The Mysterious Phantom Scoop
October 1, 2013 6:07 AM Subscribe
posted by Westringia F. (24 comments total)
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Fraudulent & hoax manuscripts submitted to academic journals typically present false findings by real authors. This time, however, the paper
contains real (and previously unpublished) results
... by fake authors.
The fraudulent paper, which appeared in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
], reported that overexpression of meteorin (METRNL)
, a protein previously found to promote the growth and differentiation of neural cells
, was found to regulate the growth and differentiation of fat cells -- an association not previously reporteded
The results themselves aren't necessarily fake: Nature reports
that Harvard faculty Bruce Spiegelman
, who studies gene regulation in energy metabolism
, noticed that the findings bore a striking resemblance to real data he'd presented at a scientific conference. Unlike the typical theft of results, however, the paper's authors -- Alkistis Vezyraki, Stilianos Kapelouzouc, Nikolaos Fotiadisb, Moses S. Theofilogiannakosa, Evridiki Gerou supposedly at the University of Thessaly
-- don't exist.
Spiegelman asserts that this was a malicious submission designed to scoop him. But by whom, and why? And how does one address scientific fraud when the authors do not exist?