Journal of Neuroscience retracts federally funded Canadian study with “substantial data misrepresentation”
The Journal of Neuroscience is retracting a paper by researchers at Memorial University in Newfoundland, Canada, after a university investigation found “substantial data misrepresentation” in the work, which was funded by two major federal agencies.
Here’s the notice:
The Journal of Neuroscience has received a report describing an investigation by Memorial University, which found substantial data misrepresentation in the article “Bidirectional Dopaminergic Modulation of Excitatory Synaptic Transmission in Orexin Neurons” by Christian O. Alberto, Robert B. Trask, Michelle E. Quinlan, and Michiru Hirasawa, which appeared on pages 10043–10050 of the September 27, 2006 issue. Because the results cannot be considered reliable, The Journal is retracting the paper.
The study, which has been cited 33 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge, notes:
This work was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. M.H. is a CIHR New Investigator.
We contacted Memorial University late last week to ask for details of the investigation, whether any other retractions were planned, whether all of the authors were still employed at the university, and whether CIHR or NSERC were made aware of the situation. They told us the relevant people were not available because of the long Canada Day weekend, but said today they were still working on finding answers. We’ll update with anything we find out.
Memorial is no stranger to controversial misconduct investigations, having looked into the work of former nutrition researcher Ranjit Chandra a decade ago and finding issues but “insufficient evidence to sustain the complaint.” Chandra retired from Memorial under a cloud, and a retraction followed.
Please see an update on this post with comment from Memorial.
Hat tip: Madeleine Johnson