The journal Cancer Prevention Research has retracted a 2009 article by a group of scientists from the University of Kentucky after the institution determined that one of the figures in the article wasn’t kosher.
The article, “Psoralidin, an Herbal Molecule, Inhibits Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase–Mediated Akt Signaling in Androgen-Independent Prostate Cancer Cells,” has been cited 9 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. Earlier iterations of the research were presented at two cancer meetings in 2008.
The Publisher retracts this article (Can Prev Res 2009;2:234-243), which was published in the March 2009 issue of Cancer Prevention Research (1), based on the recommendation of the Investigation Committee at the University of Kentucky after an institutional investigation made a finding of misconduct related to Figure 3A.
The authors were given an opportunity to retract the article, but declined.
We heard from the publisher of the journal, the American Association of Cancer Research, but they didn’t have anything to add.
We did, however, reach the senior author of the paper, Chendil Damodaran, who seems to have borne the brunt of the punishment in the affair. Damodaran said he was asked to leave the University of Kentucky six months ago, after the school made its determination. But he insists the problem was essentially a clerical error made by someone working on the project — who, he doesn’t know — during the uploading of the figures:
It’s not misconduct. The student uploaded the wrong file. The University of Kentucky made a mistake about the misconduct
But Damodaran, who is now at Texas Tech University in El Paso, may be facing even bigger problems. His work was funded by a $1.1 million grant from the NIH, which now is investigating the case. Indeed, Damodaran said the matter arose when “somebody complained” to the agency about a problem with the figure.
Damodaran said he should have done a better job of checking the figures in the manuscript before they it was published — although he says the other co-authors shared that responsibility, too. And he wonders why none of the other faculty members in the group was asked to leave the institution.