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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Three more retractions for resveratrol researcher Dipak Das, in free radical journals

with 15 comments

Das, via UConn

The retraction count for Dipak Das, the resveratrol researcher whom the University of Connecticut found to have committed 145 counts of fabrication and falsification of data, has risen to eight with withdrawals by Free Radical Biology & Medicine and Free Radical Research.

The two Free Radical Biology & Medicine retractions, for “Expression of the longevity proteins by both red and white wines and their cardioprotective components, resveratrol, tyrosol, and hydroxytyrosol” (cited 38 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge) and “Redox regulation of resveratrol-mediated switching of death signal into survival signal” (cited 32 times), are carefully detailed and read the same way:

This article has been retracted: please see Elsevier Policy on Article Withdrawal (http://www.elsevier.com/locate/withdrawalpolicy).

This article has been retracted at the request of the Editor-in-Chief.

It is with great regret that readers are notified of the retraction of two Free Radical Biology & Medicine papers from the laboratory of Prof. Dipak Das, of the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, Connecticut, USA. The same retraction notice is being applied to both of these papers [Das, S., Khan, N., Mukherjee, S., Bagchi, D., Gurusamy, N., Swartz, H., Das, D.K. Redox regulation of resveratrol-mediated switching of death signal into survival signal, Free Radic. Biol. Med., 44 (2008) 82–90 and Mukherjee, S., Lekli, I., Gurusamy, N., Bertelli, A.A.A., Das, D.K. Expression of the longevity proteins by both red and white wines and their cardioprotective components, resveratrol, tyrosol, and hydroxytyrosol, Free Radic. Biol. Med., 46 (2009) 573–578.

The journal Free Radical Biology & Medicine was notified by the University of Connecticut Health Sciences Center of an investigative review of possible scientific misconduct and data manipulation by Prof. Dipak Das. In their investigative review of over 100 papers authored by Prof. Das (abbreviated press release can be found here: http://today.uconn.edu/blog/2012/01/scientific-journals-notified-following-research-misconduct-investigation/), the University of Connecticut concluded that clear evidence of scientific misconduct could be found in several of Prof. Das’ publications, including the two Free Radical Biology & Medicine papers (above) that we are now retracting. The Editor-in-Chief charged the journal’s Ethics Committee with specifically evaluating these two Free Radical Biology & Medicine papers for which Prof. Das was the senior (responsible) author. The journal’s Ethics Committee contacted the University of Connecticut for further details of the specifics of their investigation, and simultaneously conducted its own evaluation of the two Free Radical Biology & Medicine papers concerned.

The journal’s Ethics Committee determined, “After reviewing the executive summary from the University of Connecticut, we concluded that the case for scientific misconduct in the two FRBM papers has been solidly established by the University’s Committee.” The journal’s Ethics Committee examined the two papers carefully, analyzed the data presented, and then further concluded that “….. on re-examination of these two FRBM papers that they contain clear evidence of obvious cutting, pasting and manipulation of data in experimental blots.” The Ethics Committee recommended, “…..that the Editor-in-Chief begin the process to have these two papers formally retracted in FRBM. We would ask that the retraction statement makes it clear that the articles contain deliberately false information (not simply incorrect information). This would be a service to the scientific community.”

Upon due consideration, the Editor-in-Chief fully accepted the Ethics Committee’s conclusions and recommendations and, in conjunction with the Associate Editors, and assisted by our publisher, Elsevier, therefore, decided to formally retract these two papers. The Editor-in-Chief wishes it to be noted that Prof. Das was contacted by the journal’s Ethics committee for comment, and he firmly denied any wrongdoing whatsoever. Despite Prof. Das’ assertions, the journal’s Editors feel there is overwhelming evidence to show that both of the above papers published in Free Radical Biology & Medicine contain deliberately false information. In retracting these two papers, it is the Editors’ hope to deter other scientists, who may have been unaware of their unreliability, from citing them in the future.

Here’s the notice for “Cardioprotective effect of resveratrol via HO-1 expression involves p38 map kinase and PI-3-kinase signaling, but does not involve NFkB,” published in Free Radical Research:

The Editor, Editorial Board and Publisher of Free Radical Research hereby retract the following article from publication in the journal:

SAMARJIT DAS, CESAR G. FRAGA & DIPAK K. DAS. 2006. Cardioprotective effect of resveratrol via HO-1 expression involves p38 map kinase and PI-3-kinase signaling, but does not involve NFkB. Free Radical Research, October 2006; 40(10): 1066–1075.

This article has been found to contain fabricated data during a research misconduct investigation by the University of Connecticut Health Center. Specifically, the institution has determined that images appearing in Figure 4 of that paper contain instances of data fabrication.

As a consequence, and as per accepted best practice, the article is withdrawn from all print and electronic editions.

Michael Davies (Editor in Chief)

Joris Roulleau (Managing Editor, Informa Healthcare)

The Free Radical Research study has been cited 65 times.

You can read our previous coverage of the case, including five earlier retractions, here. UConn notified 11 journals of Das’s misconduct, and we’ve now seen retractions so far in four of those publications.

Hat tips: Commenters lgillman and Ahmad

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15 Responses

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  1. Interesting that FRBM did its own investigation. I guess Das now has to blame even more people of having something against Indians.

    Marco

    March 30, 2012 at 11:38 am

  2. Can anyone provide a link to the official report (or the official summary) produced by the university?

    NVCrunchy

    March 30, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    • It appears the official summary has disappeared from the UConn website. You won’t find the report online, I think. 60,000 pages would make a rather big pdf.

      Marco

      March 30, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    • I would appreciate a link to the 60,000 page summary, if it exists electronically. I have tried searching for it without much luck. I am quite interested in seeing a document of this magnitude. (I do appreciate the size of a document of this length, but surely it was put together on a single computer and is therefore read-able!)

      LNV

      March 30, 2012 at 3:32 pm

      • Actually, I don’t think it will be a single document. Expect the report to contain all the papers under investigation, for example, as well as questions and responses from the researchers involved, etc.

        As I said, I don’t think the report is available online, and now even the summary (49 pages!) has disappeared.

        Marco

        March 31, 2012 at 12:35 am

  3. There are other non-Indian academics out there with more than 8 papers waiting to be retracted, however, the perpetrators are fiercely defended (covered up) by their institutions (universities) which are openly trampling on their own Codes of Ethics and Frameworks. In these cases the Editors-in-Chief happen to be an old colleague of the offenders or even co-author with them in many other publications. So, no surprise that these editors also play “The Deaf Monkey” and refuse to acknowledge any misconduct, let alone to do the right thing.

    To me such behaviour resembles ORGANIZED INTERNATIONAL CRIME.

    YouKnowBestOfAll

    March 31, 2012 at 9:42 am

    • That is why blogs such as http://abnormalscienceblog.wordpress.com/ and http://katolab-imagefraud.blogspot.com.au/ ( and retractionwatch, of course) are so, so, important.

      Michael Briggs

      March 31, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    • It does seem like ‘organized crime’. I doubt if several of the papers would actually get accepted in those journals if it were not for the ‘friendly’ reviewers and editors. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like that there is a way out as even with clear evidence of misconduct being provided publicly through blogs, the journals are still allowing coverup by ‘mega-corrections’

      WB

      April 1, 2012 at 10:56 am

  4. yes, Michael, absolutely right. Some how, there were threats earlier to these blogs. Now abnormal science is quiet for more than a month, that is worrisome..

    Ressci Integrity

    April 1, 2012 at 6:30 am

    • May be it’s about time TO OUTLAW PLAGIARISM in peer reviewed publications.
      (please note that this is NOT a 1st of April joke)

      Once again:

      1) Plagiarism is a form of THEFT.

      2) SIZE of theft matters:
      a student plagiarising for his minor assessment (one off theft which appears once only to one person only – the supervisor) usually will be punished more than
      a professor plagiarising someone’s work and publishing it in a peer reviewed journal (i.e. REPEATED theft which appears PERMANENTLY to COUNTLESS people who browse the internet).

      3) If stealing an apple is a crime, then WHY stealing REPEATEDLY someone’s work is not???

      Victims of plagiarism should join their efforts for justice to successfully combat the plagiarists who rely on their colleagues and institutions for protection and get it.

      What about a movement “CITIZENS AGAINST ACADEMIC PLAGIARISM”?

      YouKnowBestOfAll

      April 1, 2012 at 7:28 am

  5. Dipak Das has now received research appointment at Pondicherry University India.
    He started to publish again last month (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22414106).

    Public

    April 2, 2012 at 1:30 am

    • Its a review article and surprisingly ddas is still using the old email id (ddas@neuron.uchc.edu). Does he still hold his position at UConn?

      WB

      April 2, 2012 at 10:18 am

  6. Well, I like white wine more, but have been drinking red wine because of its health benefits. So now what – I have been suffering for no purpose?

    White please

    April 2, 2012 at 5:44 am

  7. Any data manipulation and/or plagiarism which are published in peer reviewed publications should be CRIMINALIZED, as this constitutes fraud which is PERMANENT and deceives COUNTLESS individuals who access the publication.

    Apart from the authors (the perpetrators), the publishers should also be held accountable, as they facilitate the fraud (by refusing to retract the paper when the fraud is revealed).

    IT’S TIME FOR A CHANGE.

    YouKnowBestOfAll

    April 2, 2012 at 8:53 am

  8. Four more retractions documented in Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol Table of Contents for 1 June 2012; Vol. 302, No. 11.

    elledr1ver

    June 3, 2012 at 10:24 am


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