Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘diabetes’ Category

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 »

University suggests journal correct diabetes paper. Publisher retracts it.

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After a publisher learned there may be issues with a 2008 diabetes paper, it asked the author’s university to investigate. The university found evidence of image duplication, and asked the journal to consider correcting the paper.

Instead, the journal has retracted it.

The backstory involves diabetes researcher Kathrin Maedler, who has one previous retraction, as well as multiple corrections. Even the paper in question, published in Diabetes, received an erratum in 2014 regarding a duplicated image, as well as an expression of concern last August after the American Diabetes Association questioned “the reliability of the data” in both the article and erratum.

According to the expression of concern, the ADA asked the University of Bremen to investigate the issues in the paper. In October, the University of Bremen concluded that several duplications present in her work were the result of negligence, not misconduct.

To resolve the issues, the university’s rector recommended that the authors publish a second erratum with corrected figures. But after conducting its own review, the ADA overruled the university, opting instead to retract the paper:

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Coauthor’s past misconduct prompts dep’t chair to retract Diabetes study

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A department chair of a Swedish university asked to retract a 2010 study in Diabetes after none of the authors could explain image-related ambiguities.

The matter prompted particular attention because the paper’s first author, Pontus Almer Boström, had been found guilty of scientific misconduct by the University of Gothenburg in 2012, after Jan Borén noted some irregularities in data calculated by Boström. At that point, the research group combed the data to identify further issues arising from Boström’s work, and didn’t find any.

But last summer, when a user on PubPeer raised questions about some of the images in the 2010 paper, the matter was brought back into focus. According to Borén, they found “no evidence of scientific misconduct in this study.” But Boström had left the university in 2009 and could not be reached, the corresponding author had passed away, and the remaining co-authors hadn’t stayed in the field. So Borén decided it would be best to retract the study to avoid any “lingering questions.”

Here’s the retraction notice for “The SNARE Protein SNAP23 and the SNARE-Interacting Protein Munc18c in Human Skeletal Muscle Are Implicated in Insulin Resistance/Type 2 Diabetes,” in which Borén thanks “Peer 1″ on PubPeer for “detecting the ambiguities and bringing them to our attention:” 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:”

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Author pulls Diabetes paper with duplicated Western blots

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diabetesA researcher has retracted a paper from Diabetes after re-using some Western blots in one of the figures from other papers.

According to the retraction notice, the first and corresponding author — Eric Berglund, formerly at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee — contacted the journal himself to report the error, for which he takes full responsibility.

Here’s the retraction notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Authors fix three Diabetes papers flagged for image issues

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diabetesResearchers have corrected three studies published in the journal Diabetes after users flagged issues with the images on PubPeer.

All three papers share a number of authors, including the same last and corresponding author, Aimin Xu, from The University of Hong Kong.

Since the corrections appear relatively extensive, we asked the journal if retractions were ever on the table. According to Chris Kohler, associate publisher, scholarly journals at American Diabetes Association, which publishes Diabetes, an ethical panel reviewed the papers before allowing the authors to issue the errata, all of which were published online this month: Read the rest of this entry »

Journal flags two papers by prominent diabetes researcher, more questioned on PubPeer

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DiabetesDiabetes has issued two expressions of concern (EOCs) for papers co-authored by leading diabetes researcher Kathrin Maedler, adding to her previous count of one retraction and three corrections.

Both papers were questioned on PubPeer, alongside several others co-authored by Maedler, who is based at the University of Bremen in Germany. As we previously reported, PubPeer comments have led to one retraction for Maedler in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC), and corrections in various other journals.

One of those corrections has now earned an EOC from Diabetes, which also extends to the original paper. Here are the notices, which asks the University of Bremen to investigate further:  Read the rest of this entry »

Paper linking fecal transplants to obesity in rats retracted for faked data

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Diabetes Cover

A paper linking the fecal microbiome to obesity has been retracted after it became clear that one of the co-authors faked some of the data.

The 2014 paper in Diabetes — which found that rats given fecal transplants from obese mice were more likely to become obese themselves if given a particular diet — was pulled after after an institutional investigation found a co-author guilty of falsifying data underlying one figure and fabricating the data of two others.

Co-author Yassine Sakar — formerly based at the French National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRA) in Paris, France — was found responsible for the misconduct. But an official from the institution said that some responsibility must also be shared by the corresponding author Mihai Covosa, who has since resigned from the institution.

Here’s the retraction notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Lawsuit couldn’t stop four retractions for diabetes researcher

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Mario Saad

Mario Saad

Four expressions of concern in the journal Diabetes have turned into retractions for Mario Saad, a move which he had tried to stop with a lawsuit.

Last August, a judge dismissed Saad’s suit against the American Diabetes Association, which publishes Diabetes, concluding that the expressions of concerns on the papers were not defamation, but part of an “ongoing scientific discourse.” Now, after an investigation at the University of Campinas in Brazil, where Saad is based, and an assessment from an ADA ethics panel (which overturned some of Unicamp’s recommendations), the journal has added to that discourse by turning the EOCs into retractions — and flagging two more of Saad’s papers with EOCs.

Together, the retracted papers have been cited more than 600 times.

As the retraction notes explain, Read the rest of this entry »

Judge dismisses defamation suit against diabetes journal

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Mario Saad, via

Mario Saad, via

Mario Saad can’t catch a break — yesterday, a Massachusetts judge dismissed his defamation suit against the American Diabetes Association, publisher of Diabetes, which published an expression of concern regarding four of his papers in March.

The researcher has tried — and failed — to use the courts to remove the EoC.

In Saad’s latest attempt to employ legal action against the journal — arguing the EoC was defamatory — the United States District Court of Massachusetts was clear in its ruling (which you can view in its entirety here):

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Written by Alison McCook

August 19th, 2015 at 12:02 pm