Christine Laine, MD, MPH
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Auckland University of Technology
December 15, 2016
Conflict of Interest:
I have no conflicts of interest
Publishing paper is the best way to ensure cheats don't prosper
I work in this area (diet and risk of chronic diseases) and would like to see this paper published. In fact, having read it without knowing it was retracted, I couldn't at first understand why it was. Though its premise did remind me so much of the Dansinger et al and Gardner et al studies that the reason was easily understood.Similarly, I don't see why it was rejected in the first place. Either Finelli gave it such a bad review that the editors took his word, or the reviewers were bamboozled by the currently popular opinion that HDL is not an important marker. This is only true at present if designing a drug, and even then, only if the drug is not alcohol.As far as diet and lifestyle interventions go, HDL (or better yet the fasting TG/HDL ratio) is the most important marker in a standard lipid test. The fact that genetic influences on the HDL count don't influence CHD risk merely highlights how important the diet and lifestyle influences on risk are.If this paper was dropped because it was unfashionable, I expect that fashion to change soon. A proper publication, with changes of course if real reviewers deem these necessary, would be the most fitting and just end to this story.
Christine Laine, MD, MPH
American College of Physicians
March 21, 2017
Dr. Henderson questions whether Annals of Internal Medicine did not publish Dr. Dansinger and colleagues manuscript when we had the opportunity to review it in 2015 because of Finelli’s review, because the editors were “bamboozled by currently popular opinion about HDL, or because it was “unfashionable.” Many issues factor into Annals’ editorial decision, but the factors that Dr. Henderson raises did not account for our editorial decision. The manuscript was reporting a secondary analysis of a trial that had already been published and we judged the amount of new information it provided to be limited relative to other papers under consideration. Thus, issues of priority weighed heavily in our decision since Annals can publish only a small fraction of the many excellent manuscripts that we review.
The actions of the reviewer who stole Dr. Dansinger and his colleagues’ work was deplorable. We hope that the public disclosure of the reviewer’s action, retraction of his fraudulent publication and the ensuing effects on his reputation will serve to ensure that “cheaters don’t prosper” – and help to deter other would-be plagiarists. Dr. Dansinger’s commendable behavior and essay aimed at preventing such acts (1) are services to the scientific community.
Private Practice, Atlanta, GA
March 23, 2017
I read with great interest Dr. Dansinger’s Ideas and Opinions piece on his plagiarism experience, as well as your editorial.It brought back some deep seated feelings of my own.When I was a “young” attending, I gave a lecture at a seminar on non-infectious complications of HIV infection. I then went on maternity leave to have my second child, and my boss asked if I could lend my lecture to one of my colleagues so that she could give the lecture while I was away, which I did. When I came back from maternity leave 3 months later, I flipped through the pages of a throw away trade journal ( Topics in Antiviral Medicine), and to my great surprise, found my lecture published verbatim under my colleague’s name. I confronted her, and she responded that her superiors had suggested she publish the lecture. I complained to my (and her) boss , and to another senior faculty member in my division who was on the editorial board of the publication. I also tried to contact the editor in chief, I cannot remember if I wrote a letter, I never got any response. No one acknowledged the act of flagrant plagiarism, nor did anything about it. I did not pursue it any further because I did not want to damage my colleague’s career, and I could tell she felt remorse for her bad decision. The incident is now over 15 years behind me, but it left a terrible taste in my mouth. Six months after the incident, I left academics, and have been in private practice since. My experience is a minor incident compared to the gross act of plagiarizing a research article, falsifying data, and appropriating credit for years of research. Nevertheless, it was plagiarism. I believe it never would have happened if my institution had a simple and clear cut way to report plagiarism, if plagiarism was reported to an impartial third party and not my direct boss or department head, and if there were clear cut and real penalties for perpetrating such acts.I commend Dr. Dansinger for his courage and persistence, and sincerely hope that his message leads to constructive and positive change.Sincerely,Sophie Lukashok, MD
Christine Laine. Scientific Misconduct Hurts. Ann Intern Med. 2017;166:148–149. doi: 10.7326/M16-2550
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2017;166(2):148-149.
Published at www.annals.org on 13 December 2016
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