Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘faked data’ Category

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 »

Catching up: Publisher to pull four papers by retraction record holder flagged years ago

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the-laryngoscopeJournals published by Wiley are retracting four papers by Yoshitaka Fujii, the anesthesiology researcher with the most retracted scientific papers.

Retraction Watch readers will be familiar with Fujii’s case: He currently holds the number one spot on our leaderboard with more than 180 retractions, some of which are pending. (That’s nearly twice the number of retractions by the researcher in the #2 spot, Joachim Boldt.) 

Earlier this year, The Breast Journal and The Laryngoscope — both of which are published by Wiley-Blackwell — issued expressions of concern (EOCs) for a total of four papers by Fujii. All four papers were included in a 2012 analysis of 168 of Fujii’s studies by J. B. Carlisle, a consultant anesthetist in the UK, who concluded that the chance of much of Fujii’s data appearing the way it does naturally is

…the chance of selecting one particular atom from all the human bodies on earth.

Now, both journals are retracting the papers. 

A Wiley spokesperson told us: Read the rest of this entry »

Bone researcher with lifetime funding ban earns third retraction

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via WCH

A researcher who received a lifetime funding ban for misconduct from a Canadian agency has logged her third retraction, after a re-analysis of her work unveiled “serious inconsistencies.”

In July, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) released a report about Sophie Jamal, following an investigation by her former employer, The Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, Canada. The probe concluded that Jamal had manipulated data, which resulted in her being banned from CIHR funding for life, and the retraction of a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

After that retraction, researchers that made up the the Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study Group (CaMos) decided to take a second look at Jamal’s work. In August, we reported on a retraction that came out of that examination, in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases (AJKD). At the time, a senior researcher from the group told us the group had also requested another journal retract a CaMos paper. 

Now, that other retraction has appeared. Here’s the retraction notice Osteoporosis International issued earlier this month: Read the rest of this entry »

Dear peer reviewer, you stole my paper: An author’s worst nightmare

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“Deeply disturbing,” “heinous intellectual theft,” erosion of the “public’s trust in medical research:” These are just a few words used to describe a rare type of plagiarism reported in this week’s Annals of Internal Medicine.

Although we’ve only documented a few cases where peer reviewers steal material from manuscripts and pass them off as their own, it does happen, and it’s a fear of many authors. What we’ve never seen is a plagiarized author publish a letter to the reviewer who stole his work. But after Michael Dansinger of Tufts Medical Center realized a paper he’d submitted to Annals of Internal Medicine that had been rejected was republished, and the journal recognized one of the reviewers among the list of co-authors, it published a letter from Dansinger to the reviewer, along with an editorial explaining what happened.

The letter and editorial identify the paper containing the stolen material — now retracted — but don’t name the reviewer responsible. Still, the articles are deeply personal. As Dansinger writes in “Dear Plagiarist: A Letter to a Peer Reviewer Who Stole and Published Our Manuscript as His Own,” the reviewer took much more than just a manuscript:

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Written by Alison McCook

December 12th, 2016 at 5:00 pm

A paper was published in 2015; the authors already lost the data

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American Journal of Physiology Renal PhsyiologyThe authors of a 2015 study have retracted it after discovering that several Western blots in their paper “do not represent the experiments that were reported.”

They couldn’t check some of the original blots, because — according to the retraction notice in the American Journal of Physiology – Renal Physiology — they could not be located. The ones that could be found, however, are “inconsistent with what is presented in the figures.”

Here’s the retraction notice, published last month: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

December 8th, 2016 at 11:30 am

More co-author misconduct raises NIH neuroscientist’s retraction count to 8

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Stanley Rapoport. Source: NIH

Stanley Rapoport. Source: NIH

Not again.

That’s the sound of learning that a third scientist you worked with committed misconduct.

In the last two years, we reported on two retractions for neuroscientist Stanley Rapoport, the result of misconduct by two different first authors. We’ve since discovered more retractions resulting from those cases — and a new retraction stemming from the actions of yet another co-author.  

Although the latest retraction notice doesn’t reveal the reason for retraction, both the journal editor and Rapoport — based at the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) — confirmed to us that it is the result of misconduct by the last author, Jagadeesh Rao. According to Rapoport, a “number of retractions [for] Rao are still in the works.”

We asked Rapoport for his reaction to multiple cases of misconduct by his colleagues, including the two first authors we’ve already reported on, Fei Gao and Mireille Basselin:

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Surprise! Paper retracted after author tells journal it’s a “pile of dung”

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journal-of-clinical-research-bioethics-logoThis summer, Ottawa Citizen reporter Tom Spears was sitting by a lake on vacation when he opened a spam email from a publisher. Amused to see the sender was a journal focused on bioethics, he got an idea.

I thought, what if I just throw something outrageous at them?

The situation should sound familiar to readers who follow such “sting” operations: Spears submitted a fake paper to the so-called “predatory” journal, it was accepted one month later with no changes, and published.

But after Spears submitted a comment on the paper saying it was “a steaming pile of dung from start to meaningless finish” (which the journal never posted), wrote an article about it (picked up by other outlets, including The Huffington Post Canada) — surprise, surprise! — the paper was retracted.

Most authors don’t celebrate retractions. But Spears told us he felt “sheer triumph:”  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

November 30th, 2016 at 9:30 am

How a Cell journal weeds out the “bad apples”

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Anne Granger (left) and Nikla Emambokus (right)

Anne Granger (left) and Nikla Emambokus (right)

There are a lot of accusations about research misconduct swirling around, and not every journal handles them the same. Recently, Cell Metabolism Scientific Editor Anne Granger and Cell Metabolism Editor-in-Chief Nikla Emambokus shared some details about their investigative procedure in “Weeding out the Bad Apples.” We talked to them about why they don’t necessarily trust accusations leveled on blogs (including ours), but will consider the concerns of anyone who approaches the journal directly – even anonymously.

Retraction Watch: What made you decide to write an editorial about research fraud now? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

November 25th, 2016 at 9:30 am