Saturday, June 03, 2006


The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (JOEM) has announced the pending retraction of a peer-reviewed paper by Chinese scientists Jian Dong Zhang and Shu Kun Li. The retracted paper's focus is the association between hexavalent chromium (chromium-6) contaminated drinking water and cancer – this association made famous by the film "Erin Brockovich".

The JOEM is retracting the paper because of an undisclosed link between the authors and outside interests. In explaining the decision to retract, JOEM editor Paul Brandt-Rauf throws the scientific impartiality of the review process into doubt by noting:
Although it is impossible to know what the impact of such disclosure would have been, it is possible that full knowledge of the circumstances may have altered the review process or the subsequent interpretation of the study by readers.
In any event, Brandt-Rauf makes it clear the paper's science is not in question:
It should be understood that there is no evidence to suggest the existence of scientific fraud in this work and that the factual content of the article has not been re-evaluated. This decision is based solely on the violation of the journal's policy regarding disclosure.
After reading Brandt-Rauf's explanation, Tim Lambert decides a massive fraud has indeed been perpetrated. But Dr Lambert need not worry about anyone accusing him of scientific fraud because he's something less than a prolific author. He is obviously a very busy man, however, what with his commitment to be available three hours a week to counsel students. Hell, he's so busy he hasn't had the time to update his Research Projects page since August 1999 – the outdated links at his UNSW personal page could also do with a tidy up. How does he find the time to blog?


Anonymous Annabelle. N. Smith said...

Lambert is very quick to throw around the smears (as is the case here). Yet this precious flower quickly gets upset when he is given the same treatment.

11:53 AM  

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