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New plagiarism claims towards sport concussion guru Paul McCrory | Concussion in sport

The world-renowned concussion skilled Dr Paul McCrory has been accused of 10 extra instances of plagiarism, prompting consultants to query how a lot unique analysis the neurologist has produced and whether or not he deserved the a whole lot of 1000’s of {dollars} in analysis grants he has acquired.

McCrory stood down as chair of the influential Concussion in Sport Group (CISG) in March after the British Journal of Sports Medicine retracted considered one of his 2005 editorials, citing an “illegal and indefensible breach of copyright” of the work of Prof Steve Haake.

On the time McCrory was quoted apologising on Retraction Watch, saying his failure to attribute Haake’s work was an error and “not deliberate or intentional”.

That month Guardian Australia reported additional plagiarism allegations towards McCrory, an honorary affiliate with the distinguished Florey Institute for medical analysis in Melbourne. McCrory didn’t reply to requests for remark on the time.

Now, Nick Brown, a knowledge analyst at Linnaeus College in Sweden, alleges he has discovered an extra 10 examples of plagiarism by McCrory, together with failing to attribute materials taken from his personal beforehand revealed work.

“Dr McCrory has been churning out very comparable tales for 20 years, whereas, so far as I’ve been capable of set up, performing little or no unique empirical or different analysis in that point,” Brown mentioned.

“For those who’re saying precisely the identical factor about this matter as you probably did a decade in the past, what sort of analysis are you doing?”

The brand new plagiarism allegations contain works revealed between 2001 and 2018. Brown says normally McCrory seems to have recycled as much as 90% of his personal beforehand revealed work for publication elsewhere with out attribution, together with within the British Journal of Sports activities Drugs, which he as soon as edited.

In a single case, Brown alleges McCrory integrated the work of a Washington Put up journalist, with out attribution, for a chapter he contributed to a e book on restoration from sports activities concussions. In one other alleged instance, in a paper he authored on mind swelling after head harm, McCrory seems to have copied chunks of textual content with out attribution from a e book on traumatic mind harm in kids and adolescents.

In lots of the instances, Brown says McCrory seems to have taken chunks of labor from his earlier papers and mixed that work to kind a brand new paper or a e book chapter. Not one of the items include new, unique scientific analysis.

Having a historical past of incessantly publishing papers is essential to researchers and lecturers securing funding and grants for additional analysis, and to constructing their status.

The neurophysiologist Dr Alan Pearce, an affiliate professor at La Trobe College, mentioned this makes self-plagiarism unethical in academia as it could give the impression a researcher is persistently producing new work.

“There’s no excuse for any type of plagiarism, together with self-plagiarism,” he mentioned.

“It’s nonetheless dishonest and unethical.”

He mentioned analysis funding, each authorities and philanthropic, “truly doesn’t place sufficient worth on what’s produced – for instance, unique analysis papers – however slightly they place worth on a researcher’s observe file of successful grants”.

“So somebody who has received thousands and thousands of {dollars} in, notably, NHMRC [National Health and Medical Research Council] or Australian Analysis Council grants shall be deemed as having a greater observe file than somebody who has revealed dozens of unique analysis research, however hasn’t received many grants.”

Pearce mentioned the dearth of funding for unique analysis sports-related head accidents, and concussion coverage pointers being influenced by a well-connected community of some folks together with McCrory, meant new developments have been sluggish. He believes funding our bodies must be working tougher to make sure cash is getting used on unique analysis on this area.

“Within the case of concussion, there are folks actually dying as a result of nobody is ready to assist and the analysis strikes so slowly,” he mentioned.

Dr Chris Nowinski, the chief government and founding father of the Concussion Legacy Basis within the US, has beforehand accused McCrory of misinterpreting and misrepresenting Boston University brain injury research and downplaying the prevalence of continual traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) within the brains of retired athletes.

Nowinski mentioned US sporting codes, to enhance concussion protocols, have sought illustration from consultants named by gamers associations or participant advocates, not simply group docs. He’s pushing for comparable motion in Australia.

“You want a public well being voice that recognises that no matter occurs within the [professional leagues] will affect what occurs to kids, and the protocols and messages should be aligned to guard each teams,” he mentioned.

Former Western Bulldogs player Liam Picken is assisted off the field after a concussion in 2017.
Former Western Bulldogs participant Liam Picken is assisted off the sector after a concussion in 2017. {Photograph}: Will Russell/AFL Media/Getty Photographs

In March, the AFL introduced a complete and impartial evaluate of the work of McCrory, who for years handled and recognized AFL gamers and supplied concussion recommendation to the league.

The AFL on the time mentioned the evaluate can be undertaken as a result of plagiarism allegations and after the league was unable to reply questions on concussion analysis McCrory was mentioned to have led for the governing physique, together with how gamers have been recruited for the examine and the proof McCrory used to tell insurance policies. The evaluate is ongoing.

Individually, the Guardian revealed that in Could 2018 McCrory voluntarily “supplied an enforceable enterprise to the Medical Board of Australia that he won’t carry out neurodiagnostic procedures, nerve conduction research, or electromyography till permitted to take action by the Board”. The AFL was not conscious of this till knowledgeable of the enterprise by Guardian Australia. McCrory didn’t reply to requests for remark.

Guardian Australia evaluation reveals that McCrory has immediately acquired no less than $1,530,552 in 4 publicly funded particular person grants and fellowships by means of the NHMRC. He has additionally been named as an investigator on three additional group initiatives that acquired public funding.

Evaluation of McCrory’s publishing historical past reveals little proof of unique analysis into concussion and head trauma. Guardian Australia might determine no peer reviewed publications referring to scientific research or randomised managed trials led by McCrory referring to concussion in sport. McCrory didn’t reply to questions on this.

Within the early 2000s, McCrory was named as an affiliate investigator on a undertaking wanting on the cognitive and behavioural outcomes of concussion in younger kids, run by Prof Vicki Anderson on the Murdoch Youngsters’s Analysis Institute.

Anderson mentioned McCrory had no function within the assortment or scoring of the info, nor did he carry out any information entry or evaluation for the undertaking, and acquired no revenue from the grant. Neither Anderson nor McCrory responded to additional questions on what McCrory’s function within the examine.

McCrory can be named as an investigator on a 2017-2019 undertaking carried out out of the Florey Institute, which acquired $1,102,245.74 by means of the NHMRC, learning the buildup of CTE-linked proteins within the mind and the mind perform of concussed people a number of many years after head harm.

Prof Christopher Rowe, the chief investigator on that undertaking, didn’t reply to questions on McCrory’s involvement within the undertaking or any revealed peer-reviewed analysis that resulted from it. McCrory didn’t reply to requests for touch upon this grant both however there isn’t a suggestion that he benefited personally from it.

McCrory was additionally named because the lead investigator on a randomised managed trial that studied the impact of acupuncture on knee ache in 2008 that acquired $701,120.13 in public funds. A paper itemizing McCrory as a co-author was revealed out of this analysis, and it has no connection to concussion.

This raises questions round how McCrory was capable of safe a whole lot of 1000’s of {dollars} in funding for concussion analysis when a few of his solely unique scientific analysis seems to be within the space of acupuncture.

The latest grant to McCrory is a $577,188.50 Medical Analysis Future Fund (MRFF) Subsequent Era Medical Researchers grant, which was awarded in 2017 and introduced in a press launch by the previous well being minister Greg Hunt. It is because of be acquitted in 2023.

The funding is for use to look at the long-term results of delicate traumatic mind harm and “shut the present data hole of the affect of this dysfunction on people,” the press launch from Hunt on the time mentioned.

Well being division ‘involved’ about allegations

A spokesperson from the Division of Well being and Aged Care mentioned “the division is conscious of and anxious concerning the allegations [of plagiarism] made about McCrory”.

“The division has been suggested that the accountable establishment is investigating the allegations and can present recommendation on the outcomes.

“As soon as acquired, the division will contemplate any actions that could be required in response to the outcomes of the investigation. It could be inappropriate to touch upon these issues forward of receiving recommendation from the establishment.”

A Florey Institute spokesperson mentioned: “The MRFF Subsequent Era Medical Researcher Program is an ongoing five-year Fellowship undertaken by Dr Paul McCrory that is because of finish on 31 December 2022. Grant-related obligations for reporting and acquittals referring to the Fellowship have been met, together with the submission of annual monetary expenditure reviews.

“A abstract of the finished undertaking outcomes and papers revealed shall be included within the ultimate undertaking report.”

The institute didn’t reply to questions concerning the scope of the undertaking or how individuals for research have been being recruited.

Subsequent Era Medical Researcher Program grants are fellowships, solely for the salaries of recipients.

A spokesperson from the NHMRC mentioned all monetary reviews for the opposite grants had been submitted as required and reviewed and accepted by NHMRC.

“Analysis funding grants are awarded primarily based on rigorous, aggressive peer evaluate with the impartial peer reviewers assessing purposes towards evaluation standards that are described within the related scheme pointers,” the spokesperson mentioned.

Have you learnt extra? Contact melissa.davey@theguardian.com

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