But as the group’s impact grew, more members were supported by the sports leagues the group was tasked with advising. Those relationships led critics to question whether the group could really offer a rigorous and unbiased interpretation of head trauma research.
“There’s no basis to say it’s a consensus. It’s a consensus of people who have been given a lot of money to do this,” said David Michaels, a former assistant secretary of labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the author of “The Triumph of Doubt: Dark Money and the Science of Deception.” “It doesn’t mean they’re intentionally hiding the truth. But we know that financial self-interest blinds them to what is there.”
Plagiarism allegations cast doubt on McCrory’s credibility.
The first charge of plagiarism against McCrory was for an editorial he wrote in 2005 for the British Journal of Sports Medicine, which he edited at the time. But Steve Haake, a professor of sports engineering in Sheffield, England, noted that about half of the piece was taken from an article Haake published five years earlier in Physics World.
That publication did not address the case. Last year, Haake raised the issue with the British Journal of Sports Medicine, which, eight months later, on Feb. 28, retracted McCrory’s piece for “unlawful and indefensible copyright infringement.”
Haake was not satisfied.
“I would like to see a punishment for such blatant plagiarism, such as for students,” Haake wrote on the website Retraction Watch. “If someone can steal our words and get away with it at any time, what’s the point?”
McCrory did not respond to a request for comment, but he told Retraction Watch that the plagiarism case was “isolated.” By this time, Nick Brown, a physician who runs a popular blog where he documents flaws in published research, had dug up two more articles McCrory had published in the British Journal that may have been plagiarized. McCrory said that in one case, the draft of the article had been uploaded prematurely and that he had asked the magazine to withdraw the piece. In the other, he said, the typesetting didn’t contain the necessary quotes.
“In both cases, the errors were not intentional or intentional, but nevertheless require correction as what has been published is plagiarism,” McCrory told Retraction Watch. “Again my apologies for my mistake.”