Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘figure misuse’ Category

Four JBC retractions add up to 8 in total for cancer research pair

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47.coverThe Journal of Biological Chemistry is retracting four papers by a pair of cancer researchers at Tulane University, bringing their total to eight.

The retractions are all for reusing parts of figures, either within a paper or from other papers by the pair. Thanks to a new policy at the journal to publish informative notes, we know the figures that were problematic, and the papers that they borrow from. 

An investigation by Tong Wu and Chang Han’s former employer, the University of Pittsburgh, had already led to four retractions for the pair, including two issued this summer.

First up, “Activation of cytosolic phospholipase A2α through nitric oxide-induced S-nitrosylation. Involvement of inducible nitric-oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase-2,” which has been cited 50 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. Here’s the note: Read the rest of this entry »

Genetics paper retracted for using material “without permission and/or proper reference”

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Molecular Genetics and GenomicsA review article about a tool used to link genes to traits and behaviors has been retracted for including content “without permission and/or proper reference.”

Corresponding author Ali Masoudi-Nejad at the University of Tehran told us that the retraction occurred mostly because the paper included many figures and tables from other sources, and he didn’t realize they needed to seek permission from both the author and the copyright-holder (ie, the publisher). He added that he doubts he is the only one to make this mistake: Read the rest of this entry »

Mirror image in plant study flagged on PubPeer grows into retraction

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djs_mpmi_28_9_cover-online.inddA 2010 paper on plant fungus has been retracted after a comment on PubPeer revealed that a study image had been flipped over and reused to represent two different treatments.

In May, a commenter pointed out the plants in Figure 2a of the paper in the journal Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions “look remarkably similar.” A commenter writing under the name of corresponding author, Yukio Tosa at Kobe University in Japan, posted a response two days later agreeing with the assessment and stating that the paper should be retracted.

The notice reads: Read the rest of this entry »

Nothing gold can stay: gold nanoparticle paper retracted for figure theft

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matresexpA paper on gold nanoparticles has been retracted after the publisher learned one of the figures had a “high degree of similarity” to a figure published by other authors a few months prior.

According to the notice, it was two authors of the retracted paper themselves who pointed out the overlap. The first author, Pratap Sahoo, is not mentioned, although it does say all three authors agreed to retract. The corresponding author of the original paper told us he was unaware of the incident.

You can compare the figures for yourself – on the left is figure 6(a) from the retracted Materials Research Express paper, rotated 90 degrees. On the right is figure 4(e) from “Porous Au Nanoparticles with Tunable Plasmon Resonances and Intense Field Enhancements for Single-Particle SERS,” published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters: Read the rest of this entry »

Kidney journal to retract stem cell paper for duplicated and doctored images

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kidney intKidney International is in the process of retracting a stem cell paper containing plagiarized images, Retraction Watch has learned.

Here’s the notice that will appear for “Human renal stem/progenitor cells repair tubular epithelial cell injury through TLR2-driven inhibin-A and microvesicle-shuttled decorin“: Read the rest of this entry »

Post-doc fired after explaining image problems in paper to Retraction Watch

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Christian Ramos

Christian Ramos

We reported last week on a Portuguese group that lost two papers over mislabeled image files.

Now, we’ve learned that first author Christian Ramos has been fired after speaking to Retraction Watch and offering what seemed like a heartfelt apology (which you can read here). Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

November 3rd, 2014 at 9:30 am

Authors retract PNAS paper questioned on PubPeer after original films can’t be found

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pnas31912PubPeer leads the way again: The authors of a paper about Parkinson’s disease in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) have retracted it, several months after a commenter highlighted the exact issue that led to the article’s demise.

The paper, originally published in September 2013, was called into question by a commenter on PubPeer in July 2014, who identified two of the paper’s figures as duplications: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

October 23rd, 2014 at 10:30 am

“This situation left me ashamed and infuriated with myself:” Scientist retracts two papers

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j bacteriologyA Portuguese group has retracted two papers in the Journal of Bacteriology after mislabeled computer files led to the wrong images being used.

And, we’ve learned in a heartfelt email, the first author was devastated.

Here’s the notice for “MtvR Is a Global Small Noncoding Regulatory RNA in Burkholderia cenocepacia”: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

October 17th, 2014 at 12:00 pm

First author blamed for retraction in prestigious medical journal

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jemcoverThe authors of a Journal of Experimental Medicine have retracted it, blaming the first author for data and figure manipulation.

The paper, “The requirements for natural Th17 cell development are distinct from those of conventional Th17 cells,” was initially published in September 2011 and has been cited 25 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. First author Jiyeon Kim was an MD-PhD candidate at the University of Pennsylvania until this year, according to a LinkedIn profile.

Here’s the notice: Read the rest of this entry »

“Our jaws hit the floor!!” Researchers say authors doctored images for rebuttal letter

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eurourologyTry to follow along on this one. We think it’s worth it.

The authors of a letter replying to a comment in a urology journal have retracted their response because it contained inappropriate figures. At least, that’s the official story.

The original paper, “Effect of a Risk-stratified Grade of Nerve-sparing Technique on Early Return of Continence After Robot-assisted Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy,” came from a group at Weill Medical College of Cornell University led by Ashutosh Tewari. Published in July 2012 in European Urology, it purported to find that: Read the rest of this entry »