Research leads to calls for retraction of hundreds of unethical papers

Research leads to calls for retraction of hundreds of unethical papers

Research leads to calls for retraction of hundreds of unethical papers

Research led by Professor Wendy Rogers in the Department of Philosophy reveals that the transplant research community has failed to implement ethical standards in banning the publication of research using material from Chinese executed prisoners, leading to a call for a mass retraction of over 400 published papers.

The study exposed mass failings and very poor compliance with ethical standards in the reporting of organ donors:

  • 99 per cent of studies failed to report if organ donors had given consent for transplantation
  • 92 per cent of studies failed to report whether organs were sourced from executed prisoners
  • 19 studies, involving 2688 transplants, claimed that no organs from executed prisoners were used. However, these studies took place prior to 2010, when prisoners were the only source of organs in China.

"We were quite shocked to find that there had been so few questions asked about where the organs came from in this Chinese research," said Professor Rogers.

"It is extremely concerning to us as academics, as it should be to the medical research community at large, that there is now a large body of unethical research that transplant researchers in Australia and internationally may have used and benefited from."

Professor Rogers’ research has since been covered by over 40 national and 20 international news outlets, including on ABC Radio National Health Report, The Australian and The Guardian.

The research is published in the open access journal BMJ Open, with support from a Faculty publication grant.

Rogers W, Robertson MP, Ballantyne A, Blakely B, Catsanos R, Clay-Williams R, Fiatarone-Singh M. Compliance with ethical standards in the reporting of donor sources and ethics review in peer-reviewed publications involving organ transplantation in China: a scoping review.  (https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/9/2/e024473).

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