Kelly Wiggins and Christopher Bielawski share authorship on all the papers in question. After the first set of EoCs, Bielawski, at the time a PI at UT Austin, told Chemistry and Engineering News that a “former lab member” had admitted to faking the data. The recent retraction indicates that University of Texas at Austin’s Office of Research Integrity formally investigated the lab, and determined that Bielawski was telling the truth about a former lab member being to blame.
Bielawski has since taken a post at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea. He told us that move was unrelated to anything that happened at UT Austin, but declined to answer other questions. Wiggins got a postdoc at the University of Illinois, which an Illinois spokesperson confirmed lasted from July 1 2013 to January 22 2014; we’re waiting to hear back on our question about whether her departure had anything to do with misconduct.
Now, another journal that uses the system, Wiley’s International Journal of Chemical Kinetics, has retracted a paper because the authors provided their own peer reviewers and “the identity of the peer reviewers could subsequently not be verified.”
The timing on a recent retraction of a paper from Biotechnology and Bioengineering makes it a bit difficult to figure out what happened, but here’s a try.
An article first published online May 16th by a group of researchers at Brown University was retracted on June 1st, apparently because a new and better method for analyzing the data was developed…at some point.
The timeline is not exactly clear from the retraction, though we’ve reached out to the author and publisher and will update with any new information.
Here’s the (paywalled) notice for “High-level production of 3-hydroxypropionatein Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae by introducing part of the 3-hydroxypropionate/4-hydroxybutyrate cycle from Metallosphaera sedula”:
We’re going to get a little meta here, so be warned.
Take a look at the headline of this post. For those of you unfamiliar with the symbols to the left and right of the words, those are quotation marks. What that means is that we’ve taken those two sentences from another source. And here is that other source, a blog post from Tahseen Consulting titled — yes, you guessed it, “Is Imitation the Sincerest Form of Flattery? Not Without Proper Attribution.”