Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘faked data’ Category

Bielawski and Wiggins retraction count grows to six

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chemical scienceA group of chemists whose work was investigated by the University of Texas-Austin has had another paper retracted, this one of a Chemical Science study previously subjected to an Expression of Concern.

That makes six retractions for Christopher Bielawski and Kelly Wiggins.

Here’s the notice for “Homonuclear bond activation using a stable N,N′-diamidocarbene”, signed by all three authors of the paper: Read the rest of this entry »

Two more retractions bring lab break-in biochemist up to eleven

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bbrcKarel Bezouška, the Czech biochemist who was caught on hidden camera breaking into a lab fridge to fake results, has turned it up to eleven with two new retractions.

Both retractions appeared in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, one in October 2014 and one in January 2015.  His story began two decades ago in 1994, when he published a paper in Nature that couldn’t be reproduced, and was eventually retracted in 2013.

The best part of the story, of course, is that when his university was attempting to recreate his experiments, Bezouška broke into a lab fridge to tamper with the experiments. Unbeknownst to him, he was caught on hidden camera.  Read the rest of this entry »

Study by deceased award-winning cancer researcher retracted because some patients were “invented”

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cancerA 2002 paper has been retracted by Cancer after some of the authors notified the journal that they hadn’t agreed to submit it — and an investigation found that a number of the patients described had been made up.

Here’s the notice for “Radioimmunotherapy of small-volume disease of metastatic colorectal cancer: results of a phase II trial with the iodine-131–labeled humanized anti–carcinoembryonic antigen antibody hMN-14:” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

April 9th, 2015 at 11:30 am

Authors retract PNAS Epstein-Barr virus paper for “anomalous and duplicated” figures

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pnas 2515PNAS has retracted a paper on the cancer-causing Epstein-Barr virus just two months after publication, in a notice that fingers a now-former graduate student for manipulating figures.

The paper tries to explain how Epstein-Barr virus blocks the immune system’s attempts to destroy it. According to the notice, the three “nonexperimentalist authors” – identified in the paper as two P.I.’s from University of Texas at Austin and one from the University of California, San Francisco – didn’t know the figures “were not reflective of original Northern blot and immunoblot data.”

That leaves UT Austin PhD student Jennifer Cox under the bus. Her LinkedIn says she pursued a PhD from 2010-2015, though it’s unclear if she’s received a degree. Cox’s name is at the top of P.I. Christopher Sullivan’s list of past lab members, and she’s the only one on the page whose name doesn’t hyperlink to additional information, such as a contact.

The school issued a press release about the study that quoted Cox, which has been removed from the UT site but is still available on Science Daily: Read the rest of this entry »

So-kalled research: French sociology journal retracts hoax article

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societeThe world, it seems, cannot get enough of Sokal-type hoaxes.

A French journal, Sociétés, has retracted an article allegedly penned by one Jean-Marc Tremblay but actually written by two sociologists, Manuel Quinon and Arnaud Saint-Martin, who spoofed the work of the journal’s editor, Michel Maffesoli.

As the Crooked Timber blog explains, the article, “Automobilités postmodernes: quand l’Autolib’ fait sensation à Paris,” published in the Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

March 12th, 2015 at 3:13 pm

Bielawski and Wiggins up retraction count to five with three in JACS

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Journal of the American Chemical SocietyThe Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) has retracted three articles that had earned expressions of concern by chemistry researchers who were under investigation at the University of Texas, Austin.

Kelly Wiggins and Christopher Bielawski have already received two other retractions and several EoCs.

The newly retracted articles have each been cited more than 50 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

The three papers are: Read the rest of this entry »

Heart journal issues expression of concern after fraud report

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circulationThe American Heart Association’s journal Circulation has issued an expression of concern for a paper about the molecular underpinnings of arrhythmias that was co-authored by a biomedical engineer who committed fraud on a massive scale.

According to an investigation by the Office of Research Integrity (ORI), former Vanderbilt engineer Igor Dzhura faked nearly 70 images and drastically over-estimated the number of experiments he conducted. He was banned from receiving federal funding for three years.

The fraud has resulted in six retracted papers, Dzhura has agreed to retract six papers, which have been cited more than 500 times. [Ed. note: at this time, only one paper has actually been retracted]

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Ob-gyn prof up to 7 retractions, latest due to “substantial data misrepresentation”

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University of Florida

University of Florida

Two more retractions have popped up for Nasser Chegini, the former University of Florida professor currently under investigation by the Office of Research Integrity (ORI).

Both retractions appear in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. The notices indicate that an investigation report from the University of Florida “found substantial data misrepresentation” in two JCEM articles about Smads, signaling molecules that carry messages from TGF-beta receptors to the nucleus.

Here’s the notice for “The Expression of Smads in Human Endometrium and Regulation and Induction in Endometrial Epithelial and Stromal Cells by Transforming Growth Factor-Beta” (cited 28 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge):

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Science chemistry paper earns retraction after expression of concern, marking second for UT group

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scienceThe authors of a 2011 Science paper that proposed a new way to direct chemical bonds have withdrawn the paper after concerns about the data prompted an investigation and Editorial Expression of Concern last year from the journal. The retraction is the second for the group, which has also had seven other expressions of concern.

After a reader emailed the editors to raise suspicions about the data, corresponding author Christopher W. Bielawski, then based at the University of Texas at Austin, led an investigation of all the figures. It found substantial problems: “In over 50% of the figure parts, the authors deemed the data unreliable due to uncertainty regarding the origin of data or the manner in which the data were processed,” according to the retraction notice.

UT Austin concluded that there had been misconduct, but did not elaborate.

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More evidence scientists continue to cite retracted papers

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Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 2.38.46 PMA new paper in the MDPI journal Publications reports that the only controlled study on the effect of giving COPD patients Omega-3 has been cited 52 times since being retracted. Of those, only two mentioned the retraction.

In 2005, Chest published an article that found that COPD patients who took omega-3 supplements for 2 years experienced improvements in their condition, such as better walking tests and a decrease in sputum cytokines. But when an institutional investigation found the lead author had falsified the data, the journal retracted the paper in 2008.

That’s news to many researchers in the field. Among the 50 papers that cited the research after 2008 without stating it had been retracted, 20 included “specific data” from the paper, while the other 30 “cited the reference in passing.” Articles citing the retracted study have themselves been cited 947 times total, pointing to the ripple effect this kind of unwitting mention can have throughout the literature.

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