In what appears to be a first, researcher sanctioned twice by ORI

Here’s something we haven’t seen before: The U.S. Office of Research Integrity has issued a second notice for a former researcher at the National Institutes of Health, after determining she withheld information during the first investigation.

Last year, the ORI sanctioned Brandi M. Baughman — formerly at the National Institute of Environmental and Health Sciences — after she “falsified and/or fabricated data” in 11 figures in a 2016 paper. Sanctions included agreeing to have her research supervised for three years. Now, the agency has barred her from receiving federal grants for two years. The reason:

Continue reading In what appears to be a first, researcher sanctioned twice by ORI

Former NYU researcher falsified data in 3 papers, 7 grants: ORI

A former researcher at New York University falsified and/or fabricated data in multiple papers and grant applications, according to the U.S. Office of Research Integrity.

Bhagavathi Narayanan has already retracted three papers, the result of missing original data. Among the three papers flagged by the ORI, only one remains intact: A 2011 paper in Anticancer Research.

According to the ORI:

Continue reading Former NYU researcher falsified data in 3 papers, 7 grants: ORI

US court denies virus researcher’s latest appeal challenging 7-year funding ban

Scott Brodie has almost run out of options.

A former professor at the University of Washington, Brodie is currently involved in his third lawsuit challenging a finding of scientific misconduct and a seven-year funding ban handed down in 2010 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Research Integrity. He says that in the time since his case was heard by an administrative law judge at the ORI level, new evidence has come to light that shows he “did not have a ‘full and fair opportunity to litigate’ the issues.” His lawsuit sought a court order to have the ORI revisit its decision.

Last year, a U.S. District Court judge dismissed the case, saying it revisited old issues that had already been litigated, but Brodie appealed that decision. Now, his quest may have come to an end: On Nov. 27, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit dismissed the appeal. If he wants to continue the case, Brodie’s only remaining option is to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the court order, the panel of three judges wrote:

Continue reading US court denies virus researcher’s latest appeal challenging 7-year funding ban

Director of U.S. HHS Office of Research Integrity temporarily removed from post

Kathy Partin

After a tumultuous two years, Kathy Partin is temporarily stepping away from her position as the director of the U.S. Office of Research Integrity.

According to an internal personnel announcement forwarded to us, on December 4, Partin will begin a 90-day stint at the Office of the Vice President for Research at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, which trains health professionals to support the U.S. military.

Partin declined to comment. A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), of which the Office of Research Integrity is a part, told us the agency cannot comment on personnel issues.

Linda Schutjer, a former colleague of Partin’s at Colorado State University, told us Partin was asked to leave:

Continue reading Director of U.S. HHS Office of Research Integrity temporarily removed from post

Caught Our Notice: Another retraction for researcher paid $100k to leave uni

Via Wikimedia

When Retraction Watch began in 2010, our co-founders Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus quickly realized they couldn’t keep up with the hundreds of retractions that appeared each year.  And the problem has only gotten worse — although we’ve added staff, the number of retractions issued each year has increased dramatically. According to our growing database, just shy of 1,000 retractions were issued last year (and that doesn’t include expressions of concern and errata). So to get new notices in front of readers more quickly, we’ve started a new feature called “Caught our Notice,” where we highlight a recent notice that stood out from the others. If you have any information about what happened, feel free to contact us at retractionwatchteam@gmail.com.

Title:  Diabetes and Overexpression of proNGF Cause Retinal Neurodegeneration via Activation of RhoA Pathway  and  Diabetes-Induced Superoxide Anion and Breakdown of the Blood-Retinal Barrier: Role of the VEGF/uPAR Pathway 

What caught our attention:

Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Another retraction for researcher paid $100k to leave uni

Division director leaving U.S. research watchdog after nearly 15 years

Susan Garfinkel

The director of the Division of Investigative Oversight at the U.S. Office of Research Integrity is leaving the agency.

Susan Garfinkel told Retraction Watch that her last day is November 10. She is taking a position as assistant vice president in the Office of Research Compliance at The Ohio State University (OSU).

Garfinkel declined to comment on why she was leaving the agency:

Continue reading Division director leaving U.S. research watchdog after nearly 15 years

ORI finds misconduct in case of biologist paid $100K by university to leave

A biologist who studied the impact of diabetes on the eye inappropriately altered data in five images from three papers, according to a new finding of misconduct issued by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI).

Readers may be familiar with the subject of the findings: Azza El-Remessy, a former tenured associate professor at the University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens, spoke to us earlier this year about her battle with UGA. In June 2016, UGA found her guilty of research misconduct and recommended she be terminated. El-Remessy fought back, hiring a lawyer to contest the findings, and the university ultimately paid her $100,000 to leave. (For more, here’s UGA’s June 2016 investigation report and the settlement agreement between UGA and El-Remessy.) Continue reading ORI finds misconduct in case of biologist paid $100K by university to leave

Recent finding of misconduct by federal U.S. agency sparks debate

Nasser Chegini

In 2011, the University of Florida assembled a misconduct report about one of its ob-gyn researchers, identifying falsified data in a 2010 paper. But when an investigator at the U.S. Office of Research Integrity reviewed the report, something didn’t feel right.

“I reviewed the data, and I thought [UF] didn’t do their due diligence,” said Kristen Grace, then an ORI investigator, now heading up the compliance department of the Office of Clinical Research at the University of Pennsylvania. “Because the extent of the the falsification was so great.”

So the ORI asked the UF to re-open its investigation, expanding it to include previous years of work by Nasser Chegini, now retired. The institution also hired a new director of research compliance, who oversaw the second investigation. That report, completed in October 2013, was significantly more extensive — it documented intentional falsifications or fabrications in nine papers published between 2003-2008. (Through a public records request, we obtained a copy of this second report, which you can read in full here.) But last month, the ORI issued a finding of misconduct against Chegini that focused on only one paper; the agency said it chose to take a “targeted approach,” since eight of the nine papers had already been retracted.  

The move has prompted a debate — while some argue it’s a pragmatic use of ORI’s limited resources, others (including Grace) are concerned:

Continue reading Recent finding of misconduct by federal U.S. agency sparks debate

After investigation that started at least 5 years ago, retired ob-gyn prof agrees to 5 years of supervision

Nasser Chegini

A now-retired professor tweaked the findings in seven figures of a 2007 paper, according to a new finding of misconduct released yesterday by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity.

The subject of the findings isn’t a stranger to our readers: We’ve already reported on nine retractions for Nasser Chegini, a former professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Florida (UF) who had won more than $4 million in Federal grants. And Chegini, who retired in early 2012, had been under investigation since at least 2012, with the ORI asking UF to broaden that investigation at one point.

Indeed, the ORI’s notice states that eight of Chegini’s retractions resulted from the UF’s investigation. The ORI’s findings, however, stem from another paper, published in the Journal of Reproductive Immunology, which has not been retracted.

According to the ORI, in that paper, Chegini:

Continue reading After investigation that started at least 5 years ago, retired ob-gyn prof agrees to 5 years of supervision

Why did it take a journal two years to retract a paper after a misconduct finding?

A 2014 paper containing data manipulated by a former graduate student has finally been retracted, two years after the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) published its findings.

In August 2015, the ORI published a report that Peter Littlefield, who was working on his PhD at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), had committed “research misconduct by falsifying and/or fabricating data” in two papers. Littlefield agreed to correct or retract the papers–one published in Chemistry & Biology and the other in Science Signaling.  

When we contacted Chemistry & Biology back in August 2015, a spokesperson for Cell Press told us the journal was figuring out “the best way to correct the scientific record.”

Apparently that took two years. In the meantime, the journal did not issue an expression of concern or otherwise notify readers of the issues. Continue reading Why did it take a journal two years to retract a paper after a misconduct finding?