Former BU prof falsified images, agrees to 5-year funding ban

A former researcher at Boston University (BU) committed research misconduct, according to the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI).

William W. Cruikshank, formerly of BU’s Pulmonary Center,
“engaged in research misconduct by knowingly, intentionally, and/or recklessly falsifying and/or fabricating data” in a paper retracted in 2014, in an earlier version of that paper, in a seminar presentation, and in two grant applications submitted to the National Cancer Institute, the ORI reports.

Cruikshank did so by “copying blot band images from unrelated sources, manipulating to disguise their origin, and combining multiple images to generate new figures to falsely represent results using sixty-four (64) such band images” in 16 figures and related text.

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More troubles at Duke: NIH suspended grants because of concerns over patient safety

Duke University

Last year, amid concerns for patient safety, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) suspended seven grants to Duke University following “allegations of research misconduct…and…potential issues concerning clinical research irregularities, we now know thanks to a letter from NIH to Duke.

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A university requested retractions of eight papers. It took journals a year to yank four of them.

Dee’lite via Flickr

On March 30, 2018, The Ohio State University (OSU) released a 75-page report concluding that Ching-Shih Chen, a cancer researcher, had deviated “from the accepted practices of image handling and figure generation and intentionally falsifying data.” The report recommended the retraction of eight papers.

By the end of August of 2018, Chen had had four papers retracted — one in Cancer Research, two in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, and one in PLoS ONE.

But it wasn’t until more than a year after the report was released that the other four papers — two from Carcinogenesis, one from Clinical Cancer Research, and one from Molecular Cellular Therapeutics — were retracted, all between April 1 and May 1 of this year.

What took so long? Your guess is as good as ours; none of the editors of those journals responded to our requests for comment.

Continue reading A university requested retractions of eight papers. It took journals a year to yank four of them.

Weekend reads: Fraud in generic drugs; a university stonewalls after a data breach involving HIV; data behind fertility app retracted

Before we present this week’s Weekend Reads, a question: Do you enjoy our weekly roundup? If so, we could really use your help. Would you consider a tax-deductible donation to support Weekend Reads, and our daily work? Thanks in advance.

The week at Retraction Watch featured the withdrawal of a paper linking Jon Stewart to Trump’s election win; the retraction of a study of vitamin D and autism; and another edition of Forensics Friday, in which you can test your sleuthing skills. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:

Continue reading Weekend reads: Fraud in generic drugs; a university stonewalls after a data breach involving HIV; data behind fertility app retracted

Forensics Friday: How was this image manipulated?

Ever wanted to hone your skills as a scientific sleuth? Now’s your chance.

Thanks to the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), which is committed to educating authors on best practices in publishingfigure preparation, and reproducibility, we’re presenting the second in a series, Forensics Friday.

Take a look at the image below, and then take our poll. After that, click on the link below to find out the right answer.

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Sharing the coin of the realm: How one journal hopes new authorship rules will cut down on bias

Retraction Watch readers may have noticed what seems like a growing trend: Co-first authorships. While the move might seem like a way to promote equality, some researchers are worried that it’s having the opposite effect. In response, the Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI) recently created additional requirements for shared first authorship. We asked Arturo Casadevall, the first author of an editorial describing those changes, to answer a few questions.

Retraction Watch (RW): The title of your editorial, as well as the editorial itself, refers to bias. What kind of bias is of concern when it comes to co-first authors?

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Study of autism and vitamin D earns retraction after questions about reliability

Marco Vertch

A pediatrics journal has retracted a 2016 article purporting to be the first randomized controlled trial on the effects of vitamin D supplements on autism over concerns about the reliability of the findings.

The paper, “Randomized controlled trial of vitamin D supplementation in children with autism spectrum disorder,” appeared in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and has been cited 27 times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science, earning it a “highly cited paper” designation compared to its counterparts of a similar age.

The authors came from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, China, Chile, the UK and Norway. According to the abstract, the researchers looked at the effects of vitamin D supplements on 109 boys and girls with autism:

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“This is how science works:” Error leads to recall of paper linking Jon Stewart and election results

Jon Stewart in 2010

Jon Stewart is a powerful figure in American media. How powerful is he? So powerful that his departure in 2015 as host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central may have tipped the 2016 presidential election to Donald Trump.

Continue reading “This is how science works:” Error leads to recall of paper linking Jon Stewart and election results

Just how common is positive publication bias? Here’s one researcher who’s trying to figure that out

Robbie van Aert

While the presence of publication bias – the selective publishing of positive studies – in science is well known, debate continues about how extensive such bias truly is and the best way to identify it.

The most recent entrant in the debate is a paper by Robbie van Aert and co-authors, who have published a study titled “Publication bias examined in meta-analyses from psychology and medicine: A meta-meta-analysis” in PLoS ONE. Van Aert, a postdoc at the Meta-Research Center in the Department of Methodology and Statistics at Tilburg University, Netherlands, has been involved in the Open Science Collaboration’s psychology reproducibility project but has now turned his attention to understanding the extent of publication bias in the literature.

Using a sample of studies of psychology and medicine, the new “meta-meta-analysis” diverges from “previous research showing rather strong indications for publication bias” and instead suggests “only weak evidence for the prevalence of publication bias.” The analysis found mild publication bias influences psychology and medicine similarly.

Retraction Watch asked van Aert about his study’s findings. His answers have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

RW: How much are empiric analyses of publication bias influenced by the methods used? Based on your work, do you believe there is a preferred method to look at bias?

Continue reading Just how common is positive publication bias? Here’s one researcher who’s trying to figure that out

Weekend reads: Ghostwritten peer reviews; is failure to report results misconduct?; scientific sabotage common in at least one country

Before we present this week’s Weekend Reads, a question: Do you enjoy our weekly roundup? If so, we could really use your help. Would you consider a tax-deductible donation to support Weekend Reads, and our daily work? Thanks in advance.

The week at Retraction Watch featured a profile of an image detective who works for free; our first Forensic Friday in which readers could hone their skills; and the story of the authors who retracted a paper so that they could publish it in a higher impact factor journal. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:

Continue reading Weekend reads: Ghostwritten peer reviews; is failure to report results misconduct?; scientific sabotage common in at least one country