Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘olivier voinnet’ Category

Voinnet’s notice count grows, as he notches his 18th correction

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home_coverOlivier Voinnet, a high-profile plant scientist at ETH Zurich, has earned a mega-correction. It wrapped up a rough year for the biologist, which included his seventh retraction, and a CNRS investigation that found evidence of misconduct.

This latest correction, to a paper on the mechanisms behind RNA silencing in Arabidopsis, was published in RNA. The 2007 paper has been cited 101 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. The corrigendum modifies three figures in total.

The notice is long, so we’re not going to post the whole thing here. The first error in “Transitivity in Arabidopsis can be primed, requires the redundant action of the antiviral Dicer-like 4 and Dicer-like 2, and is compromised by viral-encoded suppressor proteins” is a clarification to a legend:

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Voinnet retracts highly cited paper, bringing his total to 7

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coverOlivier Voinnet, a well-known plant scientist at the ETH in Zurich, has notched his 7th retraction for a highly cited paper. The 2003 paper was pulled when “additional image manipulations” came to light after The Plant Journal issued a correction earlier this year.

The retraction follows an investigation into — and then retraction of — several other papers co-authored by Voinnet. The authors originally corrected the paper after they learned one image had been duplicated, and repeating the experiment found the “same interpretation and conclusions” held true. But when the corresponding author learned of additional “data manipulation,” they decided to retract the paper altogether.

Here’s the retraction notice for “An enhanced transient expression system in plants based on suppression of gene silencing by the p19 protein of tomato bushy stunt virus:”

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Investigation ends in 6th retraction for Voinnet

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PLOS PathogensA sixth paper co-authored by plant researcher Olivier Voinnet has been retracted by PLOS Pathogens “following an investigation into concerns.”

The investigation found “several band duplications” in one figure provided by fifth author, Patrice Dunoyer, who took it from “the Master thesis of a former student working under his supervision, without the prior consultation or consent of this student,” according to the notice. There was also an incorrect “loading control” in another figure, attributed to first author Raphael Sansregret and last author Kamal Bouarab. 

Voinnet and Bouarab, the study’s corresponding authors, took full responsibility for “the publication of this erroneous paper.”

Although investigators found that the raw data in the duplicated figure backed up its conclusions, “given the nature and extent of data manipulation,” the authors asked the journal to retract the paper .

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5th retraction for Voinnet follows correction, EoC to PLOS Genetics paper

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PLOS GeneticsAfter correcting a paper due to problematic figure panels, researchers led by high-profile biologist Olivier Voinnet have now retracted it, after “further analysis of the paper revealed flaws in the interpretation of” another figure.

PLOS Genetics published the retraction notice September 3 for the 2013 paper on the molecular details of embryonic stem cells in mice. First author Constance Ciaudo and Voinnet assume “full responsibility for the mistakes on this paper,” according to the note.

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Written by Ross Keith

September 8th, 2015 at 9:40 am

EMBO investigation yields two more retractions and three corrections for Voinnet

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Olivier Voinnet

Olivier Voinnet

An investigation into the work of Olivier Voinnet by The EMBO Journal has led to another two retractions and three more corrections for the high-profile plant scientist, now suspended from the CNRS for two years.

According to the authors, Voinnet was responsible for some of the errors; all papers have been questioned on PubPeer.

The EMBO J, the flagship publication of the European Molecular Biology Organization, posted four notices earlier today and told Retraction Watch that the notice for the fifth paper would be posted by tomorrow.

This latest round brings our count for Voinnet up to Read the rest of this entry »

Voinnet notches second retraction, two more corrections

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PNASOlivier Voinnet — a plant researcher who was recently suspended for two years from the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) after an investigation by ETH Zurich and CNRS found evidence of misconduct — has issued his second retraction and two more corrections.

PNAS posted the retraction earlier this week for a 2006 article after an inspection of the raw data revealed “errors” in study images. Authors confirmed the issues in some figures and revealed “additional mounting mistakes” in others.

Voinnet has promised to issue retractions and corrections for every study that requires them. These latest notices bring our tally up to nine corrections, two retractions and one Expression of Concern.

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High-profile biologist is suspended after two investigations found he “breached his duty of care”, committed “misconduct”

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Olivier Voinnet

Olivier Voinnet

High-profile plant biologist Olivier Voinnet has been suspended for two years from the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) following the results of two investigations that revealed a number of issues in his publication record.

An investigation at ETH Zurich found that the scientist “breached his duty of care in the handling of figures as well as in his supervisory duties as a research director.”

Another investigation at CNRS, where Voinnet also works as a researcher, also found “the existence of deliberate chart/diagram manipulations” — while not “fabrication,” these breaches “amount to scientific misconduct,” according to a press release about the report.

The ETH committee uncovered multiple errors, from the “mere confusion of correct and incorrect figures” to “the ‘beautification’ of figures,” but said that it was not scientific misconduct, according to ETH guidelines:

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Written by Ross Keith

July 10th, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Corrections (and one EoC) propagate for distinguished plant biologist, Olivier Voinnet

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Olivier Voinnet

Olivier Voinnet

There may be some deeply rooted issues in the work of high-profile plant biologist Olivier Voinnet, biology department research director at ETH in Zurich. Corrections have continued to pile up months after his work was hit with a barrage of criticism on PubPeer. We’ve tracked a total of seven corrections over the past five months (not including the April retraction of a 2004 paper in The Plant Cell). One of the corrected papers also received an Expression of Concern this week.

Collectively, the corrected papers have accumulated more than 1200 citations.

In January, Voinnet said he planned to correct multiple papers, after receiving “an anonymous email.”

One of the recent corrections we found is for a 2003 article in The Plant Journal, “An enhanced transient expression system in plants based on suppression of gene silencing by the p19 protein of tomato bushy stunt virus,” which details using proteins from a tomato virus to help alter gene expression. The study has been cited 862 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. Here’s the correction notice, posted June 8:

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Investigations into Voinnet’s work announced; critic publishes original peer review

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Olivier Voinnet

Olivier Voinnet

The story about Olivier Voinnet, a high-profile plant biologist whose work has fallen under scrutiny, continues to build momentum. Late last week, Voinnet’s employer and one of his funders announced they were investigating his work, and one of the peer reviewers of a soon-to-be-retracted paper has made her original report public.

Here’s the statement from CNRS, which funds Voinnet: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

April 13th, 2015 at 2:00 pm

Retraction to appear for beleaguered plant researcher Olivier Voinnet

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Olivier Voinnet

Olivier Voinnet

Olivier Voinnet, a researcher at ETH in Zurich who has corrected a number of his papers following critiques on PubPeer dating from late last year, is retracting a 2004 paper in The Plant Cell, according to the journal’s publisher.

Voinnet, the winner of the 2013 Rössler Prize, is a high-profile scientist, and scrutiny of his work has only grown since the initial revelations. In an unusual move, the journal and its publisher, the American Society of Plant Biologists, put out a press release about the situation today. Here’s the statement: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

April 6th, 2015 at 7:15 pm