Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

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Researcher who sued to prevent retractions now has 12

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A diabetes researcher who once sued a publisher to prevent several retractions has just issued his 12th.

The latest retraction, like several others for Mario Saad, appears in the journal Diabetes. Although in the past Saad expended considerable effort to protect four other Diabetes papers from this same fate, the latest retraction was initiated by the authors, citing several duplicated images. The American Diabetes Association had flagged the 2009 paper with an expression of concern earlier this year.

In 2015, Saad brought a lawsuit against the ADA, claiming that it “wrongfully published” four expressions of concerns in its flagship journal Diabetes, in an attempt to prevent the papers from being retracted. He lost, and the papers were retracted in 2016.

The lawsuit also did nothing to deter the ADA from flagging other potentially problematic papers with expressions of concerns, including the latest 2009 Diabetes paper, on which Saad is last and corresponding author.  Read the rest of this entry »

Researcher sued to stop retractions; he just earned two more and is now up to 11

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The notices keep coming for diabetes researcher Mario Saad.

Diabetes has just retracted two more of his papers, both of which had been flagged by expressions of concern, citing problems with duplications. What’s more, the journal added another expression of concern to a 2009 paper on which Saad — based at the University of Campinas in São Paulo, Brazil — is listed as last author, again over concerns of duplication.

This isn’t Saad’s first run-in with the journal: In 2015, the researcher sued the publisher, the American Diabetes Association, after it issued expressions of concern for four of his papers. Later that year, a judge dismissed Saad’s defamation suit. The journal eventually retracted the papers.

The latest articles flagged by Diabetes appear to be part of an intricate publishing web, as the journal suggests all papers have used features of previous papers, and also include elements that have been republished by subsequent articles.

Here’s the first retraction notice, for “A Central Role for Neuronal AMP-Activated Protein Kinase (AMPK) and Mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) in High-Protein Diet–Induced Weight Loss:”

Read the rest of this entry »

Researcher logs three retractions for image duplications — two of which with familiar co-authors

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A researcher in Brazil is taking responsibility for accidentally mixing up images in three papers in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. 

The corresponding author on the three papers told us the mistake happened because the studies were conducted simultaneously, and relied on one computer.

There’s a side note to these retractions: The co-author list on two papers includes names that should be fairly well-known to our readers — Mario Saad, the researcher who unsuccessfully sued the American Diabetes Association to stop retractions of his papers, and Rui Curi, a researcher whose legal threats assisted in the shutdown of This makes Saad’s ninth retraction.

According to the retraction notices, Lício Velloso  — who, like his co-authors, is based at the University of Campinas in São Paulo, Brazil — assembled all the figures. He told Retraction Watch that the authors initially wanted to correct the papers, adding: Read the rest of this entry »

New funding for researcher who sued to stop retractions (and now has 8)

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Mario Saad

Mario Saad

A diabetes researcher with eight retractions — despite his attempts to block some in court — has received a new batch of research funding.

According to a release from public funding agency Fundacao de Amparo a Pesquisa do Estado de Sao Paulo (FAPESP), Mario Saad is among 33 researchers who will receive funding from partnerships between federal and state agencies, including FAPESP.

It’s unclear how much Saad’s project will individually receive, but the total for all projects exceeds 640 million Brazilian Real, equivalent to $185 million USD.

Saad’s name should be familiar to our readers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

November 14th, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Official notice published for chem paper slated for retraction in 2011

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process-safetyAfter five years, Elsevier has finally issued a notice of retraction for a paper it announced it was pulling for fraud in 2011.

All of the papers were produced by a research group in Brazil; all were retracted after the publisher conducted an investigation, concluding that the NMR results had been manipulated. At the time, the last author on the latest retraction, Claudio Airoldi, defended the work. Since then, however, Airoldi has logged two more retractions, bringing his total to 13.

Here’s the full text of the retraction notice, from Process Safety and Environmental Protection: Read the rest of this entry »

Authors didn’t generate key brain images, probe finds

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Frontiers in Human NeuroscienceA neuroscience journal has issued a retraction after discovering some of the paper’s integral images didn’t originate from the authors’ labs.

The retraction notice  — for a study about a condition once known as “water on the brain” — cites an investigation by the journal’s publisher, Frontiers, which determined that the figures were not “duly attributed.” The authors say they agree with the retraction.  

Here’s the retraction notice for “Revisiting hydrocephalus as a model to study brain resilience,” published by Frontiers in Human Neuroscience: Read the rest of this entry »

Researcher in Brazil earns 12th retraction for recycling text and figures

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Thermochimica ActaA scientist in Brazil has gained his twelfth retraction for reusing text and figures from previously published papers.

In 2011, Elsevier announced that it would retract 11 papers by Claudio Airoldi, a researcher at the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in Brazil. Subsequently, he was suspended for 45 days, and his co-author on the 11 previously pulled papers, Denis de Jesus Lima Guerra, lost his post at the Federal University of Mato Grosso (also in Brazil).

Now, a 12th retraction has appeared for Airoldi — this time in Thermochimica Acta.

Here’s the latest retraction notice, issued earlier this year: Read the rest of this entry »

Nutrition study pulled after statistical flaws emerge

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Nutrition JournalA paper that suggested that eating flaxseed could reduce inflammation in men at risk of heart disease has been retracted, after researchers pointed out the paper’s flaws.

The retraction is part of a large initiative on the part of nutrition researcher David Allison and colleagues to clean up the literature, which we’ve previously covered. Regarding this paper, he told us:

When we looked at the study…it was very clear that the statistical methods used were not correct. These are not matters of debate or opinion, these are just…verifiably incorrect.

The Nutrition Journal published the paper in January 2015, and retracted it in June 2016, one day after publishing a letter by Allison and a colleague critiquing the paper

Here’s the retraction notice for “Impact of weight loss diet associated with flaxseed on inflammatory markers in men with cardiovascular risk factors: a clinical study:” Read the rest of this entry »

Researcher who sued to stop retractions earns his 7th

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Mario Saad

Mario Saad

A diabetes researcher who sued to stop a publisher from retracting his papers has just received his seventh retraction.

The latest retraction for Mario Saad, who is based at the University of Campinas (Unicamp) in São Paulo, Brazil, is for a PLOS ONE paper (which was altered last year by a mega-correction). Although an institutional investigation found no evidence of research misconduct, the notice states:

the preparation of the figures falls below the standard of publication and therefore the authors and the editors have agreed that the correct action is to retract the article. 

Saad previously sued the American Diabetes Association (ADA) to remove expressions of concern from four of his papers published in the organisation’s flagship journal, Diabetes. However, all four of the papers were later retracted after the suit was dismissed in 2015.

Here’s the new retraction notice, issued July 8: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

July 13th, 2016 at 11:30 am

Researcher who sued to stop retractions gets his sixth

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Mario Saad

Mario Saad

A sixth retraction has appeared for a diabetes researcher who previously sued a publisher to try to stop his papers from being retracted.

Mario Saad‘s latest retraction, in PLOS Biology, stems from inadvertent duplications, according to the authors.  Though an investigation at Saad’s institution — the University of Campinas in Brazil — found no evidence of misconduct, a critic of the paper told The Scientist he does not believe that the issues with blots were inadvertent.

Previously, Saad sued the American Diabetes Association to remove four expressions of concern from his papers; they were later retracted, even though Unicamp recommended keeping three of them published.

Here’s the new retraction notice, for “Gut Microbiota Is a Key Modulator of Insulin Resistance in TLR 2 Knockout Mice:” Read the rest of this entry »