Thursday, February 7, 2013 coverage of the Anil Potti case

In the last 48 hours or so the blog has been hit with a DMCA take down notice in regards to ten posts which covered the Anil Potti case (the now infamous Duke University oncologist who was found to have manipulated research findings, resulting in - among other things - the stop of three clinical trials and now pending civil law suits against the university brought up by patients and their families). More after the jump...

The retractionwatch post about the DMCA issue can be found here:

The peculiar thing about the DMCA take down notice is that they were filed on behalf of an Indian new site. In the notice this site is named as "" and all links to the allegedly copyright-violated content contains this domain address. In fact the address re-directs to the apparently legitimate website

Interestingly, a DNS lookup reveals two very different IP addresses for these two domains:
Searching for A record at G.ROOT-SERVERS.NET. [] ...took 118 msSearching for A record at [] ...took 234 msSearching for A record at I.ROOT-SERVERS.NET. [] ...took 2 msSearching for A record at [] ...took 112 msSearching for A record at [] ...took 16 msSearching for A record at [] ...took 118 msCNAME record found: A record found:

Searching for A record at B.ROOT-SERVERS.NET. [] ...took 157 msSearching for A record at [] ...took 26 msSearching for A record at E.ROOT-SERVERS.NET. [] ...took 2 msSearching for A record at [] ...took 15 msSearching for A record at [] ...took 2 msSearching for A record at [] ...took 1 ms
CNAME record found:

(On a side note: Interestingly, seems to be hosted on Amazon's Web Services...) seems - therefore - have to been setup specifically for the purpose of hosting copies of the allegedly copyright-infringing articles on

Currently, the links in the DMCA notice to the items are all dead and return e.g. "You don't have permission to access /north dakota.html on this server."

In my opinion this amounts to a concerted effort to suppress retractionwatch reporting about the scientific fraud carried out by Anil Potti (by whomsoever - I don't want to publicly draw conclusions of the spurious information I have gathered so far, but I suppose Occam's Razor could be applied to this riddle...).

In order to make the original posts more easily accessible, I am providing the links to the cached content here and will also provide copies of the retraction watch entries on this blog.

  2. currently not accessible
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  1. I doubt that Potti would have had anything to do with it - the takedown will presumably be reversed within a few days and if it isn't Retraction Watch will presumably fork out the small amount of dollars to get their own webspace. The only outcome will be renewed attention and more bad publicity

    I have attempted to express these sentiments on Retraction Watch itself but - as is the perfect right of Marcus and Oransky - these comments along these lines have not been allowed out of moderation.

    I might add Retraction Watch was very very quick to cover the self-outing of the owner of the Science Fraud site - even when that person had 2nd thoughts and removed his post. What can you say? Lie down with dogs, expect to get fleas.

    1. I also do not think that it was Potti directly... but perhaps the "reputation management" company he apparently has been contracted to white wash his online persona has tried a bit too hard to control what ends up in the top Google search results. I think it is quiet evident that repeated attempts have been made to control information about Potti's involvement in the manipulation of data - and I am citing here from a CBS report:

  2. Again unlikely, because they would be risking their business if caught.
    They aren't really controlling information, just trying to manipulate search engines in a perfectly legal way so that when you type Anil Potti into google you don't get a bunch of links saying he is a fraud. If you were a competent reputation management company you would not be advising this (of course it is possible they are an incompetent reputation management company).

    It will be the work of the pseudonymous Peter Blomberg, Jane's Addiction and lord knows how many other online identities commentating there. It really isn't worth the attention being given it - simply a result of using free hosting.

    BTW - since the RW owners probably aren't aware of this - it would be very easy to migrate their entire blog and all its archives to a new address - just use the "export" function under the tools menu. I am sure you realize how easy it is, but RW may not.

    1. As I said, they are _trying_ to control the information e.g. have a look at the history of the Anil Potti wikipedia entry - - there is enough direct evidence of changes to the article which clearly shows that more than once all references to the manipulation of scientific data had been deleted. In my opinion this already shows that whoever was doing this is not very IT smart - Wikipedia keeps change logs, and it is too easy for anyone to roll back the article to an earlier version.

      The question is how has a motive to suppress information on retractionwatch? Who would directly benefit from it? If the same sort of people who previously attempted white washing the wikipedia article are behind the DMCA take down, then one shouldn't expect too much intelligence or foresight on their behalf.

      Regarding RW: I am pretty sure that Ivan and Marcus are smart enough to know that the could migrate their blog to somewhere else. And I am also sure that they have their reasons for not having done that so far.