Saturday, August 11, 2012

Inquiry results published

The Ludwigshafener hospital has published a press release about the results of the inquiry into the research of Joachim Boldt. He was the former "retraction king", having had to retract 88 of his publications. He has since been "de-throned" by Yoshitaka Fujii (as reported by Retraction Watch).

Boldt already left the hospital in November of 2010, after criticism of his research grew too loud to ignore. The board examining his papers needed a good 18 months to go through everything and determine that "in a large number of the studies investigated, the conduct of research failed to meet required standards. False data were published in at least 10 of the 91 articles examined, including, for instance, data on patient numbers/ study groups as well as data on the timing of measurements."

They try and play it down as being mostly a procedural thing, and are relieved that no patients came to harm. They promise that they have fixed procedures.

But I still have a few questions:
  • Where did the money for this research come from? Was this government money? Was it from a pharmaceutical company?
  • Has anyone used the since-withdrawn studies? That is, did anyone else quote his papers or try and replicate the experiments?
  • Is Boldt still permitted to practice medicine?
  • The hospital states that they will be monitoring future clinical studies - how will they be encouraging people to speak up about falsification of data? That has nothing to do with monitoring, which brings up notions of even MORE paperwork. How are they going to foster an environment in which people can question the research being done without fear of retaliation.
  • Why did this take 18 months?

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