Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘duplication retractions’ Category

Investigation triggers retraction for biochem paper

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PLOS BiologyA paper has been retracted from PLOS Biology for duplicating lanes and incorporating others that “came from an unrelated experiment that had already been published.”

According to the retraction notice, first author Laura Cerchia says that the mistakes came “as a consequence of incorrect incorporation of representative blots.” Cerchia — along with her supervisor, study author Vittorio de Franciscis — apologizes for this.” None of the other authors were “involved in the preparation of these figures, and there is no concern about the results that they contributed.”

Cerchia maintains that the paper’s conclusions are still valid, but the remaining authors write that the issues undermines their confidence in the results. According to the notice, the retraction is a result of “an institutional inquiry” at the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR) in Rome, where Cerchia and de Franciscis are both based.

The notice tells the rest of the story:

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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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Inquiry into duplications reveals “multiple” image problems in tumor study

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STEM_17_1.c1.inddA paper on how abnormal stem cells can cause benign bone tumors has been retracted by Cell Stem Cell after an inquiry into image duplications also uncovered “multiple instances of inappropriate western blot image adjustment.”

The first two authors “declined” to sign the retraction, according to the notice.

Besides confirming initial suspicions that images had been duplicated, the editors also found “multiple instances of inappropriate western blot image adjustment, such as uneven compression of images and removal of background elements:”

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Voinnet notches second retraction, two more corrections

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PNASOlivier Voinnet — a plant researcher who was recently suspended for two years from the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) after an investigation by ETH Zurich and CNRS found evidence of misconduct — has issued his second retraction and two more corrections.

PNAS posted the retraction earlier this week for a 2006 article after an inspection of the raw data revealed “errors” in study images. Authors confirmed the issues in some figures and revealed “additional mounting mistakes” in others.

Voinnet has promised to issue retractions and corrections for every study that requires them. These latest notices bring our tally up to nine corrections, two retractions and one Expression of Concern.

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Retracting duplicated paper “may damage the integrity of the literature,” says plant journal editor

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In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology - PlantIn Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology – Plant has flagged a 2004 article that was “accidentally” duplicated from another paper published earlier that year — but did so in the form of a publisher’s erratum, not a retraction.

The editor of the journal justified the decision by arguing that the duplicated paper had been cited “over a dozen times” and was old enough to not warrant a retraction:

Considering that both articles were published over a decade ago and both have been referenced by other papers over a dozen times each, it seems like a retraction of one manuscript may damage the integrity of the literature more than using the erratum to point out the error to future scientists.

The study, “In vitro shoot regeneration from cotyledonary node explants of a multipurpose leguminous tree, Pterocarpus marsupium roxb,” developed a protocol for effectively growing shoots of the Indian Kino tree.

The first version has been cited 21 times and the duplicated version was cited 13 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. Here’s the notice:

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UPitt investigation brings total retraction count to four for pair of cancer researchers

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Journal of Biological Chemistry1An official inquiry by the University of Pittsburgh has led to two more retractions for a pair of cancer researchers, Tong Wu and Chang Han. By our count, the pair now have four retractions under their belt, all the result of the university investigation.

The Journal of Biological Chemistry published the notices earlier this month, after it was discovered the papers contained cropped panels, among other issues. Importantly, the two papers appear to even have shared some data.

One 2006 paper, “Modulation of Stat3 Activation by the Cytosolic Phospholipase A2α and Cyclooxygenase-2-controlled Prostaglandin E2 Signaling Pathway,” investigated the molecular actors in cancer growth, such as overexpression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). It has been cited 34 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. Here’s the notice:

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Cell biologist Hanna issues two errata; images mysteriously disappear from Imgur

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Jacob Hanna

Jacob Hanna

Cell biologist Jacob Hanna, the highly cited stem cell researcher currently at the Weizmann Institute of Science,  has posted a long erratum for a 2005 paper in Blood for “inadvertent mistakes,” among other issues; soon after, Hanna’s team issued another erratum for a 2009 Cell Stem Cell paper.

There’s more to tell: Last month, commenters on PubPeer noticed that images from at least 10 of the research papers Hanna coauthored in seven journals — that commenters had posted on the image hosting website Imgur and linked to on PubPeer — had been deleted.

Imgur did not confirm whether these specific images had been deleted, but told Retraction Watch:

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Cervical cancer paper is scrapped for duplication in the same journal, year

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XLargeThumb.00009577-201507000-00000.CVOver a decade ago, a case report on a woman with cervical cancer and lymphoma was “published twice” by the International Journal of Gynecological Cancer within the span of a few months. The retraction note came out just now.

One copy of the paper appeared in the July 2003 issue of the journal. The second, now-retracted, copy — “Coincidental detection of T-cell rich B cell lymphoma in the para-aortic lymph nodes of a woman undergoing lymph node dissection for cervical cancer: A case report” — was published later that year, in the September issue.

There are just a few cosmetic differences between the headlines and abstracts of the papers  — a “;” instead of a “,”; a change in verb tense, and a typo, for instance. (See a text comparison of the abstracts here.)

The brief retraction note, from the journal’s Editor in Chief Uziel Beller, doesn’t explain what took so long to act on the error — just tosses the blame to whoever was in charge of the journal at the time:

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“Major overlap” forces retraction of osteoporosis paper

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j adv nursThe Journal of Advanced Nursing has retracted a 2006 paper by a group of authors in Hong Kong who lifted much of the text from a previous article of theirs in a competing publication.

The article, “Osteoporosis prevention education programme for women,” came from Moon Fai Chan and C.Y. Ko in the School of Nursing at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Per the abstract:
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Psych journal axes study of child molesters

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Journal Of Sexual Aggression

A journal has issued a “notice of redundant publication” for a paper that used virtual reality to understand arousal patterns in child molesters — the result of “an unfortunate sequence of personal events relating to the first author.”

The study, “Using immersive virtual reality and ecological psychology to probe into child molesters’ phenomenology,” was originally published online in 2011 and printed in 2013.

The Journal of Sexual Aggression announced the “notice of redundant publication” after the editors discovered the article contained “content of which much was included in an article published between the first online publication date of the original article and the final publication”. The article shares many of the same co-authors, and has since been retracted.

Patrice Renaud, the first author and a lecturer at the University of Quebec in Outaouais, took responsibility for the additional publications. In an email to Retraction Watch, Renaud said that the issues arose because of a family medical emergency:

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