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A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

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Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by sallypelt on 22.03.17 11:46

Dr John Synnott‏ @jplsynnott Mar 16
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@jplsynnott Hi John, Its the University's PR office here. We have a BBC interview request for you for this Friday can you ring 01484 471882?

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Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by Tony Bennett on 23.03.17 0:07

A couple of people on the other thread:  https://jillhavern.forumotion.net/t13598-three-university-forensic-psychologists-say-anti-mccann-trolls-cannot-be-cured

...were quick to point out an interesting feature of the Sun article on this research project,  which appeared on Friday 3 March.

Prior to that, Huddersfield 'trolls' project had been reported in Nature, Phys.org, Sciencedirect, fudzilla and elsewhere on the internet.

But the Sun article had new element. It reported that Dr J Synnott would now be 'turning his attention to 'pro-McCann trolls.

No-one else had featured this aspect before, so it was speculated that Huddersfield University might have added this new aspect as a 'defensive' measure, given that we were all claiming obvious bias, and their research was publicly under strong attack on the world's most popular Madeleine McCann forum.

I've checked the dates, and it does look as though this is exactly what has happened.

The other thread on this topic was begun by me on Saturday 18 February. There followed a flurry of strong criticism by several members, with many references to 'bias', 'breach of ethical standards' etc. 

Huddersfield University put out an official statement about their project 10 days later, on Tuesday 28 February. Here is their statement. The bits I've highlighted in red look to me look like defensive statements designed to try to deflect the stinging criticisms here about the serious flaws in Synnott's research:

-----------------------

University of Huddersfield

Exploring the world of the Madeleine McCann trolls

Tue, 28 Feb 2017 16:11:00 GMT
“…troll insults and abuse was constant, repetitive, and in clear violation of Twitter policies, though user accounts were rarely suspended…”

A DECADE has passed since the disappearance of toddler Madeleine McCann on holiday in Portugal, but activity online regarding the case is constant, with some of this commentary being directed in the form of abuse, a behaviour commonly referred to as ‘trolling’.  It is estimated that every hour there are more than 100 tweets posted using the McCann hashtag.

Now, University of Huddersfield psychology researchers have entered the world of internet trolls and their abusive, aggressive language, directed towards those who disagree with them.  Described in a new journal article, the project has led to a call for measures – including an end to pseudonyms on Twitter – that would curb the anonymity that enables cyber-trolling.

The work is featured in an online editorial headed “the dark side of social media” for the prestigious journal, Nature, and the research reinforces newly-revealed UK Government plans to curb cyber abuse. 

‌The University of Huddersfield’s Dr John Synnott (pictured right) – who co-authored the new article in Computers in Human Behaviour – commented that: “It is encouraging to see that ministers have called the major social media platforms to Whitehall to demand that they do more to protect people online from cyber bullying and trolling or face sanctions.  This is a step in the right direction by making these platforms responsible for negative behaviour that they unfortunately enable.”

“There is absolutely a need for such precautions,” continued Dr Synnott.  “Trolls are hiding behind the facility to be anonymous, which Twitter enables to a certain degree.  Our research can contribute to an understanding and a reduction in trolling behaviour and one of the main interpretations is that the level of anonymity provided by certain social networking sites is a massive enabler.”A key discovery of the research conducted by Dr Synnott, his Huddersfield colleague Dr Maria Ioannou and postgraduate student Andria Coulias, is that far from operating in isolation – as has usually been argued – trolls form “anti-social networks” that reinforce their behaviour.  Also, media reports that condemn the trolls’ actions have the effect of “showering them with the very attention they appear to covet”.

Trailing the trolls

Dr Synnott is Assistant Director of the University of Huddersfield’s MSc in Investigative Psychology – Dr Ioannou (pictured below) is Course Director – and as a regular user of social media sites he developed an interest in trolling and the psychology behind it.

The sheer volume of tweets by the anti-McCann group – and by supporters of Madeleine’s parents – meant that it would be an excellent case study.  A sample of 400 McCann-related tweets obtained from 37 user accounts and containing a total of 7,600 words was analysed by the research team. 
 
The article describing the project contains samples of the abusive, often illiterate language used by trolls. It was found that “the insults and abuse levelled at both the McCanns and the pro-McCann users were constant, repetitive, and in clear violation of Twitter policies, though user accounts were rarely suspended”.

The theme of motherhood implied a strong female presence in the anti-McCann group, whereas earlier research has suggested that trolls are mostly male, because of frequent misogynistic sentiments.

“This is stage one of this research,” said Dr Synnott.  “The paper doesn’t attempt to take a position on the case, but rather aims to explore trolling behaviour in general.  The McCann group was the most obvious place for us to start.  Stage two, which is currently in development, will be an analysis of the Pro-McCann group, to explore any differences or similarities between them.”

The article concludes that “the damaging impact the McCann trolls’ behaviour has had on those victimised” makes necessary “the continuation of research exploiting the ways in which aggressive forms of trolling materialise, so that we might consequently establish ways in which to effectively deal with them”.

The article, Online trolling: The case of Madeleine McCann, by Dr John Synnott, Andria Coulias and Dr Maria Ioannou, is in the latest issue of Computers in Human Behavior.

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Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by plebgate on 23.03.17 7:50

ha, ha, ha  - all thanks to the CMOMM media monitoring posters and admin and others.   HA  HA.

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Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by 23 Librae on 23.03.17 8:46

I can just imagine the findings in the new ‘pro-McCann’ research.
 
The pro-McCann group were found to be compassionate towards the McCann’s plight.
The pro-McCann group showed indications of being highly intelligent individuals with an exceptional ability to discern fact from fiction. Their tweets, although occasionally aggressive, were mainly focused on pointing out the errors in the anti-McCann groups flawed thinking. The majority of McCann supporters had substantial experience in areas of law, policing, forensics and psychiatry.
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Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by Rogue-a-Tory on 23.03.17 9:17

@Tony Bennett wrote:A couple of people on the other thread:  https://jillhavern.forumotion.net/t13598-three-university-forensic-psychologists-say-anti-mccann-trolls-cannot-be-cured

...were quick to point out an interesting feature of the Sun article on this research project,  which appeared on Friday 3 March.

Prior to that, Huddersfield 'trolls' project had been reported in Nature, Phys.org, Sciencedirect, fudzilla and elsewhere on the internet.

But the Sun article had new element. It reported that Dr J Synnott would now be 'turning his attention to 'pro-McCann trolls.

No-one else had featured this aspect before, so it was speculated that Huddersfield University might have added this new aspect as a 'defensive' measure, given that we were all claiming obvious bias, and their research was publicly under strong attack on the world's most popular Madeleine McCann forum.

I've checked the dates, and it does look as though this is exactly what has happened.

The other thread on this topic was begun by me on Saturday 18 February. There followed a flurry of strong criticism by several members, with many references to 'bias', 'breach of ethical standards' etc. 

Huddersfield University put out an official statement about their project 10 days later, on Tuesday 28 February. Here is their statement. The bits I've highlighted in red look to me look like defensive statements designed to try to deflect the stinging criticisms here about the serious flaws in Synnott's research:

-----------------------

University of Huddersfield

Exploring the world of the Madeleine McCann trolls

Tue, 28 Feb 2017 16:11:00 GMT
“…troll insults and abuse was constant, repetitive, and in clear violation of Twitter policies, though user accounts were rarely suspended…”

A DECADE has passed since the disappearance of toddler Madeleine McCann on holiday in Portugal, but activity online regarding the case is constant, with some of this commentary being directed in the form of abuse, a behaviour commonly referred to as ‘trolling’.  It is estimated that every hour there are more than 100 tweets posted using the McCann hashtag.

Now, University of Huddersfield psychology researchers have entered the world of internet trolls and their abusive, aggressive language, directed towards those who disagree with them.  Described in a new journal article, the project has led to a call for measures – including an end to pseudonyms on Twitter – that would curb the anonymity that enables cyber-trolling.

The work is featured in an online editorial headed “the dark side of social media” for the prestigious journal, Nature, and the research reinforces newly-revealed UK Government plans to curb cyber abuse. 

‌The University of Huddersfield’s Dr John Synnott (pictured right) – who co-authored the new article in Computers in Human Behaviour – commented that: “It is encouraging to see that ministers have called the major social media platforms to Whitehall to demand that they do more to protect people online from cyber bullying and trolling or face sanctions.  This is a step in the right direction by making these platforms responsible for negative behaviour that they unfortunately enable.”

“There is absolutely a need for such precautions,” continued Dr Synnott.  “Trolls are hiding behind the facility to be anonymous, which Twitter enables to a certain degree.  Our research can contribute to an understanding and a reduction in trolling behaviour and one of the main interpretations is that the level of anonymity provided by certain social networking sites is a massive enabler.”A key discovery of the research conducted by Dr Synnott, his Huddersfield colleague Dr Maria Ioannou and postgraduate student Andria Coulias, is that far from operating in isolation – as has usually been argued – trolls form “anti-social networks” that reinforce their behaviour.  Also, media reports that condemn the trolls’ actions have the effect of “showering them with the very attention they appear to covet”.

Trailing the trolls

Dr Synnott is Assistant Director of the University of Huddersfield’s MSc in Investigative Psychology – Dr Ioannou (pictured below) is Course Director – and as a regular user of social media sites he developed an interest in trolling and the psychology behind it.

The sheer volume of tweets by the anti-McCann group – and by supporters of Madeleine’s parents – meant that it would be an excellent case study.  A sample of 400 McCann-related tweets obtained from 37 user accounts and containing a total of 7,600 words was analysed by the research team. 
 
The article describing the project contains samples of the abusive, often illiterate language used by trolls. It was found that “the insults and abuse levelled at both the McCanns and the pro-McCann users were constant, repetitive, and in clear violation of Twitter policies, though user accounts were rarely suspended”.

The theme of motherhood implied a strong female presence in the anti-McCann group, whereas earlier research has suggested that trolls are mostly male, because of frequent misogynistic sentiments.

“This is stage one of this research,” said Dr Synnott.  “The paper doesn’t attempt to take a position on the case, but rather aims to explore trolling behaviour in general.  The McCann group was the most obvious place for us to start.  Stage two, which is currently in development, will be an analysis of the Pro-McCann group, to explore any differences or similarities between them.”

The article concludes that “the damaging impact the McCann trolls’ behaviour has had on those victimised” makes necessary “the continuation of research exploiting the ways in which aggressive forms of trolling materialise, so that we might consequently establish ways in which to effectively deal with them”.

The article, Online trolling: The case of Madeleine McCann, by Dr John Synnott, Andria Coulias and Dr Maria Ioannou, is in the latest issue of Computers in Human Behavior.

Well I’m highly sceptical on the second phase of the project.


Nearly all the research projects I deal with publish their findings to the funder and also their papers to the various related journals at the end of the project and when conclusions have been drawn. Rarely is this a staged process where the interim or phase one is published with other aspects of the work to follow at a later date. It’s not serialisation for goodness sake.
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Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by ChippyM on 23.03.17 9:23

@23 Librae wrote:I can just imagine the findings in the new ‘pro-McCann’ research.
 
The pro-McCann group were found to be compassionate towards the McCann’s plight.
The pro-McCann group showed indications of being highly intelligent individuals with an exceptional ability to discern fact from fiction. Their tweets, although occasionally aggressive, were mainly focused on pointing out the errors in the anti-McCann groups flawed thinking. The majority of McCann supporters had substantial experience in areas of law, policing, forensics and psychiatry.


It might well go along those lines but honestly, I don't think there will be any further research that looks at 'pro' people.

  They have made their point. They have got headlines associating the word troll with people who doubt the McCann story. They have headlines and articles that describe these people as abusive and the view is sanctioned by academics. It's all about getting things in the press because most people never question anything that is written in the media.

( i see just as I was posting, Rogue a Tory has a similar view!)


===============

Edited to add this letter sent on behalf of CMOMM to the Editor of Nature News:


Dear Editor,

On behalf of 'The Complete Mystery of Madeleine McCanl', we wish to enter a complaint against the content of the recent article in Nature: "The Dark Side of Social Media" (15 February) - see full article reproduced below. 

The research study in question was carried out by Dr John Synnott of the University of Huddersfield. He studied a Twitter hashtag where individuals were debating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Your journal being a scientific journal, the most serious criticism of the article from your point of view is the false claim that the McCann-doubters on  the hashtag 'rejected good science'. The very reverse is true.

On five days in August 2007, Britain's top police dog handler, Martin Grime, took two cadaver dogs, Eddie & Keela, to Praia da Luz, to examine the McCanns' apartment and possessions. Eddie was trained to alert to human corpse scent. Keela was trained to alert to blood. Eddie alerted to the scent of a corpse in12 places. Keela was employed on a separate occasion and alerted to blood and body fluids which are likely to have been Madeleine's in 5 of those places. There were 17 alerts in all: in the McCanns' apartment, in their hired car, on their clothes, on the clothes of one of their children, and on other items. No-one else had died in this apartment. 

Martin Grime's dogs had an impeccable history of successful detection of corpse and blood scent. Such is Grime's expertise that, in 2009, he was recruited by the F.B.I. in the United States, where he now works. No-one can seriously argue against the fact that sniffer dogs, in the hands of an expert trainer, have established an incredible degree of accuracy in being able to alert to an ever-increasing range of scents; different kinds of drugs, chemical, explosives and even medical conditions within a human body. 

In the survey organised by Dr Synnott, and reported in your scientific journal, an action researcher, Andria Coulias, informed Twitter users on the #McCann Twitter hashtag that no reliance could be placed on the accuracy of Martin Grime's dogs because of a single, 2003, study by A.E. Lasseter et al: 'Cadaver dog and handler team capabilities in the recovery of buried human remains in the southeastern United States', Journal of Forensic Sciences, 48 (3) (2003), p. 2002296 http://dx.doi.org/10.1520/jfs2002296

All that that study found was that in very hot weather in S.E. United States, a blood dog missed some traces of blood. If that study was relevant at all to the 17 alerts by Mr Grime's dogs, then all that Lasseter might mean is that he missed some alerts! Moreover, there was no attempt by Coulias or Dr Synnott to ask Mr Grime whether it was 'very hot' when he carried out his work in Portugal.

Coulias's false claims amounted to a direct attack on the professional judgment, experience and integrity of Mr Grime. Moreover, Coulias and Synnott grossly misused the Lasseter study, falsely using it to proclaim that McCann-doubts on the #McCann hashtag were 'rejecting science'. Further details of how this error arose and the deliberate deception of the researchers is given in our letter to the Academic Ethics Committe and Appendix, both attached.

If anything, the Nature article made this situation far worse, by broadcasting to all its many readers that the McCann-doubters were 'rejecting science' (see bolded bits of your article below). Your article claimed that Synnott's team, referred to by you as 'the scientists', "tried to introduce some science into the debate". 

In reality, they used one study, irrelevant to the cadaver dogs' search of the McCanns' apartment, to proclaim the general notion that trained sniffer dogs, in the hands of highly experienced sniffer dog handler one, were 'unreliable'. We have asked the University of Huddersfield and the British Psychological Society to urgently review the many academic flaws in this research and examine the multiple breaches of ethics involved. 


There is also this highly tendentious statement in the Nature article: 

"...people on the Internet still swap 100 messages or so an hour about the case. Many of these accuse and insult her traumatized parents, celebrating their daughter’s disappearance and gloating over their misery. Such people are among the basest and most antisocial Internet trolls..."

There are dozens of places on the internet where the mysterious disappearance of Madeleine McCann is discussed in detail. Thousands are involved in these discussions. There is clearly room for doubt about what really happened to Madeleine McCann, as the Portuguese Supreme Court recently clarified in their 28 January 2017 judgment that the McCanns had not been cleared by the Portuguese investigation.

Moreover, after the McCanns' 8-year long battle to stop the publication of the book 'The Truth about a Lie' by the original investigation co-ordinator, Dr Goncalo Amaral, that same court ruled that his book can be published, and the McCanns have been ordered to pay him hundreds of thousands of pounds court costs. 

Whilst we fully agree that the minority of people who 'celebrate Madeleine's disappearance and gloat over their misery' are a disgrace, they are a miniscule number out of the many thousands who discuss and research this case daily. Your article was false in claiming that there are 'many' gloaters; there are not. You have presumably based this sentences on false claims made by Dr Synnott.

Nature's reputation for publishing good science will suffer unless you investigate this article in details and publish an appropriate set of corrections.  We also believe that you should formally withdraw the article with an accompanying explanation about its serious academic failings and unscientific basis.

We await hearing from you.

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Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by Get'emGonçalo on 24.03.17 10:24

24 March 2017

Dear Ms Havern,
 
We acknowledge receipt of your complaint, dated 21 March 2017. I can confirm that the matter is being investigated under Stage 1 of the University’s External Complaints procedure (attached for ease of reference).
 
Please note that a full and considered response will usually be made within 20 working days of receipt as per the procedure.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Tracey Buxton
Executive Assistant to the University Secretary
www.hud.ac.uk


COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE


 The University of Huddersfield External Complaints Procedure [/size][/size]

1. Introduction and Principles
1.1. The University welcomes all constructive feedback on its activities, whether positive or negative, and understands that, from time to time, people or organisations external to the University may feel their expectations have not been met by the University, its staff or students.
1.2. The principles underpinning this procedure are that the University will:
deal impartially with your complaint within reasonable time frames and in a professional, sensitive and straightforward way;
encourage informal early conciliation where possible;
deal with your complaint appropriately throughout the complaints process, revealing information to others only to the extent necessary to complete a proper investigation and make a considered response; and
ensure that no complaint made in good faith will be used to your disadvantage in the future.

2. Scope of Procedure
2.1. Except for those listed in 2.2 below, anyone who is affected by the activities of the University, including those receiving or seeking a service, or those who have been subject to a decision of the University may raise a complaint using this procedure.
2.2. The following people may not raise a complaint using this procedure:
applicants to courses may not use this procedure where their complaint relates to their application to study at the University. Applicants are directed to the Applicant Complaints and Appeals Policy which can be obtained from the Admissions and Records Office or via: https://www.hud.ac.uk/undergraduate/howtoapply/policies-data-protection/; [/size][/size]
[size=16]students may not use this procedure and are directed to the Student Complaint Procedure. Copies can be obtained from Registry or via https://www.hud.ac.uk/media/universityofhuddersfield/content/documents/registry/regulationsandpolicies/studentregulations/Section%209%20August%202015.pdf; [/size]
former students may not use this procedure where their complaint relates to their student experience. In such cases, former students are directed to the Student Complaint Procedure (see above);
[size=16]staff may not use this procedure and are directed to the staff grievance procedure; [/size]
[size=16]any complaints in relation to the recruitment or selection of staff are excluded from this procedure; these are covered by the Recruitment and Selection Procedure; [/size]
[size=16]users of the Podiatry Clinic services may not use this procedure and are directed to the separate complaints procedure for the Podiatry Clinic which can be found at: http://www.hud.ac.uk/media/universityofhuddersfield/content2013/schools/humanandhealthsciences/document/school/podiatryclinic/podiatry-clinic-complaints-procedures.pdf; [/size]
[size=16]If you work for the University, or if you are a student or an External Member of University Council (or its committees) and you have a genuine concern that there are reasonable grounds for believing that wrongdoing has taken place, or is likely to take place, at the University and that you reasonably believe that it would be in the public interest to disclose it, then you may wish to consider raising your concerns by following the University’s Whistleblowing Policy.[/size]
2.3. If you wish to make a complaint, this should be done as soon as possible. In any event, complaints should be received by the University within 20 working days of the situation arising that is the cause for complaint. Any complaints received after this period will not be considered.
2.4. The University reserves the right not to investigate or take any action in relation to a complaint received anonymously or received on behalf of an anonymous complainant through a third party.
2.5. Vexatious and malicious complaints (i.e. repeated or persistent complaints which are trivial or untrue, made purposely to abuse this complaints procedure) or those accompanied by abusive or aggressive behaviour will not be dealt with.
2.6. If you are uncertain whether something is within the scope of this procedure, you should seek advice from the University Secretary.


3. Before you raise a complaint
3.1. Please consider whether there are more appropriate procedures to make your point such as suggestion schemes or other feedback mechanisms.
3.2. Complaints can often be resolved satisfactorily and dealt with quickly on an informal basis. If possible, you should contact the member of staff most directly involved in the situation with a view to resolving any issues on an informal basis as soon as possible and in any event within 20 working days of the situation arising.


4. Making a formal complaint
4.1. Stage 1 – Initiating a formal complaint 4.1.1. To initiate a formal complaint you must complete the complaint form which can be found at the end of this document at appendix 1.
4.1.2. Formal complaints must be received within 20 working days of the situation arising that is the cause for complaint. If you have sought to resolve your complaint informally within 20 working days of the situation arising and you have not been able to reach a mutually acceptable outcome within that period, then the time limit for making a formal complaint will be extended by a further 10 working days.
4.1.3. Completed forms should be passed to the appropriate Dean of School, Director or Head of Service who will acknowledge receipt within 5 working days. S/he will then undertake a full investigation. If you are unsure about the identity of the person to whom you should submit the form, you can send it to: The University Secretary, University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, Huddersfield HD1 3DH, who will forward it to the appropriate person.
4.1.4. A full and considered response will usually be made within 20 working days of receipt of your complaint. If the investigation cannot be completed in that time for good reason (such as staff unavailability due to holidays) or the matter is complex, you will be advised of a revised timescale.
4.1.5. If the complaint relates to the conduct of a member of staff or a student, this will be investigated under the staff or student disciplinary procedure, as appropriate.
4.1.6. Please note that due to the University’s obligations under data protection legislation the University is required to maintain confidentiality in relation to staff and student disciplinary matters. This means that where the investigation of your complaint is conducted under any disciplinary procedure you will only be informed that your complaint has been investigated in accordance with the relevant disciplinary procedure and that appropriate action has been taken in accordance with that procedure. This will signal the conclusion of the matter. No Stage 2 (Final Review) process is available for complaints relating to staff or student disciplinary matters.

4.2. Stage 2 – Final Review 4.2.1. If you are dissatisfied with the decision from Stage 1 of your formal complaint, you may refer the matter to the appropriate member of the University's Senior Management Team using the Final Review Request Form, which can be found at the end of this document at

[size=16]Appendix 2. The letter you receive at the end of Stage 1 will tell you who this is but it will usually be one of the following: [/size]
Pro-Vice Chancellor (Teaching and Learning): complaints relating to the provision of teaching, learning or student services.
Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research and Enterprise): complaints about research or about University research partners both home and abroad.
Pro-Vice Chancellor (International): complaints about international collaboration (other than research collaboration) and international student recruitment, save where a complaint relates to an international student’s application to study, which should be brought under the Applicant Complaints and Appeals Policy.
University Secretary: complaints relating to any other service supplied by the University or complaints about University Council members or otherwise relating to the business of the University Council or its committees,
Deputy Vice Chancellor: complaints relating to the conduct of the Pro-Vice Chancellor (Teaching and Learning), the Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) or the University Secretary. Any such complaint will be considered and investigated under the University’s staff disciplinary procedure, where appropriate to do so.
Vice-Chancellor: complaints relating to the conduct of the Deputy Vice Chancellor. 4.2.2. To initiate a final review you must complete the Final Review Request Form and send it to the appropriate person above within 10 working days of the date of the letter notifying you of the outcome to your formal Stage 1 complaint.
4.2.3. The final review will be completed within 20 working days of receipt of your Final Review Request Form and the outcome will be reported to you in writing. If the review cannot be completed in time for good reason (such as staff unavailability due to holidays) or the matter is complex, you will be advised of a revised timescale.
4.2.4. The decision made at the end of the final review stage is final and there will be no further avenue of review in the University. If there is an external review body to whom the matter can be referred, (such as the Information Commissioner’s Office) we will advise you of this when we report the outcome of the final review.


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Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by plebgate on 24.03.17 10:34

high5  Doubt we will see any "brag" tweets today GEG.

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Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by Mirage on 24.03.17 10:56

Let us hope that Huddersfield university values its reputation sufficiently to condemn this so-called "research"as the scurrilous piece of flim flam it is.

Unfortunately, as it has already been aired in the Washington Post to vast audiences, I imagine they will want to wriggle out of responsibility for this banal "research project" got up for political reasons rather than have to print a retraction. My guess is they will employ more sophistry to extricate themselves from this fiasco.

Perhaps the McCanns can recommend a good reputation management team.

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Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by 23 Librae on 24.03.17 13:17

I wonder if any other professionals have written a complaint to the University or voiced concern about this 'research'?
I noticed Pat Brown made a critical comment in the Washington Post comments section.
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Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by loopzdaloop on 26.03.17 19:22

@Get'emGonçalo wrote:
A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

I have sent a detailed letter, on behalf of members of CMOMM, to the Huddersfield University Ethics Committee about the flawed research project of Dr John Synnott, discussed on this thread:
 

I have also sent it to the following publishers of the research: Nature, and Elsevier B.V. (publishers of ‘Computers in Human Behaviour’, where the full research article was published).

The letter has also been sent to the Chairman of the Ethics Committee of the British Psychological Society and the International Academy of Investigative Professionals, to whom Dr Synnott belongs.

The research was seriously flawed, yet was written up in one of the world’s premier scientific journals, Nature, and in several newspapers including one of the world’s leading newspapers, the Washington Post. For these and other reasons, a strong protest needs to be registered and heard.

Thank you Tony for raising this issue in the first place, and many thanks to every other member who has helped to compile what is a long letter.

I won’t reproduce all of it, just the Executive Summary and the bit about ‘Our Interest’ i.e. why we’re making a big fuss about this research. I’ll just give the headings for the rest of the letter.

I’ll keep you all posted with any replies

Jill

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

From: Jill Havern and members of ‘The Complete Mystery of Madeleine McCann’

Monday, 20 March 2017

Dear Professor Philllps, Dr Synnott and all other recipients,

The conduct of Dr John Synnott and his co-researchers in their research project on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’ – Multiple Breaches of Academic Standards and Ethics

I write on behalf of my forum and my members to express serious concern about the conduct of two of your researchers, Dr John Synott and Dr Maria Ioannou, and a student researcher at Portsmouth University, Andrea Coulais, in the way they carried out a research project titled: “Online trolling: The case of Madeleine McCann”.

Executive Summary

This letter has been composed by and is sent by several members of ‘The Complete Mystery of Madeleine McCann’, the leading Madeleine McCann discussion forum on the internet, currently with over 7,100 members. Some of the contributors to this letter have substantial academic experience. The forum as a whole doubts the McCanns’ version of events, along with dozens of other Madeleine discussion forum, blogs and websites, for very good reasons. At the same time, any abuse or hate towards the McCanns is not tolerated on our site, and on the rare occasions where such abuse has crept in, members were promptly expelled. Forum members include professionals such as police officers and experts in statement analysis and other forensic disciplines such as DNA and photography.


Dr J Synnott’s research project is seriously flawed for the following reasons, which are explained in more detail below.
 
1 The entire project is founded on the false claim that the McCanns have been declared, or may assumed to be, ‘innocent’. That was never the case. When the Portuguese police shelved the case in July 2008 they specifically declared that no-one was being prosecuted because there was insufficient evidence of either (a) abduction or (b) hiding Madeleine’s body. More recently, in January this year, the Portuguese Supreme Court, in deciding that the McCanns had lost their long-running libel case against the original investigation co-ordinator, Dr Gonçalo Amaral, declared that the McCanns were incorrect in claiming that the police had ‘cleared’ them.

2 The researchers wrongly assumed that there were no valid reasons for doubting the McCanns’ account of how Madeleine disappeared. 

3 The value of the research project was thus fatally undermined by a theme running throughout the research project, viz.: The McCann-doubters (‘anti-McCanns’) are wrong, and therefore not motivated by seeking the truth, and are bad people, while the McCann-supporters (‘pro-McCanns’) are right, have pure motives and are good people.
 
4 One of the researchers, Andrea Coulias, who became a member of the #McCann hashtag on Twitter for six weeks to interact with the ‘anti-McCanns’, grossly misled the entire hashtag by falsely representing that one particular research project (Lasseter) showed that cadaver and blood dogs were ’unreliable’. She had absolutely no basis for saying that.

5 Moreover, the cadaver dog evidence in the Madeleine McCann case consisted of 17 separate alerts to either corpse scent or blood in the following locations associated with the McCanns; their apartment (lounge, master bedroom, veranda and garden); their hired car; three of their clothes, and personal items. These were carried out by a top British dog handler, Martin Grime, who was recommended by the top agency for British policing, the National Crime Agency, whose cadaver dogs did have a 100% track record of success in trials, contrary to Ms Coulias’ misinformation, and who was headhunted by the FBI in the U.S. and now works for them.
 
6 For these and other reasons set out below, the three researchers (and those who peer-reviewed this work) have brought the University of Huddersfield and the science of forensic psychology into disrepute.
 
7 In addition, on several occasions, Andrea Coulias was guilty of the very conduct she was supposed to be investigating e.g. mocking, belittling and goading the anti-McCanns.
 
8 Andria Coulais’ conduct undermined many of the assertions she made about the anti-McCanns’ conduct, which she grossly misrepresented.
 
9 Several examples of clear researcher bias are noted.
 
10 The researchers did not use or even mention dictionary definitions of trolls, and in any event didn’t define anywhere what they meant by a ‘troll’, once again undermining the entire research project.
 
11 Numerous assertions were made without any substantiation for them.
 
12 The entire research report is littered with tendentious subjective assessments.
 
13 The report is so bad that it must be withdrawn as soon as practicable.
 
14 The University will need to contact any and all media who published details of this seriously flawed research project and seek an appropriate correction
 
15 A formal apology should be made via the #McCann hashtag in respect of the misinformation she introduced on that hashtag, namely falsely accusing McCann-doubters of ‘rejecting science’.


Our interest

By way of background, let me explain our interest in that research project. I am the owner of an internet forum, the Complete Mystery of Madeleine McCann. I founded it in November 2009 and it has had steady growth since then. We now have over 7,100 members. I can say without fear of contradiction that it is the most popular and most-read internet forum covering the Madeleine McCann case.

Its main purpose is to search for the truth about what really happened to Madeleine McCann, by bringing together researchers who pool their information and analyses of the evidence. Our forum takes a sceptical view of the McCanns’ and the British police’s view of the case. None of my members can fairly be described, by any stretch of the precise meaning of the word, as ‘trolls’. Indeed, were I to become aware that any of my members have indulged in what might be termed ’trolling‘ behaviour, I would ban them and, on occasions, have done so. Whilst members may have robust views on certain matters and may be critical of the McCanns and their advisers and backers, it does not indulge in anything that could be described as ’hate’ or ‘abuse’. Bad language of any kind is not tolerated.

I will also add that some of my most active members are those with professional or academic qualifications who use their expertise to analyse the case in depth. They include forensics experts, photographic experts, former police officers and solicitors.

We are also part of an international effort to seek the truth about Madeleine McCann, which is concentrated in Britain and Portugal but extends to forums and internet sites in many other countries, including the U.S., Germany and the Netherlands.

Another of our concerns is what has amounted to a form of hysteria generated on occasions by constant references to ‘anti-McCann trolls’. This reached its zenith in August and September 2014, just before your researchers carried out their work in 2015. References were made at the time to a ‘dossier’ of nasty tweets and internet messages by ‘anti-McCann trolls’. The media referred to the dossier as having been compiled by a ‘McCann supporter’. The dossier was handed to the Metropolitan Police, who made public pronouncements on the dossier (I should add that, later, the police publicly acknowledged that the dossier did not contain any messages that could be drafted as constituting a criminal offence).

The media at the time (August 2014) quoted Madeleine’s father, Gerry McCann - who had been active in the ‘Hacked Off’ campaign which aimed to suppress freedom of the press - as saying that such internet trolls must be severely punished. He publicly called for prosecutions of trolls who ‘should be made an example of’.

What followed shortly after his remarks, and the news about the above ‘dossier’, was the door-stepping - by SKY News Crime Correspondent, Martin Brunt - of a 60-year-old Leicestershire divorcee, Brenda Leyland, who had been active on the #McCann hashtag on Twitter, the very area of the internet chosen by your researchers to examine, just months later. This door-stepping took place on Tuesday 30 September.

It would be right to say that some of Brenda Leyland’s tweets were abusive about the McCanns, and a few contained bad language. However, so far as I am aware, she did not contact the McCanns via Twitter or otherwise, nor make any threats against them. She was also very knowledgeable about the details of the case. She was on the #McCann hashtag exchanging views robustly with those like her who did not believe the McCanns’ account of events, and with many others who were fervent supporters of the McCanns and would brook no criticism of them. There was a degree of abuse and bad language on both sides and it would be difficult to say that either ‘side’ was worse than the other. McCann-doubters who engage on Twitter are a tiny minority of the thousands on the internet who post doubts about the McCanns’ account of events and are not representative of them

On that day (30 September 2014), Brunt having door-stepped Brenda Leyland and later interviewed her in her own home, she confided in him that she felt suicidal at being exposed as a ‘troll’. Despite this, and knowing that Brenda Leyland was a vulnerable divorcee living alone, Martin Brunt and the editors of SKY News transmitted the doorstepping episode of her every 15 minutes throughout the following day. She fled from her home the day after, staying at the Marriott Hotel, Enderby, Leicestershire, just next to Leicestershire Constabulary headquarters where, on Saturday 4 October - just two days later - she was found dead, having - according to the subsequent Inquest - killed herself with an overdose of helium gas.

So we have already had one death as a result of a hysteria about ’anti-McCann trolls’. Your research project has been featured in the scientific journal Nature and published in many newspapers in Britain and in the U.S. We do not want one more ‘Brenda Leyland’. That is one of the reasons why we on our forum require you to carry out an immediate and rigorous examination of the conduct and contents of this research. .

My other concern is that the publicity generated by your research project feeds the myth that anyone who doubts the abduction narrative promoted by the McCanns, the British police and the media, must be some kind of nasty, abusive troll. Please look at my forum and you will discover a huge volume of high quality information, research and analysis that would force any neutral individual to consider the possibility that Madeleine McCann died in her parents’ holiday apartment and that her body was hidden.

Many professionals believe that Madeleine McCann died in her holiday apartment.

I would first of all draw your attention to a lengthy article by one of the most eminent forensic psychologists in Germany, Dr Christian Ludke. In a forensic science journal, he suggested there were ‘numerous indications’ that the McCanns were guilty of covering up the death of Madeleine. Likewise, Daniela Prousa, German psychiatrist and author, wrote: Analyse des Vermisstenfalles Madeleine McCann (An analysis of the case of missing Madeleine McCann). Using what she described as ‘Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis’, she also concluded from her analysis that Madeleine McCann died in her parents’ apartment.

Another Forensic Psychologist who states that Madeleine died in her parents’ holiday apartment is Dr Paulo Sargento, a University Professor, Forensic Psychologist and author in Portugal. He has published numerous articles suggesting that the McCanns are not telling the truth about what happened to Madeleine.

You will also be aware that the original co-ordinator of the Portuguese criminal investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance, Dr Gonçalo Amaral, wrote a book, ‘The Truth about a Lie’, setting out in detail the conclusions of himself and his colleagues that Madeleine died in her holiday apartment.

A noted Criminal Profiler in the U.S., Pat Brown, has published a book in the U.S. setting out the same conclusion. Another U.S. book, ‘Faked Abduction’, by Brian Johnson, sets out in 400 pages why the evidence points to Madeleine McCann having died in the McCanns’ apartment.

Many other prominent figures have also suggested that the McCanns have not told the truth about what happened to Madeleine. Here are a few examples:

John Redwood MP: “The McCanns’ theory that the girl was abducted needs evidence to support it…”

John Stalker, well-known, retired, police detective: “The McCanns are hiding a big secret”.

Wendy Murphy, former U.S. prosecutor and child protection expert: “I’m not buying it. You hire the nation’s biggest defence attorneys, PR firms, yet refuse to answer police questions?”

Christopher Friend, well-known U.S. commentator and writer: “The McCanns need to come clean now”. [ http://freindlyfirezone.com/home/item/19-mccanns-needs-to-come-clean-now ] .


Key criticisms of Dr Synnott’s research

C1 The genesis of the article and the peer review process

C2 Was Madeleine McCann abducted? – the central assumption that undermines the entirely validity of this research project

C3 The researchers’ basis for saying that Madeleine was abducted

C4 Our response to the researchers’ basis for saying that Madeleine was abducted

C5 The Lasseter Report

C6 Challenges to the research paper’s claims about the unreliability of cadaver dogs
C6a. Evidence of the reliability of cadaver dogs:
C6b. Academic links and general references:
C6c. “Incredibly Unreliable”
C6d. Author’s observations (PeterMac’)

C7 What was Lasseter’s study all about, and how should it be interpreted?


C8 What definition of the word ‘troll’ was used by the researchers?

C9 Is ‘trolling’ illegal?

C10 The ‘anti-McCann trolls’ reactions to the researcher

C11 Bias

C12 ‘Doing harm’ – Breach of the researchers’ Code of Ethics

C13 Sampling of tweets to be studied

C14 ‘Disassociation from group’: Part 3.5.1.2. & Social Indicators: Part 3.6

C15 The definition of ‘good parenting’

C16 ‘Unfounded allegations that the McCanns themselves formed part of a paedophile ring’


C17 The researchers’ interpretations

C18 ‘Unsubtantiated’ news reports implicating the McCanns in Madeleine’s disappearance

C19 Were the McCanns too controlled in their response to Madeleine’s disappearance?

C20 Uncanny echoes about ‘trolls causing damage’ of Gerry McCann’s attacks on internet trolls in 2014

C21 Pro-McCann Trolls – why were they not investigated?
 
C22 How the University of Huddersfield research paper has been reported in the media

C22a The Nature article, 15 February 2017
C22b. The article in Phys.org, 15 February 2017
C22c. The article on the Science Direct website
C22d Newspaper and internet reports of the research: Appendices 4 to 9

C23. Was there an agenda?


Attached: Appendices 1 to 11

Appendix 1: The article in Nature:
Appendix 2: The article in Phys.org
Appendix 3: The article in Science Direct
Appendix 4: The article at
http://www.fudzilla.com/news/42890-internet-trolls-cannot-be-cured
Appendix 5: Washington Post, 2 Mar 2017
Appendix 6: Daily Mirror, 3 March, 2017
Appendix 7: Sun, 4 March 2017
Appendix 8: University of Huddersfield
Appendix 9: Huddersfield Daily Examiner, 6 March, 2017
Appendix 10: The full article in Computers in Human Behaviour
Appendix 11: Tweets on a Forum of Pro-McCanns, August 2014

Really good letter. Thank you for writing it on behalf of everyone. The concern is, that articles within Journals are used to develop policy and commission services. This utterly bias piece of 'research' could have been used to shut down websites such as this in the name of countering 'extremism'. That the research was completed within a 'forensic' psychology department already suggests the bias underpinning the piece and if taken on its word, would have wide and damaging implications for free speech.
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Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by Get'emGonçalo on 26.03.17 20:36

Thank you loopzdaloop. I have now had this acknowledgement from Nature Editorial Administration:


24 March 2017

Dear Ms Havern,

Thank you for your email.

Your formal complaint has been passed on to the relevant editorial team so that they may advise.

Best wishes,

Nature Editorial Administration
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Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by Judex on 27.03.17 6:16

@Get'emGonçalo wrote:Thank you loopzdaloop. I have now had this acknowledgement from Nature Editorial Administration:


24 March 2017

Dear Ms Havern,

Thank you for your email.

Your formal complaint has been passed on to the relevant editorial team so that they may advise.

Best wishes,

Nature Editorial Administration


Interesting article today on BBC news http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39357819
'Fake research' comes under scrutiny
By Helen Briggs
BBC News'
"Journals are retracting more papers in recent years" [image of cover of "Nature" journal.]

The scale of "fake research" in the UK appears to have been underestimated, a BBC investigation suggests.
Official data points to about 30 allegations of research misconduct between 2012 and 2015.
However, figures obtained by the BBC under Freedom of Information rules identified hundreds of allegations over a similar time period at 23 universities alone.
There are growing concerns around the world over research integrity.
The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has begun an inquiry into the issue to reassure the public that robust systems are in place in the UK.
Stephen Metcalfe, the committee's chairman, said it was vitally important that people have confidence in research that is paid for by public funds.
"Where research has been found to be fraudulent at a later point it has a big impact on the public - it leads to mistrust," he told BBC News.
"What we want to do is to investigate how robust the mechanisms are for ensuring that research is ethical, it is accurate, it is, to a degree, reproducible."
Growing pressures
Requests by the BBC under Freedom of Information rules show that at least 300 allegations were reported at 23 of the 24 research-intensive Russell Group universities between 2011 and 2016 among staff and research students.
[image:Top of a copy of Nature magazine"]

Go to the website to read more... very interesting and relevant stuff.

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Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by BlueBag on 27.03.17 8:00

There are growing concerns around the world over research integrity.

And rightly so.

Whoever pays the piper....

And that is a very important question in this particular case.
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Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by Get'emGonçalo on 01.04.17 20:03

On Friday, 31 March 2017, 13:38, "Adam, David" <d.adam@nature.com> wrote:


Thank you for your email which was passed to me as I edit the editorials pages, where this article appeared. I have discussed with colleagues. The editorials pages of Nature offer an opinion of the journal. While we don’t expect everyone to agree with these opinions, they do reflect the consensus view of staff on the journal. In this case, we stand by the opinions expressed.
Best wishes
David Adam



Reply:

I am sorry, it is not an opinion, but it must be plain that the article you published by Dr John Synott fails all manner of tests as to whether it is either 'scientific' or meets basic academic criteria for proper, valid research.

Can I ask if you or anyone else in Nature actually read the article prior to publication. If so, surely you must have been fully aware of its manifest academic shortcomings?

Nature is a scientific journal that only - normally - publishes good science.

Something has clearly gone badly wrong on this occasion and we cannot accept your verdict.

Please give me the full contact details of the person or body within Nature to whom we can appeal your decision.

Thanks
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Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by plebgate on 01.04.17 20:52

I might be a bit fick but that reply reads like a load of gobbledygook (jargon) to me - as in oh 'eck where's this gonna go.   

Keep at em Getem.  Excellent job being done imo.

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Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by sallypelt on 01.04.17 21:10

Food for thought:
Publishing: The peer-review scam
When a handful of authors were caught reviewing their own papers, it exposed weaknesses in modern publishing systems. Editors are trying to plug the holes.

Red flags in review

Signs that an author might be trying to game the system
A handful of researchers have exploited loopholes in peer-review systems to ensure that they review their own papers. Here are a few signs that should raise suspicions.

  • The author asks to exclude some reviewers, then provides a list of almost every scientist in the field.
  • The author recommends reviewers who are strangely difficult to find online.
  • The author provides Gmail, Yahoo or other free e-mail addresses to contact suggested reviewers, rather than e-mail addresses from an academic institution.
  • Within hours of being requested, the reviews come back. They are glowing.
  • Even reviewer number three likes the paper.


My bold:
 In the past 2 years, journals have been forced to retract more than 110 papers in at least 6 instances of peer-review rigging. What all these cases had in common was that researchers exploited vulnerabilities in the publishers' computerized systems to dupe editors into accepting manuscripts, often by doing their own reviews. The cases involved publishing behemoths Elsevier, Springer, Taylor & Francis, SAGE and Wiley

Link to the full INTERESTING article:
http://www.nature.com/news/publishing-the-peer-review-scam-1.16400

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Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by lj on 03.04.17 18:13

@Get'emGonçalo wrote:On Friday, 31 March 2017, 13:38, "Adam, David" <d.adam@nature.com> wrote:


Thank you for your email which was passed to me as I edit the editorials pages, where this article appeared. I have discussed with colleagues. The editorials pages of Nature offer an opinion of the journal. While we don’t expect everyone to agree with these opinions, they do reflect the consensus view of staff on the journal. In this case, we stand by the opinions expressed.
Best wishes
David Adam



Reply:

I am sorry, it is not an opinion, but it must be plain that the article you published by Dr John Synott fails all manner of tests as to whether it is either 'scientific' or meets basic academic criteria for proper, valid research.

Can I ask if you or anyone else in Nature actually read the article prior to publication. If so, surely you must have been fully aware of its manifest academic shortcomings?

Nature is a scientific journal that only - normally - publishes good science.

Something has clearly gone badly wrong on this occasion and we cannot accept your verdict.

Please give me the full contact details of the person or body within Nature to whom we can appeal your decision.

Thanks
Exactly GEG, science is not an opinion, it can't be because an opinion is no science but a personal (distorded) view on a subject.
This answer says it all: it is an utterly unscientific opinion piece, and therefore useless, unless you like to read fiction.

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Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by ChippyM on 04.04.17 10:20

So they are admitting it is only good enough to be admitted as an opinion piece?

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Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by Get'emGonçalo on 04.04.17 14:43

On Monday, 3 April 2017, 8:56, "Adam, David" <d.adam@nature.com> wrote:

I think we might be talking about different articles? Nature didn’t publish the piece by Dr John Synott
david


Reply:

No we are certainly not talking about 'different articles'.


Nature expressly referred to Dr John Synott's research article which as you well know was published elsewhere.

By implication, Nature endorsed the so-called 'science' in the article, of which, frankly, there was none whatsoever. Moreover, Dr Synott and his team effectively lied by falsely claiming to participants that a research project about blood spoor in south-eastern United States 'proved' that cadaver (corpse) dogs were ineffective in the case of Madeleine McCann. The claim that the two dogs in the McCann case couldn't operate properly because it was 'too hot' for them was fatally undermined anyway because the research team did not even bother to check with the internationally celebrated dog handler what the actual temperature was during the searches.

Please do not waste any more time and give us ASAP the contact details of the person we need to complain to, given that it looks very much as though the Nature editorial team made no effort whatsoever to check the bona fides and 'science' of this research.

We also require a full account of how Nature decided to publish its review of the article - when did you receive it, who from, who read the article, who decide it was a reputable article and so on.

Without all this, the conclusion must be that Nature is willing to publish a wholly unscientific and indeed seriously fraudulent article. Its reputation will fall as a result, unless you speedily rectify your happy endorsement of this article and tell your readers about its manifest flaws. 

There is no great shame in admitting that, for once in a while, you have made a mistake and indeed a blunder.

I await hearing from you.
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Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by plebgate on 04.04.17 16:06

Talking about different articles - heard it all now.

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Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by CarolSmith89 on 19.07.17 15:43

Congratulations, very good written!  clapping

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Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by sar on 19.07.17 18:26

@Mirage wrote:Let us hope that Huddersfield university values its reputation sufficiently to condemn this so-called "research"as the scurrilous piece of flim flam it is.

Unfortunately, as it has already been aired in the Washington Post to vast audiences, I imagine they will want to wriggle out of responsibility for this banal "research project" got up for political reasons rather than have to print a retraction. My guess is they will employ more sophistry to extricate themselves from this fiasco.

Perhaps the McCanns can recommend a good reputation management team.
+1 Mirage, "scurrilous piece of flim flam" , just brilliant!  Made my day!

sar

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