Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘image manipulation’ Category

Authors retract 2016 cancer study when data don’t align with figures

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cell-death-and-differentiationResearchers have retracted a 2016 cancer study, citing discrepancies between the data and images presented in the paper. 

Although the retraction notice itself contains relatively little information, we’ve obtained a letter from the last author — Jun-Li Luo of The Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Florida — to the editor-in-chief of Cell Death and Differentiation that says a bit more. 

According to the letter, after receiving the anonymous email, Luo conducted an investigation, contacting co-authors who contributed each of the figures in question. Although Luo writes that he has no reason to suspect fraud, the researchers were not able to provide some of the original data.

PubPeer commenters have questioned figures 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 in the study, “IKKα-mediated biogenesis of miR-196a through interaction with Drosha regulates the sensitivity of cancer cells to radiotherapy.”

In the letter, Luo tells Gerry Melino, co-editor-in-chief of the journal from the University of Leicester, UK, that figures 3D and 3E were provided by the study’s first author, Xing Fang, adding: Read the rest of this entry »

When does “overlap” become plagiarism? Here’s what PLOS ONE decided

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Consider this: Fragments of a PLOS ONE paper overlap with pieces of other publications. The authors used them without credit and without quotation marks.

This sounds an awful lot like plagiarism — using PLOS‘s own standards, even. But the journal isn’t calling it plagiarism. They’ve labeled this an instance of “text overlap,” a spokesperson told us, based on the amount of material that the paper shares with others.

The last author — Carlo Croce, who has two retractions under his belt — denies that he plagiarized, and says that his university has cleared him of a plagiarism charge from an anonymous whistleblower.

PLOS fixed this case last year with a correction notice — not the common course of action for a case of confirmed plagiarism. Take a look at the notice for yourself:

Read the rest of this entry »

Researcher who sued to stop retractions earns his 8th

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Mario Saad

Mario Saad

Mario Saad, a diabetes researcher who once sued to stop a publisher from retracting his papers, has just received his eighth retraction.

Critical Care has retracted a 2012 paper about treating sepsis, citing extensive similarities between figures within the paper and 10 others.

Here’s the full notice for “Diacerhein attenuates the inflammatory response and improves survival in a model of severe sepsis:” Read the rest of this entry »

Spanish lab admits to image manipulation, retracts one paper, corrects another

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JBCA group has retracted one paper and corrected another in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) for image manipulations.

Last author José G. Castaño told us the manipulation occurred at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, where he and one other co-author are based. He declined to name who was responsible.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Cytomegalovirus promoter up-regulation is the major cause of increased protein levels of unstable reporter proteins after treatment of living cells with proteasome inhibitors:”

Read the rest of this entry »

Biologist loses second paper — again, for unvalidated figures

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Cellular SignallingA researcher at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio has retracted a second paper after a review found the figures didn’t match the original data.  

Last year, we reported on a previous retraction of a paper co-authored by biologist Alan Levine in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, which was pulled for the exact same reason; even the retraction notices use similar language. The first author on both papers is Debasmita Mandal, also listed at Case Western Reserve University.

Here’s the retraction notice for “REDOX regulation of IL-13 signaling in intestinal epithelial cells: usage of alternate pathways mediates distinct gene expression patterns,” published by Cellular Signalling: Read the rest of this entry »

Retraction appears for group whose former member was sanctioned by ORI

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Journal of Biological ChemistryResearchers whose former colleague was recently reprimanded by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) have retracted a biology paper for duplication.

The retraction includes some familiar names: The last author Steven Grant, senior author of the newly retracted study, is also the last author of 11 papers flagged in a report by the ORI in December, 2015. That report focused on Girija Dasmahapatra, a co-author of the 11 studies who was also based at at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Dasmahapatra left VCU in 2015, and is not listed on the latest retraction.

The retracted paper, published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC), was also co-authored by Paul Dent, a biochemist at the VCU, who we mentioned last year when he offered to retract another paper in Molecular Pharmacology after concerns arose on PubPeer. The journal has instead issued a lengthy correction (what we call a “mega-correction”).

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

A plagiarism loop: Authors copied from papers that had copied from others

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2Note to self: If you’re going to duplicate your own work, don’t copy from papers that plagiarize others’ research.

Just such a mistake has cost a PhD candidate three papers — although his co-author argues that a company is in part to blame.

Hossein Jafarzadeh, who is studying mechanical engineering at the University of Tehran, apparently asked a company to complete photomicroscopy for his work. Instead of doing to the work, the company provided him with an image taken from another paper, according to Karen Abrinia, his co-author, who is based at the same institution.

That’s the explanation that Abrinia gave when we asked about three retractions that the pair share, at least.

What the notices tell us is a little more convoluted. Plagiarized material from two different papers ended up in two different papers by the pair. Then, the researchers copied from their own papers in a third paper. (We’re unclear if Abrinia attributes every step of the mess to a company or not. Confused yet?) 

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Former NIH postdoc doctored data

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ori-logoA genetics researcher included falsified data in two published papers, according to a report by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) released today.

At the time of the misconduct, Andrew Cullinane was a postdoctoral fellow in the Medical Genetics Branch at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). According to his LinkedIn page, he is now an assistant professor at Howard University in Washington D.C. The university’s College of Medicine lists him as an assistant professor in the Basic Sciences/Anatomy department.

As today’s notice in the Federal Register reports, Cullinane Read the rest of this entry »

USDA finds “evidence of manipulation” in vaccine study

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VaccineA journal is retracting a paper by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture about a vaccine to protect fish from a deadly bacterial infection, after an investigation found evidence of data manipulation. 

The retraction notice — which appears in the journal Vaccine — cites an investigation by the USDA. It also notes that the authors — who are no longer with the USDA — have not agreed to the retraction.

Here’s the retraction notice, issued on August 20: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

August 26th, 2016 at 9:30 am

U Colorado’s former “golden boy” up to 7 retractions

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University of Colorado DenverA former graduate student at the University of Colorado Denver has gained three retractions and two expressions of concern (EOC), following an institutional probe into his work. 

Last year, we reported on an investigation by the University of Colorado Denver into the research of Rajendra Kadam, which recommended retracting 10 papers. The report also flagged eight additional papers co-authored by Kadam whose data could not be validated, raising “concerns as to the scientific validity and integrity” of the material. A few months later, we reported on some of the notices — four retractions and an EOC — that had begun to appear for Kadam’s manuscripts.

We’ve since discovered more notices, bringing his total to seven retractions and three EOCs. 

Kadam was once a prominent member in the lab of Uday Kompella, and often referred to by colleagues as the “golden boy,” according to the institution’s report. In 2012, he won a graduate student symposium award from the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists.

A University of Colorado Denver spokesperson told Retraction Watch: Read the rest of this entry »