Two months after Harvard and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital said they were requesting the retraction of more than 30 papers from a former cardiac stem cell lab there, two American Heart Association journals have retracted more than a dozen papers from the lab.
Are there instances when similarities between papers should be fixed by a correction, rather than a retraction?
We’re asking ourselves that question after seeing two journals take very different approaches to a somewhat similar situation. Last year, Frontiers in Physiology retracted a paper by Anastasios Lymperopoulos at Nova Southeastern University in Florida because of an “an unacceptable level of similarity” to a 2009 review article by different authors. But more recently, after Circulation Research discovered another paper co-authored by Lymperopoulos also contained similar text from the same 2009 review, itdecided to correct the passages.
The last author of the Circulation Research paper told us the overlap between the two papers was less than 5%, and the journal never suggested the authors retract the paper.
A researcher accused of misconduct by an anonymous Japanese blogger has corrected a 2003 paper in Circulation Research, after providing a university investigation with the original source files.
Allegations of fraud have dogged Shokei Kim-Mitsuyama for years, and even caused him to step down from his position as editor in chief at another journal. However, Kim-Mitsuyama and his colleagues call the latest correction a “mistake,” which didn’t affect any of the paper’s conclusions.
We’ve unearthed a total of five publications co-authored by Kim-Mitsuyama that have earned corrections, the latest of which cites an investigation by the university:
An investigation at the University of New South Wales in Australia has led to a fifth retraction for a cancer researcher long accused of misconduct, due to “unresolvable concerns” with some images.
As we reported in December, UNSW cleared Levon Khachigian of misconduct, concluding that his previous issues stemmed from “genuine error or honest oversight.” Now, Circulation Research is retracting one of his papers after an investigation commissioned by UNSW was unable to find electronic records for two similar images from a 2009 paper, nor records of the images in original lab books.
Again, the retraction note affirms that this is not a sign of misconduct:
UNSW has not attributed any instance of research misconduct or responsibility for the unavailability of the original data to Professor Khachigian or to any of the authors of the publication.
A group of Harvard stem cell researchers who already have one retraction and an expression of concern now have a correction. This one’s in Circulation Research, and it involves an image that previously had been flagged as suspicious in our comments.
The group is led by Piero Anversa, who as we reported last year is one of two researchers suing Harvard because the institution’s investigation into their work
has cost them millions in a forfeited sale of their company, and job offers.
The American Heart Association, which publishes a number of journals, has issued an Expression of Concern about five papers in three of their publications, following allegations of image manipulation. All of the papers include Hiroaki Matsubara, of Kyoto Prefectural University, as a co-author.
It has come to the attention of the American Heart Association (AHA), in a public manner, that there are questions concerning a number of figures in several AHA journals’ articles…
The “public manner” was three posts last year on the Abnormal Science blog, available here, here and here, alleging that images were manipulated in the manuscripts, and that histology slides were reused.