Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘ori investigations’ Category

ORI misconduct findings fell in 2016. Why? We ask the director

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Kathy Partin

Every year, the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) issues a series of findings against researchers it has determined committed fraud of some kind. In contrast to many agencies such as the National Science Foundation and around the world, the ORI names the offender, describes the offense, and states the penalty – often a temporary ban on federal funding, for instance.

2016 brought a lot of changes to the agency – it was director Kathy Partin‘s first year, which brought reports of staff unrest (and threats to resign). But there was another notable feature of last year, as we and others have noted – the agency issued only seven findings of misconduct, compared to 14 in 2015 and 11 the year before. (Once a sanction has lifted the finding disappears from the ORI site; here is a count of the agency’s activity from previous years.) We spoke to Partin about this relative lack of action from the agency last year.

Retraction Watch: Why are there so much fewer notices this year than last?  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

January 3rd, 2017 at 11:30 am

Child psychiatrist flagged for misconduct loses two more papers

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Mani PavuluriA child psychiatrist has lost two papers after an institutional investigation concluded that she intentionally misrepresented children’s medication history in her research.

In November 2015, we reported on a retraction for Mani Pavuluri in the Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience following a probe at the University of Illinois at Chicago, her institution, which concluded that there was a “preponderance of evidence” that Pavuluri had committed misconduct. 

After an “unanticipated event” took place during a study, three studies by Pavuluri were halted and a letter was sent out to 350 research subjects, informing them of errors in the work. At the time, the Illinois spokesperson noted that Pavuluri — who, according to her LinkedIn page, is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry — was also asked to retract two 2013 studies in the Journal of Affective Disorders. Those papers have now been retracted, noting that Pavuluri “intentionally and knowingly” misrepresented children’s medication history.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Deficits in emotion recognition in pediatric bipolar disorder: The mediating effects of irritability:” Read the rest of this entry »

Scientists investigated for misconduct lose appeal in suit against Harvard. Lawyers explain what it means.

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Paul S. Thaler

Paul S. Thaler

Richard Goldstein

Richard Goldstein

Retraction Watch readers may recall the case of Piero Anversa and Annarosa Leri, both formerly of Harvard and the Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. The pair — which has had their work subjected to a retraction, expression of concern, and correction — sued their former employers in 2014 for costing them job offers after the institutions notified journals, triggering notices. A judge dismissed the case a year ago, saying that Anversa and Leri had to try other administrative remedies before bringing suit.

But Anversa and Leri appealed, and last week, a court denied that appeal. (See the judge’s decision — which begins by quoting Ecclesiastes and includes the delicious word “gallimaufry” — here.) We spoke by email to two attorneys — Richard Goldstein, who represented the scientist in Bois v. HHS, the first case to overturn a funding ban by the Office of Research Integrity (ORI), and Paul Thaler, who has represented scientists involved in misconduct proceedings for more than 25 years — about the case, and what it could mean for similar lawsuits.

Retraction Watch: The decision seems to stop Anversa and Leri from continuing their suit against Harvard and the Brigham, but also acknowledges some of the scientists’ concerns as legitimate. How would you summarize the findings and their implications? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

September 7th, 2016 at 9:35 am

7th retraction for Ohio researcher who manipulated dozens of figures

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Terry Elton, via OSU

Terry Elton

A pharmacology researcher at Ohio State University has added his seventh retraction, four years after a finding of misconduct by the U.S. Office of Integrity (ORI).

An analysis of the work of Terry Elton determined that he had

falsified and/or fabricated Western blots in eighteen (18) figures and in six (6) published papers.

 In 2012, the ORI finding, which resulted in a three-year funding ban (that is now complete), recommended that Elton retract all six papers, one of which had already been retracted at the time of the report. 

Four years later, the last of the six papers flagged by the ORI has finally been retracted by Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology.

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

Biologist with five-year funding ban earns 7th and 8th retractions

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Biology OpenA biologist in New Jersey has retracted two more papers, bringing his total to eight retractions, following a finding by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI).

The analysis of the work of John Pastorino, previously a cell biologist at Rowan University, in Glassboro, concluded that he had doctored more than 40 images, resulting in a five-year funding ban.

The report flagged eight published papers (and an unpublished one), six of which had already received expressions of concern (EOCs). Nataly Shulga was a co-author on all eight papers. With these two new retractions in Biology Open and Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – Bioenergetics, all of the flagged papers have now been retracted.

Here’s the retraction notice for the Biology Open paper, issued July 15:

Read the rest of this entry »

Ex-Mount Sinai postdoc who falsified 50+ images earns 5-year funding ban

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ori-logoA former postdoctoral researcher at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York has received a five-year funding ban after an investigation concluded that they had falsified data underlying more than 50 images.

According to a report released today by the Office of Research Integrity (ORI), Zhiyu Li falsified Read the rest of this entry »

1st retraction for ex-Pitt postdoc who admitted to doctoring data

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American Journal of Physiology Renal Phsyiology

A former postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pittsburgh has issued his first retraction after an investigation by the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) concluded he had falsified and/or fabricated data in two published papers.

The ORI investigation into the work of Kenneth Walker, determined that he had

falsified and/or fabricated quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) data to demonstrate a statistically significant or “trend” of statistical difference in the expression of renal or bladder urothelium and muscle developmental markers between control and experimental (mutant) mice, when there was none.

The ORI report said that Walker has agreed to retract or correct a 2013 PLOS ONE paper and a 2015 study published in American Journal of Physiology – Renal Physiology (AJPRP).

Here’s the first retraction notice, issued by AJPRP: Read the rest of this entry »

1st retraction for cancer researcher who doctored data in 11 studies

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LeukemiaA cancer journal has retracted a paper co-authored by a researcher who falsified or fabricated data in 11 studies, according to an investigation by the Office of Research Integrity (ORI).

In December 2015, an ORI probe into the work of Girija Dasmahapatra concluded that he had

…duplicated, reused, and/or relabeled Western blot panels and mouse images and claimed they represented different controls and/or experimental results…

Dasmahapatra left the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in July 2015.

Here’s the retraction notice, issued in April 2016: Read the rest of this entry »

Second retraction for researcher who faked 70+ experiments

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Journal of Biological ChemistryTwo researchers found to have faked data by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) have lost a paper that they co-authored.

According to the ORI report issued on May 25, Ricky Malhotra, one of the researchers in question, admitted to fabricating 74 experiments, and falsifying well over 100 Western blots while at the Universities of Michigan (UM) and Chicago (UC). One week later, the ORI issued additional findings about Karen D’Souza, a colleague of Malhotra’s at the UC, concluding that she had also falsified some data.

Both researchers agreed to the retraction of a 2010 paper published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC), the reports note.

Here’s the retraction notice, issued on July 1: Read the rest of this entry »

Five more retractions for biologist with funding ban brings total to six

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Journal of Cell ScienceAn erstwhile cell biologist has retracted five papers published in the Journal of Cell Science (JCS), all of which had been flagged in a recent investigation by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI).

The investigation found John Pastorino, previously a cell biologist at Rowan University in New Jersey, guilty of doctoring more than 40 images, resulting in a five-year funding ban.

The probe identified eight papers co-authored by Pastorino, six of which had already received expressions of concern (EOC) — including all of the newly retracted JCS papers. Nataly Shulga is a co-author on all eight papers.

Last week, we reported on the first of the expected retractions of the flagged papers in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Here are the retraction notices, which are the same for all five JCS papers: Read the rest of this entry »