Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘switzerland’ Category

What should a journal do when a scientist who committed misconduct submits a new paper?

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Chris Surridge

In December of last year, Chris Surridge found himself in a situation not uncommon to journal editors: A researcher who had been found to have committed misconduct had submitted a manuscript to the journal Surridge edits, Nature Plants. Retraction Watch readers may recall the name of the corresponding author, Patrice Dunoyer, who has had five papers retracted and five corrected following an investigation into work out of the Olivier Voinnet lab.

So what to do? The journal accepted the paper in May, and published it in June, along with a thoughtful editorial likening prizes and cheating in science to those phenomena in sports. The editors, according to the editorial, “treated the study we received as we would any other.” We asked Surridge to answer a few questions about the episode.

Retraction Watch (RW): Was there some internal debate about whether to consider publishing a paper by Dr. Dunoyer? Did you personally hesitate? Why or why not? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

August 24th, 2017 at 8:00 am

“Data had been manipulated,” again: Swiss probe prompts two more retractions

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A biologist at the University of Basel is retracting two papers, citing data manipulation uncovered during an institutional investigation. That investigation has already led to the retraction of a paper in Science Translational Medicine by some of the same authors earlier this year.

The two latest retractions, in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC), share the same  corresponding author — Michael Sinnreich, based at University of Basel — and first author, Bilal Azakir, who is now an assistant professor at Beirut Arab University. The retraction notices cite an investigation at the University of Basel.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Proteasomal inhibition restores biological function of mis-sense mutated dysferlin in patient-derived muscle cells:” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Victoria Stern

August 23rd, 2017 at 8:00 am

Nature Chemistry issues its first retraction

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For the first time in its eight-year history, Nature Chemistry has retracted a paper, citing “data integrity issues.”

The 2010 paper, which explored how various iron-based molecules interact with water and ethanol, was withdrawn after the authors uncovered possible duplication in two images.

According to the retraction notice, the authors could not provide the raw data to confirm their findings and could not reproduce the figures because the experimental set-up had been dismantled. The authors subsequently requested the paper be retracted because the issues undermined “our full confidence in the integrity of the study.”

Here’s the retraction notice for “Charge transfer to solvent identified using dark channel fluorescence-yield L-edge spectroscopy”: Read the rest of this entry »

Lancet retracts (and replaces) paper a year after authors report error that changes “all numbers”

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In March 2016, researchers in Switzerland and Canada published a meta-analysis in The Lancet, exploring the optimal painkiller and dose for treating pain in knee and hip osteoarthritis. Soon after, the authors were informed of an error that would change “all numbers” in a paper that may influence clinical practice.

The authors contacted The Lancet immediately, in July 2016, to inform them of the issue. Sven Trelle, the paper’s corresponding author, also told us: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Victoria Stern

July 10th, 2017 at 11:02 am

“Data had been manipulated:” Science Translational Medicine retracts paper

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Science Translational Medicine has retracted a paper by researchers based in Switzerland, after an investigation concluded two figures had been manipulated.

The investigation occurred at the University of Basel. It’s not clear what prompted it, but the paper has been discussed at length on PubPeer. After the investigation concluded two figure panels included manipulated data, the last author asked to retract the paper.

Here’s the notice:

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Researcher loses biotech post after reportedly confessing to fraud

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A researcher has lost his position as a Chief Scientific Officer at a DNA sequencing company after he reportedly confessed to fabricating data in a 2015 paper, now retracted by the Journal of Cell Biology.

According to the CEO of Karmagenes, when the company learned about the retraction, the staff “immediately” conferred and decided the researcher — Pranav Ullal — should no longer serve as one of the company’s two CSOs.

Karmagenes CEO Kyriakos Kokkoris told us:

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Written by Alison McCook

February 22nd, 2017 at 12:26 pm

Former postdoc admitted to fraud in cell bio paper, lead author says

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A researcher in Switzerland has retracted her 2015 paper in the Journal of Cell Biology, saying the first author — her former postdoc — admitted to fabricating multiple aspects of the paper.

After Sophie Martin of the University of Lausanne couldn’t reproduce the data from another manuscript she was preparing to submit, she contacted her former student, Pranav Ullal, who admitted he had fabricated the data, along with two figures in the JCB paper.

A spokesperson for the University of Lausanne told us that Ullal left Switzerland after his contract was over, and is now in India.

Martin told us the whole experience has been upsetting:

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Written by Alison McCook

February 21st, 2017 at 11:30 am

Got “significosis?” Here are the five diseases of academic publishing

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John Antonakis

John Antonakis is psychologist by training, but his research has run the gamut from showing kids accurately predict election outcomes just by looking at candidates’ faces to teaching charisma to people in leadership positions. Now, as the newly appointed editor of The Leadership Quarterly, he’s tackling problems in academic publishing. But his approach is somewhat unique – he sees these problems as diseases (ie, “significosis”) that threaten the well-being of the academic literature. In a new paper, he’s calling on the efforts of researchers, editors, and funders to prevent, diagnose, and treat the five diseases of academic publishing.

Retraction Watch: What prompted you to think about problems in science publishing in terms of diseases? 

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Written by Alison McCook

February 21st, 2017 at 8:00 am

Swiss, French institutions investigating several papers

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eth-zurichcnrsInstitutions in France and Switzerland are investigating figures in several molecular biology papers, according to a joint press release published today.

Unfortunately, theres not much more we can tell you about the investigation — the press release doesnt specify the names of researchers, journals, or even the area within molecular biology thats under scrutiny.

The National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in France will lead the inquiry, with contribution from ETH Zürich in Switzerland. Molecular biology researchers from both institutions were involved in the flagged publications, an ETH Zürich spokesperson told us.

The ETH Zürich spokesperson added: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

September 8th, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Should systematic reviewers report suspected misconduct?

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BMJ Open

Authors of systematic review articles sometimes overlook misconduct and conflicts of interest present in the research they are analyzing, according to a recent study published in BMJ Open.

During the study, researchers reviewed 118 systematic reviews published in 2013 in four high-profile medical journals — Annals of Internal Medicine, the British Medical Journal, The Journal of the American Medical Association and The Lancet. In addition, the authors contacted review authors to ask additional questions; 80 (69%) responded. The review included whether the authors had followed certain procedures to ensure the integrity of the data they were compiling, such as checking for duplicate publications, and analyzing if the authors’ conflicts of interest may have impacted the findings. 

Carrying out a systematic review involves collecting and critically analyzing multiple studies in the same area. It’s especially useful for accumulating and weighing conflicting or supporting evidence by multiple research groups. A byproduct of the process is that it can also help spot odd practices such duplication of publicationsRead the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

August 16th, 2016 at 11:30 am