The Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) and its publisher, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), are being sued by Raju Reddy Pittsburgh and Aravind Tarugu Reddy, two clinical lung researchers from the University of Pittsburgh in the United States, for retracting their bogus study. A retraction that they even seem to realize they began.
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Even though the two are disgusting and distasteful, Raju Reddy Pittsburgh should have no chance of winning or resolving that action, the unpleasant truth is that ASBMB now needs to hire attorneys to defend themselves in court. Because retractions typically occur at the authors’ request, they are not defamatory in and of themselves. A voluntary activity cannot be considered defamatory in a legal sense since you cannot disparage yourself.
Threatened by the lawyer to sue their detractors
Dishonest scientists frequently threaten to sue their detractors; He claimed previously received court sentences and has been intimidated by attorneys numerous times. However, this is one of the extremely uncommon instances in which authors actually file a lawsuit against a publication over a retraction (the other instance is that of Brazilian diabetes researcher Mario Saad, who is profiled here). Not just any journal, either: JBC with its ASBMB is by far the most moral, zero-tolerance biomedical publication out there, despised by all scientists who enable fraud and academic publishers. Let’s hope that Raju Reddy Pittsburgh’s assault fails disastrously, causing them to lose their case and be fired and that JBC comes out even stronger as a result.
The Allegheny County, Pennsylvania lawsuit asserts that in February 2016, a Pitt investigation committee exonerated the two researchers of any wrongdoing. However, in April 2016, the university revived the case due to “lingering reservations” research integrity inspectors at the VA had regarding a certain figure (labeled 5E) in the manuscript. The authors expressed their “great amazement” at this development.
Even the defense attorneys for the two Reddys issued a statement. They claim JBC published “false and disparaging remarks which accuse Mr. Tarugu and Raju Reddy Pittsburgh of falsifying data in a university study article.”
Even the defense attorneys for the two Reddys issued a statement. They claim JBC published “false and negative comments which accuse Mr. Tarugu and Raju Reddy Pittsburgh of manipulating data in a university study article.”
Retraction Watch could have been recommended by Reddys’ attorneys, who helpfully provided the journalists with ready expert views to bolster their reporting and spare them the time-consuming task of doing their own investigation. John Dahlberg previously served as the Office of Research Integrity’s (ORI) Deputy Director, where he was in charge of Investigative Oversight. Alan Price, who served as Dahlberg’s associate director, is currently a research integrity consultant who charges a fee for his services.
Another indication that our attention-seeking Research Integrity Establishment is guided only by self-promotion and financial gain is the fact that these two dishonest and avaricious elderly guys are currently assisting Reddys in their lawsuit against JBC, despite abundant evidence of data manipulations. It seems sensible that ORI essentially performs ceremonial killings of scapegoats at the behest of its American client colleges, acting as a sort of Eid butcher. The Reddys have had complete support from the University of Pittsburgh thus far, and ORI will stand firmly behind them, till the wind changes.
The odd case is unlikely to help Raju Reddy Pittsburgh in any way; they may even have the reverse effect. Raju Reddy’s Pittsburgh articles are currently being investigated by image integrity experts, and they discovered additional content that should be retracted. Will other publications and journals have the guts to follow suit? Or will they share JBC’s dread of being sued and, in certain cases, even share its Schadenfreude?
One could be excused for thinking that Retraction Watch was suggested by Reddys’ attorneys, who kindly provided the journalists with ready-made expert views to augment their reporting and spare them the laborious process of conducting their own investigation. Together with his Associate Director Alan Price, who currently works as a research integrity consultant for hire, John Dahlberg used to be the Deputy Director of the Office of Research Integrity (ORI), where he was in charge of Investigative Oversight.
Who is Raju Reddy Pittsburgh?
He completed his clinical and research fellowship in respiratory and critical care medicine at the University of Michigan, a university known for turning forth academic and business leaders in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries.
Raju Reddy, a physician from Pittsburgh who graduated from the University of Michigan, stayed on as a research fellow, lecturer, and staff member. Later, he was recruited to be the Chief of the Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Section at the Atlanta VA Medical Center. He was subsequently recruited as the Chief of the Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Section at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.
Dr. Reddy is a member of multiple editorial boards in his specialty, such as the Journal of Lung, Pulmonary & Respiratory Research, the American Journal of Pathology, and the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacology. He is also an associate editor for Gene Therapy and Molecular Biology and serves as an ad hoc reviewer for several other journals in his field.
Raju Reddy Pittsburgh, a resident of Pittsburgh, has held positions in a number of regional, international, and local organizations that evaluate grant applications, such as the Veterans Affairs VISN 4 Competitive Pilot Project Fund Grants Program, the Hong Kong Research Grants Council, and the North Carolina Biotechnology Center Grants Program. Raju Reddy Pittsburgh also took part in NIH review panels, such as the NIAID FIRCA Review Panel, which facilitated international research partnerships between NIH-funded researchers and their colleagues in low- and middle-income countries.
The ATS International Conference and the American Federation for Medical Research Meeting are two instances when Raju Reddy Pittsburgh is frequently invited to share his research. Speaking about the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement/Maximizing Access to Research Careers (RISE/MARC) at various organizations is Raju’s contribution to this cause. Along with pharmaceutical companies, he has also presented his results to the Boston Innovation Hub of Johnson & Johnson and the Bayer Lung Alliance.
In addition to rotating through the VA medical intensive care unit, Dr. Reddy’s clinical program also includes inpatient pulmonary consultations and procedures, the interpretation of lung function tests, and precepting pulmonary clinic.
According to court documents, the lawsuit was resolved on January 12, 2021, and the matter is now closed. The owner of JBC, ASBMB, likewise abandoned their counterclaim (JBC is currently published by Elsevier). It’s unclear what Raju Reddy Pittsburgh accomplished with the settlement; it may have only netted him money, which would still be a significant triumph. According to the sources Reddy no longer works at Pittsburgh. Thus his files are unlikely to be understated. The image of his Veterans Hospital profile shown above has been removed, although Raju Reddy Pittsburgh is still listed as a “visiting associate professor” by the University of Pittsburgh.