Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Authors didn’t generate key brain images, probe finds

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Frontiers in Human NeuroscienceA neuroscience journal has issued a retraction after discovering some of the paper’s integral images didn’t originate from the authors’ labs.

The retraction notice  — for a study about a condition once known as “water on the brain” — cites an investigation by the journal’s publisher, Frontiers, which determined that the figures were not “duly attributed.” The authors say they agree with the retraction.  

Here’s the retraction notice for “Revisiting hydrocephalus as a model to study brain resilience,” published by Frontiers in Human Neuroscience:

The journal retracts the 6 January 2012 article cited above. Following a series of concerns regarding the origin of images in this article, Frontiers conducted an investigation. The results of this investigation determined that, as these images formed an integral part of the article and did not originate in the authors’ laboratories and were not duly attributed, the article does not meet the scientific criteria of the journal. This retraction was approved by the Specialty Chief Editors of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. The authors concur with the retraction and sincerely regret any inconvenience this may have caused to the reviewers, editors, and readers of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

The 2012 paper has been cited once, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science.

Hydrocephalus, the topic of the paper, occurs when a type of fluid accumulates in the brain, leading to convulsions, tunnel vision, and mental disability.

Frontiers is on librarian Jeffrey Beall’s list of “potential, possible, or probable predatory” scholarly publishers.

We’ve reached out to the study’s first and corresponding author, Matheus Fernandes de Oliveira, who is based at Hospital do Servidor Público in São Paulo, Brazil.

Last month, Oliveira was one of 70 Brazilian students working on a collaboration project at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville; Oliveira’s project was on stroke.

We’ve also contacted Frontiers for more details about the investigation — for instance, if the authors didn’t produce the images, who did? We will update the post with anything else we learn.

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