|Irina Ermakova set up by Nature Biotech (12/9/2007)|
1.How Irina Ermakova was set up
EXTRACT: "I am writing to you because the journal has been approached by a group of authors wishing to critique the results of your work that have been discussed in public forums."
GM Watch comment: Seems peer review now means the journal running errands for a bunch of GM lobbyists set on a one sided demolition job!
1.How Irina was set up
Dr Brian John
This is more serious than I had anticipated. I now have more background info, including all the key correspondence. The first move was made in a letter from Andrew Marshall to Irina on 25 June:
"I am writing to you because the journal has been approached by a group of authors wishing to critique the results of your work that have been discussed in public forums."
"......... the journal would, however, prefer to provide you with an opportunity to present your own findings and conclusions in your own words, rather than a critique from one side. I was therefore wondering whether you be willing to answer (via e-mail or telephone) a set of questions about your work, with a view to their questions and answers being published as part of an article?"
In a letter dated 28 June he stated:
"I envisage an article that would present the results and conclusions you previously discussed at the NAGS symposium on genetic modification in Russia, together with community feedback."
So the initiative came from the "group of four" -- at no time was Irina told who these people were, or what sort of "community" they represented. She was not told at any stage what format the article would take, and as we can see from the above she was led to believe that the "other side" would ask the questions, and she would be able to provide the answers.
Throughout the correspondence, Irina is cooperative and trusting, assuming that the Editor is simply wishing to publish an honest discussion of assorted scientific issues.
As recently as yesterday, Irina was under the impression that this was "her" article, and that her name should have been on the piece as author.
She was never shown the "community feedback" to her answers, and indeed the only proofs which Irina saw were the pieces containing her own answers to the editor's questions. In the proof which she has sent me, the comments from the "group of four" have carefully been cut out. Quite extraordinary.
So not only was she misled about the format and the purpose of the article, but she was kept in the dark as to the identities and objectives of the group of rottweilers, and denied sight of the final version of the paper before it was published.
As a piece of crude character assassination, this is on a par with what happened to Arpad, and there are some VERY serious questions that now need to be asked about the motives of a man who has seriously abused his privileged position as Editor, and about the modus operandi of what used to be a serious scientific publication. What we effectively have is a piece of very brutal and biased (and inaccurate) piece of peer reviewing by a self-selected group of GM proponents, in print and on the record, and published without the vilified scientist being given any opportunity to defend herself.
And all this on the day that Sir David King has gone on the record with a plea for more ethics in science:
2.Some notes on the 'reviewers'
All the 'reviewers' are well known GM propagandists.
Bruce Chassy has received research grants from major food companies and has conducted seminars for Monsanto, Genencor, Amgen, Connaught
Labs and Transgene.
3.Ermakova's GM soy trials in rats get a grilling at Nature Biotechnology
An unprecedented study claiming that transgenic soybeans compromise the fertility