Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘nature publishing group’ Category

Macchiarini paper in Nature journal earns expression of concern for data questions

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nature-communications-228x300Nature Communications has issued an expression of concern for a 2014 paper by beleaguered surgeon Paolo Macchiarini, citing concerns over whether the paper accurately reports the experiments that were carried out.

According to the notice, Macchiarini, a former rising star in the field of transplant medicine, agrees with the expression of concern. Three of his 22 co-authors have objected.

Experimental orthotopic transplantation of a tissue-engineered oesophagus in rats” describes transplanting an esophagus into rats that was seeded with their own stem cells, and notes that all animals survived the study period (14 days), and gained more weight than rats given a placebo operation. It’s a topic Macchiarini has made famous, as the first surgeon to perform a similar procedure with a human tracheal transplant. But he’s faced charges of misconduct in the last few years, resulting in his dismissal from Karolinska Institutet (KI).

Here’s the text of the notice, scheduled to go live at 10 a.m. UK time today: Read the rest of this entry »

Cancer biologist says Nature journal “censored” his News & Views, retracts it

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nature-reviews-clinical-oncologyA cancer biologist has retracted a 2016 News & Views article in a Nature journal, alleging that the journal tried to censor his writing by asking him to remove passages that criticized another journal (Cell)

Carlo Croce, the sole author of the article in Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology from Ohio State University in Columbus, described the journal’s actions to us as “disgusting” and “worrisome.”

A spokesperson from the journal sent us this statement:

We regret that this situation occurred. We cannot comment beyond the retraction notice.

This isn’t Croce’s first retraction (we just found another recent one, in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, over image problems). He’s also co-authored multiple papers with Alfredo Fusco, a cancer researcher in Italy who has nine retractions under his belt, and is undergoing criminal investigation for scientific misconduct.

Here’s the retraction notice, published in Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology on October 4: Read the rest of this entry »

Second paper about major blood pressure drug trial in Japan to be retracted

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hr_cimageA second paper about a major randomized trial in Japanese patients with heart disease is being retracted, after an investigation reportedly found multiple problems with the paper.

As predicted by Pharma JapanHypertension Research is retracting a 2011 paper, already the subject of two errata. Although a spokesperson said she couldn’t say why the paper was being retracted, as the notice was still in production, editor Toshihiko Ishimitsu told us: Read the rest of this entry »

1st retraction for cancer researcher who doctored data in 11 studies

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LeukemiaA cancer journal has retracted a paper co-authored by a researcher who falsified or fabricated data in 11 studies, according to an investigation by the Office of Research Integrity (ORI).

In December 2015, an ORI probe into the work of Girija Dasmahapatra concluded that he had

…duplicated, reused, and/or relabeled Western blot panels and mouse images and claimed they represented different controls and/or experimental results…

Dasmahapatra left the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in July 2015.

Here’s the retraction notice, issued in April 2016: Read the rest of this entry »

A prominent psychiatry researcher is dismissed. What’s happening to his papers?

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Alexander Neumeister. Source: Yale School of Medicine

After a prominent researcher was dismissed due to multiple instances of misconduct in his studies, how are journals responding?

When an investigation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found multiple issues with the work of psychiatry researcher Alexander Neumeister, New York University (NYU) Langone Medical Center shut down eight of his studies. (Disclosure: The author of this post is an NYU journalism student, but has no relationship with the medical school.) The agency concluded the studies, which involved using experimental drugs to relieve symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), were tainted by lax oversight, falsified records, and inaccurate case histories, according to the New York Times. (Neuroskeptic also recently analyzed the case.)

We reached out to the journals that have published Neumeister’s papers, to ask if these recent events have caused them to take a second look at his work. Several have responded, with some noting they plan to investigate, or will do so if asked by the institution. But many believe there is little cause for concern. Read the rest of this entry »

Authors who lost paper linking fecal transplants to obesity have another retracted

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International Journal of ObesityAn obesity journal has retracted a study by authors who previously lost another paper that suggested a link between the fecal microbiome and obesity.

We first came across on the now-retracted paper in the International Journal of Obesity (IJO) in April when we reported on the authors’ other retraction in Diabetes. The 2014 paper had a corrigendum, published the same year, and also for image-related issues. Since then, however, the journal has pulled the IJO paper and its associated corrigendum at the request of the French National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRA) in Paris. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

July 8th, 2016 at 8:00 am

Investigation raises questions about top cancer researcher’s work

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Journal of Pathology

A prominent pancreatic cancer researcher has lost a meeting abstract and corrected a Nature paper following an institutional investigation.

Queen Mary University of London determined that, in an abstract by Thorsten Hagemann, “elements of the study summarised by this abstract are not reliable.” Hagemann has recently issued a correction to a 2014 Nature paper he co-authored, which also cited the Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) investigation, noting there was reason to question the provenance of the data.

Hagemann is currently the medical director of Immodulon Therapeutics, and has long been recognized for his work in the field, including a three-year grant of £180,000 from the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund in 2013.

Here’s the retraction notice from the The Journal of Pathology, regarding an abstract from the 7th Joint Meeting of the British Division of the International Academy of Pathology and the Pathological Society of Great Britain & Ireland: Read the rest of this entry »

Authors pull Nature paper about DEET and flies

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Nature CoverAuthors have retracted a Nature paper which identified neurons that render flies sensitive to a potent insect repellent, after losing confidence in the findings. The first author, however, said she does not agree with the retraction, noting that she continues to believe the data are correct.

According to the notice, the remaining authors say they no longer support the claim that certain neurons in the antennae of fruit flies are repelled by DEET, the active ingredient in many insect repellents. The last author told us some of the paper’s results are not in doubt; nevertheless, he added, the paper would not have been published in Nature without the key conclusion, so he and most of his co-authors have pulled the paper in its entirety.

Alongside the retraction, the journal has also published a Brief Communications Arising article by scientists who were unable to reproduce the paper’s findings.

Here’s the retraction notice, published today:
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Two journals retracting papers from University of Malaya featuring widely criticized figures

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The image that excited twitter: Figure 6 from the Scientific Reports paper

The image that excited Twitter

One journal has retracted a paper containing images that recently raised suspicions of obvious duplications, and another journal is planning to do the same.

Scientists first leveled accusations against the newly retracted paper in Scientific Reports, along with two others by the same researchers, earlier this month on Twitter. One other journal — PeerJ — has announced that it plans to retract one of the questioned papers, as well. The third paper, in Frontiers in Pharmacology, bears an expression of concern.

It was unusually quick action on the part of the journals, as well as the authors’ host institution, the University of Malaya, which announced last week the authors had manipulated figures in all three papers, along with one other.

Here’s today’s retraction notice from Scientific Reports for “Novel piperazine core compound induces death in human liver cancer cells: possible pharmacological properties:”

Read the rest of this entry »

Figures questioned online were manipulated, says Malaysia investigation

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The image that excited twitter: Figure 6 from the Scientific Reports paper

The image that set Twitter abuzz: Figure 6 from the Scientific Reports paper, in which every cell in each stage of cell death appeared to be an exact copy.

Many figures in four papers by a research team in Malaysia contain duplication or manipulation, a university committee has found, calling for multiple retractions.

We learned about issues with three of the papers, including one in Scientific Reports, earlier this week when they were the talk of Twitter. As journals issued expressions of concern, and an expert wondered how the papers passed peer review at all, the first author, a researcher at the University of Malaya (UM), denied allegations of duplication.

UM was alerted to allegations of misconduct in the Scientific Reports paper last Saturday, and according to a statement published today:

Read the rest of this entry »