Journals fight scientific fraud

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The Independent Online
The editors of nine medical journals, including the British Medical Journal and The Lancet, have joined forces to combat scientific fraud. The nine editors have set up a Committee on Publication Ethics to share information and monitor misconduct after one editor experienced four cases of fraud in his first year.

Britain's only private agency for investigating medical fraud has reported 17 cases to the General Medical Council since 1989, all of which have resulted in convictions for serious professional misconduct. Another 12 cases are pending.

In a case settled last week, Dr John Anderton, a former secretary of the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh was struck off the medical register by the GMC for faking data in a clinical trial.

Last May, Dr Peter Nixon, a consultant cardiologist from Charing Cross Hospital, admitted in court that errors in scientific papers cowritten by him appeared to be "more than an honest slip of the pen." A libel action he was fighting against a television company collapsed and the Medical Defence Union, which had supported him, was left facing a bill of pounds 2 million.