Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘journal of clinical investigation’ Category

Former prof fudged dozens of images, says university

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On Dec. 2, 2013, Alison Lakin, the research integrity officer at the University of Colorado Denver, received a concerning email.

The emailer was alleging several problems in a 2012 paper in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, co-authored by one of its high-profile faculty members. Lakin discussed the allegations with some administrators and agreed they had merit; Lakin sequestered an author’s laptop and other materials. Over the next few months, the university learned of additional allegations affecting other papers — and discovered even more serious problems in the JCI paper. Namely, the first author had inserted changes to 21 figures in the paper after submitting it, without alerting the other authors, journal, or reviewers.

That journal retracted the paper this month, citing numerous problems:

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Dear journals: Clean up your act. Regards, Concerned Biostatistician

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Romain-Daniel Gosselin

Recently, a biostatistician sent an open letter to editors of 10 major science journals, urging them to pay more attention to common statistical problems with papers. Specifically, Romain-Daniel Gosselin, Founder and CEO of Biotelligences, which trains researchers in biostatistics, counted how many of 10 recent papers in each of the 10 journals contained two common problems: omitting the sample size used in experiments, as well as the tests used as part of the statistical analyses. (Short answer: Too many.) Below, we have reproduced his letter.

Dear Editors and Colleagues,

I write this letter as a biologist and instructor of biostatistics, concerned about the disregard for statistical reporting that is threatening scientific reproducibility. I hereby urge you to spearhead the strict application of existing guidelines on statistical reporting. Read the rest of this entry »

Negligence by stressed-out postdoc led to retraction of high-profile paper, supervisor says

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The timing was tight, but Sergio Gonzalez had done it. Gonzalez, a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Neurosciences of Montpellier (INSERM) in France, had a paper accepted in a top journal by the end of 2015, just in time to apply for a small number of highly sought-after permanent research positions that open up in France each year.

If Gonzalez had missed the January deadline for this system of advancement, known as concours, he would have had to wait until the following cycle to apply.

Once his paper was accepted by the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Gonzalez could breathe a sigh of relief. He began being invited to interviews. But then, a comment showed up at PubPeer.

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Two Harvard-led groups pull well-cited cancer papers for duplication

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the-journal-of-clinical-investigationTwo sets of authors based largely at Harvard Medical School have each retracted a paper for duplication in the same journal.

Both papers — which are more than a decade old — were pulled in The Journal of Clinical Investigation on November 1 by their respective corresponding authors.

One paper’s last author told us it was difficult to identify how the duplications occurred since the study took place so long ago, but added that multiple experiments had corroborated the results.

Here’s the first retraction notice for “Complementary roles of IRS-1 and IRS-2 in the hepatic regulation of metabolism:” Read the rest of this entry »

Canadian researchers in legal battle over investigation object to third retraction

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The Journal of Clinical InvestigationA third retraction — and a notice of concern — have emerged from the investigation into a husband and wife research team at the University of Toronto that found evidence of faked images and duplicated data.

The problem, according to the latest retraction note for Sylvia Asa and Shereen Ezzat, in the Journal of Clinical Investigation: Portions of the RT-PCR gels “are duplicated in this publication and in a subsequent publication.” That subsequent publication is a 2003 paper that has received a Notice of Concern from the American Journal of Pathology.

According to the retraction note, co-author Gillian E. Wu of York University signed off on the journal’s decision, but Asa, Ezzat and second author Lei Zheng dissented to the retraction. Third author Xian-Feng Zhu couldn’t be reached. Although corresponding author Asa noted that “the initial screen of these samples support the conclusions made in the paper,” the JCI made its position perfectly clear in the note:

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NIH cancer paper retracted for faked data

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JCIFollowing an investigation into research misconduct, the Journal of Clinical Investigation has retracted a cancer genetics paper from a laboratory at the National Institutes of Health due to “data falsification and fabrication” of four figures and a table in the paper.

The paper, “FOXO3 programs tumor-associated DCs to become tolerogenic in human and murine prostate cancer,” describes an overexpressed gene in mouse prostate cancers that appears to suppress immune system cells.

The journal retracted the paper following an investigation into author Stephanie K. Watkins, then a postdoctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute. According to a NIH press release released about the study in March 2011, the work “has led to the submission of a patent application by the NIH on behalf of Hurwitz and Watkins to target FOXO3 as a way to boost immune responses in cancer and to silence excessive immune responses in autoimmune diseases.” We found an NIH record of the patent application, but no record of an approved patent at the United States Patent and Trademark Office under either Hurwitz or Watkins’ names.

The paper has been cited 62 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. Here’s the full notice: Read the rest of this entry »

JCI retracts paper by stem cell biologist Jacob Hanna, citing “figure irregularities”

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jciapril2015The Journal of Clinical Investigation has retracted a 2004 paper by Jacob Hanna, a highly cited stem cell researcher in Israel whose work has been dogged by questions about its validity.

Questions about the work, and other articles on which Hanna was an author, were raised on PubPeer last November. This is his first retraction.

The retraction stems from “a number of figure irregularities;” the authors say they were “inadvertently introduced,” and subsequent work has supported their data and conclusions. However, due to the “number of serious mistakes,” the JCI editorial board chose to retract the article. Hanna and corresponding author Ofer Mandelboim at The Lautenberg Center for General and Tumor Immunology — part of Hebrew University, in Jerusalem, where Hanna used to work — say they have accepted the decision.

Hanna, currently at the Weizmann Institute of Science, studies ways to reprogram cells to become more versatile stem cells. He also spent time as a postdoc at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge and Mount Sinai, in New York City.

Six of Hanna’s papers have been cited more than 500 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. The most-cited, with more than 1,000 citations, was a 2008 Nature paper.

The retracted article, “Novel APC-like properties of human NK cells directly regulate T cell activation,” has been cited 121 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

The retracted paper examined the early steps of an immune response involving natural killer (NK) cells and antigen-presenting cells (APCs). From the abstract: Read the rest of this entry »