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The news page of Linkoping Unive...

Posted Sep 11 2008 3:38pm

The news page of Linkoping University, in Sweden, has two articles that greatly interest me. One is about a surprising effect of omega-3 supplements:

One-year-olds whose mothers had ingested fish oil during pregnancy and breastfeeding had considerably fewer allergic reactions than children whose mothers did not take this supplement.

The other is about a case of extreme plagiarism: An entire material-science paper was copied, almost word for word, from PNAS. Into Madness has a nice comment:

Regarding the main authors, there seems to be a Nepali element involved! Sounds like a case for Father Brown. . . . Some Engineering students at Anna University [where two of the four authors of the paper that is a copy came from] who I talked to were not aware of this until they read the blogs. There have been no newspaper reports in India (as far as I know). How and when Anna University will react to this incident will be interesting to watch.

I agree. In the 1990s, when (a) Ranjit Chandra’s research assistant came forward and said “this research couldn’t have been done” and (b) Chandra could not produce the data, it was obvious that something was seriously wrong. Yet Memorial University, Chandra’s employer, gave Chandra a tap on the wrist.

A curious feature of this case is that two co-authors claim they are innocent:

Tom Mathews, doctor at the Indira Gandhi center for nuclear research in India and one of the four researchers named as authors, distances himself from the article in an email to DN [= Swedish newspaper]. So does Roshan Bokalawela, graduate student at the University of Oklahoma in the USA.

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