Eric Smart, who as we reported in November was sanctioned by the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) for faking dozens of images in ten papers and seven grants over the past decade, has had his first retraction.
Here’s the December 24 notice, from PNAS:
Retraction for “Annexin 2–caveolin 1 complex is a target of ezetimibe and regulates intestinal cholesterol transport,” by Eric J. Smart, Robert A. De Rose, and Steven A. Farber, which appeared in issue 10, March 9, 2004, of Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (101:3450–3455; first published February 25, 2004; 10.1073/pnas.0400441101).
The undersigned authors wish to note the following: “We chose to retract the paper when the Office of Research Integrity determined the lead author, Eric J. Smart, engaged in research misconduct and falsified and/or fabricated the data presented in Fig. 2B and 2D and Fig. 4 (www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-11-20/html/2012-28209.htm). These findings undermine our confidence in the other Western blot data performed by the lead author (Fig. 1B and 1C, Fig. 2A and 2C, and Fig. 3B and 3E) which provided the basis for many of the key conclusions reported. We regret any negative consequences that resulted from the publication of this manuscript.”
Robert A. De Rose
Steven A. Farber
The paper has been cited 98 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.
A number of stories in the Lexington Herald-Leader since the ORI announcement have revealed more troubling information abut the case. The paper reported in late November that Smart had once been disciplined for sexual harassment, and also profiled the whistleblower in the case. And in echoes of Anil Potti, Smart’s boss wrote him a letter of recommendation after he had been suspended.
Of note, it looks as though Federal Register notices are now hooked up to Medline, which means that any paper mentioned in an ORI report — as this one is — will have a “Findings of research misconduct” link on the Medline abstract. We like this, needless to say.