Former prof fudged dozens of images, says university

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:

Continue reading Former prof fudged dozens of images, says university

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

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

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

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.

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

Unexplained abnormalities in stem cells prompt Columbia researchers to pull diabetes paper

Researchers at Columbia University have retracted a 2013 paper in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, after uncovering abnormalities in the stem cell lines that undermined the conclusions in the paper.

Last year, corresponding author Dieter Egli discovered he could not reproduce key data in the 2013 paper because almost all the cell lines first author Haiqing Hua used contained abnormalities, casting doubt on the overall findings. When Egli reached out to Hua for answers, Hua could not explain the abnormalities. As a result, Hua and Egli agreed the paper should be retracted.

Since some of the details of how the paper ended up relying on abnormal cells remain unclear, the university confirmed to us that it is investigating the matter.

Here’s the retraction notice for “iPSC-derived β cells model diabetes due to glucokinase deficiency,” cited 42 times: Continue reading Unexplained abnormalities in stem cells prompt Columbia researchers to pull diabetes paper

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

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:” Continue reading Two Harvard-led groups pull well-cited cancer papers for duplication

Duke researcher adds another retraction in JCI, bringing count to 15

JCIWe’ve found another retraction for Erin Potts-Kant, a former researcher at Duke, bringing her total to 15.

Yesterday we reported on two new retractions for Potts-Kant in PLoS ONE, which earned her a spot in the top 30 on our leaderboard. As with the others, the latest paper, in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, is marred by “unreliable” data.

Here’s the retraction notice for “In utero supplementation with methyl donors enhances allergic airway disease in mice“:

Continue reading Duke researcher adds another retraction in JCI, bringing count to 15

Cancer researcher earns 9th retraction, for image duplication

Journal of Clinical InvestigationAlfredo Fusco, a researcher in Italy who has been under criminal investigation for scientific misconduct, has earned his ninth retraction.

Retraction number nine, by The Journal of Clinical Investigation, is for duplicating data from another publication — which has also faced questions on PubPeer about image manipulation, along with many other papers by Fusco.

The retraction note for “The RET/PTC-RAS-BRAF linear signaling cascade mediates the motile and mitogenic phenotype of thyroid cancer cells” explains that the journal is pulling the paper even though the authors claim that they can reproduce the data:

Continue reading Cancer researcher earns 9th retraction, for image duplication

JCI issues mega-correction for multiple myeloma paper

125-7-coverThe Journal of Clinical Investigation has issued a lengthy correction to a paper about the role of the immune system in the progression and treatment response of multiple myeloma.

The correction changes details from the name of an author to figure legends, and adds entire supplemental figures.

Shortly after the paper’s publication on April 20th, commenters on PubPeer pointed out duplications in multiple figure panels.

Last month, the journal issued an extensive correction note for “Immunosurveillance and therapy of multiple myeloma are CD226 dependent,” which, in part, tries to explain the multiple duplications.

It starts out noting a typo:

Continue reading JCI issues mega-correction for multiple myeloma paper

JCI lymphoma paper retracted after authors can’t find underlying data to explain duplicated bands

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 5.12.55 PMA paper in the Journal of Clinical Investigation has been retracted for manipulated images, including duplicated bands in a Western blot.

Take a look at figure one to the right and see if you can spot all the doubles.

Click here for a more zoomable image.

Here’s the notice: Continue reading JCI lymphoma paper retracted after authors can’t find underlying data to explain duplicated bands

COPD paper in JCI retracted following PubPeer critiques

jciA 2011 paper in the Journal of Clinical Investigation whose PubPeer entry we highlighted in September has been retracted.

Here’s the notice for “Denitrosylation of HDAC2 by targeting Nrf2 restores glucocorticosteroid sensitivity in macrophages from COPD patients,” a 2011 paper by researchers at Johns Hopkins and Imperial College: Continue reading COPD paper in JCI retracted following PubPeer critiques