It has become the darling of the media over the last few months. Adulated by some, criticized by others, professor Didier Raoult, the defender of a treatment based on the hydroxychloroquine in the face of the coronavirus do not leave indifferent. But before you blow up in the eyes of the general public, the director of the IHU Méditerranée had already made a name in the medical world, with numerous publications.
According to the Web site of the institute, it would be " the european researcher whose publications have been cited by the international community." As noted by le Parisien, its ability to generate as many questions, however, some of his colleagues.
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So, it would have published 230 studies in New Microbes and New Infections. However, the director of the publication of the journal is Michel Drancourt, deputy Didier Raoult within the IHU and employee of the virologist for the past 35 years. Members of the IHU have editorial positions in nearly half of the journals where it is most prolific.
A financial issue
professor Francis Berenbaum, of the research centre Saint-Antoine Paris, casts a critical eye on the situation. "When a team sends its work to a review is held, ultimately, by itself, it is a characteristic of the conflict of interest," says the Parisian. On the side of the IHU Méditerranée, we talk about charges, "without evidence" and " speculation ".
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Why is the topic important ? Because of the impact on the financing of health care institutions. The endowments of the State are directly related to the number of publications signed by researchers of an institution. Each publication may report up to 32 points, depending on the rank of the journal and the rank of the author in the study. Each point then has a value of 600 euros per year for 4 years. Patrick Devos, a statistician from the university of Lille, which has contributed to the development of this system questioned " an indirect way to boost his score ". From 2017, the Court of auditors was pushing for a modification to the "terms and conditions of assignments of income," deeming the system " not sufficiently discriminating, depending on the quality of the research." No effect for the moment.