Sunday, September 14, 2014

Rotten Apples And Rotting Fruit

It was West Virginia University (WVU) who outed the fraudster, Anoop Shankar, former academic at the National University of Singapore (NUS). Shankar did not have a doctorate degree, and he did not graduate from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi as claimed in his resume. NUS confirmed that Shankar was employed as assistant professor with the Department of Community, Occupational and Family Medicine at NUS' Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine from 2005 to 2008.

All it takes is one bad apple to spoil the barrel, and that’s because the one apple that’s gone bad gives off ethylene, speeding the ripening of all the other apples in the same confine. But Shankar was not the only rotten fruit.

Thanks to an anonymous tip, in March 2011, the National University of Singapore (NUS) launched an investigation on one of its former scientists, the immunologist Alirio Melendez, for alleged research misconduct in two papers.

Melendez had joined NUS in 2001, and was awarded a prestigious "young researcher" accolade in 2007. In same year he moved to the University of Liverpool and the University of Glasgow in the UK, whilst maintaining his lab at Singapore until 2009. When the NUS investigation was still ongoing, Melendez resigned his position at Liverpool University in November 2011 (he was suspended from his role since April 2011, without prejudice, pending the outcome of the investigation). Glasgow University said it had concluded its own investigation in October 2011, but it was the university’s policy "not to comment on individual cases".

A blog called the Gigamole Diaries pointed out that the NUS deputy president connected to the investigation had co-authored two papers with Melendez:
"…the authorship list for Melendez papers reads almost like a Who’s Who in the medical school, and includes heads of departments, Vice Deans and prominent individuals in the office of the NUS Vice President. Interestingly Prof Barry Halliwell, who is NUS Deputy President (Research and Technology), and who has been cited as fronting the investigation into the Melendez publications is himself associated with at least 2 Melendez publications."

After 19 long months, the NUS in December 2012 finally reported that it had determined one of its former scientists, the immunologist Alirio Melendez, had committed “serious scientific misconduct”. The university found fabrication, falsification or plagiarism associated with 21 papers. It added that no evidence indicating that other co-authors were involved in the misconduct. But the university would not identify the papers retracted, nor release the report of the committee that investigated them. The list of retracted papers, a correction and an expression of concern, are available at Retraction Watch.

It's the same old story, what to do, done already. Please move on, nothing to see here. It’s “standard operating procedure” to sweep inconvenient truths under the carpet, so we’ll just keep doing things our way, thank you very much.

Just as Dr Intan Azura Binte Mokhtar spoke up in support of the carpetbagger Yang Yin, Associate Professor Koh Woon Puay of Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School maintains she has not found any reason to question Shankar's credentials, "Personally, I did not have any reason to suspect at that time that he was not trained in epidemiology or statistics to carry out his research." Koh is co-author of three papers they had worked on. One blogger explains the method for the madness:
"In the NUS, I am told, there is a scheme of apportioning glory and credit for scientific publications. This is for the purpose of chalking up points for promotions and other 'rewards'. The lead and the corresponding authors get 50% of the credit each. All the other co-authors stuck in between get 10% each. On this model, one published paper with a mass grave of 10 co-authors can chalk up a total of 180% credit."

17 comments:

  1. Do they take us for fools? Those defending him have their own foolishness to cover. Their comments are not worth the paper they are printed on. Indeed an investigation into their own conduct is warranted. The obsession to move up the rankings may have led to these fiascos. With unlimited public funds any institution can move up the rankings. Just buy them, like our table tennis stars from China.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, except that by their own haste and folly to climb up the ranks, they bought the fake talents and now have to clean up the mess for them. The 60% are blind to not know.

      Delete
    2. Maybe they like the fake 'talents' so they can appear so much better! Always easier to lead a bunch of actors pretending to be scholars and academics and doctors, than to lead real talented men and women who would proceed to replace them, non?

      Delete
  2. one set of law for you the masses, another set (usually just a guideline) for the elites. Will Ms A/P Koh be held accountable for not doing basic checks? Of course not! She would be made full prof in due course. That is how pinkie "fixes" his own cronies.

    No accountability for the elites means elites will eventually turn into just a bunch of buffoons to lead the country down the slippery road to permanent decline. And don't think this dates from pinkie, it i from the old fart's dictat: whenever the SAF encounters a serious accident, such as a plane crash or a patrol boat get rammed killing its 2 girls, the "culprits" are always deemed to have "battle scars" and immediately promoted to the next level (of incompetency of course, just ask the minister for transport how he got his chance in politics). The rationale apparently was we had no real wars, so a major accident is as close to action as we can get to real action :) Same guidelines across the whole civil service. As a result, today, a senior civil servant having oral encounter in a car with a supplier is not corruption, its just hormones la! Move on!

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  3. Money & more money...9/14/2014 2:26 PM

    Ha! Ha!.. like the sentence: " mass grave of 10 co-authors"..

    .. when you allow KPI to dictate the end all..
    values cannot be measured, neither can attitudes...

    But then again, performance scores will always include indexes linked to sales, returns, profits and in the case of education.... rankings.

    Hurray for capitalism!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What you've described is stupidity and not capitalism. Capitalism means you reward the best and punish the worse. In this case, the performance scores, etc rewards bad actions and behavior which is the opposite of Capitalism.

      Delete
  4. Many of these Jiak Liao Bee MPs would fall when the PAP bandwagon is toppled, hopefully getting themselves buried in the mass grave.

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  5. I wonder what kind of credentials the CEO of Temasek has besides being the spouse? Same for all of the Lee clan holding top positions in the country.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The husband is a lousy and failed leeder. Using NDR to talk small matter like fish ball stick and creating stupid and redundant municipal office for jia leow bees.

      Delete
  6. We are talking about the spouse of the son of the father of Singapore?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My father was senile 10 years before he passed away.
      Created a lot of family problems because of his senility.

      Delete
    2. Father of Singapore? He died more than a century ago. His name is Sir Thomas Stanford Raffles.

      LKY tried to usurp his position by rewriting history. Everyone would studied Singapore's history should know Singapore is already a developing nation with roads and proper town planning in 1965 when the British handover.

      I only remember that LKY worked for the Japanese during WWII for his own self preservation. Do you think he care more for the country or himself, his son and his leegacy?

      Delete
    3. Father of an idiot and daft Sinkies?

      Delete
  7. PAP appears to be the easy magnet for opportunists, fraudsters, conmen, freeloaders so long as the ones in charge are praised to heaven just like the one made a distinguished adviser of an American bank only to lose billions in our own investments.

    Then if you ask an honest man, genuinely why the hell would anyone want to be a grassroots activist if there are no apparent benefits ? If you look at our community organised walkathons, why do only the sponsored immigrant parents take part while their new citizens/PRs sons are hardly interested ?

    What does this tell us about our PA hidden motives ?

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  8. "…the authorship list for Melendez papers reads almost like a Who’s Who in the medical school, and includes heads of departments, Vice Deans and prominent individuals in the office of the NUS Vice President. Interestingly Prof Barry Halliwell, who is NUS Deputy President (Research and Technology), and who has been cited as fronting the investigation into the Melendez publications is himself associated with at least 2 Melendez publications."

    Singapore is unique because in our universities the Head of Dept or the Vice-President does not need to do research but gets a lot of publications of his staff with his name included. One criterion for the Head and Vice-Presidnet to recommend promotion of his academic staff is that wherever the staff publishes, he must include the name of the Head and all the people above him. That's why Melendez's co-authors in his publications looks like a Who's Who in the university.

    Unfortunately this practice has become embarrassing for the Heads and Deans controlling Melendez who turned out to be a fraudster but who gets promoted because he includes the names of his Head and Dean and Vice Dean and Vice President in his publications.
    .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Singapore is unique because in our universities the Head of Dept or the Vice-President does not need to do research but gets a lot of publications of his staff with his name included."

      What a joke.
      Meritocracy my foot.
      More like carrying balls.

      Delete
  9. hmmm....

    so can i say these intellectuals are truely and factually proven to be actually stupid in the end?

    Looks that way to me.

    Intelligent idiots in charge of singapore's unis...

    Not bad. Not bad at all. Idiots recognize as such now by similar level but not so stupid overseas deans and professors.

    ReplyDelete