Fake paper retracted, but PGI continues to keep it under the rug | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Fake paper retracted, but PGI continues to keep it under the rug

In the fake research paper case at Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, while the peer-reviewed journal that published the study has announced to retract the article, the premier institute’s administration has yet to even constitute a probe panel despite the scam coming to light around four months back.

chandigarh Updated: Nov 26, 2014 11:59 IST
Vishav Bharti

In the fake research paper case at Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, while the peer-reviewed journal that published the study has announced to retract the article, the premier institute’s administration has yet to even constitute a probe panel despite the scam coming to light around four months back.

The issue first came to the fore in July end, when HT had highlighted that how the drug information unit (DIU) at the PGIMER received just one call in three years from 2011 to 2013. But in a research paper published by three doctors of the pharmacology department, including head Dr Amitava Chakravarti, which runs the unit, claimed receiving 56 calls in a month.

However, HT's investigative reports highlighted that the DIU had received only 53 calls since its inception in 2003. The unit addresses queries of doctors related to various drugs and their adverse reactions over phone.

The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal named the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research last year. Though following Hindustan Times stories, the director had sought response from the department, he failed to constitute an inquiry panel.

However, the lacklustre attitude of the PGIMER director has raised eyebrows of the PGIMER faculty as well as academicians outside. An emeritus professor of the institute, who wished not to be named, said that it was not journal's image that had been tarnished but it was the institute that would pay the price finally.

“Once the name of a scientist from any institute crops up in an academic fraud, the international journals don't take kindly to their colleagues. Even research work of genuine scientists is looked upon suspiciously,” he said.

Being primarily an education and research institute, the PGIMER can't afford to push such acts of academic dishonesty under the carpet. It has been a long history at the institute to protect its doctors involved in various academic frauds.

In a similar case around two decades back, Dr Bhushan Kumar, a professor in dermatology department, along with two other faculty members, swiftly got away despite committing a similar kind of fraud despite indicted by all committees of the institute.

“This is nothing new at the institute. My mother, late Dr Surinder Kaur, who was head of the dermatology department, had to quit PGIMER when the institute’s governing body overlooked findings of its own ethics committee against her junior colleague, Dr Bhushan Kumar,” said Kaur's son Anant Singh, who runs a business in Chandigarh.

In that case also the paper was retracted after the matter was prominently covered in the media.

Neither PGIMER director Dr YK Chawla nor dean Dr Savita Malhotra were available for comment despite repeated requests.

Fabricated data: IMTECH chargesheets scientist

The administration of Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH), Sector 39, Chandigarh, has issued a chargesheet to one of its senior scientists, Dr Swaranjit Singh Cameotra, who published five papers based on fabricated data.

These papers were published in the journal PLoS ONE and were retracted in July this year. Dr Girish Sahni, director, Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH), Sector 39, confirmed that they had initiated the action.

“Being a government organisation, it is a long process we have to follow as per the service rules before initiating any action,” Dr Sahni said.