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Alternative Media Publications

Exclusive: PLOS ONE to retract more than 100 papers for manipulated peer review – Retraction Watch

While 100 retractions over a short period of time may be eye-popping, it’s also not surprising, and is a reminder that PLOS ONE has invested in expanding its research integrity team in recent years. It began issuing more retractions around 2018 as its team worked through hundreds of reports from Elisabeth Bik about papers with duplicated images, at least some of which are clearly linked to paper mills.

https://retractionwatch.com/2022/08/03/exclusive-plos-one-to-retract-more-than-100-papers-for-manipulated-peer-review/

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Publications

Estimated impact of the 2020 economic downturn on under-5 mortality for 129 countries – PLOS ONE

In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), economic downturns can lead to increased child mortality by affecting dietary, environmental, and care-seeking factors. This study estimates the potential loss of life in children under five years old attributable to economic downturns in 2020. We used a multi-level, mixed effects model to estimate the relationship between gross domestic product (GDP) per capita and under-5 mortality rates (U5MRs) specific to each of 129 LMICs. Public data were retrieved from the World Bank World Development Indicators database and the United Nations World Populations Prospects estimates for the years 1990-2020. Country-specific regression coefficients on the relationship between child mortality and GDP were used to estimate the impact on U5MR of reductions in GDP per capita of 5%, 10%, and 15%. A 5% reduction in GDP per capita in 2020 was estimated to cause an additional 282,996 deaths in children under 5 in 2020. At 10% and 15%, recessions led to higher losses of under-5 lives, increasing to 585,802 and 911,026 additional deaths, respectively. Nearly half of all the potential under-5 lives lost in LMICs were estimated to occur in Sub-Saharan Africa. Because most of these deaths will likely be due to nutrition and environmental factors amenable to intervention, countries should ensure continued investments in food supplementation, growth monitoring, and comprehensive primary health care to mitigate potential burdens.

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0263245

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Publications

“He who pays the piper calls the tune”: Researcher experiences of funder suppression of health behaviour intervention trial findings – PLOS ONE

Background
Governments commonly fund research with specific applications in mind. Such mechanisms may facilitate ‘research translation’ but funders may employ strategies that can also undermine the integrity of both science and government. We estimated the prevalence and investigated correlates of funder efforts to suppress health behaviour intervention trial findings.

Conclusions
One in five researchers in this global sample reported being pressured to delay, alter, or not publish the findings of health behaviour intervention trials. Regulation of funder and university practices, establishing study registries, and compulsory disclosure of funding conditions in scientific journals, are needed to protect the integrity of public-good research.

http://archive.today/2021.08.26-220224/https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0255704

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News

Health researchers report funder pressure to suppress results – Nature

Government agencies such as health departments might be more inclined to intervene if findings from a study they commissioned are not as expected or if they are heavily invested in the health intervention — such as an education or health programme — being trialled, she adds.

A 2016 inquiry into the delayed publication of research commissioned by UK government agencies identified cases in which publication was “manipulated to fit with political concerns”. More recently, the British Medical Journal reported four instances of politicization and suppression of science in the United Kingdom during the COVID-19 pandemic.

http://archive.today/2021.08.20-134039/https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02242-x

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Publications

Risk in Vaccine Research and Development Quantified – PLOS ONE

Published in 20th March 2013

A database was actively compiled to include all vaccine projects in development from 1998 to 2009 in the pre-clinical development phase, clinical trials phase I, II and III up to Market Registration. The average vaccine, taken from the preclinical phase, requires a development timeline of 10.71 years and has a market entry probability of 6%. Stratification by disease area reveals pandemic influenza vaccine targets as lucrative.

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0057755

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Publications

Vitamin D sufficiency, a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D at least 30 ng/mL reduced risk for adverse clinical outcomes in patients with COVID-19 infection – PLOS ONE

…it is recommended that improving vitamin D status in the general population and in particular hospitalized patients has a potential benefit in reducing the severity of morbidities and mortality associated with acquiring COVID-19.

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0239799