Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘journal of cell science’ Category

Journal flags cancer paper from Karolinska researchers

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A journal has issued an expression of concern (EOC) for a 2011 cancer paper, while Karolinska Institutet investigates “concerns” about some of the data.

After the Journal of Cell Science (JCS) received a tip from a reader, it investigated, but was unable to resolve the concerns. So the journal asked KI–where all the authors work–to investigate further, and issued an EOC to alert readers that there may be an issue with the paper.

According to the notice, the questions center on data from Fig. 1A, but the notice does not specify the nature of the concerns. The 2011 paper received a correction in 2016, which cites inadvertent figure duplication.

Earlier this year, the paper’s last author Boris Zhivotovsky and second author Helin Vakifahmetoglu-Norberg retracted a 2008 paper from Oncogene over potential image duplication. That retraction caught our attention because it was prompted by a 2016 correction to the paper, which had raised additional questions about potential duplication; ultimately, the authors retracted both the paper and its correction.

Here’s the expression of concern for the 2011 JCS paper: Read the rest of this entry »

A university asked for numerous retractions. Eight months later, three journals have done nothing.

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Anil Jaiswal

When journals learn papers are problematic, how long does it take them to act?

We recently had a chance to find out as part of our continuing coverage of the case of Anil Jaiswal at the University of Maryland, who’s retracted 15 papers (including two new ones we recently identified), and has transitioned out of cancer research. Here’s what happened.

As part of a public records request related to the investigation, we received letters that the University of Maryland sent to 11 journals regarding 26 “compromised” papers co-authored by Jaiswal, four of which had been retracted by the time of the letter. The letters were dated between August and September 2016 (and one in February) — although, in some cases, the journals told us they received the letter later. Since that date, three journals have retracted nine papers and corrected another, waiting between four and six months to take action. One journal published an editorial note of concern within approximately two months after the university letter.

And six journals have not taken any public action.

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Cancer biologist stops research as his retraction count rises to 13

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Anil Jaiswal

A cancer biologist based at the University of Maryland is transitioning out of research, as a journal has retracted three more of his papers.

Anil Jaiswal has now lost 13 papers, including, as we reported on February 6, six retractions issued earlier this month.

The Baltimore Sun reported this week that Jaiswal would no longer be conducting research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, which we confirmed from a spokesperson:

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Eye researcher loses fourth paper for misconduct following Georgia, VA investigation

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Azza B. El-Remessy

Azza B. El-Remessy

A biologist at the University of Georgia has lost a paper after an investigation revealed she had tampered with three images.

In 2014, Azza El-Remessy notched three retractions for a series of image errors. Now, a fourth retraction notice, and an expression of concern, explain there has been an investigation into her work. The investigation — conducted by two Georgia institutions, along with the Charlie Norwood Veterans Affairs Medical Center, where El-Remessy has additional appointments — has found evidence of misconduct.

The retraction notice for “Oxidative stress inactivates VEGF survival signaling in retinal endothelial cells via PI 3-kinase tyrosine nitration” explains:

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Would peer review work better if reviewers talked to each other?

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Katherine Brown

Would distributing all reviewers’ reports for a specific paper amongst every referee before deciding whether to accept or reject a manuscript make peer review fairer and quicker? This idea — called “cross-referee commenting” — is being implemented by the journal Development, as part of its attempt to improve the peer-review process. Katherine Brown, executive editor of Development from Cambridge, UK, who co-authored a recent editorial about the phenomenon, spoke to us about the move. 

Retraction Watch: Many journals share the reviews of a particular paper with those who’ve reviewed it. What is cross-referee commenting in peer review and how is it different from current reviewing processes? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

September 21st, 2016 at 9:30 am

Five more retractions for biologist with funding ban brings total to six

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Journal of Cell ScienceAn erstwhile cell biologist has retracted five papers published in the Journal of Cell Science (JCS), all of which had been flagged in a recent investigation by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI).

The investigation found John Pastorino, previously a cell biologist at Rowan University in New Jersey, guilty of doctoring more than 40 images, resulting in a five-year funding ban.

The probe identified eight papers co-authored by Pastorino, six of which had already received expressions of concern (EOC) — including all of the newly retracted JCS papers. Nataly Shulga is a co-author on all eight papers.

Last week, we reported on the first of the expected retractions of the flagged papers in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Here are the retraction notices, which are the same for all five JCS papers: Read the rest of this entry »

Authors reused images in three papers, concludes journal probe

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JBCBiologists are retracting three papers after the journal concluded they contain reused images, designed to represent different experiments. The authors stand by the conclusions, some of which they say have been “extensively validated.”

The Journal of Biological Chemistry used image analysis software to evaluate the images, first published at least a decade ago. Unfortunately, the raw data behind the problematic images were not available. The authors have also corrected a fourth paper in another journal, and wrote on PubPeer that they are working with journals to address concerns in three more.

The papers share two authors: Mireia Duñach at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, and Antonio García de Herreros at the Institut Hospital del Mar d’Investigacions Mèdiques. A representative of the Institut Hospital del Mar d’Investigacions Mèdiques told us it is looking into Garcia de Herreros’s work.

We’ll start with “β-Catenin N- and C-terminal tails modulate the coordinated binding of adherens junction proteins to β-catenin,” which has been cited 45 times since it was published in 2002, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science. The retraction notice says:

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New Jersey university biologist earns funding ban for doctoring more than 40 images

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John Pastorino

John Pastorino

A researcher has agreed to a five-year ban on Federal U.S. funding for research after the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) determined that he had falsified or fabricated more than 40 images in nine papers.

The findings, released by the ORI today, are another chapter in a case involving John Pastorino, a cell biologist at Rowan University. In February, we reported that two journals had issued expressions of concern (EOCs) for six of his papers.

Pastorino, according to the ORI,  Read the rest of this entry »

Authors correct highly cited biology paper due to “genuine mistake”

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Journal of Cell ScienceAuthors of a highly cited biology paper in the Journal of Cell Science (JCS) have corrected the data underlying one of the figures.

The 2003 paper, “The transcription factor Slug represses E-cadherin expression and induces epithelial to mesenchymal transitions: a comparison with Snail and E47 repressors,” has been cited 566 times, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science. One of the authors is the last author on a recent high profile retraction from Nature Genetics, which cost the first author a grant from the European Molecular Biology Organisation.

The correction note tells us a bit more: Read the rest of this entry »

Journals flag 6 papers, request investigation of New Jersey university biologists

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Two journals have published six expressions of concern for a pair of biologists at Rowan University, and are asking the university to undertake an investigation.

We contacted the editors of the two journals — Journal of Cell Science and Biology Open — who both said they decided to flag the papers after a reader raised concerns about potential re-use of blot images. The six papers are co-authored by John G. Pastorino, a molecular biologist at Rowan University in New Jersey and Nataly Shulga, whose LinkedIn identifies her as a research specialist at the same institution. According to the nearly identical notes, the journals (which share a publisher) undertook a review of the original data, but “felt unable to resolve this matter.”

The expressions of concern — five from the  Journal of Cell Science and one from Biology Open — include pretty much the same text. Here’s the note that appeared in JCS:

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