Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘behind a paywall’ Category

Science Signaling corrects data fudged by former UCSF student

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afbb251f8bc8f71e26b313c77669d48fA paper containing data fudged by former University of California San Francisco grad student Peter Littlefield has been corrected. We knew that this was coming — last month, the Office of Research Integrity issued a report that Littlefield had admitted to misconduct, and agreed to a retraction or correction of the two affected papers.

Published in Science Signaling, “Structural analysis of the /HER3 heterodimer reveals the molecular basis for activating HER3 mutations” examined the structural details of a protein associated with cancer. It has been cited two times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

According to the correction note, the concentration of a protein presented in one figure was “miscalculated;” in another figure, the error bars were “calculated incorrectly.”

A statement from the UCSF affirmed that principle investigator Natalie Jura has “not been implicated in any research misconduct finding,” and explains that Read the rest of this entry »

Retraction no. 8 (and a 1/2) hits former Duke researcher Erin Potts-Kant

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American Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular PhysiologyAnother retraction and a correction that retracts two figures — ie, a partial retraction — have been posted for Duke University lung researchers, Erin Potts-Kant and Michael Foster.

These latest notices move the count up to 8.5 retractions for Potts-Kant and 7.5 for Foster (counting the partial retraction as 1/2), along with the correction for both. In both cases and in a familiar note from previous retractions, authors found “potential discrepancies” between two sets of data (partial retraction) and study figures that weren’t “reliable” (retraction).

The retraction comes after the authors discovered problems with three of the study figures. In the corrected paper, the authors were able to validate some of their findings after repeating the experiments, but retracted two of the study figures that they were “unable to verify.”

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Three retractions for Oregon neuroscience student investigated by ORI

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Journals have retracted three out of the four papers flagged by the Office of Research Integrity during its investigation of a University of Oregon neuroscience student, David Anderson.

Last month, when we first reported on the case, Anderson told us that he “made an error in judgment,” and took “full responsibility.” Two of the retraction notes say that Anderson “knowingly falsified data,” and cited the Office of Research Integrity case summary.

All three papers focus on memory.

The note for the first retraction, from the  Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, reveals exactly how Anderson falsified data in the paper. It’s paywalled — tsk, tsk — but printed here in full:
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Accounting professor notches 30 (!) retractions after misconduct finding

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James Hunton, via Bentley University

James Hunton, via Bentley University

It began with a retraction due to a “misstatement” in November 2012, which led to an investigation that found the first author, James E. Hunton, guilty of misconduct.  Now, the floodgates have opened, and Hunton has 31 retractions under his belt, making him the newest addition to the Retraction Watch leaderboard.

A month after the first retraction in 2012, Hunton resigned from his accounting professorship at Bentley University, citing family and health concerns.

Then, in 2014, a university investigation concluded that Hunton fabricated data in two papers and may have destroyed evidence. The first paper was the one retracted from Accounting Review for a misstatement; the second was retracted from Contemporary Accounting Research in December 2014. Even though the investigation centered around two publications, the university suggested more may be affected:

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Rabbit redo: Paper on lepus hepatitis pulled for mutation that “was not supposed to be present”

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JGVThe authors of recent article about the rabbit hepatitis E virus have pulled the paper after discovering an unexpected mutation in their viral clone that likely affected the analysis.

They realized their mistake soon after the article, “RNA transcripts of full-length cDNA clones of rabbit hepatitis E virus are infectious in rabbits,” was published online in the Journal of General Virology in November, 2014. They withdrew the article before it made it into print.

The article came from a group led by Xiang-Jin Meng, of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, an offshoot of Virginia Tech and the University of Maryland.

Here’s the notice, which — tsk tsk — sits behind a pay wall: Read the rest of this entry »

Fungus among us, but what kind? Typing error spawns retraction for mushroom paper

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natprodresAs every mushroom lover knows, weekend mycology is no sport for the lily-livered. Tasty species often look awfully like their deadly cousins. Turns out, typing can even be problematic for the experts.

Natural Products Research is retracting a 2014 paper on shelf fungus because… well, it wasn’t about shelf fungus after all.

The paper, “Chemical constituents: water-soluble vitamins, free amino acids and sugar profile from Ganoderma adspersum,” was written by Ibrahim Kivrak, a food chemist at Mugla Sitki Kocman University in Mugla, Turkey. It analyzed the nutritional components of G. adspersum, and found, per the abstract:

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Exosome pioneer’s paper retracted after investigation finds “multiple” faked figures

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JImmunolThe Journal of Immunology is retracting a 2006 article about the role of exosomes in pregnancy at the behest of the University of Louisville in Kentucky, following a misconduct investigation that “determined multiple figures” in the paper were falsified.

First author Douglas Taylor is a pioneer in exosome biology, having discovered the release of exosomes from tumor cells in the 1970s.

The retracted paper identified “significant quantitative and qualitative differences in released exosomes” in the placentas of fetuses delivered prematurely compared to those delivered without complications at term, particularly relating to immune regulation.  It has been cited 150 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Here’s the retraction note (which is paywalled – tsk, tsk): Read the rest of this entry »

Scientists “wish to resign as co-authors:” Quantum dot paper retracted

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chemcommChemical Communications has retracted a 2015 article by a group of researchers in China over concerns about fabricated data and an incredible shrinking list of authors.

The paper, “N, S co-doped graphene quantum dots from a single source precursor used for photodynamic cancer therapy under two-photon excitation,” was ostensibly written by nine researchers at the Collaborative Innovation Center for Marine Biomass Fiber, Materials and Textiles of Shandong Province, the Shandong Sino-Japanese Center for Collaborative Research of Carbon Nanomaterials, Laboratory of Fiber Materials and Modern Textiles, the Growing Base for State Key Laboratory at the  College of Chemical Science and Engineering at Qingdao University, and Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minn.

According to the abstract: Read the rest of this entry »

Highly cited paper on women and heart disease retracted for failure to replicate

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jcemA highly cited study examining the risks of heart disease in post-menopausal women with symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) has been retracted by its authors because they could not replicate the results.

Here’s the retraction notice for the paper, which appeared in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism: Read the rest of this entry »

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 »