Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘silvia bulfone-paus retractions’ Category

Funding agency sanctions Bulfone-Paus and former postdoc

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Silvia Bulfone-Paus

Silvia Bulfone-Paus

Retraction Watch readers may recall the case of Silvia Bulfone-Paus, a researcher at Germany’s Research Center Borstel who was a frequent subject of posts in the early days of this blog. Bulfone-Paus has had to retract 13 papers amid investigations into allegations of image manipulation.

To briefly recap: In May 2010, several months after concerns had first been raised, Borstel let the DFG (German Research Foundation) know about the allegations, because they had funded the work. A November 2010 report from Borstel said that the allegations had merit, blaming two of Bulfone-Paus’s postdocs but criticizing how she supervised them. As the DFG notes in a summary of its findings on the case, posted late last week: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

December 13th, 2012 at 10:00 am

Bulfone-Paus retraction count grows to 13 with one in Transplantation

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Silvia Bulfone-Paus, the Borstel Institute researcher who was forced to step down as institute director and has already retracted 12 papers, has retracted another, this one in Transplantation. Here’s the text of the notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Expression of Concern for a Bulfone-Paus paper

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Retraction Watch readers may recall the story of Silvia Bulfone-Paus, who has been forced to retract 12 papers and has another under review at Blood. All of that scrutiny came after an investigation by her home institution, Germany’s Borstel Institute, that found evidence of image manipulation.

The latest development is perhaps no surprise. It concerns a review Bulfone-Paus and her colleagues published in BioEssays in 2006. Here’s the Expression of Concern, which was published online in July but just came our attention (we’ve added links to our coverage of specific retractions): Read the rest of this entry »

Another Bulfone-Paus paper under review, this one in Blood

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Blood tells Retraction Watch that they are reviewing a 1999 paper co-authored by Silvia Bulfone-Paus, who has already retracted 12 papers in other journals.

The study, “Human monocytes constitutively express membrane-bound, biologically active, and interferon-gamma-upregulated interleukin-15,” has been cited 124 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. Its corresponding author is Tiziana Musso, of the University of Turin.

Joerg Zwirner, over at the Abnormal Science blog, has a three-part series deconstructing what he says are the flaws in the paper. Zwirner points out a number of data duplications. As he notes: Read the rest of this entry »

Bulfone-Paus saga continues: Her supporters and home institution exchange sharp letters

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Silvia Bulfone-Paus

Retraction Watch readers may have been following the case of Silvia Bulfone-Paus, whose lab has been forced to retract 12 papers amid allegations of scientific misconduct. As is often true in such cases, the story doesn’t end with those retractions. We’ve just become aware of a fascinating exchange in March and April between Bulfone-Paus’s supporters and her home institution, Germany’s Research Center Borstel.

First, some background: Karin Wiebauer, a former post-doc in Bulfone-Paus’s lab, flagged the potential misconduct, in great detail, for Bulfone-Paus in a November 2009 email. (In fact, she had brought it to her attention years earlier.) But Bulfone-Paus did not tell Borstel officials about the allegations until late February 2010. Borstel’s investigation into Bulfone-Paus’s lab began in July 2010.

Once that began, a person referring to himself as “Marco Berns” began emailing officials, journalists, and others about the situation. Nature called that move a “smear campaign,” and the emails “libellous,” but in retrospect they — and Wiebauer’s analysis — appear to have been spot-on, based on the eventual report of the Borstel committee. That report — which found data manipulation by two of Bulfone-Paus’s post-docs — led the institute’s Scientific Advisory Board to ask for Bulfone-Paus’s resignation. She only tendered that a month later, after more pressure.

So, with that as a preamble: If we were to characterize the letter, which we’ve made available here, we’d call it a good example of “shoot the messenger.” It’s signed by 25 scientists, starting with Desmond Tobin of the University of Bradford in the UK and ending with Andrzej Slominski of the University of Tennessee. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

May 19th, 2011 at 1:09 pm

As last of 12 promised Bulfone-Paus retractions appears, a (disappointing) report card on journal transparency

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The final two retractions by Silvia Bulfone-Paus and colleagues, among the 12 promised by Research Centre Borstel following an investigation into scientific misconduct, have appeared. Both are in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC), and read as follows:

This article has been withdrawn by the authors.

We find that near-complete lack of information frustrating, not to mention useless to the scientific community. Unfortunately, it’s par for the course when it comes to the JBC and Bulfone-Paus retractions. The other three said exactly the same thing.

With that in mind, we thought it would be worth looking at all 12 retraction notices, as a sort of case series in journals’ transparency. We often look at particular retractions in a vacuum, but here was a chance to look at 12 papers, all retracted for the same reason, to see how each journal reported the withdrawal.

Here are the 12, in rough order, worst to best, based on how useful they are to scientists coming across them: Read the rest of this entry »

Tenth Bulfone-Paus retraction notice appears, in Journal of Biological Chemistry

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The tenth of 12 promised retractions by Silvia Bulfone-Paus and colleagues has appeared, in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC).

The paper, “Reverse signaling through membrane-bound Interleukin-15,” was published in 2004 and has been cited 31 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. The retraction notice, just like the other one for the team’s work that appeared in the JBC, was completely uninformative: Read the rest of this entry »

Ninth Bulfone-Paus retraction notice appears, in Molecular and Cellular Biology

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Another retraction notice for a paper published by Silvia Bulfone-Paus and colleagues has appeared, this one for a 2005 paper in Molecular and Cellular Biology.

The retraction notice is brief but to the point: Read the rest of this entry »

Two more Bulfone-Paus retraction notices appear

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The number of retraction notices of papers co-authored by Silvia Bulfone-Paus is up to eight.

The Journal of Leukocyte Biology, which was apparently the first to announce they had accepted a retraction, has published its notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Bulfone-Paus retraction notice appears in the Journal of Biological Chemistry

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Silvia Bulfone-Paus

Another retraction notice for a paper by Silvia Bulfone-Paus and colleagues has appeared, this one for a 2007 paper in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC), “Soluble IL-15Rα is generated by alternative splicing or proteolytic cleavage and forms functional complexes with Il-15.”

This is the sixth retraction notice of a promised 12 in several journals. The original paper has been cited 37 times,  according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Some of the notices have gone into great detail about what was wrong with the original papers, and journals have even allowed the team to declare that some of the results had been replicated. One simply said there had been misconduct.

Then there’s this one: Read the rest of this entry »