Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘faked data’ Category

Psst…did you hear? The effect of gossip on misconduct

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Brandon Vaidyanathan

If scientists are hesitant to formally report their colleagues when they suspect them of misconduct, can simply gossiping about their concerns in informal settings – at meetings, conferences, etc – clean up the literature? That’s a question Brandon Vaidyanathan and his colleagues tried to answer in “Gossip as Social Control: Informal Sanctions on Ethical Violations in Scientific Workplaces,” published last month in Social Problems. We spoke with Vaidyanathan, now the director of research at The H.E. Butt Family Foundation and Public Policy Fellow at the University of Notre Dame, about how scientists use gossip to warn others of potential misconduct – and whether it works.

Retraction Watch: What prompted you to discuss the role gossip can play in scientific misconduct? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

October 21st, 2016 at 9:30 am

Researcher pegged for misconduct in 11 papers earns 2nd retraction

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clinical-cancer-researchA cancer journal has retracted a paper by a researcher who doctored data in 11 studies, according to a report by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI).

According to an investigation report released by the ORI last year, all 11 studies co-authored by Girija Dasmahapatra, formerly based at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, will either be retracted or corrected. In April, Dasmahapatra lost the first of the 11 papers flagged by the ORI in the journal Leukemia. Earlier this month, a second paper from the list was pulled by Clinical Cancer Research.

Dasmahapatra isn’t the only VCU researcher who’s been busy correcting the literature. All 11 papers mentioned in the ORI report list Steven Grant as last author; Paul Dent is a co-author of nine of these studies. Last month, we reported on a retraction in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) and a mega-correction in Molecular Pharmacology issued for papers by Grant and Dent due to problems with images. Neither paper included Dasmahapatra as a co-author.

We’ve also previously reported on four other errata for image-related issues for papers by Dent (one of which lists Grant as a co-author). Now, we’ve come across another correction in JBC for the pair, which was published last month.

First, here’s the new retraction notice from Clinical Cancer Research, which includes Grant and Dent as co-authors: Read the rest of this entry »

Chem paper “the product of intentional, knowing, or reckless falsification, fabrication, and plagiarism”

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rsc-advancesA journal has retracted a study after an institutional investigation concluded that it was riddled with misconduct.

According to the retraction notice in RSC Advances, the first author submitted the paper without the knowledge of the other two co-authors, and the paper was falsified, fabricated, and plagiarized. The notice cites a probe at the University of Tennessee (UT) at Knoxville — where all three listed authors are based — that concluded the study’s findings were invalid.

We asked a UT spokesperson if the first author, Sammy Eni Eni, was still based at the institution, and received this response: Read the rest of this entry »

Scientist embroiled with PubPeer engaged in “widespread research misconduct,” investigation finds

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Fazlul Sarkar

Fazlul Sarkar

An investigation into a scientist suing PubPeer commenters over criticisms of his work has concluded that the researcher engaged in widespread misconduct and should retract 42 papers.

The investigation report by Wayne State University, obtained by The Scientist, reveals that Fazlul Sarkar created a research environment that encouraged productivity but cut corners when it came to integrity: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

October 19th, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Parkinson’s researcher in Australia pleads not guilty to fraud

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Caroline Barwood

Caroline Barwood

Parkinson’s researcher Caroline Barwood pleaded not guilty to fraud-related charges in a Brisbane courtroom Monday.

According to 9News, Barwood is accused of three counts of fraud, and four instances of attempted fraud, which include trying to obtain approximately $700,000 (AUD) from various organizations between 2011 and 2013 for a study that never occurred. The case follows an investigation at her former institution, the University of Queensland (UQ), which resulted in three of her papers being retracted

Crown Prosecutor Caroline Marco alleged that Barwood was also intimately involved with Bruce Murdoch, her former colleague at the UQ, who has pleaded guilty to 17-fraud related charges, and received a two-year suspended sentence earlier this year.

Marco also claimed that Barwood admitted that Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

October 17th, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Cancer researcher earns 5th retraction after misconduct finding

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oncoimmunologyA cancer researcher has logged her fifth retraction following an investigation that concluded she had committed scientific misconduct.

We’ve previously reported on four retractions of papers by Stephanie Watkins, a researcher at Loyola Medicine. The previously issued notices — in The Journal of Clinical Investigation and Cancer Research — note that an investigation committee appointed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found Watkins to be solely responsible for the misconduct, with none of the co-authors aware of it.

The editor of OncoImmunology previously informed us that the journal was investigating another one of Watkins’ papers; the journal has now pulled that paper, citing “fabrication and falsification of data” in the original studies referenced in the paper.

Here’s the retraction notice, published online earlier this year: Read the rest of this entry »

Retraction notice for GMO paper updated to include fraud

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fns2015012717103119Earlier this year, a nutrition journal retracted an article about the potential dangers of eating food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs), noting the paper contained a duplicated image.

At the time, news outlets in Italy were reporting accusations that the last author, Federico Infascelli, an animal nutrition researcher at the University of Naples, had falsified some of his research.

Food and Nutrition Sciences has now updated its initial notice, saying the paper was pulled for data fabrication. In addition, Infascelli is no longer listed on its editorial board – he is included on an archived link to the editorial board from March 2016, but not on the current list of members.

Here is the updated version of the retraction notice for “Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase Activity in Kids Born from Goats Fed Genetically Modified Soybean:” Read the rest of this entry »

Gov’t researchers lose three papers for data doctoring

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Eukaryotic Cell A researcher in New Mexico has retracted three papers tainted by fraud.

Lead author Samuel Lee, who works at the New Mexico Veterans Affairs (VA) Healthcare System and the University of New Mexico (UNM), requested Eukaryotic Cell retract two papers after identifying multiple instances of fabricated or falsified data. He requested the retraction of a review article based on those papers as well.

In addition, the research is subject to an investigation, Ellie Ghatineh, a production editor at the journal, told us:

Read the rest of this entry »

U.S. Congress investigating misconduct at Colorado geochem lab

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usgs-1A U.S. Congressional subcommittee is investigating two cases of fraud affecting one Colorado lab run by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The misconduct occurred in two separate cases, taking place between 1998 and 2014. We covered the most recent incident, in which a chemist doctored data in up to 24 projects supported by more than $100 million in federal funding.

A letter from the Committee on Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations to USGS director Suzette Kimball details another incident that took place in the Energy Resources Program (ERP) Geochemistry Laboratory in Lakewood, Colorado, in which another worker manipulated data for more than a decade.

The letter notes that, although the incidents were reviewed by the Department of the Interior (DOI) Scientific Integrity Review Panel and its Office of Inspector General (OIG): Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

October 3rd, 2016 at 11:45 am

Cell Press won’t retract papers despite one author confessing to fraud

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Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 18.54.35Cell Press journals will not be retracting two papers that were flagged with expressions of concern (EOCs) in April after one author claimed to have manipulated some experiments.

In a strange turn of events, as we previously reported, the study’s corresponding author refuted the claims of the author who confessed to fraud, citing concerns about his “motives and credibility.” Since then, two independent labs repeated the authors’ experiments, and “largely confirm” the central conclusions of a Cell paper, but were inconclusive regarding a paper in Molecular Cell. Regardless, in both cases, the journals have decided to take no further action. 

Both expressions of concern (and their associated editorial notes) will remain online, as part of the “permanent record,” a Cell Press spokesperson told us.

The spokesperson added more about the investigation process: Read the rest of this entry »