Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘nature retractions’ Category

Columbia biologists “deeply regret” Nature retraction, after postdoc faked 74 panels in 3 papers

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natureA team of Columbia University biologists has retracted a 2013 Nature paper on the molecular pathways underlying Alzheimer’s disease, the second retraction from the group after a postdoc faked data.

An April report from the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) found the a first author, former Columbia postdoc Ryousuke Fujita, responsible for “knowingly and intentionally fabricating and falsifying research in seventy-four (74) panels” in three papers: a 2011 Cell paper retracted in 2014, an unpublished manuscript, and this now-retracted Nature paper, “Integrative genomics identifies APOE e4 effectors in Alzheimer’s disease.”

The paper was touted in a Columbia University Medical Center press release as identifying “key molecular pathways” leading to late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. The paper fingered two potential molecular drug targets, as well.

Here is the full retraction notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Nature retraction, resignation result after lung cancer cell lines “cannot be those specified”

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cover_natureUpon realizing they had experienced a case of mistaken cell-line identity, the authors of a 2014 Nature paper on lung cancer think “it prudent to retract pending more thorough investigation,” as they explain in a notice published Wednesday.

The problem seems to stem from more than just honest error, according to corresponding author Julian Downward, a scientist at the Francis Crick Institute in the UK.

In a 1,215 word statement, sent to us via the Director of Research Communications and Engagement at Cancer Research UK, which funds Downward’s research, Downward told us the backstory not presented in the journal’s retraction note:

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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 »

Former Columbia postdoc faked Alzheimer’s research in Cell and Nature

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cover_natureRyousuke Fujita, a former Columbia University postdoc who admitted to having faked the findings of a 2011 Cell paper in a retraction notice last year, also faked the results of a 2013 Nature paper, according to a new report from the Office of Research Integrity (ORI).

Fujita’s work, in conjunction with Asa Abeliovich, was widely hailed as a significant step forward, a way to turn skin cells into brain cells. But the story began falling apart when the Cell retraction said that he “acknowledged inappropriately manipulating image panels and data points, as well as misrepresenting the number of repeats performed.”

The ORI’s findings in the case also involve a 2013 Nature paper, “Integrative genomics identifies APOE ε4 effectors in Alzheimer’s disease,” and a paper never published. Fujita, according to the ORI: Read the rest of this entry »

European Science Foundation demands retraction of criticism in Nature, threatens legal action

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Amaya Moro-Martin

Amaya Moro-Martin

The European Science Foundation (ESF) has threatened legal action against a scientist for calling an evaluation process supported by the agency “flawed” in a commentary piece in Nature.

Amaya Moro-Martin, an assistant astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) and an associate research scientist at The Johns Hopkins University, apparently angered the ESF with the bolded phrase below: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

October 12th, 2014 at 10:58 am

Posted in nature retractions

Nature, facing “considerable rise” in retractions, blames lawyers for opaque and delayed notices

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nature oct coverNature, as we and others have noticed, has had what Paul Knoepfler referred to as a “torrent” of retractions in the past two years. That torrent — 13 research papers — has prompted a welcome and soul-searching editorial, as it did in 2010 when the journal had what it called an “unusually large number” of 4.

As the editors write this week in “Retraction challenges:” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

October 2nd, 2014 at 8:37 am

Posted in nature retractions

PubPeer Selections: Boosting memory in Science, extending lifespan in Nature, quantum anesthesia in PNAS

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pubpeerAs Retraction Watch readers probably know, we’re big fans of PubPeer, the post-publication peer review site that allows comments on papers. Discussions there have led to a number of corrections and retractions, and even more importantly, authors are starting to respond to clarify results, acknowledge errors, or otherwise advance knowledge. After all, as we often note, there’s a long way between raising questions about a study and retracting it.

With all of that in mind, we’re pleased to launch a new weekly post that will be called “PubPeer Selections” in which we’ll highlight featured discussions on PubPeer. Here’s the first installment: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

September 2nd, 2014 at 11:30 am

STAP stem cell co-author commits suicide: Reports

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Yoshiki Sasai, via RIKEN

Yoshiki Sasai, via RIKEN

In a stunning and tragic development, a co-author of the now-retracted Nature papers claiming to have found an easy way to create stem cells has committed suicide, according to news reports in Japan.

According to the Japan Times, RIKEN deputy director Yoshiki Sasai has died: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

August 4th, 2014 at 11:10 pm

Another Nature stem cell paper is retracted

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nature 73014Another stem cell paper has been retracted from Nature, this one a highly cited 2008 study that had already been the subject of what the journal’s news section called a “furore” in 2010.

According to that 2010 news story:

The researchers behind the original work1, led by Thomas Skutella of the University of Tübingen, reported using cells from adult human testes to create pluripotent stem cells with similar properties to embryonic stem cells.

But a 2010 Brief Communication Arising called those findings into question. And now, the authors have retracted the paper. Here’s the notice for “Generation of pluripotent stem cells from adult human testis:” Read the rest of this entry »

ORI sanctions collaborator of Nobel winner Buck for data fabrication

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ori logoThe Office of Research Integrity has sanctioned a former researcher in the lab of Linda Buck, winner of the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, for falsifying data in two papers written with the support of grants from the National Institutes of Health.

The researcher, Zou Zhihua, worked with Buck as a post-doc at Harvard and then at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, in Seattle, Buck’s current home. After leaving there in 2005, he spent three years at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and now appears to be a faculty member at Jilin University in China.

According to the report:

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