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Editor Quits After Fraud Allegations

Dmitry Kuznetsov, former chief editor of two science journals, denies any wrongdoing, but agrees to leave his posts after The Scientist reported on numerous accusations of misconduct.

By | July 10, 2013

WIKIMEDIA, VMENKOVDmitry Kuznetsov, a Russian biochemist who studies magnetic isotope effects on enzymes, has left his posts as the chief editor of the British Journal of Medicine and Medical Research and the International Research Journal of Pure and Applied Chemistry. The change was prompted after an article by The Scientist exposed allegations that Kuznetsov had committed numerous instances of scientific misconduct.

In a series of emails forwarded to The Scientist by Kuznetsov, an editor at the journals’ publisher, ScienceDomain International, expressed support for Kuznetsov, but asked him to step down. “We are disturbed with the news,” Manisha Basu wrote to Kuznetsov. “It seems that this article is going to be extremely harmful for the future of the two new journals (BJMMR, IRJPAC) unless some actions are taken to restore the faith of the authors.” On the websites for each journal, Kuznetsov’s name has been replaced by five new chief editors. The publisher did not respond to repeated requests from The Scientist for confirmation of the content of the emails or further comment.

Regarding the allegations, which include inventing citations and materials, Kuznetsov maintains that he did nothing wrong. In a lengthy email to The Scientist, Kuznetsov explained why he thinks others were unable to replicate his results. “Actually, nothing is strange about technical difficulties in enzyme function studies which is a pretty complex ‘cooking’—it is not always easy to reproduce (reconfirm) the somebody’s data.” As for researchers’ inability to identify some of the citations Kuznetsov references in his papers, “my only—but no doubt terrible!!! —mistake was that I was naïve enough to publish in the West-appearing periodical the references to articles originally published in Soviet / Russian as well as in Serbian, Bulgarian, . . .  journals in native languages (Russian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Bulgarian . . .),” many of which ceased publication in the 1990s.

Kuznetsov also explained his motivation in the early 1990s for lecturing on creationism, sponsored by the Institute for Creation Research. “The mere opportunity to went out (escape, if you will . . .) of our Soviet-adopted narrow-minded Darwinian evolution standpoint were taken as an attractive way to study and—who knows—maybe to contribute something to this shiny anti-dogmatic field.”

Gian Marco Rinaldi, a retired math teacher who has exhaustively investigated Kuznetsov, posted more results of his efforts online this month. Kuznetsov’s colleagues, who are implicated in Rinaldi’s investigation, remain editors at ScienceDomain publications. Kuznetsov said he is “sick and tired” of explaining why others cannot verify his work, and “as a matter of fact, I gave up answering such criticisms about 10 years ago.”

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Avatar of: ironjustice

ironjustice

Posts: 28

July 10, 2013

"The Scientist publicized numerous accusations of misconduct"

 

Is this the new norm ? One can publish whatever , just coincidentally , a competitor AND creationist ? Coincidentally.

July 22, 2013

July 16, 2013.

 

Kerry Elizabeth Grens

Staff  Reporter, The Scientist     

 

 

RE:  Dr. Dmitry A. Kuznetsov’s Reply to two recent reports (July 5, 11 - 2013) published in The Science by the above named Author

 

 

   Madame,

   This is what I have to communicate in addition to those of my few previous reply-points you already have.

   First of all, let me thank you for your professional interest to such an intriguing subject as a quasi-para-pseudo-science of all sorts. I’ve been truly impressed by your recent publication. Since you’ve made me a key figure of your report, I suppose to be the one who’ll “sign” a response to “all that jazz”.

   However, you should understand that at least a 3rd part of your “Kuznetsov focused file” is nothing but a challenge to many individuals involved into an ongoing studies on magnetic isotope effects in biochemistry and cell biology (A L Buchachenko, O A Orlova, A P Orlov, V Gribkov, N N Breslavskaya, S A Roumiantsev, S E Arkhangelsky, A V Latysheva, Y A Karpov, G G Glavin, Y K Napolov, A A Svistunov, A A Bukhvostov, O A Shatalov, R N Alyautdin, N. Lukzen, S. M. Rezayat, N. Amirshahi, H.Shafee, A. Hosseini and others – at least eight autonomous research labs in Russia and abroad - numerous publications since 2005 till now, all easily available – these multi-authored papers show the effect which our below mentioned Irish colleagues were not be able to show).

   So let me start with an answer to this “3rd part” of your question list – please keep in mind that I’ll respond to this as a member of our team leaded by Professor Anatoly L. Buchachenko, a discoverer of the phenomenon known as a magnetic isotope effect (back in 1980s) and hence a founder of what we define a nuclear spin selective chemistry and biochemistry. I had an honor to join this team in 2002.

   This “3rd part” of your file is all about the allegations raised by some authors of an article appeared in PNAS lately: Grotty, D., et al (2012) PNAS, 109: 1437 – 1442. Needless to repeat what the author(s) were telling (writing) to you with this regard. Now please get what we have seen on our part.

   Actually, there is nothing strange about technical difficulties in enzyme function studies which is a pretty complex “cooking” – it is not always easy to reproduce (reconfirm) the somebody’s data. Suppose I do have such difficulties. My natural move then would be to contact the Authors whose results drives me crazy to ask questions and hoping for help.

   Our Irish Colleagues decided to act differently. Not being connected with our team (not even ones!), they published their negativist data containing paper in PNAS. Afterwards, – and only then – they wrote us a brief letter with their questions. Prof. Buchachenko replied to this letter (so do I too) to indicate what limitations our effect (magnesium-25 magnetic isotope effect in creatine kinase reaction, MIE) are sufficient to make an essential impact on Irish experiment. I don’t want to overload my letter with technical staff – to make long story short, we had just a non-scientific humiliating response.

   So we decided to continue the debate in a civilized form – we have sent our special reply to PNAS first. The PNAS Editorial Board representative denied it, no explanation beyond.

   Then we have published our clear and direct response to the “Irish Critique” in a separate concluding segment of our background-lying work appeared recently: Buchachenko A L, et al (2012) Chemical Reviews, 112: 2042 – 2058 – pay your attention to page 2058. No response from our Irish fellow-biochemists till now … Moreover, we have even conducted a special series of additional experiments to understand better a cause of the Irish lab’s fault – our results are available at Svistunov A A, et al (2013) Cell Biochemistry & Biophysics, 66: 417 – 418; Shatalov O A, et al (2012), Magnesium Research, 25: 177 - 181 and, finally, in Arkhangelsky S E, et al (2013) Russian Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 17: 8 – 11.

   Guess what happen next … You’re right – nothing. A cemetery reminding silence was – and still is – a response from a gorgeous St Patrick’s homeland…          

   Well, what do we really have now about this Irish work per se ?

   At least two things are on the surface:

   (a) a completeness of the 25Mg2+ ions replacement inside the enzyme catalytical site (what we are calling “an isotope loading efficiency”) was not taken care off at all by Grotty et al while this seems to be a crucial pattern as long as these authors were playing with some other enzymes than we did (creatine kinase subfamily variable species);

   (b) astonishing fact: the Irish fellows used to employ an abnormally high concentration of iron in the enzyme incubation mixture (which was sincerely published in …PNAS): its like to expect some work to be done by a tiny weak magnet in a close presence of your steel-made car keys. Well …

   For your convenience, I could attach some of the above mentioned publications even though all of our internationally circulated works are available in the net.

   Last not least, the MIE (magnetic isotope effect) of magnesium in phosphate transferring enzymes function is not my invention of course although I’ve made my humble personal contribution to these studies, this trend in biochemistry counts nearly 10 years of its history by now. All MIE-related major fundamental points which our Irish Colleagues were trying to criticize with no reliable evidence behind are in fact properly presented and discussed in Buchachenko A L (2009) Magnetic Isotope Effect in Chemistry and Biochemistry, Nova Science Publishers, Inc., New York. Too bad our Irish Colleagues did not even try to understand a mere nature of the effect they were started to investigate. As you may see from above, numerous members of our team as well as of some other teams did not make this simple mistake. So they’ve seen an effect. I am sorry for those not-too-lucky students affiliated with an Irish lab. Whose fault was they were wrong in their choice of Supervisor?...

July 22, 2013

Now let’s look at “Part 2” of your file. Turin Shroud and the ancient textiles related biochemical approaches to improve/correct both dating (attribution) and conservation techniques.

   In the mid90s, which was a very hard time in Russia (post – catastrophic period, so to say…), I and my Colleagues A. A. Ivanov and P.R. Veletsky were given a good grant support generated by a wealthy French geologist named Guy Berthault to investigate specifically a possibility to employ chemical and/or biochemical approaches to retreat (re-evaluate) some conventional radiocarbon dating results.

   The focus was on a so called environmentalist view on how and to which extent, if any, the archaeological textiles could be enriched by exogenous carbon during their long-term existence and which impact, if any, this could make on a routine C14-dating.

   The Shroud C14-dating results announced in 80s should be something we were obliged to have in mind first but not only that. A wide range of the related dating cases were also in a focus. Being nicely supported by Guy Berthault Foundation (from Meulan, France) and having good connections with a management of facility of the Moscow State Environment Research Center, we have established a private lab capable to rent some equipment and/or to hire some part-time employees which was a pretty common practice in Russia in those “old good times”. This was our beloved enfant, Sedov Biopolymer Research Laboratory (Moscow, RF, 1993 – 1999). This small non-profit business was started and maintained with the only aim – to organize the Berthault – supported work on the radiocarbon dating accuracy re-elucidation. Certainly, I was exploring my variable international connections (which I had since early 80s) to promote this work. Once we have some data to present, we were reporting them at the Annual Meeting of the American Chemical Society (1995), Aneheim, CA where we were debating over these data with scientists from Tucson radiocarbon research facility (University of Arizona). That was not heavily-antagonistic although a non-convincing discussion. It was … fun.   

   The bottom line was that there are some (few) special cases of environmentally dependent pollutions and even enzymatic irreversible modifications of the ancient linen cellulose samples quite sufficient to be used for further correction of their radiocarbon dating results. We firmly believe that a so called “Chemical Record” or “Chemical History” of at least some textile relics (Shroud including) deserves to be taken to shift the resulting “age” of the relic towards an older direction.

   The only conclusion we made was that the data we obtained are worthy of being employed for a re-thinking of some previously announced 14C-dating “verdicts”. Nothing but that. As far as I remember those pretty-far-ago-happened panels, some few chemists were agreed with us – like Dr Alan Adler, WestConn University, Danbury, CT. By the way, Alan’s friend Dr John Jackson, former physics professor from the USAF Academy at Colorado Springs, CO, was our guest at our SBP Lab facility in Moscow (he had visited us twice in 1994 – 1996) – so we had a chance to demonstrate him “how it works”. Mr Berthault was also our guest there on several occasions in 1994 – 1995.        

   Anyway, once we finished our job, we have published results in: Kuznetsov D A, et al (1994) Analytical Chemistry, 66: 4359 – 4364; Kuznetsov D. A., et al (1994 or 1995) Journal of Archaeological Science (sorry for not having an exact reference); Kuznetsov D A & Ivanov A A (1996) Acata Archaeologica Academiae Scientarum Hungariae, 48: 1468 – 1476; Kuznetsov D A & Ivanov A A (1995) Textile Research Journal (Princeton, NJ), 65: 236 – 240; Kouznetsov D A (2000) Studies in Conservation, 45: 117 – 126.

   However, even a simple mentioning of such a disputable relic as the Turin Shroud is a too sensitive issue for some people which is normally has nothing to do with science. Those ones who were trying to deny our conclusions by raising sampling and bibliography related issues (or even some pure conspiracy-suspecting statements), were the ones enjoying to study our work “under the microscope”. Its fine with us. For their consolidate attention, I might correspond the followings.

   We never investigate the Shroud itself and we never claimed we did. The En Ghedi cloth sample (an ancient Palestinian burial linen cloth excavated at the En Ghedi archaeological site in contemporary Israel which was previously radiochemically dated to about AD 2,000) was purchased due to good services provided by G. Berthault Foundation while all European archaeological samples we studied were taken already-hand-marked (date/origin – labeled) in 1994 - 1995 from Dr Ilya Tyomkin whom we (Dr A. A. Ivanov and I) were visiting on several occasions at his lab in the Textile Research Institute, Princeton, NJ. By the way, one of our papers were published by this Institute – issued periodical, Textile Research Journal (above). All other technical details your readers might be interested in are properly specified in our above listed papers. Nothing to add.

   Just to entertain your readers (who are, most likely, still suffering of an incurable KGB-phobia), I could mention Dr. Vladimir Yeryomin (???????? ?????? – in Russian), an outspoken representative for the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) Laboratory of Forensic Research, who has warmly acknowledged our contribution to the radiocarbon dating re-elucidation in the Shroud – devoted TV documentary issued by the RF TV Channel 1 back in 2004. Unfortunately, it is not usual for this particular lab to publish papers in international science press.

   Another supporter of our proposal to re-evaluate (taking into account certain biochemical circumstances we described in our papers) the radiocarbon-based “verdicts on relics” is Pontcharra J (2009) Are radiodating methods reliable ? Sapienza University Press: Rome.

 

July 27, 2013

Attn.: Kerry Elizabeth Grens

         Staff Reporter, The Scientist

   Madame,

   For some stupid technical reason, I was not able to post my third comment on your above stated report earlier. This is my reply to criticisms you have in what I called “Kerry’s 1st File”. Creationism related critique.

      So let me to jump back into the troubled waters of the “creation Vs evolution” quasi – scientific clinch or, to be exact, to what I’ve done in it nearly 20 years ago.

   An amazing glasnost & perestroika time gave me an unexpected opportunity to read some “heretic” books which were unknown to most of the Soviet readers before. Frankly, it was like a background-crashing “knock down” to learn that some brilliant scientists like geneticist Giuseppe Sermonti and Nobel Prize winner physicist  Antonio Zichichi – or even the America’s most venerated Nazi, SS Hauptsturmfuhrer Werner Von Brown (US ballistic/space missile 1948 – 1969 programs key person) - were all devoted anti-Darwinian thinkers and … well … so to say …. Creationists !

   As a biochemist, I was paying a special attention to such a weak side of Darwinian evolution as its usual exaggeration of homology principle in establishing of the fact of phylogenic relatedness (an existence of common ancestor postulated on the basis of “similarity” of biological structures compared). My creationist views (not only mine) in early 90s were all based on this and related subjects.

   I have conducted some simple experiments but, most importantly, I’ve been engaged as a guest speaker and debater on “anti-evolution issue” by a very active group of creationists named The Institute for Creation Research (El Cajon, CA) back in 1990 – 93. That was a truly artistic work! Priceless experience for me as a  polemist. I did not gain any other fruit than that for my further career though. That means, this “collateral” route in my professional life was obviously time consuming, interesting and temporal (1990 – 94) part-time engagement, more free lancing than duty-imposing. Talking of the debates related part of it, I could quote a sad-n-wise Friedrich Nietzsche who wrote: “… the truth is not something we have to discover, this is something we have to create”.

   My paper appeared in the International Journal of Neuroscience (Due to Sir Sydney Weinstein, this journal’s Chief Editor invitation, I was serving there as an Advisory Board member in early 90s) were dealing with molecular homology as a target for the anti-Darwinian (pro-creationist) criticisms. That paper(s) now are in a focus of your fellow-whistleblowers-paper-diggers, Kerry.

   My critics (almost all of them) - once they referred to my IJN-published “creationist work” - were noticed the numerous references to journal papers they were not able to find through Internet. Appealing to what they consider a “common sense”, these critics came up with a “firm” conclusion: these “ghost references” are fakes – therefore, the whole work is a fraud. Looks like a brilliant deduction, isn’t it ?

   I am sick and tired, Kerry, to explain repeatedly (as a matter of fact, I gave up answering such criticisms about 10 years ago) that my only – but no doubt gravy!!! – mistake was that I was naïve enough to publish in the West-appearing periodical the references to articles originally published in Soviet / Russian as well as in Serbian, Bulgarian, ….  journals in native languages (Russian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Bulgarian, …).       

   Noteworthy, there were no digital magazine versions whatsoever in these prosperous countries back in 90s. Besides, some of these “ghosts” were the bulletins of small (but alive!) provincial local universities in these countries that were released in a relatively small run (hundreds of hard cover copies sometimes). Most of these journals were closed in 90s due to financial and political troubles.

   Acta Scandinavica or something like that wasn’t found by one of my “critic” as well … Frankly, so did I (now). Shame or not shame on me, I can’t recall how and where did I found this particular title as well as some others - nearly 20 years ago. My colleague and friend Dr Andrey Ivanov, currently a Senior Research Fellow with the RAS Institute for Analytical Chemistry and Geochemistry, Moscow, Russia, who used to assist me in my “hunt for quotes” in early 90s (and whom I’ve been talking to last week) recalls that some portion of the Reference list points were simply “extracted” from monographs and review articles without seeing the originals – that sin we both, Andrey and I, may confess about. Same with incomplete or shortened titles of some papers quoted.

   Same with the so called “fake names” of some Soviet / Russian scientists I’ve mentioned in my publications: my “critics” were not able to identify them … by Internet. Nothing else should be expected from the Western-specific narrow minded “investigators”, actually. This fact, however, has a clear and simple explanation. A majority of Russian researchers were never publishing their works in English outside USSR/Russia. To start with, this was merely forbidden in 80s and before. This was a hardest task imaginable – to publish papers outside a so called “Iron Curtain” – I know what I am writing about! Since 90s, and till now – most of the Russian-performed studies were/are available predominantly in the inside-Russia-published science periodicals (in Russian, of course). Relatively recently (starting with late 90s till mid2000s), about 30-35% of Russian peer-reviewed science journals became bilingual due to appearance of their “twin copies” translated into English and published abroad. No Internet traces for most of the Russian journals exist (1980 – 2000).

   From my past experience, Kerry, I know that some curious readers were keen to know how and why Sir Sydney Weinstein, a reputable scientist, invited me to join his IJN staff. Assuming that this is really interesting to you and others, I have to note that Dr Weinstein invited me to arrive to US first being a personal sponsor for my US non-immigrant visa (December 1989 – hardly possible to forget). I’ve got to know this bright person – neurologist, teacher, businessman, artist, writer, philosopher - starting with mid 80s. He published my biochemical toxicology papers, we were talking on the phone, writing letters and postcards (again, no Internet around!). 

   So it would be safe to say that I’ve been invited by Dr Weinstein due to my previously published studies (1979 – 1990) – which were published in the world circulated science journals despite a known fact that this was very, very (!!!) unusual for the USSR-settled young scientist: Cancer Letters, Toxicology Letters, Toxicology, Archives of Toxicology, Biochemical Pharmacology, Journal of Biochemical & Biophysical Methods, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (Amsterdam), International Journal of Neuroscience, Neurochemical Research, Acta Biomedica Germanica (Berlin), Trends in Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology (Barcelona).

   Same way I was invited to serve as a Chief Editor for two open access enfant-journals that were launched about three years ago by the ScienceDomain International Publishing House, Brit J Med Med Res and Intern Res J Pure Appl Chem. I was chosen by the Publisher due to my previous research record – just like in Sir Sydney’s case.

   It is up to my readers and ex-authors now to judge which kind of the Chief Editor I was. This was not a job to me since I wasn’t get paid for doing this. Whatever you may call it (job, duty, post, hobby …), I lost it – thank to you and to your “diggers”.

   One allusion just came through my mind. Have you ever study the case specified in Fluoride (1999), 32: 191 – 193 (entitled like “NAS fails to respond to Safe Water Foundation – fraud at the National Academy of Sciences – is fluoride a nutrient ?”) ? Same game: “diggers” – most of them are ignorant lay people, accused scientists, reputable journal papers, confused readers, enthusiastic reporters … Ecclesiastes was certainly right crying about the principal lack of news in the God’s World.   

      I kept silence in response to several attacks on me in the past ten years. I decided to ignore them just because th?se mosquito bites were absolutely harmless to my work. All of my Russian colleagues I am working with are on my side. Besides, I would never reply to a “critic” whose only tool is an Internet and whose platform is a magazine entitled as … Scienca & Paranormale …

   In general, my current situation remain the very same as it always was except for one unexpected loss – I mean my deliberate step down (resign) from a post of the Chief Editor of two above mentioned journals. If this event would touch me alone, I’ll no doubt remain silent so far. However, it turns out this would probably affect somehow some good and innocent people affiliated with the ScienceDomain International Publishers and perhaps not only them. This is what I can’t tolerate. This is the only reason why I decided to respond. But this is the only and the last response on my part. As you may see from the above, I have no intention to make this “ping-pong” endless. I don’t have this habit – to waste my time.

   Sincerely:

   Dmitry A. Kuznetsov, 

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