Freedom from Information Act? Another JBC retraction untarnished by any facts

There’s helpful but uninformative:

Ivan: What’s the weather like today?

Adam: Sunny.

And then there’s uninformative as served up by the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

We’ve already recounted one teeth-grinding experience with the JBC, a publication of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. The case involved two papers in JBC by Axel Ullrich, an esteemed cancer researcher at the Max Planck Institute in Germany. According to Ullrich, one of his then-postdocs, Naohito Aoki, had manipulated figures that appeared in the papers, necessitating their retraction.

Round two involves another JBC retraction of a 2000 paper by Aoki and co-author Tsukasa Matsuda, titled ‘A cytosolic protein-tyrosine phosphatase PTP1B specifically dephosphorylates and deactivates prolactin-activated STAT5a and STAT5b.’ The paper has been cited more than 100 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

According to the notice: Continue reading Freedom from Information Act? Another JBC retraction untarnished by any facts

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

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This article has been withdrawn by the authors.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: Continue reading As last of 12 promised Bulfone-Paus retractions appears, a (disappointing) report card on journal transparency

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

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

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

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

Update on Axel Ullrich retractions: Lead author manipulated figures, says Ullrich

Axel Ullrich, courtesy the Max Planck Institute

Yesterday, we noted that Axel Ullrich, a decorated cancer researcher, had retracted two papers in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The journal gave no explanation for the retractions, and our conversation with the publication director for the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, which puts out the journal, was less than illuminating. This morning, Ullrich responded to all of the questions we sent him by email, and our follow-ups. The picture is now a lot more clear.

Ullrich tells Retraction Watch that he found out from a “private investigator” several months ago that the papers’ lead author, Naohito Aoki, had manipulated their figures. Aoki was a postdoc in Ullrich’s lab in the early 1990s: Continue reading Update on Axel Ullrich retractions: Lead author manipulated figures, says Ullrich

Leading cancer scientist retracts two papers, one 14 years old, but journal won’t say why

One of the world’s leading cancer researchers, Axel Ullrich of Germany, has retracted two papers published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Ullrich, director of microbiology at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, has been a central figure in many groundbreaking discoveries, from the development of genetically engineered insulin to the identification of the breast cancer gene HER2. The founder of several biotech firms, he also runs an international consortium, the Singapore Oncogenome Project, looking for other so-called oncogenes linked to protein-tyrosine kinase, or PTK, an enzyme that regulates cell growth and which, when run amok, is implicated in a variety of tumor types.

The retractions involve two articles, published eight years apart, on protein-tyrosine. The first, from 1996, was titled Continue reading Leading cancer scientist retracts two papers, one 14 years old, but journal won’t say why