Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘biochemistry’ Category

Author admits to manipulating more than a dozen images in 2013 paper

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A former graduate student at the University of Hong Kong confessed to making “inappropriate modifications” to several figures in a 2013 paper in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC).

According to the retraction notice, the authors identified issues in 13 images while reviewing the data; the paper’s first author, Yingying Lu, copped to manipulating the figures. Even though “these modifications did not change the results or interpretations of this work,” the authors requested the paper be retracted.

The paper’s corresponding author, Jainbo Yue, previously based at the University of Hong Kong and now at the City University of Hong Kong, had nothing to add to the retraction notice, and told us that a “third person” is repeating the key experiments.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Two pore channel 2 (TPC2) inhibits autophagosomal-lysosomal fusion by alkalinizing lysosomal pH,” published in July: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Victoria Stern

August 2nd, 2017 at 8:00 am

What a report into scientific misconduct reveals: The case of Frank Sauer

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Oct. 3, 2011, was the beginning of the end for Frank Sauer’s tenure at the University of California, Riverside. On that day, an anonymous emailer contacted Sauer’s institution with accusations that the biochemist had cooked his research in at least eight papers over a 16-year period.

Sauer was found to have doctored images in studies using government money — nearly $3 million of it. He went on to lose his position at UC Riverside, several papers to retraction, and, in May, a subsequent legal battle over the severity of the federal sanctions. Along the way, he concocted a fantastic tale of sabotage against German scientists (like himself), replete with poison-pen letters and fabricated credentials. 

Retraction Watch has obtained a copy of UC Riverside’s report on the Sauer case through a public records request. The report, which is undated but which describes committee meetings and interviews from October 2011 to October 2012, lists 33 allegations of scientific misconduct against Sauer, 20 of which the committee determined to involve deception. Of the remaining 13, the committee either could not find proof of guilt or determined that the data were legitimate.

Read the rest of this entry »

Paper with duplicated image “sequentially builds” on neuroscience work, authors argue

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A neurochemistry journal has retracted a paper from a group in China over a duplicated image.

According to the notice, the authors used the same image in the two papers to represent different experimental conditions. The only distinguishing feature between the images: “apparent brightness changes.”

The authors defended their actions, explaining that the research published in Journal of Neurochemistry “sequentially builds” on their previous study in Journal of Neuroinflammation, which they mention in the 2015 paper’s discussion. In the notice, the authors were quoted saying:  Read the rest of this entry »

“An example for all authors to uphold:” Researcher logs 5 corrections

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A scientist in Ireland has corrected five of his papers in a single journal dating back more than a decade, after image-related problems were brought to his attention.

Four of the newly corrected papers have a common last and corresponding author: Luke O’Neill of Trinity College Dublin in the Republic of Ireland. O’Neill is also a co-author of the remaining paper that was fixed. O’Neill told us the mistakes were a “bit sloppy,” noting that he takes responsibility for the errors in the four papers on which he is last author.

O’Neill forwarded Retraction Watch a comment he received from Kaoru Sakabe — data integrity manager at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (which publishes The Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC)) — that reads: Read the rest of this entry »

Researcher in Ireland loses two 13-year old studies

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journal-of-biological-chemistryThe Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) has retracted two 2003 studies after concluding that figures in the papers had been duplicated, and portions of some figures in one paper “did not accurately represent the results of the experimental conditions.”

The two newly retracted papers have the same last author — Therese Kinsella, a biochemist at the University College Dublin (UCD), who told us the data have been upheld by subsequent research, but that she supports the retractions, which are now part of a UCD investigation.

The retractions will bring up some familiar names: The first author on one of the papers is Sinéad Miggin from Maynooth University in the Republic of Ireland; in 2014, Miggin logged two retractions in the JBC, which triggered an investigation into co-author Aisha Qasim ButtLast year, Maynooth University revoked Butt’s PhD after she admitted to “falsification and misrepresentation” of data in both studies as well as her PhD thesis. At the time, Miggin and two other researchers were fully exonerated by Maynooth University from “any wrongdoing.”

Butt, however, is not an author of either of the newly retracted papers. Although Butt’s LinkedIn page still lists her as a postdoctoral researcher at UCD, a spokesperson from the institution told us she is no longer based there.

We don’t often see such old papers retracted. Kaoru Sakabe, Manager of Publishing Issues at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, which publishes JBC, told us how this decision came about: Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

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 »

You’ve been dupe’d: Results so nice, journals published them twice

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With so many retraction notices pouring in, from time to time we compile a handful of straight-forward retractions.

Once again, this list focuses on duplications — but unlike other duplications, these authors were not at fault. Rather, these retractions occurred because the publishers mistakenly published the same paper twice — the result of a transfer between publishers, for instance, or accidentally publishing the unedited version of the paper. We’re forced to wonder, as we have before, whether saddling researchers’ CVs with a retraction is really the most fair way to handle these cases.

So without further ado, here’s five cases where the journal mistakenly duplicated a paper, and had to retract one version: Read the rest of this entry »

Biotech journal pulls well-cited review that plagiarized from several sources

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Applied Microbiology and BiotechnologyA biotechnology journal has retracted a 14-year-old review after an investigation concluded that the authors had plagiarized from numerous sources.  

The last author of the paper — which has been cited 289 times, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science — told us the authors took a few lines from other reviews, and unintentionally left off the references.

In June 2011, the same author was denied a prestigious fellowship after an anonymous plagiarism allegation was filed against him. 

Here’s the retraction notice in Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology for “The nitrile-degrading enzymes: current status and future prospects:” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

August 1st, 2016 at 9:30 am

Four more retractions for biomaterials researcher brings total to 7

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Journal of Controlled ReleaseA biomaterials researcher has lost four more papers for figure-related issues such as duplications, bringing his total to seven retractions.

We previously reported on three retractions two by the Journal of Controlled Release (JCR) of papers co-authored by Hossein Hosseinkhani, who is currently based at the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology in Taipei. Now, the JCR is pulling four more studies that list Hosseinkhani as a co-author.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Enhanced expression of plasmid dna – cationized gelatin complex by ultrasound in murine muscle:” Read the rest of this entry »