Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘scientific reports’ Category

Two journals retracting papers from University of Malaya featuring widely criticized figures

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The image that excited twitter: Figure 6 from the Scientific Reports paper

The image that excited Twitter

One journal has retracted a paper containing images that recently raised suspicions of obvious duplications, and another journal is planning to do the same.

Scientists first leveled accusations against the newly retracted paper in Scientific Reports, along with two others by the same researchers, earlier this month on Twitter. One other journal — PeerJ — has announced that it plans to retract one of the questioned papers, as well. The third paper, in Frontiers in Pharmacology, bears an expression of concern.

It was unusually quick action on the part of the journals, as well as the authors’ host institution, the University of Malaya, which announced last week the authors had manipulated figures in all three papers, along with one other.

Here’s today’s retraction notice from Scientific Reports for “Novel piperazine core compound induces death in human liver cancer cells: possible pharmacological properties:”

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Figures questioned online were manipulated, says Malaysia investigation

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The image that excited twitter: Figure 6 from the Scientific Reports paper

The image that set Twitter abuzz: Figure 6 from the Scientific Reports paper, in which every cell in each stage of cell death appeared to be an exact copy.

Many figures in four papers by a research team in Malaysia contain duplication or manipulation, a university committee has found, calling for multiple retractions.

We learned about issues with three of the papers, including one in Scientific Reports, earlier this week when they were the talk of Twitter. As journals issued expressions of concern, and an expert wondered how the papers passed peer review at all, the first author, a researcher at the University of Malaya (UM), denied allegations of duplication.

UM was alerted to allegations of misconduct in the Scientific Reports paper last Saturday, and according to a statement published today:

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Author denies accusations of blatant duplication

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NPGTwitter is abuzz today over allegations that a recent paper in Scientific Reports contains a blatant example of duplication.

According to the allegations, a group of researchers in Malaysia have used the same four images to represent some 30 cells at different stages of cell death. One researcher has even suggested the allegedly doctored images appear in three different papers.

Is this a manipulated image? See for yourself:

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Raw files help fix 2003 figure by heart researcher accused of fraud

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A researcher accused of misconduct by an anonymous Japanese blogger has corrected a 2003 paper in Circulation Research, after providing a university investigation with the original source files.

Allegations of fraud have dogged Shokei Kim-Mitsuyama for years, and even caused him to step down from his position as editor in chief at another journal. However, Kim-Mitsuyama and his colleagues call the latest correction a “mistake,” which didn’t affect any of the paper’s conclusions.

We’ve unearthed a total of five publications co-authored by Kim-Mitsuyama that have earned corrections, the latest of which cites an investigation by the university:

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Author from China blames translation company for plagiarism in retracted vascular paper

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apjcpDo we need a “throwing vendors under the bus” category here at Retraction Watch?

Earlier this year, we reported on the retraction of a paper because of sloppy work by an outside lab. Now, we have the story of a retraction for “negligence” by a translator. Specifically, the author says the passages shared between the retracted 2015 vascular paper and another paper in EMBO Journal are a result of “negligence on the part of the translation company that I trusted to make my manuscript ready for submission.”

Here’s more from the notice in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, written by Yong Jiang, of Laboratory Medical College, Jilin Medical College, China: Read the rest of this entry »

“The main improvements reported are invalid”: Quantum communication paper retracted

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scientificreportsA paper on quantum communication has been retracted for failing to address several important problems, making the conclusions invalid.

Quantum communication involves sending a series of photons in specific quantum states over fiberoptic cables. It’s a little like the 1s and 0s of traditional computing, but much more secure. If the photons are intercepted on their way to the intended target, the quantum states will change, and the recipients can know their information was accessed by other parties. This is especially interesting to governments with a lot of secret information to transmit: both China and the U.S. have programs to develop these networks.

The retracted paper was a discussion of how to efficiently send lots of quantum information from different sources through the same fiberoptic cables at once.

Here’s the notice for “Efficient Quantum Transmission in Multiple-Source Networks”: Read the rest of this entry »

Far from earth-shatteringly new: Plagiarism topples Chinese quake paper

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scientificreportsA group of scientists at the Chinese Earthquake Administration in Beijing have lost their 2014 paper in Nature Scientific Reports for lifting chunks of text from a previously published article.

The abstract of the paper, “Early magnitude estimation for the MW7.9 Wenchuan earthquake using progressively expanded P-wave time window,” states: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by amarcus41

January 26th, 2015 at 9:30 am

Paper linking cell phones during pregnancy to behavior problems in mice corrected

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scientificreportsThe authors of a study published last year looking at the effects of cell phone exposure on mice in utero have corrected a figure after it was questioned. New experiments, they write, confirm the original conclusions they drew from the figure.

Here’s the corrected figure from the paper in Scientific Reports, published by Nature Publishing Group: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

February 18th, 2013 at 11:01 am

Two Moriguchi stem cell papers being retracted

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It was, as Nature News wrote last month, a story that “seemed too good to be true:”

Stem-cell transplant claims debunked

Transplant of induced pluripotent stem cells to treat heart failure probably never happened

Hisashi Moriguchi, a visiting researcher at the University of Tokyo, had claimed a result that would have put him years ahead of researchers toiling in stem cell research. But the claims were met with a great deal of doubt — to say the least — and the story began to unravel when Harvard, where Moriguchi said he’d done the work, denied it had ever taken place.

And as expected, the retractions have now started. Today, a Nature Publishing Group journal said they would be retracting two papers, “A therapeutic method for the direct reprogramming of human liver cancer cells with only chemicals” and “Successful cryopreservation of human ovarian cortex tissues using supercooling.” The notices for the Scientific Reports papers will both say the same thing: Read the rest of this entry »