Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘Mitochondrion’ Category

The retraction countdown: How quickly do journals pull papers?

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After Tina Wenz was found guilty of scientific misconduct, how long did it take for journals to retract the problematic papers?  The answer: Between three and nine months.

In September 2016, the University of Cologne found that Wenz had committed scientific misconduct in six papers and requested they all be retracted. From that point on, the retraction clock was ticking.

We’ve explored how long it takes a journal to act over the years, and we’ve found that the time between identifying a problem to retracting the paper can vary — and sometimes last years.

In Wenz’s case, one of the papers—published in Cell Metabolism in 2009—had already been retracted in 2015. Three of the remaining five were retracted in December 2016—a 2008 paper in Cell Metabolism, a 2009 paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), and a 2009 paper in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

In January 2017, the journal IUBMB Life pulled a 2014 paper flagged in the investigation. And just over nine months after Wenz was found guilty of misconduct, the last paper—published in 2013 in Mitochondrion—has been retracted.

The most recent notice states that the University of Cologne requested the retractions, after determining that the data had been “inappropriately manipulated.”

Here’s the retraction notice in Mitochondrion:

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German university recommends that six papers be retracted following probe

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200px-siegel_uni-koeln_grau-svgThe University of Cologne has conducted an investigation into the research of Tina Wenz, and determined that six papers should be pulled due to scientific misconduct.

In a release issued last week (as first reported by Leonid Schneider), the university lists six papers that “present scientific misconduct,” according to our Google Translate.

One of the six papers was already retracted last year by Cell Metabolism, which cited reused northern and western blot band images in two figures.

The other six papers are: Read the rest of this entry »

University investigating duplicated images in retracted paper

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Cell MetabolismThe authors of a Cell Metabolism paper are pulling it after discovering blot images that “appear more than once in independent and unrelated experiments.” 

Just how the duplication occurred in the 2009 paper — about transcription of mitochondrial DNA — remains a mystery, the authors note:

…the reasons for the errors are still under investigation…

Meanwhile, we’ve learned that the last author on the paper — Carlos Moraes of the University of Miami — has requested a retraction for another 2013 paper in Mitochondrion, also co-authored by Tina Wenz at the University of Cologne in Germany. That paper is among multiple publications co-authored by Moraes and Wenz that have been flagged on PubPeer.

We’ve reached out to the parties involved, and received a warning from an attorney representing Wenz that if we write about Read the rest of this entry »