch from Jonathan Levav. This individual purports to have two manuscripts in revision with the central figure of the retraction watch post, one Dirk Smeesters who has "has resigned amid serious questions about his work.". Dr. Levav was addressing the commentary, particularly that which seemed to smear prior co-authors of Smeesters, with some justifiable outrage:

Neither one of us ran the questionable studies in these papers, and neither one of is us guilty. We’re associated with Dirk as coauthors, but we’re not guilty. You might find this “peculiar”–that we’re not guilty–but those are the facts. I’m not afraid to say this and I have nothing to be ashamed about, so I don’t have to hide behind an anonymous initial.

Fair enough.

I have a problem, however, with Dr. Levav's apparent assumption that people who follow retractions and data fraud, and choose to comment about them online, are just sneering looky-loos, entertaining themselves at the misfortunes of others.

So there you have it, SF, and all the rest of you voyeurs, haters of social psychology, great scholars, crappy scholars, cool people, losers, innocent bystanders, or whoever the fuck is still reading. You have your missing suspect paper, with another researcher to add to the mix of affected (infected?) names.

and


And although for many of you this whole incident provides much needed entertainment, for those of us caught up in it, the situation has been extremely distressing. I shudder to think how Cammie feels right now; most people would just quit the field in her shoes. Personally I’m over this whole thing now–it’s been a few months since I’ve known–so I feel free to write about it and have my writing cached in cyberspace for posterity (probably a terrible idea). I don’t know what motivated Dirk to do what he did, but I do know that he didn’t have to do it because, in reality, he was smart enough to be a respected scholar without doctoring data. This whole situation plain sucks.

Look, I can understand the pain of the innocent co-author, brought under suspicion because of the bad behavior of someone else. I do. I'm not one of those who thinks, totally irrationally, that every author has to be responsible for the contributions of the other authors as if she herself had done the work. Otherwise we'd have single author papers....only. Collaborative, multi-person science is a good thing. It relies on trust and if your co-authors are up to shenanigans, you can't always know.

As I said above, it is wrong for us to tar all authors with the same brush....although I will stand by my position that it is fine to discuss whether or not a PI might have set a culture in which the fraud perpetrated by the lowly postdoc or grad student is...encouraged. But we should be as circumspect as possible and not rush to assume all authors are complicit or guilty.

This, however, is a long, long way from saying we have no interest if it is not something that directly involves ourselves. A long way from saying that our only interest is of a base nature.

We have a legitimate interest in the fraudulent doings of other scientists and we too have taken real injury. Not always directly, but injury nevertheless.

Real jobs, of the professorial rank variety, are a limited (dearly limited?) quantity. As everyone (outside of NIH) knows. So are major research grants. Acceptance of your paper at one of the more high-faluting journals is hard to come by and is competitive. If the next group is presenting more awesome data, more quickly...then they are going to get the acceptance and your more pedestrian looking dataset will be pushed away. Ultimately, those with a string of high-faluting-journal publications (or a longer string of publications) will do better in this career path.

Those who lack such things will struggle, fail to achieve and may have to leave the career entirely. In part through the comparison with other scientists. Because this is a competitive business we are in.

If a part of the population against which you will be judged has been cheating to get to where they are...this does you an injury. The alcohol research fraudster Michael W. Miller, once Chair of Neuroscience and Physiology at SUNY Upstate Medical University, is a recent example of a data faker that did direct injury to people in my fields of interest. He was hired as a Chair in a Department and awarded many NIH grants (including a Center) on the strength of his faked work. He had a position in the field reviewing grants, papers and probably tenure files that cannot help but have been influenced by his own opinion* of his place in the world.

There are people out there, real ones, who did not get their grant because a cheater got his. And because even when the cheater is busted, the NIH just passes off the award to someone else. So it isn't like any of the grants that scored just behind the fraudulent one get dragged out for funding**.

Other people who did not get the Assistant Professor appointment won by a fraudster. How do you account for those people? The scientists who just gave up because they could never get into "that Journal" doing science the honest way and they had been steeped in a (fradulent?) culture of Glamor-or-Bust.

So, Dr. Lavev, while I have sympathy for your defensive posture, understand that those who are interested are not merely standing around, throwing tomatoes at the poor sap in the stocks. They may be injured parties themselves. Or simple parties who have a strong interest seeing the messes in their own chosen fields of endeavor cleaned up.

__
*Ok, I'm going on some assumptions here about the way these fraudsters usually believe their own bullshit. That's why the fraud in the first place, if you ask me....they think they ARE this kind of successful scientist so when the data do not support it, well, the data MUST support it, mustn't they?

**Be nice wouldn't it? Terminate the fraudster's award and give the out years to the next grant on the list from that round of funding.

ps. wrt:

SF, you coward in hiding, before you publicly speculate about people’s careers and judgment, take a deep breath and ask yourself who the hell you think you are to so freely besmirch people’s reputation in a public forum. If you have something to say, stand behind your name. Your NAME. You know Camille Johnson’s name. You know mine.

HAHAHAAH. because that would make the speculation that a co-author was also a fraudster just magically disappear. c'mon.

10 responses so far

Nemeroff is BACK, baybee! D. F. S.

May 22 2012 Published by under Scientific Misconduct

Oh yes. Via pharmalot and Science Insider:

RePORTER tells us that the NIMH has funded:
1R01MH094759-01A1 "1 OF 2 - PROSPECTIVE DETERMINATION OF PSYCHOBIOLOGICAL RISK FACTORS FOR PTSD"
from 17 May 2012 to April of 2017. With Charles Nemeroff as the Principal Investigator.
To the tune of $401,675 total costs for FY 2012. His institution seems to come in at 53% overhead which would make it $263K in direct. Hmm. Maybe that IDC rate is outdated because why would you bother with a traditional budget just to request another $13K?

if you are wondering, as I was, "2 of 2" appears to be this project. This junior partner in the deal gets only $290K in total costs.

YHN on:
Nemeroff's third strike
Inselgate
Inselgate linkage

Nothing to say, really. It was a COI case where nobody really laid gloves on the guy for fraud. All he's really guilty of is underreporting his earnings from Big (and small) Pharma interests to his prior employer Emory U. That should have triggered a stink with his NIH awards but again the rules are about managing conflict...nothing to prove that he actually defrauded the NIH with faked research to benefit his corporate paymasters. Nothing like that ever confirmed. Plus a failure to disclose his conflicts on some review articles or whatnot. Again, if he had disclosed properly it is very likely nothing would have been done differently.

Still, the whole thing smells and I'm sad that it happened in fields which vaguely intersect with my interests. I'm sadder still that the NIH fails to recognize the effect it has on all the scientists who are busting their behinds to secure a grant and do good work that isn't tainted by conflict and extra-job income to the tune of hundreds of K per year in "consulting" gigs.

Dude. Fuck. Sigh.

UPDATE 052912: Grassley Investigates. Of course. Great move NIMH, great move.

16 responses so far

Detection is up, yes, but contingencies still matter

Apr 18 2012 Published by under Academics, Scientific Misconduct

In a recent post Comraddde PhysioProffe supplies a necessary correction to the oft-repeated claim that scientific fraud is on the rise. Science blog legend Carl Zimmer's bit in the NYT is only a reflection of a constant drumbeat which you can see in comments posted after many accounts of fraud, say over at retraction watch. As CPP puts it:

I keep hearing this asserted, but I see zero evidence that it is the case. What is clearly the case is that there is now an all-time vastly greater ability for interested sleuths to reveal failures of research integrity (e.g., by image analysis, sophisticated statistical analysis, etc).

Even so, his position tends to ignore some basic reality about the contingencies which influence human behavior in this instance. His first commenter notes this and in fact Zimmer had a followup NYT bit which talks mainly about the fact that scientists busted for fraud never admit their wrongdoing. Like one Michael W. Miller, a scientific fraudster discussed on this blog. One counter-example is listed by Zimmer:

One notable exception to this pattern...Eric Poehlman, was convicted of lying on federal grant applications and was sentenced to a year in jail. For the previous decade, he had fabricated data in papers he published on obesity, menopause and aging.

During his sentencing hearing, Dr. Poehlman apologized for his actions and offered an explanation.

“I had placed myself, in all honesty, in a situation, in an academic position which the amount of grants that you held basically determined one’s self-worth,” Dr. Poehlman said. “Everything flowed from that.”

Unless he could get grants, he couldn’t pay his lab workers, and to get those grants, he cut corners on his research and then began to fabricate data.

It's just reality. Grant getting is harder and yet laboratory heads are still expected to land plenty of funds. More mouths to feed and fewer grant dollars to throw into them means the pressure is on. And the choices are sometimes stark, or seemingly so. Failing to get a grant can mean losing your job. Take the case of Peter Francis, previously of OHSU. He had a foundation award which notes that his faculty appointment was in 2006. A RePORTER search pulls up just the one award funded in 2011...this R01 was the one that included falsified data and was the (sole) subject of the ORI finding of research misconduct.

As always, I assert my possibly naive belief: Nobody sets out in a science career because they want to fake data and publish made-up results.

It proceeds from this that the data fakers must stray from the path at some point. And the reasons for straying are not due to random cerebral infarct. The reasons for straying are heavily influenced by contingencies. Facing a failure to secure grant funding is a pretty big contingency. Thinking that faking up a preliminary result (hey, it's just pilot data, we shouldn't take it as true until a full study follows it, right?) will make the difference in a fundable score is a pretty big contingency.

People like CPP can insist that contingencies were always at play. But they simply were not. The success rates for NIH grant getting show a clear difference in the difficulty of getting funded across scientific generations.

Those who are our older and more established scientists have been shaped by three cycles of NIH budget woes forcing down grant success rates- the early 80s, late 80s into the early 90s (which caused the political pressure leading to the doubling) and the present one starting about 2004 (after the decade-of-the-double). Some of them may have only been trainees for the first one but the campfire lore and attitudes were transmitted. The graph gives us a point of reference. For established investigators in the mid-80s, a success rate of about 37% represented the dismal landing from a down cycle! Then just one cycle later the success rates were down at 25%- OMMFG we have to DO SOMETHING!! The doubling was great and indeed success rates started to go back up towards the 35% value.

Yeah well the success rate was 17.7% in FY2011.

The contingencies are most assuredly different. And to think this plays no role in the rates of data faking and scientific fraud is dangerously naive.

24 responses so far

Convicted fraudster of alcohol research, Michael W. Miller, tries re-web-ilitation

Apr 16 2012 Published by under Alcohol, Scientific Misconduct

We convered Alcohol research fraudster Michael W. Miller in a prior post. This was following a finding of the ORI of the NIH and a note on retractionwatch. My post focused on the fact that when cheaters like Michael W. Miller are finally caught, there is no way to recover for their sins. No way to reclaim that money. No way for the person who really deserved the job or the award to be compensated.

That pisses me off.

It also pisses me off when people who do dodgy things in science, like Charles Nemeroff, get to keep on keeping on as if nothing happened. Some patsy University will happen along to hire the dude if they think it is in their interest to do so.

Well, I see from a comment at retraction watch that Michael W. Miller plans a full court press to rehabilitate his image. Online anyway.

Welcome to michaelwmiller.net. According to Network Solutions, it was registered by Reputation Changer on Mar 15, 2012.

Registrant:
Reputation Changer LLC
39 West Gay Street
West Chester, Pennsylvania 31410
United States

Registered through: GoDaddy.com, LLC (http://www.godaddy.com)
Domain Name: MICHAELWMILLER.NET
Created on: 15-Mar-12
Expires on: 15-Mar-13
Last Updated on: 20-Mar-12

The ORI finding of misconduct was published in the Federal Register on Feb 27, 2012. So this fraudster immediately used Reputation Changer to do what they do :

ReputationChanger.com specializes in helping people make their mistakes vanish from the eyes of potential clients and employers. Embarrassing arrests and unseemly articles can be pushed off of the front page of Google searches, where they are unlikely to be viewed by the majority of Google users. Because people tend to only look at the first page of results, Google searches can once again reveal the great things you or your company achieved, rather than the negative reviews overzealous and under impressed individuals have posted. People have an array of motivations for posting negative press, but the important question is not why do they post it– you should be asking yourself how to get rid of it.

How do they do it? By building a fawning self-web-presence that says crapola like:
Michael W. Miller Presents Astounding Findings or perhaps Michael W. Miller Publishes Scientific Gold. This latter conveniently omits to mention the two retracted papers that were, of course, not "Gold" but more like "made up crap".

As far as I can tell, every link in the site points to somewhere else on the site. I'm sure this is hot stuff in repairing your Google ranks.

Wait, wait...what's this? I tried to see if his Google presence had been improved and I found another site. michaelwmillerupstate.com was registered....by Reputation Changer .... on Mar 15, 2012. Here's what I learned about the good Professor Miller's attitude toward's research:

But research is not the only component in a successful endeavor. Michael W. Miller understands that documentation—accurate documentation—is pivotal. Without this documentation, research findings could not undergo duplication. All the work that went into a study would prove wasted. This is why Michael W. Miller publishes so many different writings.

It overlooks all the "work" that other people put into trying to replicate Michael W. Miller's faked (and now retracted) research papers. It seems that "accurate" documentation perhaps is in the eye of the beholder? or just a flagrant lie on the part of the Reputation Changer system for rehabilitating the web image?

As his career moves forward, researcher Michael W. Miller will continue to conduct research. Through his writing, Professor Michael W. Miller will share this research with the world. The result, Michael W. Miller hopes, will manifest as improved medical knowledge and techniques.

Really? He's going to continue is he? Can't wait to see what University is willing to hire him.

Okay, what else do you have to offer, Google? OMMFG, ANOTHER ONE!!!! michaelwmillerblog.com was registered....shall we just guess? Yep, by Reputation Changer on Mar 15, 2012.

Wonder how many more of these frigging things are out there?

Ahh, well. Just remember to keep linking to the ORI finding showing that Michael W. Miller faked data. And maybe to the retraction watch blog entry on Michael W. Miller.

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Added: I'm particularly intrigued by the michaelwmillerupstate one. His place of employment when the fraudulent papers were detected was the State University of New York Upstate Medical University. I wonder how they feel about this use of "upstate"?

25 responses so far

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