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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Cancer genetics group retracts three papers for “inappropriate presentation of data”

with 11 comments

jbc 620A group of cancer genetics researchers in Italy and the U.S. has retracted three papers in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) after it became aware they had duplicated some bands in their figures.

Here are the three papers:

All three notices say the same thing:

This article has been withdrawn by the authors.

We asked the JBC — whom we’ve criticized for such opaque notices before — for more information, and they said that their policy is “to maintain confidentiality in these matters.” The first author of the studies, Loredana Moro, tells us:

I was contacted by the Journal about presence of duplicated bands in some of the figures. Whilst original gels or gels from parallel experiments were provided to the Journal to confirm the veracity of published results, we agreed to comply with ASBMB publication guidelines and withdraw the papers entirely due to inappropriate presentation of data.

We don’t know how the journal first became aware of the potential duplications, but we do know that pseudonymous whistleblower Clare Francis contacted them about problems in all three articles in December 2012.


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11 Responses

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  1. David Hardman

    June 23, 2014 at 9:44 am

  2. JBC said that their policy is “to maintain confidentiality in these matters.”

    Absurd. The authors waived any right to confidentiality when they published their work! If publishing something doesn’t make it public, what does?

  3. I hope someone has checked the other papers of this group (the first author seems to be quite prolific according to pubmed). It just seems unlikely that one would only manipulate images in articles submitted to one selected journal.


    June 23, 2014 at 9:57 am

  4. David Hardman

    June 23, 2014 at 10:02 am

    • Confidentiality?! One solution: boycott Journal of Biological Chemistry for this editorial policy and attitudes. These journals think that they are demi-gods and have no accountability towards the scientific community are downright irritating. These results are fundamentally the public’s results. There is nothing to do with privacy issues. Scientists should start to wake up and see that the only difference between an IF = 4.6 journal and a non-IF journal is the IF. It is time to hold journals and publishers accountable. No more lame excuses for lack of explanations. Time to call out Martha J. Fedor, the Editor-in-Chief, for not defending transparency in science publishing.


      June 23, 2014 at 2:40 pm

      • The confidentiality here just means that the journal tries to avoid bad publicity.


        June 23, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    • This is simply awful. Most of these look like blatant, obvious cases of band duplication or inappropriate image manipulation.


      June 24, 2014 at 3:46 am

    • These papers are old and most of the comments are about splicing when maybe image preparation guidelines were not that well defined. I did not see any duplication but then again I just scanned the images quickly with naked eyes.


      June 30, 2014 at 6:23 pm

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