Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

NIH neuroscientist up to 19 retractions

with 5 comments

Stanley Rapoport.
Source: NIH

The string of apparent bad luck continues for Stanley Rapoport.

Rapoport, a neuroscientist based at the U.S. National Institute on Aging, has lost three more papers in three journals due to the misconduct of his co-authors. By our count, these retractions bring his tally to 19 — and tie him for 21st place on our leaderboard.

The journals—Schizophrenia Research, Journal of Affective Disorders, and Biological Psychiatry— retracted the papers because the National Institutes of Health had found that one of Rapoport’s co-authors, Jagadeesh Rao, had “engaged in research misconduct by falsifying data.” Rao was corresponding author on all three papers.

According to a spokesperson for Elsevier, which publishes the journals, the Schizophrenia Research paper was retracted in July, the JAD paper in late May and the Biological Psychiatry paper in late April. The spokesperson told us that the publisher first received an email from the NIH about the misconduct findings on September 20, 2016, and that:

Further details were requested from the NIH because only a summary report was available and Dr Rao was not available to respond to the allegations.

In December 2016, we covered the first retraction related to Rao’s misconduct. Since then, the number of retractions for Rao has risen to 12. As we’ve reported previously, two of Rapoport’s other co-authors on various papers have committed research misconduct—Fei Gao and Mireille Basselin. Gao’s misconduct has led to five retractions and Basselin’s to two, by our tally.

Here’s the retraction notice in Schizophrenia Research for “Increased neuroinflammatory and arachidonic acid cascade markers, and reduced synaptic proteins, in the postmortem frontal cortex from schizophrenia patients”:

This article has been retracted at the request of the Editors. The National Institutes of Health has found that Dr. Jagadeesh S. Rao engaged in research misconduct by falsifying data. Data in Figures 1A, 1E, 3E and 3F were falsified. Dr. Rao was solely responsible for the falsification. None of the other authors are implicated in any way.

The 2013 paper has been cited 52 times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science.  

Here’s the retraction notice in Journal of Affective Disorders:

This article has been retracted at the request of The National Institutes of Health has found that the first author, Dr. Jagadeesh S. Rao engaged in research misconduct by falsifying data in “Dysregulated glutamate and dopamine transporters in postmortem frontal cortex from bipolar and schizophrenic patients”. Rao JS, Kellom M, Reese EA, Rapoport SI, Kim HW. J. Affect Disord. 136(1–2):63–71. 2012. Data in Figures 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B and 4A were falsified.)

Dysregulated glutamate and dopamine transporters in postmortem frontal cortex from bipolar and schizophrenic patients” has been cited 60 times since it was first published online in 2011.

And here’s the retraction notice in Biological Psychiatry:

This article has been retracted at the request of author Stanley Rapoport, with approval from Biological Psychiatry Editor, John H. Krystal, MD.

The National Institutes of Health has found that Dr. Jagadeesh S. Rao engaged in research misconduct by falsifying data in Figures 1, 3, and 5 of the aforementioned manuscript. No other authors were implicated in the data falsification

“Chronic Administration of Carbamazepine Down-regulates AP-2 DNA-binding Activity and AP-2α Protein Expression in Rat Frontal Cortex,” published online in 2006, has been cited 29 times.

Rao’s LinkedIn profile still lists him at the NIH, but we do not have his current contact details. Although Rapoport did not get back to us about the recent retractions, in the past he has told us:

The misconduct, as I now understand it, was very technical and outside of my areas of expertise. In retrospect, I don’t think I could have spotted the misconduct earlier. Data were presented at internal meetings, when the misconduct was not identified. Basselin and Gao and Rao had PhDs and strong letters of recommendation.

In these days of complex interdisciplinary research, one depends on the trustworthiness of colleagues who use methodologies with which one has no personal experience. I regret missing the falsifications by Dr. Rao…

Hat tip: Rolf Degen

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Comments
  • SaG July 17, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    https://www.nia.nih.gov/about/staff/osd/rapoport-stanley

    Not the title of someone running his own lab anymore.

    • Chris D July 17, 2017 at 3:34 pm

      Title:
      Senior Advisor

      Giving advice on how to avoid future fraud? I hope.

  • Pointerout July 17, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    Once is an isolated incident, twice is a coincidence, but the times starts to seem like carelessness.

    • Pointerout July 17, 2017 at 3:30 pm

      Err, “three” times…

    • PJTV July 19, 2017 at 12:50 pm

      One should be careful with this statement. There are millions of scientists and if there is 1 in a million chance that this happens n times by coincidence, then there is on average one scientist to meet this coincidence.

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