Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘elsevier’ Category

Former UCSF grad student fudged data in two papers

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ORIA former graduate student at the University of California, San Francisco “knowingly falsified and/or fabricated” data in two published papers, according to the Office of Research Integrity.

According to a case summary published this morning, Peter Littlefield was working on his PhD, studying the ways that cells respond to external signals, when he published the two problematic papers. He is the first author on the papers; Natalia Jura, whose lab he worked in, is the last on both.

The report’s findings are based on, among other sources, “the respondent’s admission.”

The first paper, “Structural analysis of the EGFR/HER3 heterodimer reveals the molecular basis for activating HER3 mutations” was published in Science Signaling and has been cited twice, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Three figures in the paper are problematic, says the ORI summary:

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A correction to a correction for stem cell researcher Jacob Hanna

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Jacob Hanna

Jacob Hanna

A correction to a correction is the latest problem for highly cited researcher Jacob Hanna. The stem cell scientist — whose high-profile work has received scrutiny over the past year — has amended an earlier correction notice after a reader spotted an inadvertent “mistake.”

We reported on the original correction, to the 2009 Cell Stem Cell paper “Metastable Pluripotent States in NOD-Mouse-Derived ESCs,” in July. The paper has been cited 184 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Apparently, a pair of images in the original correction note are of the same cell colonies, when they are supposed to be of separate cell colonies.

The new (and detailed) note explains how that happened:

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“Exactly the same clinical study” published six times

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4A group of researchers conducted a clinical trial on hundreds of hypertensive patients. Then, they published the results…six times.

The “nearly identical” papers came to our attention via a retraction in Inflammation. Editor in chief Bruce Cronstein explained how he learned of the mass duplication:

The editors were contacted en masse by somebody doing a Cochrane Review on hypertension and who noticed that the content of the 6 papers was nearly identical.  Frankly, not one of us would have noticed otherwise.

Another of those papers, in the European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, has also been retracted. That note is similar to the retraction notice for the Inflammation paper, both of which have been cited twice:

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“Disagreement about the relative contributions” of authors burns capacitor paper

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S02663538A 2014 paper on a component for thin electric circuits has been retracted from Composites Science and Technology due to a “disagreement” over author contributions, according to the retraction note.

The retraction note for “Preparation and dielectric properties of BaTiO3:epoxy nanocomposites for embedded capacitor application” is short and sweet. Here it is, in full:

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Sheep study pulled for issues with “the validity of data” and “attribution of authorship”

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vetjournalThe Veterinary Journal has retracted a 2014 paper that found that sheep eat more when their food is supplemented with urea (yes, the same compound found in urine).

The notice was published after a “complaint which raised serious concerns.”

Here’s more from the notice:

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Brandeis investigation finds scientific misconduct in gold nanoparticle paper

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A group of authors is retracting a paper from Structure following a Brandeis University investigation that found the first author had fabricated a key result.

Former graduate student Kelsey Anthony was first author of the paper, “High-Affinity Gold Nanoparticle Pin to Label and Localize Histidine-Tagged Protein in Macromolecular Assemblies, which was published online in February 2014. At the time, the Science at Brandeis blog noted: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Shannon Palus

August 6th, 2015 at 2:00 pm

Images “may not be trustworthy”: Aluminum sheets paper folds into retraction

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1-s2.0-S0921509315X00153-cov150hFollowing questions “about the integrity of the microscopy images,” Materials Science and Engineering: A has retracted a paper on the properties of sheets of aluminum under strain.

The images in question show sheets after a few rounds of a process called “constrained groove pressing,” which smushes sheets between two grooved plates, and then between two flat plates, to evaluate how the material holds up.

According to the retraction note for the paper, imaging performed by a third party “may not be trustworthy.”

The paper has been cited 42 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Here’s more from the retraction note to “Nano-structure and mechanical properties of 0–7 strained aluminum by CGP: XRD, TEM and tensile test“:

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Four papers by former Wayne State researcher retracted after ORI report

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Teresita L. Briones

Teresita L. Briones

Retractions have been published for four papers authored by former Wayne State University professor, Teresita L. Briones, after an April ORI report found evidence of misconduct in the articles.

Investigators found that Briones had “intentionally, knowingly, and recklessly engaged in research misconduct by falsifying and/or fabricating data.” They flagged five papers and three grant applications that contained false data.

As a result of their findings, four out of the five papers have been retracted, and the editors of the remaining journal say they are looking into the last paper.

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Canadian researchers in legal battle over investigation object to third retraction

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The Journal of Clinical InvestigationA third retraction — and a notice of concern — have emerged from the investigation into a husband and wife research team at the University of Toronto that found evidence of faked images and duplicated data.

The problem, according to the latest retraction note for Sylvia Asa and Shereen Ezzat, in the Journal of Clinical Investigation: Portions of the RT-PCR gels “are duplicated in this publication and in a subsequent publication.” That subsequent publication is a 2003 paper that has received a Notice of Concern from the American Journal of Pathology.

According to the retraction note, co-author Gillian E. Wu of York University signed off on the journal’s decision, but Asa, Ezzat and second author Lei Zheng dissented to the retraction. Third author Xian-Feng Zhu couldn’t be reached. Although corresponding author Asa noted that “the initial screen of these samples support the conclusions made in the paper,” the JCI made its position perfectly clear in the note:

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Plague or anthrax on the subway? Think again, says now-corrected study

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Cell SystemsAuthors of a widely covered study that documented traces of plague and anthrax on surfaces across New York City have revised the paper after public health officials challenged their interpretations of the data.

It’s hard to overestimate the attention these findings received when first published.

Bubonic plague found in NYC subway,” wrote The Daily Beast.

Your subway seat mate: Bubonic plague, anthrax, & mysterious DNA,” said Yahoo!

NY subway has bubonic plague,” declared Newser.

Not so fast. In an erratum published July 29, the authors write: Read the rest of this entry »