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Unsubstantiated claims from Basra Reed Warbler study (1 Viewer)

Klaas van Dijk

Active member
If you look up Zoology in the Middle East/Taylor & Francis online publications, the original Porter et al letter of rebuttal and the T&F Expression of Concern continue to attract a lot of hits and are in the top five most read articles.....MJB

This is a correct observation. The Porter et al. (2015) letter of rebuttal at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09397140.2015.1023424 has at the moment 2246 views (the most read article has 2303 views).

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Richard Porter wrote on 15 July 2015 an e-mail about this issue to COPE.

"From: Richard Porter; To: Iratxe Puebla; Cc: Klaas van Dijk; Sent: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 3:54 PM; Subject: Taylor & Francis and the COPE Code of Conduct for journal publishers

Dear Iratxe,
I thought it would be helpful to those members of COPE examining this matter to have this further input from me. I would personally be satisfied if Taylor & Francis were able to:
* Provide convincing evidence that the study in Al-Sheikhly (2013) was actually undertaken. In this respect the detailed background material I have provided about his ‘movements’, the quoted first draft (the ‘Susie Alwash’ paper) and evidence of his previous ‘form’ are important exhibits. It would also be useful, I feel, to consult Eden Again: Hope in the Marshes of Iraq (2013) by Suzanne Alwash. In this Al-Sheikhly (Omar) is extensively quoted, including on Basra Reed Warbler, but surprisingly makes no mention of the study: Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013).
* Make available a copy of the research data that was collected in the field for such a monumental and ground-breaking study. That is a very reasonable request that hitherto has been refused by the authors of the paper and the editor of Zoology in the Middle East.
* Demonstrate that it is possible to undertake such a highly detailed study of polygyny – essentially in two years - of a mobile and secretive organism without any method of marking individual birds or identifying males and females in the field. In this respect please draw their attention to the following that was published in Zoology in the Middle East by Porter et al:
"​
Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013) reported figures and drew conclusions that, in our opinion, are impossible to achieve without undertaking a long-term trapping and colour-ringing programme to allow identification of individual male and female birds. They claim inter alia that ‘971 nests of Basra Reed Warbler were studied’, most over the two-year period 2006 to 2007, and that ‘males are often polygynous (42.9%, n= 317 observed males).’ There is however almost no mention in the paper of the methods and resources employed to gather such data. Furthermore, Al-Sheikhly et al. claimed that “the identification of male and female Basra Reed Warblers was unmistakable in the field,” which we contest is impossible, given that the species like all other Western Palearctic Acrocephalus cannot be sexed visually, only through in-hand examination and perhaps biometric data, which the authors of the study did not attempt. Neither is there any explanation of how counts were carried out and extrapolated to population figures given for Iraq’s major marshland areas. Following questioning, the authors admit ‘that the occurrence of polygyny needs to be confirmed by a more comprehensive study.’ If their precise figures as originally presented lack credibility, then it draws into question any of the paper’s other results."​


Finally, may I put this call for COPE’s intervention into context? This is a ground-breaking paper and one of the most important to be published on bird ecology and populations in the Middle East – and probably the most important ever in Iraq. It involves a globally Endangered species – and a threatened wetland complex - the most important in the Middle East.

Poor or fraudulent science will help neither the species, its habitat nor Middle East ornithology and conservation. That is why we wish this complaint to be taken very seriously.

I hope this helps, Kindest regards, Richard Porter
"

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A summary with a timeline of of the processing of these complaints is copy/pasted from https://pubpeer.com/publications/969CF510137B45F3DCAD9C40B03462#fb121710

"It turned out that the publisher was unwilling to retract the paper. Taylor & Francis is member of COPE. We have therefore decided to file complaints about this case to COPE. Three complaints were filed in the first half of July 2015. COPE informed us on 26 July 2015 that they had decided to process the complaints. Taylor & Francis would be requested for comments on our concerns. We would be copied in this correspondence. COPE told us on 4 August 2015 that they would act as a facilitator of a dialogue with the publisher. COPE informed us on 13 July 2016 that the processing of the complaints was terminated. There was not yet a dialogue with the publisher. The correspondence was never received. Questions would not be answered."

---------------------------------------------------------------

I am hereby informing the readers and the followers of this thread that COPE has recently started with badmouthing about me, also in public outlets.

I am on the other hand asking all the time people and organisations around COPE for access to the raw research data of Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013), see above for some motives. Invariably, all these requests are met by silence. I also ask all the time people and organisations around COPE for comments of (some) experts with opposing views (together with names and contact details and a declaration that these experts are willing to communicate with us about their comment). There is invariably never a (proper) response on such requests (or this request is met by silence), and I have until now not received not a single of such a comment from an expert.

This implies of course that there is, nowhere on Planet Earth, an expert who rebuts / refutes that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) contains fabricated and/or falsified data.

I however fail to understand why COPE simply does not respond on queries for access to the raw research data of Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013) and on queries for comments of experts with opposing views (note that this is extremely easy for COPE, given the backgrounds of the people at COPE), but in stead has started with badmouthing about me.

Is there anyone over here who can shed some light about this issue?
 

Klaas van Dijk

Active member
Anyone would like to comment on a draft in which I document evidence for partial behaviour by the publisher BMJ ( http://www.bmj.com/ )? This behaviour of the publisher BMJ is directly related to our efforts to retract this fraudulent study on the Basra Reed Warbler (Al-Sheikhly et al. 2013, 2015). It is my aim to post this manuscript as preprint at one of the preprint servers (for example at BioRxiv, http://biorxiv.org/collection/scientific-communication-and-education ).

Please don't hesitate to contact me for a Word document with the full text (2700 words).

"Evidence for partial behaviour at BMJ" Abstract "This case study documents an exception on the rule for research articles in the medical journal BMJ Open that the ICMJE disclosure forms of authors must be made available on request. I describe my attempts to get the form and I argue that its unavailability relates to personal conflicts of interest with the corresponding author about my efforts to retract a fatally flawed article on the Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis. I describe undisclosed potential conflicts of interest between this corresponding author and employees of publisher BMJ and I argue that partial behaviour by BMJ is the most plausible explanation for the unavailability of the form. The decision of BMJ not to comment on drafts is towards my opinion the strongest argument that this view is founded."

Klaas van Dijk / Groningen / The Netherlands / klaas.vdijk AT hetnet.nl
 
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Klaas van Dijk

Active member
The fraudulent articles on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler (Al-Sheikhly et al. 2013, 2015) are still not yet retracted. No one has until now refuted / rebutted any of the findings of the "Final investigation on serious allegations of fabricated and/or falsified data in Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) - 1 July 2016".

The biologist Dr. Filippo Barbanera of the University of Pisa is author of both fraudulent articles with fabricated and/or falsified data. There are serious grounds to argue that his refusal to retract Al-Sheikhy et al. (2013, 2015) implies that Dr. Barbanera is at the moment violating the ethical guidelines of the University of Pisa at https://www.unipi.it/index.php/statuto-regolamenti/item/1973-codice-etico-della-comunità-accademica (only in Italian).

This comment is to inform the readers of this topic that a formal complaint was filed on 2 July 2017 to the rector of the University of Pisa for serious allegations of research misconduct / serious allegations of severe violations of the ethical guidelines of the University of Pisa by Dr. Filippo Barbanera. This formal complaint was send in cc to Dr. Barbanera and to the members of the 'Commissione etica' of the University of Pisa, see https://www.unipi.it/index.php/organi-dell-ateneo/itemlist/category/443-commissione-etica

Dr. Barbanera and others have until now not indicated that there are errors and/or mistakes in the texts of this formal complaint. Dr. Barbanera and others at the University of Pisa have until now not rebutted / refuted any of the findings of the "Final investigation on serious allegations of fabricated and/or falsified data in Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) - 1 July 2016", see https://www.academia.edu/33827046
 

Klaas van Dijk

Active member
Dr. Sophien Kamoun and Dr. Cyril Zipfel of the Sainsbury Laboratory in the UK propose in a recent letter in 'Nature' ( http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v531/n7593/full/531173e.html ) that a failure to repair errors must be regarded as scientific misconduct.

Extensive information about the policy on scientific integrity at the Sainsbury Laboratory can be read at http://www.tsl.ac.uk/about-tsl/scientific-integrity/ It is stated at this url: "Research misconduct does not include honest error, or honest differences in the interpretation or assessment of data. However, once an error is detected it is the researcher’s responsibility to address the issue and fix the record in a timely fashion. Failure to do so could be construed as research misconduct."

Dr. Max Kasparek is founder and editor-in-chief of 'Zoology in the Middle East', the journal which has published both fraudulent papers on the Basra Reed Warbler (Al-Sheikhly et al. 2013, 2015). Dr. Kasparek is since 1 July 2016 in the possession of the "Final investigation on serious allegations of fabricated and/or falsified data in Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) - 1 July 2016" (see https://www.academia.edu/33827046 ). Dr. Kasparek has until now not rebutted / refuted the main findings of this Final Investigation that both articles contain fabricated and/or falsified data and thus must be retracted. Dr. Kasparek has until now not produced comments / views of experts with opposing views. Dr. Kasparek has until now not retracted both fraudulent articles from his journal.

So how to judge this behaviour of the editor-in-chief of 'Zoology in the Middle East' when comparing it with the proposal in the recent letter in 'Nature'?

I would be pleased to get some feed-back on this topic.
 

Klaas van Dijk

Active member
Re the Basra Reed Warbler affair, Bird Forum readers might be interested to know that the Comment by Porter et al 2015 on the science in the Basra Reed Warbler paper (Al-Sheikhly et al. 2013), and published by Zoology in the Middle East (in Taylor & Francis online) is one of their most-read articles with over 1,500 hits and an Altmetric score of 11: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09397140.2015.1023424 (...). There is clearly a lot of interest – and concern – about Al-Sheikhly et al 2013. MJB

That is a correct conclusion. The comment by Richard Porter et al. (2015) at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09397140.2015.1023424 is at the moment the most read article of the journal 'Zoology in the Middle East' with 2428 views (#2 has 2305 views, #3 has 2179 views, #4 has 1646 views).
 

Klaas van Dijk

Active member
I noted a research integrity issue related to the efforts to retract both fraudulent articles on the Basra Reed Warbler with one of the members of the editorial board of the journal 'Research Integrity and Peer Review' https://researchintegrityjournal.biomedcentral.com/ I have therefore contacted on 12 July 2017 the rather recently appointed Editor-in-Chief Dr. Joerg Meerpohl about this issue. Dr. Meerpohl is one of the Editors-in-Chief of this journal and co-director of Cochrane Germany, http://www.cochrane.de/welcome and http://www.open-project.eu/project-partners

I have in the meanwhile extensive experiences that communicating about the main findings of https://www.academia.edu/33827046 with editors and others in the publication industry, and in the widest possible sense, is extremely difficult. In other words, it is almost impossible to communicate with editors and others in the publication industry, and in the widest possible sense, about the main findings of https://www.academia.edu/33827046 (so often 'no response' and 'no response' and 'no response', etc, and/or sometimes responses without substance and with comments like 'this case is closed', etc.).

It is on the other hand very fortunate that editors and others in the publication industry, and in the widest possible sense, are very used to communicate with each other and with 3th parties through the concept of 'tacit approval within a fixed period of time' (for example one working day, or five working days, etc). In other words, communicating with each other through the concept of 'tacit approval within a fixed period of time' is common practice within the field of publication ethics and for people who are active in the publication industry, and in the widest possible sense.

I have therefore sent Dr. Meerpohl the next day, on 13 July 2017, a follow-up with backgrounds and with a proposal to communicate with me about the main findings of the report 'Final investigation on serious allegations of fabricated and/or falsified data in Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) - 1 July 2016' at https://www.academia.edu/33827046 within the framework of tacit approval within a fixed period of time. I received the same day a response from Dr. Meerpohl in which he told me to look into this issue and to come back with me in due time. Dr. Meerpohl did not mention in this response that he had objections to work within the framework of tacit approval within a fixed period of time when communicating with me about the main findings of https://www.academia.edu/33827046 Dr. Meerpohl listed in this response also no objections against the statement in my first email of that day to him in which it is stated: "Dr. Meerpohl supports the main findings of the 'Final Investigation' at https://www.academia.edu/33827046 that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) contains fabricated and/or falsified data and that therefore Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) must be retracted, and as soon as possible."

I received on 27 July 2017 a follow-up from Dr. Meerpohl. Dr. Meerpohl told me in this follow-up that he had consulted with other Editors-in-Chief of the journal about the research integrity issue with one of the members of the editorial board. He told me that they had decided to consider this matter as closed. Dr. Meerpohl once again did not object in this email of 27 July 2017 that I am allowed to communicate with him about the main findings of the 'Final Investigation' at https://www.academia.edu/33827046 within the framework of tacit approval within a fixed period of time.

It can therefore be concluded that it is correct to state that Dr. Joerg Meerpohl, the co-director of Cochrane Germany and one of the Editors-in-Chief of the journal 'Research Integrity and Peer Review' "supports the main findings of the Final Investigation at https://www.academia.edu/33827046 that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) contains fabricated and/or falsified data and that therefore Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) must be retracted, and as soon as possible."

It is towards my opinion a major set-back for Editor-in-Chief and German citizen Dr. Max Kasparek that he now must accept that also the co-director of Cochrane Germany, as well one of the Editors-in-Chief of the journal 'Research Integrity and Peer Review', supports the main findings of https://www.academia.edu/33827046 that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) contains fabricated and/or falsified data and that therefore Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) must be retracted, and as soon as possible.

Dr. Kasparek and/or anyone else has until now not responded / commented on http://www.birdforum.net/showpost.php?p=3594282&postcount=26
 

Klaas van Dijk

Active member
Ibis, the Journal of Avian Biology and the Journal of Animal Ecology are highly respected peer-reviewed journals within the field of ornithology and ecology. There have been in the last months contacts with the Editors-of-Chief of these three journals to sort out if they are able to provide comments / reviews of experts who rebut / refute any of the findings in https://www.academia.edu/33827046 It has turned out that all three journals have no experts, members of the editorial board of these journals, external reviewers who conduct the peer-review for manuscripts for these three journals, etc., who refute / rebut any of the findings in https://www.academia.edu/33827046
Ibis = http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1474-919X
Journal of Avian Biology = http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1600-048X
Journal of Animal Ecology = http://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/hub/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1365-2656/

This new finding underlines the views of all ornithologists and birdwatchers that there are indeed no experts (in this field of research) who rebut / refute any of the findings of https://www.academia.edu/33827046 It must of course be noted that Porter et al. (2015a&b, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09397140.2015.1023424 and http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09397140.2015.1023426 ) counts a member of the editorial board of Ibis, professor Martin Collinson https://www.abdn.ac.uk/ims/profiles/m.collinson (also at the editorial panel of British Birds https://britishbirds.co.uk/about/british-birds-editorial/ ).

This new development is once again a major set-back for Dr. Max Kasparek, the Editor-in-Chief of Zoology in the Middle East, in particular because Dr. Kasparek has not been able, and already for over one year, to provide us with a single review of such an expert.

Readers who want to communicate about this new development with Dr. Kasparek can contact him at kasparek AT t-online.de;
 

Klaas van Dijk

Active member
Re the Basra Reed Warbler affair, Bird Forum readers might be interested to know that the Comment by Porter et al 2015 on the science in the Basra Reed Warbler paper (Al-Sheikhly et al. 2013), and published by Zoology in the Middle East (in Taylor & Francis online) is one of their most-read articles with over 1,500 hits and an Altmetric score of 11:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09397140.2015.1023424

That is a correct conclusion. The comment by Richard Porter et al. (2015) at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09397140.2015.1023424 is at the moment the most read article of the journal 'Zoology in the Middle East' with 2428 views (#2 has 2305 views, #3 has 2179 views, #4 has 1646 views).

The comment by Richard Porter et al. (2015) at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09397140.2015.1023424 still attracts lots of new readers with at the moment 2526 views (#2 has 2307 views, #3 has 2189 views, #4 has 1648 views, so almost no new readers for #2, #3 and #4 since my posting of 29 July 2017).
Also https://www.researchgate.net/projec...the-Basra-Reed-Warbler-Acrocephalus-griseldis (at the moment 532 views) and https://www.academia.edu/33827046 (at the moment 172 views, also published as https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318340512, at the moment 60 views) attract lots of readers.

Until now no one has informed me that there are errors and/or mistakes in https://www.researchgate.net/projec...the-Basra-Reed-Warbler-Acrocephalus-griseldis and/or in https://www.academia.edu/33827046 (also published as https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318340512). It seems therefore reasonable to argue that there are no errors and/or mistakes in the texts of any of these urls.

I am at the moment communicating rather frequently with several stakeholders, mainly mainstream publishers of peer-reviewed journals (within this field of research), about the fraudulent study on the Basra Reed Warbler. Until now not a single review from an expert / reviewer / specialist who rebuts / refutes any of the findings of https://www.academia.edu/33827046 has been received from any of these stakeholders.
 

Klaas van Dijk

Active member
(....). I am hereby informing the readers and the followers of this thread that COPE has recently started with badmouthing about me, also in public outlets. I am on the other hand asking all the time people and organisations around COPE for access to the raw research data of Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013), see above for some motives. Invariably, all these requests are met by silence. I also ask all the time people and organisations around COPE for comments of (some) experts with opposing views (together with names and contact details and a declaration that these experts are willing to communicate with us about their comment). There is invariably never a (proper) response on such requests (or this request is met by silence), and I have until now not received not a single of such a comment from an expert. This implies of course that there is, nowhere on Planet Earth, an expert who rebuts / refutes that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) contains fabricated and/or falsified data. I however fail to understand why COPE simply does not respond on queries for access to the raw research data of Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013) and on queries for comments of experts with opposing views (note that this is extremely easy for COPE, given the backgrounds of the people at COPE), but in stead has started with badmouthing about me. (...)

Herculean efforts to get reviews / comments from experts / reviewers / peers / specialists (within this field of research) who rebut / refute any of the findings in https://www.academia.edu/33827046 (also deposited at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318340512) are until now unsuccessful.

Badmouthing about me is of course not allowed. I have therefore filed on 2 May 2017 a formal complaint at the University of Western Australia (UWA) with serious allegations of violations of the Code of Ethics at http://www.hr.uwa.edu.au/policies/policies/conduct/code/ethics against Michael Wise http://www.web.uwa.edu.au/people/michael.wise , a member of the council of COPE https://publicationethics.org/about/council/michael-wise , and therefore co-responsible and co-accountable for the decision of COPE to start with badmouthing about me.

The complaint was received in good order by UWA: "From: Complaints; To: Klaas van Dijk; Sent: Wednesday, May 03, 2017 7:39 AM; Subject: C1701021 - complaint re Michael Wise. Dear Mr van Dijk, I write to confirm receipt of your complaint and to provide you with the file reference C1701021. (...)."

I received in cc from COPE on 10 May 2017 an e-mail about me which contained towards my opinion new violations of the Code of Ethics of UWA. Michael Wise is of course co-responsible and co-accountable for the contents of this e-mail. I have therefore informed UWA on 11 May 2017 about this new issue. I received on 31 May 2017 from UWA a response in which UWA stated: "I am reviewing all the relevant documentation and the matters will be considered and responded to by a member of the University Executive." This has until now not happened.
 

Klaas van Dijk

Active member
(....). Mark Patterson of eLife (....) agree with all authors of Porter et al. (2015a,b) that the paper on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler contains fabricated and/or falsified data.

Copy/pasted from a recent update at https://www.researchgate.net/projec...the-Basra-Reed-Warbler-Acrocephalus-griseldis :

Nobel laureate Randy Schekman is urging Taylor & Francis to retract the fraudulent study on the Basra Reed Warbler

"It is listed in my comment of 1 August 2017 [at https://www.researchgate.net/projec...the-Basra-Reed-Warbler-Acrocephalus-griseldis] that Mark Patterson, the Executive Director of the journal eLife https://elifesciences.org , states that Taylor & Francis (TF) must retract both fraudulent articles on the Basra Reed Warbler (Al-Sheikhly et al. 2013, 2015), and as soon as possible, because he has established that both contain fabricated and/or falsified data. It is also listed in this comment of 1 August 2017 that OASPA is refusing to punish TF for the refusal to retract this fraudulent study.

Mark Patterson is one of the members of the board of OASPA and therefore co-responsible and co-accountable for the refusal until now of OASPA to start with punishing member TF for their persistent refusal to retract this fraudulent study. ELife is a high profile open access journal with an extensive list of high-profile ecologists as editors, see https://elifesciences.org/about/people/ecology Professor Randy Schekman, a Nobel laureate, is Editor-in-chief of this journal.

Mark Patterson did not respond on an email of 5 August 2017 with concerns about this refusal of OASPA to start with punishing TF. I have therefore contacted professor Schekman on 15 August 2017 about this issue. This email was sent in cc to several members of the staff of eLife, including Mark Patterson. I have informed professor Schekman about my concerns and proposed professor Schekman to communicate with him and with others at eLife about the findings in https://www.academia.edu/33827046 through the common accepted practice within the field of publication ethics of 'tacit approval within a fixed period of time'. Until now only two out-of-office auto-replies were received. So professor Schekman and publisher eLife do not object -until now- to communicate with me through the concept of tacit approval within a fixed period of time about the findings in https://www.academia.edu/33827046

A follow-up e-mail about this issue was sent to professor Schekman on 27 August 2017. This email was also sent to all at https://elifesciences.org/about/people/ecology and to members of the staff of publisher eLife (including Mark Patterson). Until now only several out-of-office auto-replies were received. There is no information that professor Schekman, and/or all others at https://elifesciences.org/about/people/ecology, are simultaneously sick and/or on leave and/or for a prolonged period of time at a site without access to the internet. So professor Schekman and publisher eLife once again do not object to communicate with me about the main findings of https://www.academia.edu/33827046 through the concept of tacit approval within a fixed period of time.

I state in this e-mail of 27 August 2017 that I have concluded that "also you, Nobel laureate professor Randy Schekman and Editor-in-Chief of the journal eLife, fully support all findings of https://www.academia.edu/33827046 , and that therefore also you, Nobel laureate professor Randy Schekman and Editor-in-Chief of the journal eLife, is urging Editor-in-Chief Dr. Max Kasparek and publisher TF to retract the fraudulent study on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler (Al-Sheikhly et al. 2013, 2015), and as soon as possible, because Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) contain fabricated and/or falsified data, and that this retraction is necessary to prevent a further contamination of the scientific body of knowledge."

There is until now no one from the staff of publisher eLife and from any of the high-profile ecologists at https://elifesciences.org/about/people/ecology who has rebutted / refutes this view and who has informed me that there are objections to post a comment about this topic at ResearchGate. I have therefore concluded that it is correct to state that also 'Nobel laureate Randy Schekman is urging Taylor & Francis to retract the fraudulent study on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler'. This new development is once again a major set-back for both TF and Editor-in-Chief Dr. Max Kasparek of 'Zoology in the Middle East', the journal which published the fraudulent study. Comments are, as always, highly welcome."

Please don't hesitate to contact Dr. Max Kasparek about this new development (kasparek AT t-online.de).
 

Klaas van Dijk

Active member
The herculean efforts to get retracted the fraudulent study on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler are until now unsuccessful. One of the outcomes is the publication on 2 November 2017 of a paper in the journal “Roars Transactions, a Journal on Research Policy and Evaluation” with the title “Is partial behaviour a plausible explanation for the unavailability of the ICMJE disclosure form of an author in a BMJ journal?” See https://riviste.unimi.it/index.php/roars/article/view/9073 The paper is open access and descibes my efforts to get a copy of the ICMJE disclosure form of a paper authored by Dr. Elizabeth Moylan, a member of the council of COPE.


Abstract:This case study about the ethical behaviour in the field of scholarly publishing documents an exception on the rule for research articles in the medical journal BMJ Open that ICMJE disclosure forms of authors must be made available on request. The ICMJE, the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, has developed these forms for the disclosure of conflicts of interest for authors of medical publications. The case refers to the form of the corresponding author of an article in BMJ Open on retraction notices (Moylan and Kowalczuk, 2016). The corresponding author is a member of the council of COPE, the Committee on Publication Ethics. I will argue that the unavailability of the form relates to personal conflicts of interest with the corresponding author about my efforts to retract a fatally flawed study on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis. I describe my attempts to get the form and I will argue that its unavailability can be attributed to partial behaviour by BMJ, the publisher of BMJ Open. This study complements other sources reporting ethical issues at COPE.


The paper is published in the section ‘Discussion Notes’. The editors of “Roars Transactions, a Journal on Research Policy and Evaluation” are encouraging readers to submit comments / responses. These comments / responses will be published alongside the paper. I have informed this morning publisher BMJ http://www.bmj.com/ about the publication of this new paper and I have invited BMJ to submit comments / responses.
 

Klaas van Dijk

Active member
The fraudulent study on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler in a Taylor & Francis journal is still not retracted. Communicating about this issue with stakeholders and with contacts of these stakeholders (etc.) is still tough / impossible.

The comment by Richard Porter et al. (2015) at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09397140.2015.1023424 still attracts new readers with at the moment 2738 views. Also https://www.researchgate.net/projec...the-Basra-Reed-Warbler-Acrocephalus-griseldis (at the moment 785 views) and https://www.academia.edu/33827046 (at the moment 289 views, also published as https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318340512 ), attract lots of readers.

Until now no one has informed me that there are errors and/or mistakes in https://www.researchgate.net/projec...the-Basra-Reed-Warbler-Acrocephalus-griseldis and/or in https://www.academia.edu/33827046 (also published as https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318340512). It seems therefore reasonable to argue that there are no errors and/or mistakes in the texts of any of these urls.
 

Klaas van Dijk

Active member
I was informed for already quite a while ago that the Iraq Ministry of the Environment has published a report in the Arab language about the fraudulent study of the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler by Omar Al-Sheikhly et al. The report has an extensive summary in English. I am told that the findings of this report of the Iraq Ministry of the Environment are similar to the findings of the report "Final investigation on serious allegations of fabricated and/or falsified data in Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015)". I am of course very interested in a copy of this report. I am in contact with a science journalist who is also very interested in getting a copy of this report.

Efforts to get a copy of this report are until now unsuccessful. I would be pleased if a reader of this comment is able to provide me with a copy of this report.
 
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Klaas van Dijk

Active member
I am since a few days in the possession of a copy of this report and of a copy of an English translation of this report. Readers / followers of this thread who are interested in the contents of this report can contact me for a copy. E-mail klaas DOT vdijk AT hetnet DOT nl

I was informed for already quite a while ago that the Iraq Ministry of the Environment has published a report in the Arab language about the fraudulent study of the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler by Omar Al-Sheikhly et al. (...). Efforts to get a copy of this report are until now unsuccessful. I would be pleased if a reader of this comment is able to provide me with a copy of this report.
 

Klaas van Dijk

Active member
No response on a complaint filed to COPE about the acting of publisher Taylor & Francis

A complaint (called a ‘concern’) was filed on 28 November 2017 to the Facilitation and Integrity Subcommittee of COPE (the Commmittee on Publication Ethics, https://publicationethics.org/ ) about the persistent refusal of their member Taylor & Francis to provide us with a retraction note of the fraudulent study on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler. See for backgrounds the report "Final investigation on serious allegations of fabricated and/or falsified data in Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015)" at https://www.academia.edu/33827046 This report is since 1 July 2018 in the possession of publisher Taylor & Francis.

The complaint was filed through the online form at https://publicationethics.org/facilitation-and-integrity-subcommittee A response from COPE was received on the same day: "Thank you for submitting your concern or issue to the Facilitation and Integrity Subcommittee. Your concern will be reviewed initially by the Facilitation and Integrity Officer who will proceed according to https://publicationethics.org/files/Facilitation and integrity_November2017.pdf We will provide an update to you every 4 weeks or, when an update is available, sooner."

It is right now 1 March 2018 and I have until now not received a single update.

This is towards my opinion a worrisome development.
 

Klaas van Dijk

Active member
I was informed for already quite a while ago that the Iraq Ministry of the Environment has published a report in the Arab language about the fraudulent study of the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler by Omar Al-Sheikhly et al.

See https://osf.io/5pnk7/ for a PDF of this report.

An extensive interview with me about our efforts to retract the fraudulent Basra Reed Warbler study was published on 10 January 2020 at https://kloptdatwel.nl/2020/01/10/de-zaak-basrakarekiet/ (in Dutch).
 

Klaas van Dijk

Active member
A preprint about this topic was published in October 2020 at (PDF) Publisher Taylor & Francis refuses to retract a fraudulent study on the endangered Basra Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis Revised versions have been submitted to various journals. The correspondence with these journals has yielded new statements from experts that the Basra Reed Warbler study is based on fraud. There are still no (0, zero) experts who are willing to state that the Basra Reed Warbler study is based on solid science. No one has until now been able to provide any evidence that the field data exist.

It is remarkable that quite a few stakeholders go out of their league to prevent a (solid) scientific debate about the Basra Reed Warbler study. Correspondence between October 2019 and March 2020 about an earlier version of this preprint with Pippa Smart, Editor-in-Chief of https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/loi/17414857, ended with a 995 times repeated decline by Pippa Smart to communicate about the whereabouts of the field data. This topic is not listed in Dealing with difficult authors
 

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