Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘plos pathogens’ Category

Biologists earn 5th retraction following Swedish investigation

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plos pathA team of biologists have earned a fifth retraction for a paper containing manipulated images, following an investigation by the Swedish government.

Last year, the investigation found that former Uppsala University doctoral student Apiruck Watthanasurorot had manipulated figures in five papers, four of which have already been retracted. Earlier this year, we reported that his supervisor, last author Kenneth Söderhäll, had requested PLOS Pathogens simply correct the fifth paper because independent groups have confirmed the findings. But according to the retraction notice for “Bacteria-Induced Dscam Isoforms of the Crustacean, Pacifastacus leniusculus,” Söderhäll has since agreed to the retraction:

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Four retractions follow Swedish government findings of negligence, dishonesty

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242915_1uu_logoA Swedish ethical review board has censured two biologists and their employer, Uppsala University, for events related to “extensive image manipulations” in five papers published between 2010 and 2014. The case has led to criticism from an outside expert — who brought the allegations to Uppsala — over the current system in Sweden for handling such investigations.

Four of the papers have been retracted, and the authors have requested a correction in the fifth.

After an eight-month investigation, in September the government-run Expert Group for Scientific Misconduct at the Central Ethical Review Board in Stockholm, Sweden, concluded that Uppsala professor Kenneth Söderhäll — who has published more than 200 papers — and lecturer Irene Söderhäll acted “negligently” and “dishonestly” by Read the rest of this entry »

Investigation ends in 6th retraction for Voinnet

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PLOS PathogensA sixth paper co-authored by plant researcher Olivier Voinnet has been retracted by PLOS Pathogens “following an investigation into concerns.”

The investigation found “several band duplications” in one figure provided by fifth author, Patrice Dunoyer, who took it from “the Master thesis of a former student working under his supervision, without the prior consultation or consent of this student,” according to the notice. There was also an incorrect “loading control” in another figure, attributed to first author Raphael Sansregret and last author Kamal Bouarab. 

Voinnet and Bouarab, the study’s corresponding authors, took full responsibility for “the publication of this erroneous paper.”

Although investigators found that the raw data in the duplicated figure backed up its conclusions, “given the nature and extent of data manipulation,” the authors asked the journal to retract the paper .

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Corrections (and one EoC) propagate for distinguished plant biologist, Olivier Voinnet

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Olivier Voinnet

Olivier Voinnet

There may be some deeply rooted issues in the work of high-profile plant biologist Olivier Voinnet, biology department research director at ETH in Zurich. Corrections have continued to pile up months after his work was hit with a barrage of criticism on PubPeer. We’ve tracked a total of seven corrections over the past five months (not including the April retraction of a 2004 paper in The Plant Cell). One of the corrected papers also received an Expression of Concern this week.

Collectively, the corrected papers have accumulated more than 1200 citations.

In January, Voinnet said he planned to correct multiple papers, after receiving “an anonymous email.”

One of the recent corrections we found is for a 2003 article in The Plant Journal, “An enhanced transient expression system in plants based on suppression of gene silencing by the p19 protein of tomato bushy stunt virus,” which details using proteins from a tomato virus to help alter gene expression. The study has been cited 862 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. Here’s the correction notice, posted June 8:

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Catching up: PLoS Pathogens apologizes for retracting XMRV-prostate cancer paper before contacting a corresponding author

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Last week was a bit of a whirlwind in Retraction Land, thanks to a big study of retractions in PNAS and a lot of resulting press coverage. So we didn’t have a chance to update readers on an ongoing story and discussion involving the PLoS journals.

As ScienceInsider was first to report last week, the editor of PLoS Pathogens, Kasturi Haldar, has now apologized for retracting a paper allegedly showing a link between the XMRV virus and prostate cancer without having contacted the second of two corresponding authors. Retraction Watch readers may recall that Haldar told us on September 19: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

October 8th, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Another XMRV shoe drops: PLoS Pathogens study linking prostate cancer to virus retracted

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Less than 24 hours after the publication of a study showing no link between XMRV, aka xenotropic murine leukemia-related virus, and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), the authors of a a study claiming a link between the virus and prostate cancer have has been retractedit. The move comes along with the publication of a new study showing that no such link exists.

Here’s the notice, from PLoS Pathogens: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

September 19th, 2012 at 6:30 am