Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘elsevier’ Category

Breast cancer studies by fired Pfizer employee retracted

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Last year, Pfizer fired one of its scientists following an investigation that ended with requests for retraction of five of her studies. Now, two of the five papers, which were first flagged on PubPeer, have been retracted.

One notice cites the Pfizer investigation, which found that cancer researcher Min-Jean Yin had included duplicated images in all five papers. Yin is the last author on both retracted papers.

Here’s the first notice from Clinical Cancer Research, which says most or all of the questioned images appear to be duplicates, and Pfizer — who sponsored the study and requested the retraction — can’t find the originals:
Read the rest of this entry »

Japan group earns 4th retraction following investigation

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Researchers in Japan have issued their fourth retraction, noting that the same figures were used to depict different experimental conditions.

The group lost two papers in 2015 for the same reason, following a misconduct investigation at Oita University in Japan. Last year, the same group notched another retraction, and pegged the responsibility for the problematic figures on first author Satoshi Hagiwara.

Now, the group has published a fourth retraction in the European Journal of Pharmacologythe latest notice doesn’t identify a culprit. All four retracted papers list Hagiwara as first author.

Here’s the latest retraction notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Harvard biologist retracts diabetes breakthrough in Cell

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2013 probably felt like it was going to be a great year for stem cell biologist Douglas Melton at Harvard. He had published a buzz-worthy paper in Cell about a new way to potentially boost insulin in diabetics, attracting significant media attention, and eventually gathering nearly 200 citations.

But 2016 is closing out on a less positive tone for Melton — today, he and his colleagues are retracting the paper, after multiple labs (including his own) couldn’t reproduce the findings.

Although the lab has itself already published two articles casting doubt on the original findings, Melton told Retraction Watch he chose to retract the paper to ensure there was no confusion about the original paper’s validity: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

December 27th, 2016 at 10:00 am

Lesson not learned: Researchers copied a master’s thesis — twice

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A material science journal has retracted a paper after learning the authors took most of the content from a master’s thesis – and added the author as a co-author without his knowledge.

The authors must have really liked this thesis – they lost another paper in 2015 for copying from the same document.

Both retracted articles were co-authored by three researchers in the Department of Civil Engineering at Shahid Rajaee Teacher Training University in Tehran, Iran. The first author, Saeed Ghaffarpour Jahromi, serves as the University’s Dean of Faculty in the School of Civil Engineering.

Simon Hesp, a professor in the Department of Chemistry at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, told Retraction Watch that he had notified both journals about the plagiarism when he recognized the thesis of Benjamin James Smith, who was a master’s student in his lab from 1998 to 2000. Hesp told us: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Stephanie Wykstra

December 26th, 2016 at 9:30 am

Prominent physicist accused of repeated self-plagiarism logs 2 retractions

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optical-materialsA physicist working for the Indian government has notched two retractions after being accused of multiple acts of self-plagiarism by his colleagues.

One retraction notice in Applied Surface Science says a duplicate of the paper was previously published by the same author — N. K. Sahoo, a researcher at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), which is part of the Indian government’s Department of Atomic Energy in Trombay, Mumbai. The other notice, which appears in Optical Materials, notes that the study “for the most part” has appeared in another paper by Sahoo.

Despite concerns about his work, Sahoo was promoted in May, according to the Mumbai Mirror. As a result, members of the Bhabha Atomic Research Officers’ Association wrote to BARC director K. N. Vyas asking for the institution to take action against Sahoo. A member of the group told the Mumbai Mirror in August: Read the rest of this entry »

Researchers retract two well-cited papers for misconduct

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A scientist in Germany has lost two papers that were collectively cited more than 500 times, after an investigation at her former university found her guilty of scientific misconduct.

The probe into Tina Wenz by the University of Cologne in Germany, her former employer, recommended that six of her papers — which have induced some chatter on PubPeer — should be retracted. One of these papers was pulled by Cell Metabolism last year. Now, Cell Metabolism has pulled another of Wenz’s papers, and she has also lost another study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), which was previously corrected. 

First, here’s the PNAS retraction notice, issued today: Read the rest of this entry »

Former Stanford researcher up to 5 retractions for unreliable data

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journal-of-memory-and-languageA psychology researcher formerly based at Stanford University has logged her fifth retraction due to unreliable results.

According to the notice in the Journal of Memory and Language, Sandra Lozano takes full responsibility for the retraction.

Apparently, the retraction has been in the works for eight years — and in that time, journals have retracted four other papers co-authored by Lozano.

A Stanford spokesperson told us: Read the rest of this entry »

More co-author misconduct raises NIH neuroscientist’s retraction count to 8

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Stanley Rapoport. Source: NIH

Stanley Rapoport. Source: NIH

Not again.

That’s the sound of learning that a third scientist you worked with committed misconduct.

In the last two years, we reported on two retractions for neuroscientist Stanley Rapoport, the result of misconduct by two different first authors. We’ve since discovered more retractions resulting from those cases — and a new retraction stemming from the actions of yet another co-author.  

Although the latest retraction notice doesn’t reveal the reason for retraction, both the journal editor and Rapoport — based at the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) — confirmed to us that it is the result of misconduct by the last author, Jagadeesh Rao. According to Rapoport, a “number of retractions [for] Rao are still in the works.”

We asked Rapoport for his reaction to multiple cases of misconduct by his colleagues, including the two first authors we’ve already reported on, Fei Gao and Mireille Basselin:

Read the rest of this entry »

How a Cell journal weeds out the “bad apples”

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Anne Granger (left) and Nikla Emambokus (right)

Anne Granger (left) and Nikla Emambokus (right)

There are a lot of accusations about research misconduct swirling around, and not every journal handles them the same. Recently, Cell Metabolism Scientific Editor Anne Granger and Cell Metabolism Editor-in-Chief Nikla Emambokus shared some details about their investigative procedure in “Weeding out the Bad Apples.” We talked to them about why they don’t necessarily trust accusations leveled on blogs (including ours), but will consider the concerns of anyone who approaches the journal directly – even anonymously.

Retraction Watch: What made you decide to write an editorial about research fraud now? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

November 25th, 2016 at 9:30 am

Tomato study didn’t get co-author okays, includes unreliable data

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scientia-horticulturaeA journal has retracted a paper examining the traits of drought-resistant tomatoes after an investigation at the first author’s institution in Italy found a number of problems.

For starters, the first author — Maria Riccardi of the National Research Council of Italy-Institute for Agricultural and Forest Systems in the Mediterranean (CNR-ISAFOM) in Ercolano, Naples, Italy — apparently submitted the paper without consulting the study’s four other listed co-authors. What’s more, according to the retraction notice in Scientia Horticulturae, the paper’s description of the experiment “does not reflect the real conditions under which the data was collected,” rendering the findings invalid.  

Riccardo d’Andria, CNR-ISAFOM’s former director who conducted an investigation into the case, said Read the rest of this entry »