Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘faked data’ Category

AIDS vaccine fraudster sentenced to nearly 5 years in prison and to pay back $7 million

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court case

A researcher who confessed to spiking rabbit blood samples to make the results of an HIV vaccine experiment look better has been sentenced to 57 months of prison time, according to The Des Moines Register.

Dong-Pyou Han has also been ordered to repay more than $7 million to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and will have three years of supervised release following his prison term.

In December, 2013, the U.S. Office of Research Integrity announced that Han, formerly at Iowa State University (ISU), had faked his results to make an HIV vaccine look more powerful. The faulty data made their way into seven national and international symposia between 2010 and 2012 (resulting in a retracted poster in 2014), along with three grant applications and multiple progress reports. Han agreed to a three-year research ban, and resigned from ISU in October the following year.

The NIH never sent the final $1.38 million grant payment of more than $10 million awarded to Han’s boss, Michael Cho, and ISU returned nearly $500,000 it had received for Han’s salary and other costs.

However, Read the rest of this entry »

Accounting professor notches 30 (!) retractions after misconduct finding

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James Hunton, via Bentley University

James Hunton, via Bentley University

It began with a retraction due to a “misstatement” in November 2012, which led to an investigation that found the first author, James E. Hunton, guilty of misconduct.  Now, the floodgates have opened, and Hunton has 31 retractions under his belt, making him the newest addition to the Retraction Watch leaderboard.

A month after the first retraction in 2012, Hunton resigned from his accounting professorship at Bentley University, citing family and health concerns.

Then, in 2014, a university investigation concluded that Hunton fabricated data in two papers and may have destroyed evidence. The first paper was the one retracted from Accounting Review for a misstatement; the second was retracted from Contemporary Accounting Research in December 2014. Even though the investigation centered around two publications, the university suggested more may be affected:

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Oncogene to retract breast cancer paper following years-old misconduct investigation

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Oncogene is retracting a 2010 paper on the molecular details of breast cancer cells as they undergo metastasis following an investigation that discovered the first author had committed misconduct.

The thing is, the investigation concluded in 2012, and the paper — “miR-661 expression in SNAI1-induced epithelial to mesenchymal transition contributes to breast cancer cell invasion by targeting Nectin-1 and StarD10 messengers” — isn’t being retracted until next week.

According to Lucinda Haines, senior publishing manager at Nature Publishing Group, the paper will be retracted June 29.

We heard from Iris Behrmann, Head of the Life Sciences Research Unit at the University of Luxembourg:

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Columbia biologists “deeply regret” Nature retraction, after postdoc faked 74 panels in 3 papers

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natureA team of Columbia University biologists has retracted a 2013 Nature paper on the molecular pathways underlying Alzheimer’s disease, the second retraction from the group after a postdoc faked data.

An April report from the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) found the a first author, former Columbia postdoc Ryousuke Fujita, responsible for “knowingly and intentionally fabricating and falsifying research in seventy-four (74) panels” in three papers: a 2011 Cell paper retracted in 2014, an unpublished manuscript, and this now-retracted Nature paper, “Integrative genomics identifies APOE e4 effectors in Alzheimer’s disease.”

The paper was touted in a Columbia University Medical Center press release as identifying “key molecular pathways” leading to late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. The paper fingered two potential molecular drug targets, as well.

Here is the full retraction notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Nature retraction, resignation result after lung cancer cell lines “cannot be those specified”

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cover_natureUpon realizing they had experienced a case of mistaken cell-line identity, the authors of a 2014 Nature paper on lung cancer think “it prudent to retract pending more thorough investigation,” as they explain in a notice published Wednesday.

The problem seems to stem from more than just honest error, according to corresponding author Julian Downward, a scientist at the Francis Crick Institute in the UK.

In a 1,215 word statement, sent to us via the Director of Research Communications and Engagement at Cancer Research UK, which funds Downward’s research, Downward told us the backstory not presented in the journal’s retraction note:

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Exosome pioneer’s paper retracted after investigation finds “multiple” faked figures

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JImmunolThe Journal of Immunology is retracting a 2006 article about the role of exosomes in pregnancy at the behest of the University of Louisville in Kentucky, following a misconduct investigation that “determined multiple figures” in the paper were falsified.

First author Douglas Taylor is a pioneer in exosome biology, having discovered the release of exosomes from tumor cells in the 1970s.

The retracted paper identified “significant quantitative and qualitative differences in released exosomes” in the placentas of fetuses delivered prematurely compared to those delivered without complications at term, particularly relating to immune regulation.  It has been cited 150 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Here’s the retraction note (which is paywalled – tsk, tsk): Read the rest of this entry »

“A decision of misconduct was reached”: Two lung papers expire

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JofAnesthTwo papers about the molecular underpinnings of lung damage are being retracted following an investigation at Oita University in Japan, which revealed that images from both papers had been used to depict “different experimental conditions” in a third paper (which has not been retracted).

It’s not clear which of the authors were the subject of the investigation. The two retracted papers, “Nafamostat mesilate inhibits the expression of HMGB1 in lipopolysaccharide-induced acute lung injury” in the Journal of Anesthesia and “Coexpression of HSP47 Gene and Type I and Type III Collagen Genes in LPS-Induced Pulmonary Fibrosis in Rats” in Lung, both originally published in 2007, share the same first author — Satoshi Hagiwara, whose affiliation is listed as the Department of Brain and Nerve Science, Anesthesiology, Oita University Faculty of Medicine. The papers have been cited 13 times and 12 times, respectively, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. Hagiwara is also the first author on the third paper that contains the duplicated images.

The first retraction notice reads:

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More “unsubstantiated conclusions” partially sink another origin of life paper

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OrigLife_ak17A trio of researchers based in Russia is asking to pull another set of figures and a table from a 2008 paper on modeling ATP formation after an investigation found the fourth researcher – the first author on the paper — “falsified or fabricated” the data they reflect.

The paper, in Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres, is the second partial retraction from many of the same authors for the same reason. Both journals also issued erratum notices, which read quite similarly. Here’s the latest note:

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Oregon public health employee faked 56 infection case reports: ORI

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downloadA former employee in the public health division of the Oregon Health Authority committed misconduct in 56 case reports about Clostridium difficile infections in Klamath County, Oregon, as well as in a manuscript submitted to JAMA Internal Medicine and a published report in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report in March, 2012.

Ryan Asherin, previously a Surveillance Officer and Principal Investigator at the OHA, was a busy man. According to the details from a report by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity, Asherin:

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Written by Alison McCook

May 29th, 2015 at 12:32 pm

Science retracts troubled gay canvassing study against LaCour’s objections

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science coverFollowing revelations of data issues and other problems (which crashed our server last week), Science is retracting a paper claiming that short conversations could change people’s minds on same-sex marriage.

The co-author who admitted to faking the data “does not agree” to the retraction, according to Science. Here’s more from the note: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

May 28th, 2015 at 2:31 pm