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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Irony? Paper by author whose attorneys sent cease-and-desist letter to Science Fraud retracted

with 83 comments

j lipid researchA Brazilian author whose attorneys were the first to send the now-shuttered Science Fraud site a cease-and-desist letter has now had a paper retracted.

As Retraction Watch readers may know, Science Fraud shut down earlier this week in response to legal threats. Those threats were preceded by a cease-and-desist letter last month from attorneys for Rui Curi, of the University of Sao Paulo.

Curi’s work had been scrutinized by Science Fraud in a number of posts, with allegations of duplicated bands and re-used Western blots. With a gnawing suspicion that some of our more erudite readers will take issue with our use of “irony” here, we note that “Regulation of interleukin-2 signaling by fatty acids in human lymphocytes,” by one Rui Curi and colleagues, has now been retracted by the Journal of Lipid Research.

There is no retraction notice on the paper, originally published in 2007, but the PDF is watermarked “Withdrawn, December 28, 2012.”

It has has been cited 15 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

We’ve contacted the editors of the journal, and the corresponding author of the paper, about why the paper was retracted, and will update with anything we learn.

Update, 11:15 a.m. Eastern, 1/6/13: The publisher of the JLR, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, tells us the paper was “withdrawn by author” and recommended we contact the authors for more information. The ASBMB, as Retraction Watch readers may recall, also publishes the Journal of Biological Chemistry, which we’ve taken to task numerous times for its opaque notices but recently hired a manager of publication ethics — a move we hope could mean they’re considering changing this policy.

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Written by Ivan Oransky

January 4, 2013 at 4:50 pm

83 Responses

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  1. Yee-haw!

    puzzled monkey

    January 4, 2013 at 4:55 pm

  2. Fair enough, as everyone can see, defendants at Science Fraud are not so innocent as they claim…

    ... And Justice for All

    January 4, 2013 at 4:58 pm

  3. “Tel est pris qui croyait prendre” (Jean de La Fontaine, Livre VIII).

    Sylvain Bernès

    January 4, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    • For those like me either too uneducated (or sleepy) to get this instantly: ‘He is taken who thought he could take’, or ‘The biter bit’.

      Resorting to the use of lawyers must be a highly specific marker of fraud – in science the truth needs no defence.

      amw

      January 4, 2013 at 6:22 pm

  4. Where is Peter Blooomberg and his buddies?

    There’s gonna be ALOT more!

    Well done Fraudster!

    stewart

    January 4, 2013 at 5:42 pm

  5. How do we know that it was Curi’s attorney who sent the cease-and-desist letter?

    Jeffrey Beall

    January 4, 2013 at 6:24 pm

  6. Karma

    Schmuck

    January 4, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    • Bad Karma…

      Ressci Integrity

      January 4, 2013 at 10:32 pm

  7. “We’ve contacted the editors of the journal, and the corresponding author of the paper, about why the paper was retracted” – I might be wrong but in his response to the cease-and-desist letter (Tim D. Smith provides a link to it in his post above mine), Paul Brookes describes certain problems with Western blots in one of Rui Curi’s papers. I think this is the very paper that has just been retracted.

    chirality

    January 4, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    • Yes, you are right, Chirality. One of them… it was one of the most problematic, indeed, but was propably at least 5 other papers there from the same research group (I would say 7 or 8 papers there).

      Frederic

      January 4, 2013 at 7:49 pm

  8. A mistake is not a fraud !!!!

    Justice

    January 4, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    • Fraud is not done by mistake!!

      stewart

      January 4, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    • Mistake? What mistake you are talking about? I guess you mean it was a mistake given money to these poeplo to do science. That I agree 100%!

      Frederic

      January 4, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    • Why mistake? It is seems that you are involved with Curi’s lab… so would be nice hearing from you what was done by mistake.

      Justice will prevail

      January 4, 2013 at 9:59 pm

  9. Reply to Mr Justice
    Yeah, it is a mistake to flip a blot in a western blot while the others remains not flipped. It is a mistake to reuse several times the same western blot image.
    And probably is magic that one western blot one time represents one protein, and then *PUF* it becames a total diferent non-related protein!
    It is not fraud! it is magic and science! LOL!
    Are you on you own computer right now, or perhaps you are using USP computer right now?

    Frederic

    January 4, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    • Frederic, I think we are missing a golden opportunity here. These “mistake-prone” researchers have many instances of making untrue discoveries due to poor recordkeeping, poor image archiving, accidental mixups, and so forth. They must have just as many instances of failing to recognize true discoveries due to the same flawed lab procedures. If only we could follow these “mistake-prone” researchers around and call their attention to the fact that they have, for example, just moved half of the data in their spreadsheet over one column, thus causing a high correlation to evaporate, or just loaded the wrong control onto a gel, thus completely missing a breakthrough in cancer treatment. These researchers are in the lab night and day — just look at their mountains of output — so it stands to reason that their mistake-prone behavior is causing them to toss tons of real discoveries into the trash. It would be worth NIH’s investment to hire minders to prevent them from accidentally tossing out the cure for AIDS because some transposed numbers made it look like a dead end.

      JudyH

      January 4, 2013 at 11:37 pm

      • Ha!

        Rob

        January 5, 2013 at 4:31 am

      • Oh JudyH, that’s naughty, very naughty, but I like it :)

        stewart

        January 5, 2013 at 4:36 am

    • Well in that case, we all should work the magic and waste our time and money and drag others into dark allies and wrong paths.
      For me and many of the good scientists I was lucky to know, if you are not 100% honest, you are not honest enough. Let me repeat Paul Brookes word “without integrity, there is no science”

      Schmuck

      January 5, 2013 at 4:51 pm

  10. When a chinese science fraud whistleblower is attacked with pepper spray and a hammer then it is hardly surprising Fraudster was cautious.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/new_scientist/2012/11/maddox_prize_2012_shi_min_fang_wins_award_for_exposing_scientific_fraud.html

    I think there should be an award for this Cambridge trained scientist!

    It is clear some the the science fraud perpetrators are maniacs!

    That’s a demonstrable fact!

    stewart

    January 4, 2013 at 9:44 pm

  11. This was with intent to deceive, hence the retraction. Go to google.co.uk and in Images search for “Curi2 scientific fraud” which will show what was wrong with Figure 2 of this withdrawn paper and it it definitely not a mistake! Curi4 (just change number and new figures will pop up) is also a hall of fame worthy effort in the scientific fraud field from the very same paper. The watermark covers some of the figures of the PDF-file, you should know that the html version is accessible for free at the Journal of Lipid Research homepage (search for the article at pubmed for easy access).

    Junk Science

    January 4, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    • Easier:

      all images from this retracted paper.
      Probably the paper that could easily be named the paper of the year for the “time spent in trying to deceive readers”.

      Frederic

      January 4, 2013 at 10:09 pm

      • Thanks Frederic, an easy click away for the lazy generation. We should probably save all of the images that are still there from other authors as well for easy upload when hopefully other retractions are posted.

        Junk Science

        January 4, 2013 at 10:51 pm

  12. To re-use (ho, ho) a quote from Seneca that was on my own blog: “errare humanum est sed perseverare diabolicum”

    To err is human (nature), to persevere (in making the mistake) is diabolical.

    End of the line for the apologists.

    Technical tip: you flip pancakes, steak etc., not images.

    ferniglab

    January 5, 2013 at 7:08 am

  13. “Curi’s work had been scrutinized by Science Fraud in a number of posts, with allegations of duplicated bands and re-used Western blots.”—RW

    And microscopic images:

    Hans Müller

    January 5, 2013 at 9:28 am

  14. After reading through the swamp of the 200+ comments on the SF thread: trolls and troll-baiting, accusations of sock-puppetry, nursery rhymes and name calling, and now the gloating on this thread, I post here with some trepidation.

    My $0.02: SF is/was a vigilante. Did he commit libel? I don’t know, somebody else will figure that out. Lionizing vigilantes, however, doesn’t sound like a good idea. So what if he was motivated because journal editors didn’t take his inquires seriously. Surprise! We should all be shocked! Not really. Long-time readers of this blog (RW) know that journal editors don’t take these things, particularly anonymous accusations, very seriously. Even if the accusations have merit. That sucks, but its the way it is. SF decided the best approach was to make up a false bio (bike-riding, hard-drinking, 100-peer-reviewed-article-writing female science prof) and be a vigilante. Not exactly Batman’s biosketch, but the same idea. Batman works in the movies, not IRL.

    Did SF catch frauds? Sure. Did he do it the right way? No. His expletive filled posts and even the title of the blog were inflammatory, and we’ll see what the lawyers have to say about libel. Before you start calling me a hater or a defender of frauds, think: He admits he wasn’t doing it right in his own emails to RW!! – see his “lessons learned” comments. Go read his email again. I’m amazed at the number (and the excitement level) of the commenters here that seem to think “wrong + wrong = great job SF!”

    You want to turn in (expose) a fraud? Go to the website for institution where the work was done. Contact the research integrity officer (RIO). They are usually easy to find – their contact is almost always on the web. If not, make some phone calls. Put your real name on a well written document, yes, even use the red arrows. Conflict of interest is real and and RIOs need to mitigate it. And knock it off with the cynicism on RIOs not doing their job. They seem to take misconduct seriously, and they ought to, ORI can hit the institution (not just the PI) with a sanction or ban if they don’t do their job right. An objective reading of posts here on RW shows that once the institute gets involved, the guilty tend to be held accountable (suspended, fired, forced resignations, etc) – from the lowly post-docs and grads plagiarizing papers to the big-shot PIs sanctioning image manipulation to bring in lots of grants. I’m not going to go pull all the links for you (JudyH, Stewart, Junk Science), because 1) there are too many of them and 2) you clearly didn’t read them carefully the first time RW posted them. Go back and re-read the ORI-mentioning posts here on RW. You’ll see that most of the people hit with an ORI-sanction aren’t in business anymore. They reap the whirlwind.

    Do some people get a 2nd chance? Not hit too hard with or somehow recover from the sanctions? Yes that happens too – but guess what – in a system of justice, that’s how it should be. A lot of commenters here don’t seem too interested in justice, more interested in revenge. We’re scientists. We’re better than that.

    The system is working. You want to help it work better and get justice? Then quit whining and crowing on this blog and do what I said above.

    one-two

    January 5, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    • You are making too much sense for this blog, my friend.

      Peter Bloomberg

      January 5, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    • One-two wrote ‘The system is working.’

      Clearly, one-two, you have never, ever reported science-fraud! The system is broken, to its core.

      Science-fraud showed that.

      You’re talking out of pure fantasy one-two.

      But hey, if you are happy with that, goodluck to you.

      You also, entirely, failed to mention (ahem, ahem) the harrassment of a science-fraud whistleblower who some low life scum emailed his bosses and wrote, frankly, a load of lies about him.

      Be certain about one thing one-two – as a scientist I am about saving peoples lives, and that comes before everything, including a bit of swearing and anger at the fraudsters who would knowingly put peoples lives at risk, all for the next grant or an additional paper on their CV.

      I find your whole approach incredulous and misinformed to its core!

      If a researcher puts his/her real name on the document – guess what happens? They get fired! Thats the facts. This is backed up by history and recent events.

      Your advice is very, very dangerous one-two.

      We need more science-fraud hunters with the bloodimindedness of Fraudster, and I am in!

      stewart

      January 5, 2013 at 6:34 pm

      • Yawn – have you read any of the emails sent to journals/authors from websites such as these? No. And you talk of harassment (one ‘r’ by the way)?

        One-Two. PB is right. You will get nowhere here.

        “As a scientist I am about saving peoples lives, and that comes before everything….” Very admirable and I am sincere in stating that. But from western blots/flow cytometry? I think not.

        Those that can, do. Those that can’t, teach. Those that can’t do that, blog. Those that can’t manage a blog of their own, perhaps spend an inordinate amount of time writing on others’ blogs and whining about a ‘system’ in which their own failings aren’t allowing them to succeed?? Perhaps if were to spend your time more wisely….

        RW – I was previously aware of your site but directed to it from Elsevier’s posts. Fantastic job on reporting investigations and facts. Something lacking by some of your contributors.

        Tiddles

        January 5, 2013 at 7:29 pm

      • Stewart,

        I think one-two has a point. If you write NIH and provide them with information of misconduct, such as the discrepancies shown in many SF posts, they are bound by their mandate to initiate an inquiry to the local ORI which must then initiate and investigation of the accusation at the local institution. This will accomplish the goals. Journal editors will not be responsive as they have a conflict of interest, they are of no real use in fraud investigations, they are paid to sell advertising to make a profit.

        I think it would be best if you and all of us refrained from hyperbole, such as telling individuals they are talking out of ” pure fantasy”, telling them they are “incredulous and misinformed”, their calm and sensible suggestions are not “very, very dangerous”. And these are some of the milder comments you have used in your many arguments. Ivan already had to step in once to restore civility. People like one-two have valid points, you may disagree but you will never win arguments by bullying them, they are educated serious scientists as well. Give them some respect.

        Jane's Addiction

        January 9, 2013 at 9:42 pm

        • A few point:
          A) NIH only has jurisdiction over US-funded research. Curi et al. worked in Brazil, and I doubt that NIH funded any significant portion thereof.

          B) In many countries there is no oversight system where concerns over published research may be lodged.

          C) The potential for retaliation by established researchers over whistleblowers is huge. I can perfectly understand why Paul S. Brookes decided to post anonymously.

          PedroS

          June 11, 2013 at 4:29 am

    • One-two, the process you describe might be the “correct” process for reporting misconduct (falsification, fabrication and plagiarism), but I disagree that the system is working.

      I have been in a whistleblower-like position involving questionable data/analysis, but probably would have fallen short of requiring a misconduct investigation or retraction. I am leaving the lab and I think I have gotten off light. If you see bad science going on of course the right thing to do is to report it. But just remember that doing the right thing is almost certainly going to result in negative consequences for you and the worst outcome is that you will just teach a fraudster how to avoid getting caught.

      No one is paid to detect fraud. Reviewers are not paid to detect fraud. Whistleblowers are not paid to report it. We have auditors for lab safety and regulatory compliance who will visit you on a regular or random basis, but not for research ethics and misconduct. But if you get a lot of papers because you’ve massaged or fabricated your data, then you will be rewarded by the grant system.

      If I was a PI and I found out one of my students was a fraudster I could kick them out and retract their papers, thereby punishing myself and my whole lab or I could cover it up and everyone takes home a paycheck and keeps their unblemished publication records. What does the system really want you to do?

      SQ

      January 6, 2013 at 7:25 am

      • Super post SQ.

        You have spoken of the reality of modern science.

        stewart

        January 6, 2013 at 11:25 am

      • SQ, you are correct. Sad but true. When I was a graduate student I reported plagiarism — paragraph after paragraph, word for word, including the amusing typo in the source — and was vilified for doing so. There were no negative consequences for the person who committed the plagiarism. As many others on this site have commented, that kind of unfairness is the norm. Those who report fraud suffer many negative consequences, from social ostracism and harassment to job loss, while the fraudsters suffer none. One-two is admirably idealistic, but reality is a different kettle of fish altogether.

        To be sure, there are some highly ethical and vigilant supervisors. But as a general rule, supervisors hope that misconduct is not occurring, pretend that misconduct is not occurring, and punish those who attempt to disabuse them of their delusion. Dealing with misconduct is unpleasant for the supervisor and, as you point out, causes collateral damage. Not dealing with it causes collateral damage of another type — false or misleading information in the public record, resources wasted on pursuing wrong directions, honest researchers not funded because their CVs are shorter and they have fewer breakthroughs than the fraudsters.

        JudyH

        January 6, 2013 at 11:49 am

    • The email list SCIFRAUD (

      https://ListServ.Albany.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A0=SCIFRAUD

      ) is called a provocative name and neither it nor any party involved with it got sued for any accusations on SCIFRAUD. One whistleblower was taken to court three times for supposed defamation by him in accusations which he made on SCIFRAUD. He won all of those court cases as he did not commit defamation.

      Early emails related to those court cases are archived at
      http://WWW.Albany.edu/~scifraud/scilog/index.html

      SCIFRAUD is managed by a lawyer.

      Complaining to people who are employed to be research-integrity officers does not always function. For example please read the email “Case for Research Misconduct Policy Comments” (>>> Posting number 4549, dated 16 Nov 1999 20:53:02) archived at

      https://ListServ.Albany.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A0=SCIFRAUD

      An excerpt of that email is:

      “[. . .]

      [. . .]
      [. . .] the Integrity Officer himself was
      under investigation for obstructing the investigation [. . .]
      [. . .]

      [. . .]”

      ORI did some good work. ORI was also accused of covering up, for example in the SCIFRAUD email >>> Posting number 11861, dated 12 Jan 2007 07:46:59 (“Re: correction on ORI grants program note”) by Dr. Carolyn Phinney.

      The people of the so-called University of Michigan who acted against Dr. Carolyn Phinney were not fired, even though Dr. Carolyn Phinney won a court case because of acts by them.

      The system is not working well enough.

      Paul Colin de Gloucester

      January 11, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    • One-two, how does the ORI impose sanctions or take actions against a Brazilian scientist? Unfortunately, there is this serious thought-pattern among many US-based elitist scientists on this blog who think that the ORI is a body with godly powers that can, as the hegemonic country it originates from, impose its moral standing on the world. First thing to do is to understand that morals, ethics and values are not all US-based and that potentially there are some cultural-based differences in ethics. I am not defending a crook. A fraud is a fraud and a manipulated image, plagiarism or other misconduct is done knowlingly, independent of language or culture. However, caution should be taken with this aggressive US (or Western)-imposed system of justice… it won’t be too far away before drones are used to “take out” fraudulent scientists. It is important not to just look at the raw justice in the heat of the moment, but to also reflect on the culture of revenge that is being incited on blogs like this. Once again, I am not supporting the fraudsters, but neither am I supporting kangaroo courts. In summary: the term justice and who defines it, is complicated.

      Robin Hood

      January 12, 2013 at 3:35 pm

      • Robin Hood wrote “it won’t be too far away before drones are used to “take out” fraudulent scientists”
        :)

        Can you write who you think it getting revenge or who using this blog?

        We base this on facts, not hearsay.

        Again – name names please Robin Hood.

        Stewart

        January 12, 2013 at 4:00 pm

  15. Dear Ivan and readers,

    Curi’s retraction was subjected today to media coverage in Brazil in our biggest newspapers (Folha de São Paulo and Estado de São Paulo). He gave interview to a journalist from Folha (which already had more than 1,5 thousands shares on facebook):

    http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/ciencia/1210528-revista-despublica-artigo-de-cientistas-acusados-de-fraude.shtml

    One may use Internet’s translators…

    Justice will prevail

    January 5, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    • Many thanks for the link, Dr Justice (ahem… private joke for the readers of “Pif”). Please let me suggest the following summary of the interview. Although it sounds very short, I think to reflect accurately the whole content:
      “We [Curi et al.] only made some minor mistakes”.

      Sylvain Bernès

      January 5, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    • Thank you, Justice will prevail. This one from O Estado de São Paulo has an image of the “withdrawn” stamp over the article.

      http://blogs.estadao.com.br/herton-escobar/diretor-do-icb-retrata-trabalho-apos-denuncias/

      JudyH

      January 5, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    • Of course they blame some smaller novice and claim innocent mistakes. Like in all other reported retractions from Brazil in this website (The Brazilian Entomologist, and the Chemist) — all from Sao Paulo.

      I do not think readers buy such lame excuses anymore, and that international attention has already become aware of how things work in these parts. Not proud, at all.

      Hibby

      January 5, 2013 at 8:16 pm

  16. Tiddles wrote ‘Very admirable and I am sincere in stating that. But from western blots/flow cytometry? I think not’

    Tiddles, you have little idea of the very high importance western blots and flow cytometry have in publications.

    The results obtained using those methods often form the central theme of a whole paper. If those results are fraudulent or false, the the whole theme of a paper breaks down.

    This includes validation of therapeutics that are used in subsequent grant applications for clinical trials.

    It is murder most foul. Instead of your rather pathetic little jibes at me, go and have a think about that during your milk and cookie break at school on Monday.

    stewart

    January 5, 2013 at 8:43 pm

  17. Actually this blog is not very attentive to scientific retractions from Brazil. There are quite a few not mentioned here, for instance: http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S0102-311X2012000800020&script=sci_arttext

    The number of paper retractions from Brazil should increase in the near future, let us see if then we are able to catch the rest of the world’s eyes.

    Hibby

    January 6, 2013 at 7:59 am

  18. I’ve just sent this message to a number of commenters:

    “Thanks for the spirited discussion on Retraction Watch. There are legitimate questions about how alleged fraud should be handled. The content and tone of some comments has, however, degenerated into name-calling and personal attacks, and that’s neither useful nor what we’re trying to accomplish with Retraction Watch. We won’t tolerate more, and will be moderating comments much more closely from here on in.”

    ["denigrated" edited to "degenerated, thanks to "puzzled monkey" and "RW fan" for the correction.]

    ivanoransky

    January 6, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    • Agreed, Ivan. The discussion was moving away from the main focus of this particular blog. Thanks

      Ressci Integrity

      January 6, 2013 at 8:17 pm

  19. Ivan, regarding your today update on editor’s comment, it is worth that Curi said to a brazilian newspaper (Folha) a different version of the retraction.

    “Ele explicou que a decisão de retratar o artigo foi tomada em conjunto com os editores da revista”

    Which means:

    “He [Curi] explained that the decision to retract the article was taken in conjunction with journal editor’s”.

    It is quite different of the editor statement here exposed, which said that the article was retracted by authors own decision.

    Justice will prevail

    January 6, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    • indeed, strange though.

      Frederic

      January 7, 2013 at 4:50 am

    • This sounds somewhat different from Curi’s complaint in the letter to SF, in which he said that journals were threatening to retract his papers. Is he trying to provide support for what he claimed in the letter by telling the newspaper that the journal made him do it? Or is the journal trying to avoid responsibility for pressuring Curi into withdrawing the paper?

      JudyH

      January 7, 2013 at 9:24 am

  20. From machine translation of Brazilian news paper account:

    <>

    and

    <>

    and

    <>

    ———————————————–

    These facts/statements make clear the potential for this to be the tip of an iceberg. Most troubling is the apparent state of denial of the true implications–an admitted failure to perform even basic QC of publications. What journal would publish these findings?

    Has anyone been able to substantiate the claim that the ‘mistakes’ were [already] present in the thesis of one of the study authors?

    As is so often the case, arrogance shines through, tarnishing the image of legitimate researchers everywhere.

    PS: @ivanoransky, enjoyed your spot on Sci Fri. Btw, ‘denigrate’ ‘degenerate’. Denigrate is the opposite of ‘extol’.

    RW fan

    January 7, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    • The translation machine does not seem to be working…

      chirality

      January 7, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    • Good point, thanks, and fixed. You can understand why I had “denigrate” on the brain, given the comments flying by. BTW I can’t read the translation, maybe it didn’t copy through?

      ivanoransky

      January 7, 2013 at 10:28 pm

  21. Amazing that so few Brazilians post anything in these international blogs. Indeed most have a very poor comandment of English, and get shy to do so. I think such a great case would deserve more attention.

    Hibby

    January 7, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    • Let’s hope no Brazilians were reading this blog over the weekend. It was an ugly slagfest. Anyone could be forgiven for deciding to drop their English studies and never get within shouting distance of an English-speaking person.

      There were lots of comments in the Brazilian newspapers. Maybe they said all they needed to say there. I’m still working my way through those comments. Will be for a while.

      JudyH

      January 7, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    • Oh, Hibby, you’re such a kidder!

      puzzled monkey

      January 7, 2013 at 9:26 pm

      • Oh. I missed it. Sorry. Yes, such a kidder.

        JudyH

        January 7, 2013 at 9:38 pm

      • :)))

        Indeed the comments on Folha are, as usual, quite appalling.

        Hibby

        January 8, 2013 at 10:00 am

    • Tish-pish, this is nothing.

      This morning so far I have been called
      “F***. Head.”, “innumerate nuff-nuff”, “puritanical lefty zealot”, ” innumerate s***head”, “deranged left wing activist”, “representitive from the class of green puritanical overlords”, “spiteful leftist swill”

      and the day is still young.

      littlegreyrabbit

      January 8, 2013 at 12:15 am

  22. Brazilians are here, were also at the SF, and are still doing some good stuff in the EU; US and abroad. I’m one of them, scared with the midia coverage and how ignorant brazilian people are about how science really works. English is not the major problem, I think that it’s just a matter on “lazyness”. We were never really challenged by the real powerfull hands of top notch science. We are still in the “3rd world syndrome”, complaining about how referees build up a huge prejudice just because we are “brazilians”. We are just forgeting how good science might work and how to invest in good writing and good papers rather than in NUMBERS. The comments at Folha showed a complete lack of real understanding by the brazilian community, even to criticize or to support. On the other hand, some scientists wrote good stuff there and the incident is being fwd trough many Uni e-mail networks. We are passing trough scientific changes in Brazil. Some of them for the good…

    DEUS ex MACHINA

    January 8, 2013 at 4:52 am

    • You seem a wise guy, DEUS. I agree with you, however since youre probably abroad, you lost the notion of how almost all Brazilians have very poor English. Most of my colleagues are very bad at it, and get embarassed at using it in “official” topics like a science blog. I do believe Brazilian science is changing for better, however there is strong negative pressure and awfully too many incompetent big fish in our pond.

      Hibby

      January 8, 2013 at 9:59 am

      • And you Hibby, how many languages do you speak? I think xenophobia is a major flaw and off topic.

        Hobbit

        January 8, 2013 at 11:14 am

  23. sorry hobbit. only 3 languages and not perfect. Didnt mean xenophobia, especially since I am Brazilian.

    Hibby

    January 8, 2013 at 2:48 pm

  24. I would like to suggest to anyone that believes the system is working to please go to this ORI interactive video and do walk through.

    http://ori.hhs.gov/thelab

    You will notice that there is NO good ending for a whistle blower. Even the ORI lets you know that reporting fraud will at a minimum set back your career a couple of years, if not get you kicked out of science. I applaud them for being honest. Now what can be done about the problem?

    It is no wonder that the creator of SF wanted to stay anonymous. We all know what happens to whistle blowers.
    .

    John

    January 12, 2013 at 5:50 am

    • Yes John, there is a HUGE problem whereby honest scientists lose jobs and are blacklisted by the professors/heads of dept committing the fraud that does immeasurable damage to our societies and peoples lives.

      The science-fraud committed is inexctricably linked to embezzlement of funds from charities and government organisations. I reiterate – these monies should be paid back by the fraudsters – if they have a house, sell it and pay the money back. If they have a car, sell it and pay the money back.

      So, lets out the fraudsters, catch them, make it known, then see what the “invesitgators” do.

      They way the fraudsters/cheat investigators work is very simple:
      1. Commit fraud
      2. Destroy anyone who identifies it
      3. Change the rules of any investigation as part of the “old boys network” and say things such as ‘in accordance with University rules, there have been no irregularities found”
      4. Keep going.

      If you dont look, you dont find, but if we name those who are part of the investigation (often hand picked collaborators, those with interest in “spin-out” companies of a friend of a friend) then they will have answers to question later on too if the investigation is flawed.

      The complex worldwide network of paper reviewers, grant reviewers, collaborators is a very interesting diagram to see. Many of the grants awarded to fraudsters is often with the knowledge of the chief of the grant body they apply too.

      The problem of science fraud is not going away.

      The methods of detecting science fraud – systematically, are just beginning.

      It’s a war that we MUST win.

      But, have no doubt, it will be a war. Bloody, dirty, hard and there are no guarantees we won’t lose!

      Stewart

      January 12, 2013 at 4:15 pm

      • What does this have to do with Retraction Watch?

        Average PI

        January 12, 2013 at 4:49 pm

  25. Oh, no one needs worry about what is going to happen with Curi and his fellas. One of two are surely going to be sent to some new “rehab course” following smart new-age ideas proposed in the US and publicized in this blog. They will be back as good as new and ready for more play.

    Hibby

    January 16, 2013 at 7:41 am

    • Presumably more science too.

      Perhaps they ought to both go.

      Stewart

      January 17, 2013 at 3:55 pm

      • Sorry, I was being sarcastic. And I commited a typo. “One of two” should read “one OR two”. I am pissed at the prospect that “official” authorities in Brazil will certainly attenuate the whole situation, and surely will use some silly justificative like this new “rehab” discussion to avoid really, severely punishing these guys. They will keep doing what they like, us liking it or not.

        Hibby

        January 18, 2013 at 11:03 am

  26. Have the bad guys won? Are we going to hear again from enemy N° 1 of fraud in science?

    Toby

    January 18, 2013 at 9:28 am

    • best thing to do is to get their papers and keep on looking for fishy stuff to expose. Theres plenty, Id bet.

      Hibby

      January 19, 2013 at 8:06 am

  27. Hi everyone.
    Actually I’m one of those poor writers (but good English readers?) researchers of Brazil, so forgive me for the awful english, ok? (at least i’m not shy)

    I’m working on USP and the people of my lab are really choked by this accusation. Personally, i don’t know Cury. Heard he is a great guy and heard he is a great villain (to use mild terms), so i really don’t know who is right (please don’t call me a infiltrate agent of his lawyers, i’m trying my best to be impartial and do a high level discussion, ok?). Maybe the accusation is true, maybe not, i will let that to court decide, but you can be certain this will be investigated. I say that for 2 reasons:

    1-Everyone has great friends, but also great nemeses too and they never forgive or forget (i know some of Cury and they are nasty piece of work).

    2-USP and others 3th world university won’t risky his names because one or two scientists, even the famous ones. The trust in us is already poor, the funding is ridiculous. The name of our institution is all we got to bring the associations so needed by ours labs. Not so long ago we had a professor fired, accused by plagiary by one of his students.

    Besides, everyone is talking just about Cury and forgetting about the students. Can be just me, but i believe my PhD is 1000 times more important to me than to my professor. If my results are a mess, i will have much more to lose, because he have another 6 or 7 students and i had spent 3-5 years of life on this study (try guess who have more motive to fraud).

    Its a shame but several labs (not just here) have the habit of use something called “trem da alegria” (translate like “train of happiness”?), where 8 or more people sign the article as autors (how many times you see a research where 6 PhD and 2 professors reeeeally participate equally). In those cases its really common several them don’t even read the paper (what is really frustrating if you are the only guy who actually work on the project). Its wrong? Of course it is. As wrong as fraud? I don’t know. I just hope the people finally start to ready the papers where their names are placed. I, for one, don’t put my hands on fire for nobody, be they co-works or friends, and don’t allow my name be put on papers i don’t actually work (don’t matter what my adviser say).

    So, i just wanted to say this kind of discussion is really important, because it moves things, bring the media attention e get people to investigate. You all can be certain this will have severe repercussion on the future associations of this professor, if the accusation proved truth (and even if declared innocent, because doubt never vanishes…).

    Off topic, but no less important:
    Brazil is a country with continental proportions. When you say things like “we know how science is done on those parts” is a really sad mistake from your part, Hibby. If you don’t believe all the people on USA or Europe are the same, don’t accuse me of be a frauder or whatever. You don’t know me or my co-works (and certainly don’t know all the 10 million of people who live just in my city) to say those things. The prejudice and the generalization are two of the worsts enemy’s in the pursuit of truth. (Sorry by that Ivan, don’t mean like a personal attack and tried be polite. Just believe this was a important point to share with all, including for future discussions.)

    Really sorry for the strange English, good discussion for all

    Just a Student

    January 21, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    • Sorry, Student, no offense meant, none taken. Please dont take me wrong.
      I meant to emphasize to readers overseas that I do not think there is a positive direction to Brazilian science as a whole, as there is quite a lot of mischief going on, and no-one gets punished. Never meant to say you are among the “bad guys”, but you have to admit there is a lot of them after critically reading many of our papers. This is “how things are going here”.
      I would differ from you on your claim n. 2, as I: i) do not think 3rd world universities are really protecting their image (as I said, there is a lot of misconduct and practically nobody is punished) ; ii) funding is not bad at all, especially here in Sao Paulo; there is quite a lot of available money for science in Brazil.

      Brazil is well known to suffer of chronic impunity.

      Hibby

      January 29, 2013 at 7:16 am

  28. PMID 17519423 is another CURIous paper with CURIous images that we should look at

    A Wish

    February 6, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    • What’s going wrong? Can you be more specific?

      El

      February 10, 2013 at 4:42 pm

      • WB bands are going wrong. Many bands have been individually edited.

        A Wish

        February 13, 2013 at 7:54 am

    • Figure 3B. The same band to represent differents control bands on different cells.

      Volkil

      February 10, 2013 at 4:51 pm

  29. here is a nice way to make things clear following the article retraction, it should help to speed up the process of fraud analyses by Universities including the USP

    http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/2013/03/12/another-win-for-transparency-jbc-takes-a-step-forward-adding-details-to-some-retraction-notices/

    maripoosa

    March 12, 2013 at 6:42 pm

  30. This paper was republished, and the new version had same data set (flow cytometry, graphs) of the original one:

    http://omicsonline.org/signaling-pathways-involved-in-the-effects-of-different-fatty-acids-on-interleukin-2155-9899.1000171.php?aid=21306

    Further discussion at:

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/522ECBBFC76BFA57E7E5C1A2B3A72C

    Mike Aker

    September 3, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    • Mike, a very astute observation and an excellent catch. Of course, we all know the trickeries of the Omics Publishing Group, so it is no wonder that the authors would have selected a journal and publisher listed on Beall’s list to republish their data. I noticed the following about the authors’ list:
      Renata Gorjão, Sandro M Hirabara, Maria F Cury-Boaventura, Thais Martins de Lima, Maria Elizabeth P Passos, Adriana C Levada- Pires, and Rui Curi (new paper)
      Renata Gorjão, Sandro Massao Hirabara, Thaís Martins de Lima, Maria Fernanda Cury-Boaventura and Rui Curi (retracted paper).
      The number of authors different (i.e., 8 vs 5). This begs some critical questions:
      a) if you claim that the data is the same, then what is different about the two papers?
      b) were the problems that led to the retraction addressed or removed in the re-published paper?
      c) does this republishing case cast further doubt about publishing protocol in Brazil?

      JATdS

      September 3, 2014 at 2:01 pm


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