Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘cell press’ Category

“We were completely shocked:” Plant biologists issue mega-correction

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Plant Cell cover

Plant biologists have issued a major correction (what we dub “mega“) after realizing a significant mistake in their experiment.

The 2014 paper shows that a protein known as RAP plays a key role in chloroplast biogenesis. But as Ludwig Maximilians University-based authors Alexandra-Viola Bohne and Laura Kleinknecht continued to do their research, they found an error in the design of primers they used to synthesize the RNA for their experiments — and told us they are concerned other researchers could run into the same problem.

Although the authors considered retracting the paper, since its main conclusion was unaffected, they issued a correction notice, published in April in Plant Cell:

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Authors pull Mol Cell paper for “inappropriate manipulation” of data

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Molecular CellThe authors of a Molecular Cell paper have retracted it due to issues with multiple figures — including one with evidence of “intentional misconduct.”

According to the authors’ institution, IMIM in Barcelona, all co-authors are aware of the retraction. The penultimate author — Antonio García de Herrerosretracted three papers in May from the Journal of Biological Chemistry for reusing images to represent different experiments, and recently corrected multiple figures in a Journal of Cell Science paper over “possible duplications and/or splices.”

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

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

June 29th, 2016 at 9:30 am

Authors reused images in three papers, concludes journal probe

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JBCBiologists are retracting three papers after the journal concluded they contain reused images, designed to represent different experiments. The authors stand by the conclusions, some of which they say have been “extensively validated.”

The Journal of Biological Chemistry used image analysis software to evaluate the images, first published at least a decade ago. Unfortunately, the raw data behind the problematic images were not available. The authors have also corrected a fourth paper in another journal, and wrote on PubPeer that they are working with journals to address concerns in three more.

The papers share two authors: Mireia Duñach at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, and Antonio García de Herreros at the Institut Hospital del Mar d’Investigacions Mèdiques. A representative of the Institut Hospital del Mar d’Investigacions Mèdiques told us it is looking into Garcia de Herreros’s work.

We’ll start with “β-Catenin N- and C-terminal tails modulate the coordinated binding of adherens junction proteins to β-catenin,” which has been cited 45 times since it was published in 2002, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science. The retraction notice says:

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Grad student who confessed to falsifying data barred from government funding

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ori-logoNearly five months after a graduate student at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine spontaneously confessed to cooking data, the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) said today that she has agreed to exclude herself from receiving government funding for three years.

According to the ORI, Meredyth Forbes: Read the rest of this entry »

Authors retract non-reproducible Cell paper

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CellAuthors have retracted a paper from Cell after they were unable to reproduce data in two figures, compromising their confidence in some of the findings.

The authors revisited their experiments after another lab was unable to replicate their data, about proteins that may play a role in lung cancer.

The first author told Nature News in 2013 that the paper may have helped her secure her current position at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research in Massachusetts.

Pulling “Cytohesins are cytoplasmic ErbB receptor activators” appears to be a case of doing the right thing, given the detailed retraction notice:

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Einstein grad student admits cooking data, settles with Office of Research Integrity

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Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 1.05.49 PMOne Friday in January, graduate student Meredyth Forbes was reviewing material for her dissertation with her mentor when she decided to make a confession.

She “burst out with a statement that some of the data was fabricated,” said Edward Burns, research integrity officer at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where Forbes worked. It was, Burns told Retraction Watch: Read the rest of this entry »

Cell Press flags two papers after author confesses to fraud

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Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 8.45.56 PMNormally, when we see disputes over fraud allegations, it’s one author accusing another — but an unusual case at Cell has recently crossed our desk.

The journal has flagged a paper after an author confessed to committing fraud himself — but the corresponding author is disputing that confession, citing concerns about the confessor’s “motives and credibility.”

Independent labs are repeating the experiments to determine if the third author on the paper did, as he so claims, manipulate experiments. In the meantime, Cell and Molecular Cell have issued expressions of concern (EOCs) for two papers on which Yao-Yun Liang was a co-author. The notices cite an inquiry at Baylor College of Medicine, where the work was done, which was inconclusive, and recommended the journals take no action about the papers.

The EOCs are pretty much the same (both journals are published by Cell Press). Here’s the EOC that appears on “PPM1A functions as a Smad phosphatase to terminate TGFbeta signaling,” published in 2006 by Cell and cited 251 times, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science:

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Cancer Cell paper under investigation following anonymous queries on PubPeer

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cancer cellA Cancer Cell paper that caused a flurry of activity on the website PubPeer is under investigation, after the last author announced on the site that he’d requested a correction from the journal.

The 2012 paper sparked a lively dialogue last month on the post-publication discussion site, as commenters questioned Western blot images in which some bands appeared to be duplicates. The last author responded, noting he had alerted the journal to a “mishap,” and a correction would be forthcoming. However, some commenters remained unsatisfied, and questioned why the correction was taking so long to appear, as well as the explanation for what went wrong.

A spokesman from Cancer Cell confirmed to us the paper is under investigation: Read the rest of this entry »

Misidentified DNA leads authors to retract zebrafish cholesterol paper

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Authors are retracting a 2012 paper on cholesterol metabolism in zebrafish after realizing it included a case of mistaken identity in a DNA sequence crucial to some aspects of the experiment.  

A postdoc misidentified the plasmid in question after failing to fully sequence it before including it in the experiment. A technician in the lab found the mistake, last author Steven Farber, a researcher at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Maryland, explained:

When the omitted region was correctly sequenced we discovered it had an error.

He told us in a phone interview what that felt like:

We were like, holy crap.

Next came months of back and forth with the journal, discussing whether to correct or retract the paper. Farber tells us the mistake, which affects two figures,

was unfortunate. Most of the paper is in fact correct.

The paper, “Visualization of Lipid Metabolism in the Zebrafish Intestine Reveals a Relationship between NPC1L1-Mediated Cholesterol Uptake and Dietary Fatty Acid,” published in Chemistry & Biology, has been cited 21 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Here’s the detailed retraction noteRead the rest of this entry »

Stem cell researcher Jacob Hanna’s correction count updated to 10

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Jacob Hanna

Jacob Hanna

Thanks to some eagle-eyed readers, we’ve been alerted to some corrections for high profile stem cell scientist Jacob Hanna that we had missed, bringing our count to one retraction and 13 errata on 10 papers.

The problems in the work range from duplications of images, to inadvertent deletions in figures, to failures by his co-authors to disclose funding sources or conflicts of interest. Hanna is the first or last author on 4 of the papers, and one of several on the rest.

First up, a correction to a Cell paper on which Hanna is the first author:

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