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Eliminating research fraud

The Committee on Publication Ethics calls for the establishment of a medical research watchdog.

Pat Hagan(phagan@btinternet.com)

LONDON — In 2000, after one of the most high profile cases of research fraud in recent times, the General Medical Council suspended GP Anjan Kumar Banerjee from the medical register for 12 months for serious professional misconduct.

His crime, nearly ten years earlier, had been to falsify research into Crohn's disease, which was then published in the reputable journal Gut. Such was Banerjee's disregard for the ethics of scientific research that he went to the extraordinary length of substituting his own urine for that of 12 research subjects.

Extreme cases of fraud such as this have now prompted calls for the UK to set up an independent body that can effectively police scientific research and stamp out misconduct.

The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), a body formed in the late 1990s by disillusioned medical journal editors anxious that bogus research was slipping into their publications, now wants a...

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