AIDS contrarian ignored warnings of scientific misconduct

Published in Nature, 4 May 2010

A controversial scientist who is under investigation at the University of California, Berkeley, for making false claims in a paper and failing to declare a colleague’s alleged conflict of interest ignored an earlier warning that he could face misconduct charges if the paper was published.

Earlier this month, molecular and cell biologist Peter Duesberg told the ScienceInsider policy blog that the publication of his paper in the journal Medical Hypotheses prompted two letters of complaint to Berkeley. After receiving the letters, the institution opened a misconduct investigation.

But Duesberg had earlier submitted the paper for publication in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS), and a review of the paper, seen by Nature, explicitly warns Duesberg that “cherry-picking” of results and a co-author’s “obvious conflict of interest” could lead to misconduct charges if the paper were to be published. Despite the warnings, Duesberg chose to publish the paper in Medical Hypotheses, which does not peer review submissions. […]

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