Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘molecular and cellular biology’ Category

Stem cell scientist appealing dismissal loses another paper

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Susana Gonzalez

A once-prominent stem cell biologist, who recently lost both her job and a sizable grant, has lost her fifth paper.

Recently, Molecular and Cellular Biology retracted a 2003 paper by Susana Gonzalez. Last February, the National Center for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC) in Spain dismissed her from her position over allegations of misconduct. The reason: suspicions of data manipulation.

As with a previous retraction, the journal said Gonzalez “could not be reached for approval of this retraction.”  

Here’s the full notice:

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Journal corrects paper by researcher sanctioned for misconduct

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A biology journal has issued a correction to a 2014 paper by a researcher with 11 retractions, citing “inadvertent errors” that don’t affect the conclusions.

The researcher, Rony Seger, was recently sanctioned by his institution (The Weizmann Institute in Israel) following a finding of “serious misconduct” involving data manipulation. Specifically, the institute barred him from supervising graduate students, even future ones; his lab is now dedicated to replicating his previous work, with the help of a technician.

Last month, Michal Neeman, vice president of The Weizmann Institute of Science, told us she wasn’t sure how many additional papers by Seger would need to be retracted or corrected.

Recently, one more was revealed — in the August issue of Molecular and Cellular Biology, the following correction notice appears:

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Journal won’t look at allegations about papers more than six years old, nor comment on those from “public websites”

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After a paper is published, how long should a journal consider allegations of misconduct? For one journal, that answer is: Six years.

We see plenty of journals that retract papers at least 10 years old over concerns regarding misconduct, but in a recent editorial, Molecular and Cellular Biology announced it would pursue allegations made within six years after a paper is published. This rule mirrors federal regulations (which apply to the U.S. Office of Research Integrity), which also decline to investigate allegations if at least six years have passed since the incident supposedly occurred — but with some exceptions, such as if the misconduct could have an impact on public health.

Incidentally, the same issue of the journal includes a retraction notice for a paper published seven years ago, citing image duplications. A spokesperson for the American Society for Microbiology (which publishes the journal) told us the journal investigated the paper in 2016, within the cutoff period.

Here’s the key text from the editorial:

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Author objects to retraction after he says journal ignored his queries for three years

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In 2014, a journal contacted researcher Denis Rousseau about one of his papers that had just been published online ahead of print, raising some concerns. According to Rousseau, he sent the journal a corrected figure “almost immediately,” which he believed addressed the issue.

Rousseau, a cell biologist at the University Joseph Fourier in Grenoble, France, said he then contacted the journal many times over the next three years to ask about the status of the paper — which never ended up in print — but heard nothing back.

Three years passed.

In March, the publisher finally contacted Rousseau, this time to ask him to issue a formal retraction for the paper. And despite his objections, Molecular and Cellular Biology published a sparse retraction notice, which provides little information about what went wrong:

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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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Investigation digs up data falsification in two papers on roundworm stress

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18.coverAn investigation at the University of Florida has led to the retraction of a pair of papers on the stress responses of Caenorhabditis elegans in Molecular and Cellular Biology.

One paper has been retracted, and one “partially” retracted, as the main conclusion was “not compromised.” According to the retraction notes, the investigation found the data were “falsified” by first author Chi Leung, a former postdoc at UF.

Here’s the note in full for the partial retraction of “A Negative-Feedback Loop between the Detoxification/Antioxidant Response Factor SKN-1 and Its Repressor WDR-23 Matches Organism Needs with Environmental Conditions:”

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Cell Press investigating possible image manipulation in influential yeast genetics paper

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cellCell Press is looking into anonymous allegations that a pair of influential papers on gene activation in yeast may contain more than two dozen instances of image manipulation, according to a spokesperson for the journal.

The accusations first appeared in March on PubPeer, where they triggered a small avalanche of comments, including one asserting “unambiguous and repeated examples of data re-use.”

The concerns raised on PubPeer have even sparked an investigation by an institution in Spain, which found no evidence to support the allegations. But not everyone agrees with that verdict.

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RIKEN inquiry prompted by STAP stem cell controversy generates three corrections

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rikenlogo_enA review of past publications by the Japanese research institution RIKEN has produced three corrections of articles by a molecular geneticist, Haruhiko Koseki, The Scientist is reporting. The articles had appeared in Molecular and Cellular Biology between 2005 and 2010.

The review was triggered by the scandal involving Haruko Obokata, a former RIKEN scientist whose work on STAP stem cells has come under scrutiny. However, RIKEN officials said the corrections are unrelated to the Obokata case. Obokata has reportedly agreed to retract two of her articles in Nature. (RIKEN has released an English-language translation of its response to Obokata’s appeal against charges of research misconduct.)

According to The Scientist, Koseki was a member of a committee charged with investigating Obokata’s STAP results: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by amarcus41

June 23rd, 2014 at 11:00 am

Shigeaki Kato up to 23 retractions

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katoShigeaki Kato, the former University of Tokyo endocrinology researcher found to have manipulated images in dozens of papers, has six more retractions, bringing his total to 23.

Five of them appear in Molecular and Cellular Biology: Read the rest of this entry »

Five Kato papers subject to an expression of concern, plus, a statute of limitations on correcting the literature?

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katoShigeaki Kato, an endocrinology researcher who resigned last year from the University of Tokyo and has retracted five papers, now has five more papers subject to an expression of concern.

Here’s the notice in Molecular and Cellular Biology: Read the rest of this entry »