Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘molecular cell’ Category

Cell Press won’t retract papers despite one author confessing to fraud

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Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 18.54.35Cell Press journals will not be retracting two papers that were flagged with expressions of concern (EOCs) in April after one author claimed to have manipulated some experiments.

In a strange turn of events, as we previously reported, the study’s corresponding author refuted the claims of the author who confessed to fraud, citing concerns about his “motives and credibility.” Since then, two independent labs repeated the authors’ experiments, and “largely confirm” the central conclusions of a Cell paper, but were inconclusive regarding a paper in Molecular Cell. Regardless, in both cases, the journals have decided to take no further action. 

Both expressions of concern (and their associated editorial notes) will remain online, as part of the “permanent record,” a Cell Press spokesperson told us.

The spokesperson added more about the investigation process: Read the rest of this entry »

Cell Press dismisses fraud allegations in high-profile genetics papers

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Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 18.54.35Cell Press has dismissed accusations of image manipulation in two well-cited papers. 

In June 2015, we reported that the publisher was investigating anonymous allegations of more than a dozen instances of manipulation of images in the papers published in Cell and Molecular Cell in 1999 and 2001, respectively. 

After assessing the original high-resolution versions of images from the laboratory notebook of Maria Pia Cosma, the first author of both papers, the journals have not found enough evidence to determine that fraud had occurred. 

Here’s the editorial note, issued last week for both papers (and also reported by Leonid Schneider): Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

August 8th, 2016 at 9:30 am

Authors pull Mol Cell paper for “inappropriate manipulation” of data

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Molecular CellThe authors of a Molecular Cell paper have retracted it due to issues with multiple figures — including one with evidence of “intentional misconduct.”

According to the authors’ institution, IMIM in Barcelona, all co-authors are aware of the retraction. The penultimate author — Antonio García de Herrerosretracted three papers in May from the Journal of Biological Chemistry for reusing images to represent different experiments, and recently corrected multiple figures in a Journal of Cell Science paper over “possible duplications and/or splices.”

Here’s the newest retraction notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

June 29th, 2016 at 9:30 am

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:

Read the rest of this entry »

Cell Press flags two papers after author confesses to fraud

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Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 8.45.56 PMNormally, when we see disputes over fraud allegations, it’s one author accusing another — but an unusual case at Cell has recently crossed our desk.

The journal has flagged a paper after an author confessed to committing fraud himself — but the corresponding author is disputing that confession, citing concerns about the confessor’s “motives and credibility.”

Independent labs are repeating the experiments to determine if the third author on the paper did, as he so claims, manipulate experiments. In the meantime, Cell and Molecular Cell have issued expressions of concern (EOCs) for two papers on which Yao-Yun Liang was a co-author. The notices cite an inquiry at Baylor College of Medicine, where the work was done, which was inconclusive, and recommended the journals take no action about the papers.

The EOCs are pretty much the same (both journals are published by Cell Press). Here’s the EOC that appears on “PPM1A functions as a Smad phosphatase to terminate TGFbeta signaling,” published in 2006 by Cell and cited 251 times, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science:

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Nature retracts epigenetics paper by author who lost two Science papers last year

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cover_natureFrank Sauer, formerly of the University of California, Riverside, has had a 2002 letter on epigenetics retracted from Nature due to “inappropriate image manipulation.”

Sauer had two papers retracted from Science last year following a university investigation. Here’s the Nature notice for “Histone methylation by the Drosophila epigenetic transcriptional regulator Ash1:” Read the rest of this entry »

Cell biologists in South Korea retract two papers

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jbcA group of researchers at two universities in South Korea have retracted two cell biology papers featuring retinoic acid.

The most recent retraction appears in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Although, in typical JBC fashion, the reason for it is anyone’s guess.

Here’s the unhelpful notice for “ASXL1 represses retinoic acid receptor-mediated transcription through associating with HP1 and LSD1:” Read the rest of this entry »

Paper that formed basis of study retracted earlier this year retracted itself, from Science

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science dec 2014Back in May, we reported on a retraction from Molecular Cell that referred to a 2012 study the same group had published in Science. (A few weeks later, the lab head told us just how painful the process was.)

Now, the Science paper has been retracted. Here’s the notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

December 22nd, 2014 at 11:30 am

Researchers retract paper for which first author won an award — but won’t sign notice

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Bernasconi_Premio_Roche2012_small

Riccardo Bernasconi

Most of the authors of two Molecular Cell papers have retracted them after becoming aware of inappropriate image manipulation by the first author of both — who refused to sign the notices.

One of the papers, “Role of the SEL1L:LC3-I Complex as an ERAD Tuning Receptor in the Mammalian ER,” earned first author Riccardo Bernasconi, who successfully defended his PhD in 2010, the STSBC-Roche Diagnostics award in 2012. Here’s the notice for that paper: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

December 22nd, 2014 at 9:30 am