Prolific University of Calgary doctor heads to B.C. after his team caught faking data

Dr. Cory Toth, who is a celebrated and prolific doctor, has had to retract nine University of Calgary studies that contained bogus data. ~ GRANT BLACK / POSTMEDIA NEWS

Dr. Cory Toth, who is a celebrated and prolific doctor, has had to retract nine University of Calgary studies that contained bogus data.
~ GRANT BLACK / POSTMEDIA NEWS

VANCOUVER _ In what may be a Canadian record, a celebrated and prolific doctor has retracted nine University of Calgary studies that contained bogus data.

In the latest in a string of retractions, Dr. Cory Toth has pulled two reports from the medical literature because data and figures were “manipulated” in his laboratory at the University of Calgary medical school.

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Secrecy shrouds case of scientist caught squandering grants

An investigation into the professor's spending found "substantial evidence" of misconduct and fraud involving science grants. The federal government released the report but redacted all details that could help identify the professor or university involved. ~ M.Munro Photo

An investigation into the professor’s spending found “substantial evidence” of misconduct and fraud involving science grants. The federal government released the report but redacted all details that could help identify the professor or university involved.
~ M.Munro Photo

Published: January 27, 2014

The professor used $1 million in Canadian science grants as a piggy bank to finance personal travels and his private business.

He expensed trips to science conferences he did not attend, rented apartments for extended stays outside the country, loaned business associates money, and bought gear that had nothing to with his research, according to documents describing the misconduct.

Postmedia News obtained the documents, using the Access to Information Act, from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council that distributes close to $1 billion a year to academics across Canada.

The council will not name the scientist saying it must “protect” his identity because of the Privacy Act. It is also refuses to identify the university involved, despite NSERC’s recent pledge to be more transparent about academics who misuse taxpayers’ money. Continue reading

Study that fuelled fear of genetically modified foods retracted

French professor Gilles-Eric Seralini gives a press conference on November 28, 2013 at EU headquarters in Brussels to denounce the removal by the Food and Chemical Toxicology review of his study published in September 2012 on the effects of genetically-modified maize fed to rats.

 

 Gilles-Eric Seralini at a media conference on November 28, 2013 at EU headquarters in Brussels to denounce retraction of his study on the effects of feeding genetically-modified maize to rats.PHOTO: JOHN THYS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Story Published: November 28, 2013

An arresting but widely criticized study that stoked fears about genetically modified foods (GMOs) was retracted Thursday.

The move was met with relief by scientists who heaped scorn on  the French study after  it was published last year. The study claimed a steady diet of genetically modified corn caused tumours in rats.

But observers say the damage will be hard to undo.

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China’s academic ‘black market’ fooled Canadian journal, report says

Several scientific papers advertised under “authorship for sale” by Chinese brokers and editing shops have later appeared in established journals, the U.S. journal Science says.
Several scientific papers advertised under “authorship for sale” by Chinese brokers and editing shops have later appeared in established journals, the U.S. journal Science says.PHOTO: SYLVAIN THOMAS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES/FILE
Published: November 28, 2013
Some of Canada’s top brain specialists have apparently been duped by shady operators in China. The Canadian doctors approved and recently published a scientific report on Alzheimer’s disease that came from a “flourishing” academic black market in China, according to a report released Thursday. “China’s publication bazaar,” as it is described, allows unscrupulous scientists to pay big money — up to  $26,300 — to become authors of scientific papers they didn’t write. They don’t do any experiments or research either, according to the report in the U.S. journal Science that adds a creative, if disturbing, twist to research misconduct.

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McGill University finds scientists published ‘falsified’ images

Prof. Maya Saleh accepting an award from McGill\'s Dean of Medicine Dr. Richard Levin in 2011.
Prof. Maya Saleh accepting an award from McGill’s Dean of Medicine Dr. Richard Levin in 2011. PHOTO: McGill

Published: January 29, 2013

A celebrated Montreal scientist and a senior executive at one of the world’s biggest drug companies co-authored a study that contains “intentionally contrived and falsified” images, according to a report from McGill University.

The two researchers and McGill officials are saying little publicly about the case that is attracting international attention.

But a summary of a McGill’s internal investigation obtained by Postmedia News says “falsifications” were found in a study co-authored by Maya Saleh, an associate professor in McGill’s medical faculty, and Donald Nicholson, a vice-president and senior scientist at Merck Research Laboratories in New Jersey. Nicholson is listed as an adjunct professor of biochemistry at McGill, but university officials say he does not teach at the school.

McGill’s committee on research misconduct concluded in November that two figures in a study by Saleh and Nicholson, published in the high-profile journal Nature, “were intentionally contrived and falsified,” the summary says. Continue reading

University of Toronto researcher censured for ‘self-plagiarism’

Published October 23, 2012

By Margaret Munro

Postmedia News

A leading University of Toronto researcher has been censured for self-plagiarism – and “severe abuse of the scientific publishing system” – after a software program revealed his group had been recycling text from previous studies.

Stephen Matthews and two colleagues in the university’s faculty of medicine “self-plagiarized” text from five other reports in a 2005 paper in the journal Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, says a retraction notice published by the journal this month.

“This article represents a severe abuse of the scientific publishing system,” says the notice.

Matthews was not responding to interview requests Tuesday.

“He’s busy,” said Lloyd Rang, executive director of communications at University of Toronto’s faculty of medicine, who depicted the case as a copyright squabble over a paper that was always intended as a “review.”

“Under the strictest definition of copyright it had to be original, but there are only so many ways to describe the research landscape,” Rang said of Matthews’ report that now has “retracted” stamped across it in bold red letters. Continue reading