• Welcome to Phoenix Rising!

    Created in 2008, Phoenix Rising is the largest and oldest forum dedicated to furthering the understanding of, and finding treatments for, complex chronic illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), fibromyalgia, long COVID, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), and allied diseases.

    To become a member, simply click the Register button at the top right.

Dr David Tuller: An Update on the Missing Ethics Corrections in Multiple Esther Crawley Papers


Senior Member

Trial By Error: An Update on the Missing Ethics Correcti Multiple Esther Crawley Papers
24 March 2023 by David Tuller 1 Comment

By David Tuller, DrPH

In 2019, the University of Bristol and the UK’s Health Research Authority issued a report about their joint investigation of 11 papers. The lead investigator of all 11 papers was Professor Esther Crawley, Bristol’s methodologically and ethically challenged pediatrician and grant queen. The report recommended that Professor Crawley correct the ethics statements in all of the papers. But it absolved Professor Crawley of responsibility for her actions, concluding that everything was all just an unfortunate but understandable misunderstanding.

That absolution was a wrong-headed decision. But at least Professor Crawley was asked to make the corrections. That was already some time ago. Last summer–prompted by comments on the Science for ME forum–I double-checked and, sure enough, only a few of the papers had actually been corrected. I alerted the Health Research Authority, which looked into the matter and pressed Bristol to ensure that the other journals followed suit. Since then, the agency has kept me updated about its progress; the other day I received a final report about the matter. I have posted it below, followed by my response.

After I had alerted the HRA last fall, I also took the liberty of myself writing to the various journals that did not publish corrections to find out whether Professor Crawley had indeed contacted them. The results were inclusive. An editor at one journal indicated that he had received a message from Professor Crawley, and had responded seeking further information, but then had not heard back again from her. An editor at another journal confirmed that it had received a request and acknowledged having dropped the ball on its end. Others did not provide the requested information.
16 March 2023
Dear David Tuller,