Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘faked data’ Category

Does labeling bad behavior “scientific misconduct” help or hurt research integrity? A debate rages

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Is eliminating the concept of “misconduct” a sign of progress in the fight for research integrity, or a step backward?

That’s the debate playing out in Australia, where a proposal from national research bodies would make it the latest country to embrace a broader definition of ethical lapses in research, doing away with the term “misconduct.” Proponents argue the change will encourage more reporting of all types of bad behavior—not just the most extreme forms such as data fabrication, which are typically associated with the term “misconduct.” But critics argue the move could soften enforcement, as every institution applies its own definitions of misbehavior. (To tell us what you think, take our poll at the bottom of the story.)

The proposal comes in the form of a revised edition of Australia’s national research code of conduct.  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mark Zastrow

February 23rd, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Researcher loses biotech post after reportedly confessing to fraud

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A researcher has lost his position as a Chief Scientific Officer at a DNA sequencing company after he reportedly confessed to fabricating data in a 2015 paper, now retracted by the Journal of Cell Biology.

According to the CEO of Karmagenes, when the company learned about the retraction, the staff “immediately” conferred and decided the researcher — Pranav Ullal — should no longer serve as one of the company’s two CSOs.

Karmagenes CEO Kyriakos Kokkoris told us:

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Written by Alison McCook

February 22nd, 2017 at 12:26 pm

Former postdoc admitted to fraud in cell bio paper, lead author says

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A researcher in Switzerland has retracted her 2015 paper in the Journal of Cell Biology, saying the first author — her former postdoc — admitted to fabricating multiple aspects of the paper.

After Sophie Martin of the University of Lausanne couldn’t reproduce the data from another manuscript she was preparing to submit, she contacted her former student, Pranav Ullal, who admitted he had fabricated the data, along with two figures in the JCB paper.

A spokesperson for the University of Lausanne told us that Ullal left Switzerland after his contract was over, and is now in India.

Martin told us the whole experience has been upsetting:

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Written by Alison McCook

February 21st, 2017 at 11:30 am

Unusual: Neurology removes author dinged for misconduct from 2016 paper

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Neurology has partially retracted a 2016 paper, replacing a figure and removing the author who contributed it after he was found guilty of misconduct.

The journal has replaced the figure with a new one that confirmed the findings of the original, and swapped the name of Andrew Cullinane with the scientist who constructed the new figure using a new dataset. Last year, the U.S. Office of Research Integrity declared that Cullinane had falsified data in this paper and one other while working as a postdoctoral fellow in the Medical Genetics Branch at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).

Cullinane appears to be at Howard University in Washington D.C., according to his LinkedIn page. He is listed as an assistant professor in the Basic Sciences/Anatomy department of the university’s College of Medicine.

Here’s the partial retraction notice from the journal:

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Cancer biologist stops research as his retraction count rises to 13

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Anil Jaiswal

A cancer biologist based at the University of Maryland is transitioning out of research, as a journal has retracted three more of his papers.

Anil Jaiswal has now lost 13 papers, including, as we reported on February 6, six retractions issued earlier this month.

The Baltimore Sun reported this week that Jaiswal would no longer be conducting research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, which we confirmed from a spokesperson:

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Journal pulls paper with missing data, citing inquiry and legal proceedings

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A journal has retracted a 2012 paper after the last author was unable to provide material to support the results presented in multiple figures.

The lack of supporting data came out during “an internal inquiry and subsequent legal proceedings,” according to the notice, issued by Cell Cycle.

The last author on the paper is Susana Gonzalez, who was dismissed from her position at the National Center for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC) in Spain last year.

Here’s the full notice:

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Study about words’ effect on mood to be retracted after investigation finds evidence of data manipulation

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A study examining whether the verb tense you use to describe a positive or negative experience influences your current mood will be retracted after a university investigation found the data had been manipulated.

By whom is the question — the notice cites an unnamed graduate student as the source of the manipulation, and says the only author, William Hart, was unaware of what had occurred.

We spoke with Hart, based at the University of Alabama, who declined to identify the student, nor say whether he or she was still working at the university. He did say the experience has been trying:

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Journal retracts all papers by education researcher, bringing his total to 21

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jaasepA journal has followed through on its promise to retract all articles by an education researcher, after an investigation raised questions about the validity of the data in some of his work with children with special needs.

The latest notice — which includes a list of 11 papers — brings the total number of retractions for Noel Kok Hwee Chia to 21.

Last spring, The Journal of the American Academy of Special Education Professionals (JAASEP) pulled nine articles by Chia that were the subject of an investigation at the National Institute of Education in Singapore, part of Nanyang Technological University, where he worked until April. As we reported in June, editors explained in a 3,000-word notice that they planned to pull every article that Chia had published in JAASEP.

The new retraction notice quotes from the reasoning presented in the previous one, from last spring:

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U.S. gov’t physicist sentenced to 18 months in prison for fraud

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A physicist formerly based at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for faking data. 

According to the United States Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of California, after receiving millions in government funding between 2008 and 2012, Sean Darin Kinion submitted faked data and reports to make it seem like he’d performed quantum computing work. Kinion pled guilty in June, 2016 to “a scheme to defraud the government out of money intended to fund research.” He has also been ordered to pay back $3,317,893 to the government.

As readers may know, scientists who commit misconduct are rarely sentenced to prison, although there are some exceptions — most notably, Dong-Pyou Han, who last year was sentenced to nearly five years in prison (and pay back $7 million) after spiking rabbit blood samples to make a HIV vaccine look more effective.

Lynda Seaver, director of public affairs at the LLNL, told us Kinion was dismissed in February 2013, following an investigation that found “some discrepancies in his work.”

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

December 23rd, 2016 at 1:30 pm

Co-author of retraction record-holder likely fabricated his own data, analysis shows

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In 2012, John Carlisle, a British anesthesiologist, demonstrated conclusively using statistics that Yoshitaka Fujii had faked data in many studies. Fujii — as followers of this blog well know — now holds the record for most retractions by an individual author (183).

Carlisle’s work accomplished two things: It put to rest any doubt that problems with Fujii’s work might have resulted from innocent mistakes, and it gave journals a mathematical tool for conducting investigations into potential cases of misconduct.

Now comes the payoff. In a new paper, Carlisle and another anesthesiologist, John Loadsman, take aim at one of Fujii’s frequent co-authors, Yuhji Saitoh of Yachiyo Medical Center and Tokyo Women’s Medical University in Japan. The pair analyzed data from 31 studies Saitoh published between 1993 and 2012 — including one study that was rejected in 2015 — for a total of 32 papers. Of those, 23 did not include Fujii as an author.

Writing in the journal Anaesthesia, where Carlisle published his first study about Fujii, he and Loadsman state that: Read the rest of this entry »