Comment from BRHP: I am reblogging post from the “Retraction Watch”. Publication of a special issue on misconduct by MDPI (www.mdpi.com) is an important step in fighting misconduct. So, showtime for those with guts!
Warning: blowing whistle on someone’s misconduct can cost you your job!
It would be difficult to read the recent scientific literature on retractions and miss Grant Steen’s contributions. Retraction Watch readers are no doubt familiar with his work by this point, and if they’re not, we’d recommend spending some time with it. The journal Publications — an MDPI title — has asked him to guest-edit a special issue on scientific misconduct, and Steen asked us to get the word out, so we’re happy to post this introduction from him:
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OK Biron, I will review this article – possibly this weekend…
The previous response was directed at the other poster who said
“Let alone the question how far speech effects saliva”
It was not intended for you and I do not question your qualifications. If you feel that my previous post was an insult directed at you then I would encourage you to delete it.
Regardless, it would be extremely helpful if you address my critique of the deaf control group as well as what we can draw from this study. I believe I made a very valid point which you have not addressed. Do you agree that the selection of hearing impaired as a control group is poor design and introduces confounders that argue against the hypothesis?
Biron, thank you very much for this in depth “analysis of the inadequacy of my scientific training”. Since I do not know who you are, I do not know how competent you are to judge me and research in general.
The only thing one might possibly gain from this study is a possible correlation between hearing enabled and changes in saliva.
Even if this correlation exists we have no idea of what causes it. It could be speaking, wearing headphones, listening to music, an occupation not suitable for the hearing impaired. It might that another agent causes hearing impairment and saliva changes.
There is nothing in this experiment that isolates a cell phone. The hypothesis “the use of mobile phones may cause oxidative stress and modify salivary function” is extremely weak.
The lack of a suitable control for this experiment undermines the hypothesis and puts into question the competency of its authors.
The only suspicions that increased are those concerning the motives (or scientific training) of people (like yourself) who publicize this very poor excuse of an experiment.
The researche state explicity: “The study does not present a direct connection between cancer development and cellphones use. Rather, it creates the potential for new research”. So what the fuss of Biron is about?! There IS a potential for new research. Rjchard Feynman the great physicist declared that does not proof any thing but is concerned with probaility. Avoiding statistic I ask one simple question : Did the Israeli research increase the suspicion about damage of cell phone or not at all. It did. Suspicions increased. That is a drive to further research. Let alone the question how far speech effects saliva. The result of the Israeli research had to be published,
I did not “He clearly states that it is up to the readers of this column to refute poorly conducted research.” I said that anyone can develop own opinion after reading this study. You did. Others can do too. They are not less clever than you, I guess…
My time is limited and I am not able to write about all poor papers. There are pleeeeeeenty of them. Why, as you noted, I wrote so much about the Danish Cohort? Because it is the only and the largest cohort study in this area that was scientifically bothed but continues to be used by some as proof of no effect. It is as if one would count horses and then say that it proves how many cows one has.
What I am busy with? I am finishing invited review for PROTEOMICS journal on radiation proteomics research. I am writing book for SPRINGER on cell phone radiation and health controversy. I am preparing to launch a scientific journal dealing with cell phone radiation and health controversy. This is just few, the most urgent, things I do now… and that is why I have no possibility to write about everything…
The other error in your comment is description of me as a person “who is leading the charge against scientific misconduct”. I am not doing such thing. Please, do not confuse me with Alexander Lerchl. Unlike him, I am advancing an unbiased talk about science on cell phone radiation and health. Comments on scientific misconduct are just a “by-product” of it, when the misconduct is clear and should be refuted because the study is used and abused as proof of something (effect or no effect). I criticized Danish Cohort and Interphone but also Greek proteomics study when it appeared that different “interest groups” were wrongly using these studies as proof of their viewpoint…
I had hoped that the Professor would have written about the serious flaw in the Tel Aviv University Saliva study that he tweeted:
He clearly states that it is up to the readers of this column to refute poorly conducted research.
The selection of the control group violates a basic tenet of experimental design — that is that that there should be no difference other than exposure to the agent between the control and test group (randomized controls being the gold standard but difficult to achieve).
Here the group under study was people who spoke on the phone. The control group was deaf. This introduces one obvious confounder — speech — into the experiment. Hearing impaired subjects face many challenges that likely introduce other confounders as well.
To accept the results of this experiment, one would have to believe that it is a cell phone held next to the ear that has an effect on saliva. We would also have to accept that speaking has no effect on saliva which is absolutely absurd since we speak through our mouths.
The experiment fails the most basic principles of experimental design and is useless — in fact it raises concern about the people who designed it and drew the conclusions, the journal that accepted it and anyone who publicized it.
I do not understand why the professor — who is leading the charge against scientific misconduct — would tweet the experiment and ignore its flaws. And why, by criticizing the professor for posting this flawed article, would I be categorized as someone with whom discussing science “is not possible anymore?”
Biron, team up with Lerchl… You will be goooood team. Get real and stop being paranoid. Passing info about what is spoken is not equal to approving this info. You begun to mumble without sense… Previously it was possible to discuss with you. Now it is not possible anymore…
Have you become so blinded by hype that you cannot recognize the flaw in the experiment?
Apparently you believe you have no responsibility to report flaws in experiments which show an effect — unlike studies you hammer like the Danish Cohort which did not go your way.
“I am just passing information via twitter.”
In this case you mean misinformation.
“Hiding such study would be unethical.”
Are you serious? That’s like an investment advisor saying it would be unethical to not post a link to the Madoff fund. This study has an egregious error that renders it invalid and provides no benefit unless the intent is to misinform readers.
You seem have no problem letting it stand — that is unethical (unless you are too incompetent to see the blatant flaw).
Keep posting articles that deceive readers who are not familiar with scientific methods, tell us what a wonderful scientist you are and ask for more endorsements.
Tell us about scientific misconduct as you tweet structurally flawed experiments.
BironEMF, calm down. I am just passing information via twitter. I did not give opinion supporting or criticizing this study. My tweet contained only title of this story – when you push tweet button it appears automatically, and I did not edit it. You can judge the quality of the study yourself as you have done. Others have the same opportunity. Hiding such study would be unethical. In any way it is interesting to read different interpretations and opinions… even if not agreeing with all of them.
You are interested in science done right, yet you continue to tweet tripe from anti-wireless activists. Do you take the time to read what you tweet?
Take a careful look at the Israeli saliva study you just tweeted.
The abstract is here:
There is a blatant flaw (hint: look at control group) in experimental design that is as bad or worse than others about which you’ve complained. I hope that your tweet which made no mention of this flaw was an oversight.
I am certain that you have the competency to catch this flaw so if not an oversight, the only other explanation would be lack of objectivity or integrity.
You need to reexamine your tweet, reread the article, and followup with an explanation. Since you have been complaining about me lately you might also acknowledge that I have done a service by reporting this flaw.
This poor example of science simply cannot stand.