Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘image manipulation’ Category

Cropped, spliced image leads to a PLOS One correction

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Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 4.27.21 PMA PLOS One paper on morphine treatment for cancer cells has a couple issues with figures, prompting a massive correction — what we affectionately call a “mega-correction” — by the journal.

In one figure, there was “an undisclosed splice.” Another figure contained two panels that were “mistakenly from the same sample.”

The 2013 paper in question, “Chronic Morphine Treatment Attenuates Cell Growth of Human BT474 Breast Cancer Cells by Rearrangement of the ErbB Signalling Network,” has been cited four times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Here’s the correction:

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Written by Shannon Palus

November 27th, 2015 at 9:30 am

Heart researcher gets 3rd retraction for copying images of rat hearts

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1-s2.0-S0014299914X00233-cov150hWhen two papers include the same images of rat hearts, one of those papers gets retracted.

The papers share a corresponding author, Zhi-Qing Zhao of Mercer University School of Medicine in Savannah, Georgia. This marks his third retraction; we reported on two others earlier this year.

The papers examine the effect of curcumin, which has antinflammatory properties (in addition to giving the spice turmeric its yellow color). The retracted paper, “Dual ACE-inhibition and angiotensin II AT1 receptor antagonism with curcumin attenuate maladaptive cardiac repair and improve ventricular systolic function after myocardial infarctionin rat heart,” was published in the January 5, 2015 issue of the European Journal of Pharmacology, and has zero citations, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. It shares multiple figures with another 2012 paper, “Curcumin promotes cardiac repair and ameliorates cardiac dysfunction following myocardial infarction,” published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, which has not been retracted. The BJP paper has been cited 18 times.

Here’s the retraction note for the EJP paper:

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“Carelessness” forces Science to correct paper about immune booster

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Science is fixing images in a paper published online in April that discovered an immune-boosting protein, after the authors mistakenly mixed up similar-looking Western blots.

The paper, which received some press coverage, identified a protein that helped the immune system fight off cancers and infections. Philip Ashton-Rickardt, a scientist at Imperial College London who led the study, told the The Telegraph:

This is exciting because we have found a completely different way to use the immune system to fight cancer.

The editor in chief of Science, Marcia McNutt, told us that the journal contacted the authors once it learned of “irregularities” in some of the figures, which did not affect the conclusions of the paper:

“Most responsible course of action is to retract:” Duplicated images fell prostate cancer paper

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International Journal of CancerA study on the cellular interactions underlying prostate cancer has been retracted after a whistleblower pointed out duplicated images in one of the paper’s figures that were “erroneously presented as unique.”

The International Journal of Cancer posted the notice in June. The authors backed the paper’s conclusions but agreed, “the most responsible course of action is to retract.”

The notice reads:

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St. Jude investigation finds faked data in brain tumor paper

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S00396060An investigation at St. Jude Children’s Hospital into “irregularities” in a figure featured in a neuroblastoma paper has concluded that the image was fabricated. The paper, published in Surgery in 2012, was retracted on Friday.

Here’s the full retraction notice for “Liposome-encapsulated curcumin suppresses neuroblastoma growth through nuclear factor-kappa B inhibition:”

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Taste researcher falsified data in two papers: ORI

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ori-logoA federal report has found that a former University of Maryland postdoc “falsified and/or fabricated” data in two papers about taste receptors.

The Office of Research Integrity report found that Maartje C.P. Geraedts manipulated bar graphs in the papers to “produce the desired result.” Both have been retracted. Geraedts left academia in 2014, and is now a science writer.

We reported on one retraction in July, “Gustatory stimuli representing different perceptual qualities elicit distinct patterns of neuropeptide secretion from taste buds,” published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

The other, “Transformation of postingestive glucose responses after deletion of sweet taste receptor subunits or gastric bypass surgery,” published in 2012 in the American Journal of Physiology Endocrinology and Metabolism, was retracted in September. Here’s the note, which cites the university’s investigation: Read the rest of this entry »

Author with three retractions objects to mega-correction following investigation

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DevelopmentWe’ve uncovered a “mega-correction for a 2010 paper in Development, posted as the result of an investigation into the first author which has already led to three retractions.

Last year, the Utrecht University investigation into Pankaj Dhonukshe found “manipulation in some form” in four papers, and concluded that he committed a “violation of academic integrity.” The investigation also led to the retraction of a 2012 Cell paper and two papers in Nature that were co-authored by Dhonukshe. 

Development began investigating the corrected paper after being contacted by one of the authors and alerted to the results of the university’s investigation. The notice includes a statement from Dhonukshe objecting to the correction. Read the rest of this entry »

University investigating duplicated images in retracted paper

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Cell MetabolismThe authors of a Cell Metabolism paper are pulling it after discovering blot images that “appear more than once in independent and unrelated experiments.” 

Just how the duplication occurred in the 2009 paper — about transcription of mitochondrial DNA — remains a mystery, the authors note:

…the reasons for the errors are still under investigation…

Meanwhile, we’ve learned that the last author on the paper — Carlos Moraes of the University of Miami — has requested a retraction for another 2013 paper in Mitochondrion, also co-authored by Tina Wenz at the University of Cologne in Germany. That paper is among multiple publications co-authored by Moraes and Wenz that have been flagged on PubPeer.

We’ve reached out to the parties involved, and received a warning from an attorney representing Wenz that if we write about Read the rest of this entry »

Prostate cancer paper flagged by ORI is retracted following PETA prompt

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cover_issue_129_en_USA federal investigation into a paper on prostate cancer has now led to a retraction. In an unusual twist, it happened following a request from the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

In January, the Office of Research Integrity reported that corresponding author Dong Xiao “intentionally fabricated data” in an Oncotarget study of how a steroid inhibits the growth of prostate cancer. Xiao, a former cancer researcher at the University of Pittsburgh, claimed that he had tumor data from more mice than he did, and falsified several figures.

In July, after no sign of the retraction, a researcher at PETA followed up with the journal, Oncotarget, on behalf of the organization “and our more than 3 million members and supporters to request the immediate retraction.”

Last month, they received a reply from the publisher, which they forwarded to us:

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Former ob-gyn prof notches ninth retraction; investigation still underway

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Nasser Chegini

Nasser Chegini

A retired obstetrics and gynecology professor under federal investigation for misconduct has notched his ninth retraction.

The latest retraction stems from an investigation by the University of Florida, where Nasser Chegini worked until 2012, which found fabricated data in three figures in a paper on the muscle cells that line the uterus.

The paper, “Differential expression of microRNAs in myometrium and leiomyomas and regulation by ovarian steroids,” was published in The Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine. It’s been cited 74 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Here’s the note:

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