Friday, June 5, 2020

Lancet's Fake Research Paper

Epic embarassment!

The Lancet paper that halted global trials of hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19 because of fears of increased deaths has been retracted after a Guardian investigation found inconsistencies in the data. 

The lead author, Mandeep Mehra, from the Brigham and Women’s hospital in Boston, Massachusetts decided to ask the respected medical publication for the retraction because he could no longer vouch for the data’s accuracy. [I did blog about it – refer to my post dated May 26, 2020 titled Dicing with Death with Hydroxychloroquine]. 

The journal’s editor, Richard Horton (left), said he was appalled by developments. “This is a shocking example of research misconduct in the middle of a global health emergency”. 

It seems that errors were discovered in the data that was provided for the said research by US company Surgisphere. These were later explained by the company as some patients being wrongly allocated to Australia instead of Asia. But more anomalies were then picked up. A further Guardian scrutiny revealed that there were serious questions to be asked about the company itself. 

I used to be an academic  I lectured at Sunway University, Monash University Malaysia, Open University Malaysia, Wawasan University, among others  and I am familiar with this whole business of research papers, whether it is writing them for publication, reading research papers for literature review and/or for other related reasons and attending research conferences (in UK, Australia, China and of course Malaysia). 

I have seen enough to be able to say it here that even when first-party data is used, I oftentimes have doubts about data accuracy and data reliability – what more when Prof Mehra had conveniently depended on data aggregators! 

Oh, I can also tell you that peer-review is a flawed process! 

So, now we know that reputable journals may also be publishing dubious research! And if not for the Guardian scoop, nobody will be any wiser, LOL!

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