Caught Our Notice: Researcher who sued PubPeer commenter up to 21 retractions

Titles: 1) Notch-1 induces Epithelial-mesenchymal transition consistent with cancer stem cell phenotype in pancreatic cancer cells

2) Sensitization of squamous cell carcinoma to cisplatin induced killing by natural agents

What Caught Our Attention: Regular readers will be familiar with the saga involving Fazlul Sarkar and PubPeer: In 2014, Sarkar sued anonymous commenters on the site, claiming defamation (and that damaging comments may have cost him a new job). Although Sarkar won an initial ruling, it was overturned by an appeals court. In the midst of that, the ACLU (which represented PubPeer in the case) released a copy of a misconduct investigation report compiled by Sarkar’s institution, Wayne State University, which concluded that he had committed enough misconduct to warrant retracting 40 papers. The two latest notices, both of which cite Wayne State’s investigation, bring Sarkar’s total to 21.  

For more details, check out this timeline.

Journal: Cancer Letters

Authors:

1) Bin Bao, Zhiwei Wang, Shadan Ali, Dejuan Kong, Yiwei Li, Aamir Ahmad, Sanjeev Banerjee, Asfar S. Azmi, Lucio Miele, Fazlul H. Sarkar

2) Shadan Ali, Lalee Varghese, Lucio Pereira, Ozlem E. Tulunay-Ugur, Omer Kucuk, Thomas E. Carey, Gregory T. Wolf, Fazlul H. Sarkar

Affiliations:

1) Wayne State University, MI, USA; University of Mississippi Cancer Institute, MS, USA

2) Wayne State University, MI, USA; University of Michigan, MI, USA

The Notices:

1) Notch-1 induces epithelial–mesenchymal transition consistent with cancer stem cell phenotype in pancreatic cancer cells:

This article has been retracted at the request of the Editor in Chief. An investigation by Wayne State University identified a discrepancy between the data reported in Figures 1B, 2B and 3C and the original collected data. The investigation committee concluded that this undermined the scientific basis of the publication, that no credible replacement data were available, and advised that the publication should be retracted.

2) Sensitization of squamous cell carcinoma to cisplatin induced killing by natural agents:

This article has been retracted at the request of the Editor in Chief. An investigation by Wayne State University identified a discrepancy between the data reported in Figures 5 and the original collected data. The investigation committee concluded that this undermined the scientific basis of the publication, that no credible replacement data were available, and advised that the publication should be retracted.

Date of Article: 1) April 2011  2) February 2009

Times Cited, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science:   1) 197 (a “Highly Cited Paper”)       2) 22

Date of Notice: 1) and 2)  March 29, 2018

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One thought on “Caught Our Notice: Researcher who sued PubPeer commenter up to 21 retractions”

  1. Based on the timeline, Sarkar apparently started to look for a position after the investigation started. He landed such a generous offer from U Mississippi, without disclosing to them that he was being investigated for dozens of misconduct allegations.

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