As reported in the Boston Business Journal, Saad’s lawsuit claims that his institution, the State University of Campinas, investigated two articles at the journal’s behest. The American Diabetes Association was unhappy with the results, and asked the school to reopen the investigation, including two additional papers.
Saad is suing to prevent the journal from retracting the papers, in addition to monetary compensation.
Before we learned about the lawsuit, we exchanged emails with Saad about the expressions of concern. He said he was frustrated with the journal for disagreeing with the results of the university investigation. According to Saad, the school found “only editing mistakes that can be corrected by erratum,” while the journal claimed the articles contained image manipulation.
Saad also questioned why other articles with “similar problems” are subject to erratum, while his papers received expressions of concern, suggesting that it was because his research is from a South American country.
Here’s an excerpt of the complaint, from the BBJ:
“Most detrimental, the ADA stated that it will not consider, for publication in any ADA journal any submissions authored by any of the faculty of (Saad’s) University until the issues described in the expression of concern have been appropriately reviewed and addressed by the University,” the complaint states.
Here’s the introduction to the E.o.C.’s for the four papers; you can read the individual breakdowns here:
On the basis of the recommendation of the American Diabetes Association’s Panel on Ethical Scientific Programs, the editors of Diabetes are issuing this expression of concern to alert readers to questions about the reliability of data in the following articles authored by Mario J.A. Saad and colleagues.
The editors of Diabetes were made aware by readers of the journal of potentially duplicated and manipulated images in the below-listed articles. The corresponding/lead authors’ institution, the State University of Campinas (São Paulo, Brazil), has recently completed an investigation of two of these articles and has been asked to undertake an investigation of two others, as described below.
Diabetes is a member journal of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) (publicationethics.org). As such, the editors of the journal and the Association’s Panel on Ethical Scientific Programs refer to COPE’s guidelines and recommendations when reviewing such matters.
Diabetes will make final decisions on these articles after the journal obtains more information on the reliability of the data and conclusions presented in each article.
We’ve asked Saad for more information on the lawsuit, and also contacted the university and the journal, and will update if we hear back.
These are the four papers in question:
- Physical Exercise Reduces Circulating Lipopolysaccharide and TLR4 Activation and Improves Insulin Signaling in Tissues of DIO Rats (cited 38 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge)
- Loss-of-Function Mutation in Toll-Like Receptor 4 Prevents Diet-Induced Obesity and Insulin Resistance (cited 407 times)
- Exercise Improves Insulin and Leptin Sensitivity in Hypothalamus of Wistar Rats (73 cites)
- Effect of Captopril, Losartan, and Bradykinin on Early Steps of Insulin Action (99 cites)