Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Duke researcher adds another retraction in JCI, bringing count to 15

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JCIWe’ve found another retraction for Erin Potts-Kant, a former researcher at Duke, bringing her total to 15.

Yesterday we reported on two new retractions for Potts-Kant in PLoS ONE, which earned her a spot in the top 30 on our leaderboard. As with the others, the latest paper, in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, is marred by “unreliable” data.

Here’s the retraction notice for “In utero supplementation with methyl donors enhances allergic airway disease in mice“:

At the request of the corresponding author, John W. Hollingsworth, and the last author, David A. Schwartz, the JCI is retracting this paper. Following an inquiry at Duke University, Drs. Hollingsworth and Schwartz were informed that the flexiVent data depicted in Figure 1A and Supplemental Figure 1A provided by the animal pulmonary physiology laboratory at Duke University may have been unreliable. Dr. Schwartz therefore repeated the experiments shown in Figure 1A using different flexiVent equipment with a limited number of experimental animals and was unable to replicate the airway hyperresponsiveness findings. The authors have stated that the other findings presented in the article were generated and analyzed in Dr. Schwartz’s laboratory and are not affected by the unreliable flexiVent data produced by the animal pulmonary physiology laboratory at Duke University.

The paper — which has been cited 257 times since it was published in 2008, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science — lists Potts-Kant as “Erin Potts”. It doesn’t include her former advisor, Michael Foster, who has tallied 12 retractions, by our count. The author list does contain other researchers who have been casualties of Potts-Kant’s work, including Hollingsworth and David Brass, who both appeared on one of the PLOS ONE papers retracted this week.

Foster and Potts-Kant are no longer at Duke (Potts-Kant was arrested for using school credit cards to shop at Target and other stores, and Foster retired). A source told Retraction Watch last month that researchers were still working to repeat experiments completed by the pair.

Per our records, Potts-Kant now has 15 retractions, three corrections, four partial retractions and three expressions of concern. She had one other expression of concern, which turned into a retraction (included in the total above).

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Comments
  • PJTV May 16, 2016 at 3:48 am

    In this case four names are linked involving different retractions. One can imagine that a fraudulent PI might induce his students, or that it influences collaborations. Worse still, that there is a culture in a group that condones eg image manipulation. Has there been any systematic study on linkage between occurrences of scientific misconduct in publishing?

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