Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

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The retraction countdown: How quickly do journals pull papers?

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After Tina Wenz was found guilty of scientific misconduct, how long did it take for journals to retract the problematic papers?  The answer: Between three and nine months.

In September 2016, the University of Cologne found that Wenz had committed scientific misconduct in six papers and requested they all be retracted. From that point on, the retraction clock was ticking.

We’ve explored how long it takes a journal to act over the years, and we’ve found that the time between identifying a problem to retracting the paper can vary — and sometimes last years.

In Wenz’s case, one of the papers—published in Cell Metabolism in 2009—had already been retracted in 2015. Three of the remaining five were retracted in December 2016—a 2008 paper in Cell Metabolism, a 2009 paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), and a 2009 paper in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

In January 2017, the journal IUBMB Life pulled a 2014 paper flagged in the investigation. And just over nine months after Wenz was found guilty of misconduct, the last paper—published in 2013 in Mitochondrion—has been retracted.

The most recent notice states that the University of Cologne requested the retractions, after determining that the data had been “inappropriately manipulated.”

Here’s the retraction notice in Mitochondrion:

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German funder bans researcher for five years following misconduct probe

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A researcher in Germany has been banned from seeking money from the largest independent research funder in the country for five years after an investigation by her former employer found her guilty of misconduct.

According to a recent announcement from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), scientist Tina Wenz cannot apply for any DFG funding for five years, after a probe by the University of Cologne in Germany concluded she should retract six papers over misconduct.

A spokesperson for the DFG told us the agency funds more than 30,000 projects per year, and since 1998, has announced a ban due to data manipulation or misconduct only 10 times.

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Written by Alison McCook

April 3rd, 2017 at 8:36 am

Researcher loses 4th paper flagged by misconduct probe

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A researcher in Germany has logged her fourth retraction following an investigation by her former employer that found evidence of scientific misconduct.

The latest retraction for Tina Wenz in the Journal of Applied Physiology mentions the probe at the University of Cologne in Germany, which recommended retracting six of her papers. One had already been retracted by the time the report was released; last month, we reported that two others had been pulled. Now, we’ve come across a fourth.

Here’s the latest retraction notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Researchers retract two well-cited papers for misconduct

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A scientist in Germany has lost two papers that were collectively cited more than 500 times, after an investigation at her former university found her guilty of scientific misconduct.

The probe into Tina Wenz by the University of Cologne in Germany, her former employer, recommended that six of her papers — which have induced some chatter on PubPeer — should be retracted. One of these papers was pulled by Cell Metabolism last year. Now, Cell Metabolism has pulled another of Wenz’s papers, and she has also lost another study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), which was previously corrected. 

First, here’s the PNAS retraction notice, issued today: Read the rest of this entry »

German university recommends that six papers be retracted following probe

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200px-siegel_uni-koeln_grau-svgThe University of Cologne has conducted an investigation into the research of Tina Wenz, and determined that six papers should be pulled due to scientific misconduct.

In a release issued last week (as first reported by Leonid Schneider), the university lists six papers that “present scientific misconduct,” according to our Google Translate.

One of the six papers was already retracted last year by Cell Metabolism, which cited reused northern and western blot band images in two figures.

The other six papers are: Read the rest of this entry »

University investigating duplicated images in retracted paper

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Cell MetabolismThe authors of a Cell Metabolism paper are pulling it after discovering blot images that “appear more than once in independent and unrelated experiments.” 

Just how the duplication occurred in the 2009 paper — about transcription of mitochondrial DNA — remains a mystery, the authors note:

…the reasons for the errors are still under investigation…

Meanwhile, we’ve learned that the last author on the paper — Carlos Moraes of the University of Miami — has requested a retraction for another 2013 paper in Mitochondrion, also co-authored by Tina Wenz at the University of Cologne in Germany. That paper is among multiple publications co-authored by Moraes and Wenz that have been flagged on PubPeer.

We’ve reached out to the parties involved, and received a warning from an attorney representing Wenz that if we write about Read the rest of this entry »