Saturday, March 24, 2007


On Friday March 23, we incorrectly reported that the California Stem Cell Report was the first to pull together the plagiarism allegations and other ethical concerns involving CHA RMI and its allied organizations and link it to the CIRM grant. In fact, the Bodyhack blog on carried much of the same information on March 17. We simply missed their earlier report. Our apologies to the folks at Bodyhack, particularly Steve Edwards, who wrote the March 17 item.


  1. Not quite sure about the priority issue you are grappling with.

    As to the plagiarism issue, Charles Ornstein covered that in the LA Times on Feb. 18. Of relevance to both journals AND grant-givers, Ornstein wrote: The allegations mark the latest example of a challenge facing the editors of
    scientific journals: how to ensure that the work they print is honest
    and original. I had written in 88 JPTOS 239 in March 2006: Neither the USPTO nor scientific journals maintain laboratories to independently evaluate the quality of data submitted to them. Both entities basically have to accept on faith the truthfulness of the texts submitted to them. Journal editors assert that their system of review depends basically on trust and that reviewers can check only whether a report's conclusions follow from the data presented.

    As to the prayer issue, Bruce Flamm in California has been discussing the JRM paper of Lobo/Cha/Wirth for years. This illustrates a different issue as to journals: their frequent refusal to even ACKNOWLEDGE criticism of published papers. I've pointed this out as the journal Science in 88 JPTOS 743.

    One wonders whether CIRM will acknowledge the issues raised as to CHA.

  2. Re Lawrence Ebert's comment above concerning his uncertainty about what issue the correction deals with, it deals with a factual mistake. Our report Wednesday was not the first that linked ethical questions involving CHA's enterprises and the CIRM grant. Bodyhack was the first to make that linkage. We stumbled across that information this morning and wrote the correction.

    In news, just as in science, being first is important. Being accurate is also of paramount importance. Thus we have a policy of correcting factual errors as promptly as possible. We write a separate correction (the type you see above), and we correct the story, adding a note at the bottom of the story, saying that it has been corrected and what the mistake was.

    Not central to our correction is Ornstein's Los Angeles Times story. He reported the issues with CHA but his Feb. 18 story did not include the CIRM grant because it had not been made at the time of the story. CIRM has a policy of secrecy involving the names of its grant applicants. The award was not made until March 15. As a then-approved recipient, RHA RMI's name became public the next day, which prompted Steve Edwards of Bodyhack to check out the organization and write his item.

    We make every effort to be accurate. But mistakes do occur, and we always appreciate it when an error is called to our attention.


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