Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘behind a paywall’ Category

Two more retractions appear for prominent MIT cancer researcher Robert Weinberg

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genes and developmentTwo identical retraction notices have popped up for MIT professor Robert Weinberg, a highly-cited cancer researcher who had a retraction and a correction in 2013, both in Cancer Cell. 

These two new retractions, in Genes and Development, stem directly from another paper by Weinberg and colleagues in Cell that will apparently be retracted, as the “same analytical methodology was used,” according to the notices [see bottom of the post for an update].

Weinberg is highly regarded, and at least 20 of his papers have been cited over a thousand times.

First author Scott Valastyan was a promising postdoc at the time of the paper’s publication. He was a 2011 Runyon Fellow at Harvard, a three-year, $156,000 award for outstanding cancer postdocs. He doesn’t seem to have published anything since 2012, though he is listed as a joint inventor with Weinberg on patents filed in 2009 and 2014.

Here are the notices for “Concomitant suppression of three target genes can explain the impact of a microRNA on metastasis” (cited 73 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge) and “Activation of miR-31 function in already-established metastases elicits metastatic regression” (cited 54 times), both paywalled: Read the rest of this entry »

Warning: plagiarism may be hazardous to your safety paper

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12 Process Safety and Environmental Protection (once)A paper on making emergency evacuations more efficient at facilities that handle hazardous materials has been retracted for plagiarism.

According to the Process Safety and Environmental Protection retraction notice, the 2013 paper, by a group at Tsinghua University in Beijing, plagiarized part of a 2007 article by Greek researchers called “Modeling emergency evacuation for major hazard industrial sites.” (The 2007 article has been cited 46 times, according to Google Scholar.)

Here’s the notice for “Emergency Response Plans Optimization for Unexpected Environmental Pollution Incidents using an Open Space Emergency Evacuation Model” (paywalled): Read the rest of this entry »

Authors retract 2007 PNAS paper on aging due to figure’s “unintentional anomalies”

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pnas 2515The authors of a 2007 PNAS paper that provided molecular details for how calorie restriction may act on Sir2 enzymes to extend life are now retracting their research after discovering a figure was compromised by “several unintentional anomalies in the background image.”

According to study author David W. Piston at Vanderbilt University, first author Qinghong Zhang cut and pasted images together to beautify a figure showing how a form of sugar affects the expression of SIRT1, the mammalian version of the Sir2 enzyme: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

February 4th, 2015 at 3:18 pm

“Genuine error” sees expression of concern for vision loss paper

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elsevierA duplicated figure has resulted in an expression of concern for a paper in the American Journal of Pathology on a treatment for ocular neovascularization, which causes vision loss.

According to the notice, the corresponding author, David Shima, now at University College London, brought his concern to the journal. He called it a “genuine error” and stated that all the findings had been reproduced.

Unfortunately, Shima claimed the original data are missing, because the institution that owned the information — Eyetech Research Center — has “since gone through several acquisitions.”

Ocular neovascularization occurs when growth signals in the eye stimulate the creation of many new blood vessels. Over time these blood vessels break, causing bleeding and scarring that limits vision. This is called “wet” macular degeneration.

The scientists found that giving patients drugs to limit two different growth factors at the same time is more effective than one at stopping the progression of AMD. This combination method is in stage three clinical trials, though with different drugs than the authors used here.

The paper, published in 2006, has been cited 130 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. Here’s the EoC for “Inhibition of Platelet-Derived Growth Factor B Signaling Enhances the Efficacy of Anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Therapy in Multiple Models of Ocular Neovascularization”:

Read the rest of this entry »

Cut and paste and a PC crash: figure manipulations sink two papers

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Two papers by an overlapping group of researchers in Italy have been retracted for manipulated figures.

In late 2013, perennial tipster Clare Francis sent their concerns about several papers, including the two that have been retracted, by authors who frequently publish together. One of the papers, in the Journal of Neurochemistry, is from a team led by Ferdinando Nicoletti; four other papers from the group have been criticized on PubPeer for image manipulation, which he addressed via email with us.

The second retracted paper, from the Journal of Immunology, has shares one author with the first: Patrizia Di Iorio of the University of Chieti, though according to Nicoletti she had no role in preparing the figures.

Here’s the April 2014 notice for “Neuroprotection mediated by glial group-II metabotropic glutamate receptors requires the activation of the MAP kinase and the phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase pathways” in the Journal of Neurochemistry. It’s behind a paywall, but the journal has assured us this is against policy and they will be fixing it shortly:
Read the rest of this entry »

Duplicate submission forces retraction of derm laser paper

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jclasertherThe Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy has retracted a 2014 paper by a group of South Korean researchers after determining that the authors had doubled up on their publishing odds by submitting the manuscript to a competing journal.

The article was titled “A comparative study of low-fluence 1064-nm Q-switched Nd:YAG laser with or without chemical peeling using Jessner’s solution in melasma patients,” and it purported to find that:

This study suggests Jessner’s peel is a safe and effective method in the early course of treatment for melasma when combined with low-fluence 1064-nm Q-switched Nd:YAG laser.

Read the rest of this entry »

U Colorado “golden boy” grad student faked data in drug lab, says investigation

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u coloradoA graduate student at the University of Colorado Denver faked data in his work at a drug research lab that has notched two retractions and an expression of concern over “data integrity,” according to an extensive university investigation.

It seems like many more retractions are on the horizon for grad student Rajendra Kadam, who worked in the lab of Uday Kompella, a pharmaceutical researcher at the university.  

Here’s an excerpt from the report, which you can read in full (but redacted) here: Read the rest of this entry »

Water under the bridge? Hydrology journals won’t retract plagiarized papers despite university request

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hydrogeology journalIn April 2014, we wrote about the case of a former hydrologist at the University of Kansas (KU), Marios Sophocleous, who had plagiarized in at least seven studies, two of which were retracted by the journal Ground Water.

At the time, we mentioned two other articles, in the Hydrogeology Journal, that appeared destined for retraction — not least because KU requested that the journal yank them. But in a rather surprising move, the journal is declining to do so, and another publication, the Journal of Hydrology, is taking the same approach.

Here’s the notice from Hydrogeology Journal editor Clifford Voss: Read the rest of this entry »

Nature Cell Biology insulin paper retracted over antibody problems

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nature cell biologyNature Cell Biology article on insulin regulation has been retracted after scientists noted that the antibodies used in their research were not as specific as they had previously believed.

The notice is clear on the problems with the science, which together “call into question the main conclusions of the paper.” Three of the paper’s five authors were employed at Novartis at the time of publication.

Here’s the notice for “Wolfram syndrome 1 and adenylyl cyclase 8 interact at the plasma membrane to regulate insulin production and secretion”: Read the rest of this entry »

It’s happened again: Journal “cannot rule out” possibility author did his own peer review

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ijkcThomson Reuters’ online peer review system ScholarOne is having quite a year.

This summer, a scientist exploited basic security flaws in how the system accepts author suggestions for peer reviewers to review a whole pile of his own manuscripts, ultimately resulting in the retraction of 60 papers and the resignation of the Taiwan minister of education.

Now, another journal that uses the system, Wiley’s International Journal of Chemical Kinetics, has retracted a paper because the authors provided their own peer reviewers and “the identity of the peer reviewers could subsequently not be verified.”

We asked editor Craig A. Taatjes if he was concerned the authors had conducted their own peer review. His response is reflective of many of the breaches we’ve seen so far for these online systems: Read the rest of this entry »