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Anil Potti likes to keep his name in the internet spotlight

Anil Potti is the dodgy researcher who, after being found guilty of scientific fraud, hired an online reputation manager to fluff up his name. Then the guy who made stuff up in 18 papers and padded his CV fled to North Dakota, where he’s working in a cancer center…now that’s chilling, isn’t it?

His latest exploit is to get posts critical of him yanked from Retraction Watch, the site that monitors journals’ behavior when fraud is exposed.

It’s a familiar strategy.

  1. A site says something rude (like the truth) about Potti.

  2. Fake site posts a copy of the rude article.

  3. Fake site files a DMCA claiming that the original article was a copyright violation.

  4. Rude article disappears! Anil Potti triumphs! He has successfully scrubbed criticism from the internet!

Oh, wait. Didn’t I just mention his name multiple times? He may have to rethink his grand plan, because it’s just going to make the situation worse for him.

Comments

  1. janiceintoronto says

    There’s just no end to these scumbags, is there?

    p.s. It’s snowing in Canada

  2. Lars says

    PZ Myers, your consistent failure to capitalize the ‘I’ in the proper(!) noun ‘Internet’ is the greatest flaw of this blog. And it pisses me off!

    I hereby execute my Freeze Peach right to be offended, and to noisily complain on the Internet (again, note the capital ‘I’). Thank you.

  3. Lars says

    Hm. Ranting about spelling before I even got past the headline. I should have realized the topic was a bit too serious for that, this is Pharyngula after all. Sorry.

  4. Owlmirror says

    *frowns*

    [purple ink] link to retractionwatch.wordpress.com lacks a preceding “http://” [/purple ink]

  5. Draken says

    Can non-american copyright holders simply file DMCA claims like that? That puts American site owners at a strong disadvantage if someone registers a complaint from a country that has no similar cease-and-desist mechanism.

    For example in this case, claimant seems to be the one who really offended copyright law, but if India has no DMCA equivalent, all the defendants can do is try to undo the effect of the false claim. Any and all damage of the interruption is at their expense.

  6. DLC says

    Anil Potti. . . I am finding it difficult to restrain myself from making a juvenile and insulting mispronunciation of that name . . . .

  7. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    Oh, wait. Didn’t I just mention his name multiple times? He may have to rethink his grand plan, because it’s just going to make the situation worse for him.

    Yeah, you are laughing now PZ, but wait until Anil Potti creates a fake website hosting this very post, and files a DMCA claim on YOU!!evlnetey!!
    ***
    Also, Anil Potti, Anil Potti, Anil Potti.

  8. Eva Lynn Drood says

    AFAIK, he can make a DMCA claim, sure. But to counter it, the original site just needs to send a counter claim, saying it isn’t true. There’s a proper formal way, I believe. At any rate, once the DMCA’s countered, he has no recourse except to actually take them to court for the supposed copyright violation, and they don’t have to take it down in the meantime. Even if he’s dumb and spendthrift enough to actually try court.

    Not a lawyer, but I’ve watched a fair amount of DMCA use and abuse.

  9. Grey Rabbit says

    Maybe I missed something but do you actually have any evidence it was Anil Potti?

    The Duke University clinical genomics meltdown is a fairly complicated story, I am not sure it can be all blamed on Dr Potti – comforting thought although that might be.

  10. throwaway says

    The Duke University clinical genomics meltdown is a fairly complicated story, I am not sure it can be all blamed on Dr Potti – comforting thought although that might be.

    Is it? And is this green stuff you’re standing on artificial grass?

    Maybe I missed something but do you actually have any evidence it was Anil Potti?

    Who else would hire Online Reputation Manager in order to pull articles directly relating to Anil Potti’s fabricated results?

  11. Grey Rabbit says

    “Who else would hire Online Reputation Manager in order to pull articles directly relating to Anil Potti’s fabricated results?”
    What evidence is there that an Online Reputation Manager involved in this? Stories involving Anil Potti and Online Reputation Managers date from early 2011. Generally what they do is a variety of googling bombing to try and move negative stories down the search engine results and positive and neutral stories up.

    Scapegoating is a very common feature of scientific misconduct, I don’t think Anil Potti can avoid a considerable level of responsibility for what wrong – but the wide range of authors on the papers and the diverse areas where things went wrong – from statistics to bioinformatics – it beggars belief that Potti was solely responsible for all those outputs.

    This is not the first time Retraction Watch has been facilitating ugly and unhelpful scapegoating.

  12. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    This is not the first time Retraction Watch has been facilitating ugly and unhelpful scapegoating.

    Citation needed. You want one, you give one, or you retract your claim.

  13. Grey Rabbit says

    This “exclusive” is the example that springs to my mind.
    http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/2011/02/08/exclusive-researcher-found-guilty-of-misconduct-at-ucl-had-been-dismissed-from-cambridge-for-data-fabrication/

    I wrote to Cambridge University (or Dowling College to be specific ) pointing out a few of the peculiarities of this correspondence and asking if it was genuine. I have received no reply.

    While I am certain this correspondence – leaked exclusively to Retraction Watch – is fraudulent (except for one letter), even in the unlikely circumstances it was genuine it was certainly inappropriate. If Cambridge University wanted to make an official statement that they thought could have been helpful they were certainly welcome to, but not unofficial leaking of selected documents from personal files by unknown persons.

    The scenario I think played out here is the post-doc concerned threatened to reveal that misconduct in the lab was more widespread and in response the senior figures at the uni decided to nuke him. In the same case here, what went wrong at Duke probably points to wider failings, using Retraction Watch to scapegoat one person seems to be the modern playbook when dealing with cases of bad science practice.

    I don’t blame RW for being annoyed about getting a takedown notice and having to spend an hour or so file a counter-claim and having to wait a week or so for the posts to be restored. But they have gone on record dropping strong hints that it was Potti who was responsible – when in my view they should not have done – and in doing so they crossed line and joined in scapegoating.

  14. Ichthyic says

    yet another stick added to the pile of sticks that is the future bonfire of the DMCA.

    now where’s the kerosene so we can light this fucker up?