Former University of Kansas researcher who plagiarized Harvard prof banned from Federal funding for two years

Rakesh Srivastava

A researcher fired from the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) in 2014 for plagiarizing the work of a Harvard scientist has been barred from receiving Federal U.S. funding for two years.

The sanctions come three years after the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) tried to impose a three-year ban on funding for Rakesh Srivastava, who appealed the move. In September of this year, Department of Health and Human Services  administrative law judge Keith Sickendick recommended a two-year sanction.

In his decision, Sickendick noted that there was no evidence that Srivastava had engaged in research misconduct other than in this incident, and that he denied adding the plagiarized passages to the grant application himself. (Srivastava, who had also worked at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, is last author on a 2002 retraction from the Journal of Biological Chemistry for plagiarism, but it is unclear who was responsible.)

ORI tells Retraction Watch that it is “pleased that the ALJ upheld its findings.

An ‘Eminent Scholar’

Srivastava — along with his wife, Sharmila Shankar — joined KUMC in 2009 to great fanfare: Continue reading Former University of Kansas researcher who plagiarized Harvard prof banned from Federal funding for two years

Judge dismisses most of Carlo Croce’s libel case against the New York Times

Carlo Croce

Carlo Croce, a prolific cancer researcher at The Ohio State University in Columbus who was the subject of a front page story in The New York Times last year about allegations of misconduct against him, has had most of a lawsuit he filed against the newspaper thrown out.

As first reported by Courthouse News Service, United States District Judge James Graham tossed all but one of Croce’s claims for defamation against the Times and two of its reporters. That claim — which involved a statement in a letter that reporter James Glanz sent Croce as part of his reporting — survived dismissal, but not on grounds that it inflicted emotional distress, Graham ruled.

The March 2017 story ran on the front page of the Times under the headline “Years of Ethics Charges, but Star Cancer Researcher Gets a Pass:” Continue reading Judge dismisses most of Carlo Croce’s libel case against the New York Times

Researcher who once tried to sue critics has another dozen papers retracted

Fazlul Sarkar

A cancer researcher who went to court — unsuccessfully — claiming that commenters on PubPeer had cost him a new job has just lost another 12 papers.

The twelve now-retracted papers by Fazlul Sarkar and colleagues — as well as another by Sarkar that is now subject to an editor’s note — all appeared in Cancer Research, which made for a long table of contents in its September 15 issue. Continue reading Researcher who once tried to sue critics has another dozen papers retracted

Cancer journals retract 10 papers, flag 8 more, and apologize for the delay

Bharat Aggarwal

Five journals published by a prominent cancer research society have retracted a total of 10 papers — most of them by a former researcher at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Nine of the 10 retractions share that researcher, Bharat Aggarwal, as an author. Aggarwal — who more than five years ago threatened to sue us for reporting on an investigation into his work — is now up to 28 retractions, and has left his post at MD Anderson. The AACR is also appending an editor’s note to eight of his other papers — but it has not explained the reason for what it acknowledges is a lag in moving on these articles.

“Unfortunately, we have been delayed in correcting the published record, and for this we apologize,” writes the publisher of The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), Christine Rullo, in a note in this month’s issue of Cancer Research. Rullo doesn’t say how long the journals took to handle the retractions. Continue reading Cancer journals retract 10 papers, flag 8 more, and apologize for the delay

A 2015 PNAS paper is six pages long. Its correction is four pages long.

Sometimes, corrections are so extensive, they can only be called one thing: Mega-corrections.

Recently, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) issued a four-page correction notice to a paper about a compound that appeared to reduce the chances a cancer will recur. The notice describes figure duplication, problems with error bars and figure legends — as well as the loss of statistical significance for some data.

According to the authors’ statement in the notice:

Continue reading A 2015 PNAS paper is six pages long. Its correction is four pages long.

Nature cancer paper that raised animal welfare concerns is retracted

When Nature published a paper in 2011 describing a compound extracted from a pepper plant that appeared to kill cancer cells but leave healthy cells unscathed, it got some attention.

Of course, the news caught the media’s eye, but also that of other researchers, who have since jumped on the concept, and continued to study the effects of the compound — piperlongumine — on cancer, as well as other conditions.

But ever since the 2011 letter appeared, researchers have raised concerns about some of the figures — including one that showed mice with massive tumors, suggesting they had experienced an unreasonable amount of distress during the study. Nature has responded by issuing two lengthy correction notices in 2012 and 2015 — as well as an editorial that admitted the animals may have “experienced more pain and suffering than originally allowed for,” but did not warrant retracting, as the results remained “valid and useful.”

Today, the journal is retracting the paper, with the following brief notice:

Continue reading Nature cancer paper that raised animal welfare concerns is retracted

A misconduct probe — which led to 20 retraction requests — took four years. Why?

Santosh Katiyar

A probe into the work of a researcher who studied natural products for cancer had many stops and starts along the way — including five extensions granted by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity — according to documents obtained by Retraction Watch.

Following a public records request, we recently obtained a copy of the report on the investigation of allegations of misconduct by Santosh Katiyar, issued jointly by the University of Alabama Birmingham and the Birmingham VA Medical Center. As a result of the report, the institutions have requested 20 retractions of work by Santosh Katiyar, who received millions in funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health

How does the report stack up?

Continue reading A misconduct probe — which led to 20 retraction requests — took four years. Why?

Misconduct probe of once rising star prompts retraction of cat’s meow paper

A group of Australian researchers who studied the cat’s meow as a model for urinary incontinence and other motor-neural issues in people have lost a 2015 paper in the wake of a misconduct investigation.

The target of the inquiry was Hari Subramanian, a former senior research fellow at the Queensland Brain Institute, part of the University of Queensland (UQ). Subramanian was leading studies of incontinence in the elderly, for which he sometimes used nerve stimulators on live rodents and cats. As The Australian reported last September, animal rights activists have objected to his research methods — which sometimes involved sticking probes into the brains of living animals.  

Recently, the school launched an investigation — prompted by an unknown complainant — into the integrity of Subramanian’s data in two articles, including one, now retracted, that appeared in the Journal of Comparative Neurology.  

The case is controversial, to say the least, replete with allegations of unfair attacks. Subramanian’s lawyer told us the journal may be reviewing its decision to retract the paper. (We couldn’t confirm that with the editor.)

Here’s what we’ve found out so far.

Continue reading Misconduct probe of once rising star prompts retraction of cat’s meow paper

How much cancer stems from diabetes, obesity? Lancet journal swaps high-profile paper

Six months ago, the media was ablaze with the findings of a new paper, showing that nearly six percent of cancer cases are caused, at least in part, by obesity and diabetes. But this week, the journal retracted that paper — and replaced it with a revised version.

The new paper doesn’t change the main findings much — the share of all cancers attributable to diabetes and obesity changed from 5.6% to 5.7%, which wouldn’t change any headlines about the original paper. But soon after the paper was published, a group of researchers noticed the authors’ mistake — which was significant enough to prompt the journal to retract the paper entirely, and swap it with a new one.

According to first author Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard at Imperial College London:

Continue reading How much cancer stems from diabetes, obesity? Lancet journal swaps high-profile paper

Two years after student loses PhD, ORI concludes he committed misconduct

The U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) announced today that a former graduate student committed research misconduct — nearly two years after his institution stripped him of his degree.

The ORI concluded that Shiladitya Sen committed misconduct in a PNAS paper (retracted six months ago), his PhD thesis, a poster presentation, and two grant applications to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Sen has agreed not to seek federal funding for three years.

A spokesperson for The Ohio State University (OSU), where Sen was based, told us its investigation wrapped up in Spring 2016, and Sen’s PhD was revoked that June. It’s not clear why it took two years for the ORI to issue its own finding; the ORI did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

According to ORI’s notice, Sen:

Continue reading Two years after student loses PhD, ORI concludes he committed misconduct