Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘cell biology’ Category

Stem cell researcher who sued Harvard, Brigham & Women’s is leaving his post

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Piero Anversa

A stem cell researcher who sued his employers, Harvard and Brigham & Women’s Hospital, is headed to Switzerland.

Piero Anversa‘s departure follows the dismissal of his suit last summer. Anversa filed the suit with colleague Annarosa Leri, claiming that an investigation into their work damaged their reputations:

they lost a multimillion-dollar offer to purchase their company, Autologous/Progenital; and both Plaintiffs have had possible employment offers at several institutions postponed.

Anversa’s lawyer, Tracey Miner, confirmed that he was moving:

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Written by Shannon Palus

November 20th, 2015 at 3:49 pm

Cholesterol paper duplicated; “The authors believed that they had taken the necessary steps to withdraw.”

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Biological Reviews

A review journal is pulling a 2013 article about advances in researchers’ understanding of cholesterol after seeing the same article in another journal.

Although the retracted paper appeared first — online in Biological Reviews in February, 2013 — the journal decided to retract it after learning the authors had initially submitted it elsewhere. The first submission was eventually published (with the exception of one author) in 2014 in Frontiers in Bioscience

The authors say they “believed that they had taken the necessary steps to withdraw their paper from Frontiers in Bioscience before they submitted to Biological Reviews in June 2012.” Here’s more from the retraction notice:

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Biology journal bans plagiarizers, reviewers with non-institutional email addresses

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87959_relDNA and Cell Biology has declared it will ban any authors who submit plagiarized manuscripts for three years, and will no longer accept suggestions of reviewers with non-institutional email addresses.

The move comes after a wave of hundreds of retractions stemming from fake peer reviews, often occurring when authors supply fake emails for suggested reviewers.

In an editorial published online October 23, editor Carol Shoshkes Reiss notes that the decision to ban authors who plagiarize material stems from a rash of recent submissions containing overlapping text: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

October 28th, 2015 at 9:35 am

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 »

Dutch investigation of researcher violated rules of “fair play”: Ombudsman

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Pankaj Dhonukshe

Pankaj Dhonukshe

The National Ombudsman of The Netherlands has criticized some aspects of an investigation by Utrecht University that found a researcher had committed “a violation of academic integrity.”

Specifically, the Ombudsman found the investigation — which we covered last year — did not adequately involve the affected researcher, Pankaj Dhonukshe, and therefore violated rules of “fair play.” Dhonukshe expressed relief in a statement he emailed to us about the ruling: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

October 6th, 2015 at 9:30 am

Author appeals retraction after co-authors dispute Nature Comm paper

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nature comm

Two weeks after Nature Communications published a paper on asymmetric cell division in July, it posted a retraction notice saying the paper was submitted “without the knowledge or consent” of all but the corresponding author.

The following day the journal “amended” the retraction note to include the initials of the corresponding author, Aicha Metchat, then based at European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany.

The final notice for “An actin-dependent spindle position checkpoint ensures the asymmetric division in mouse oocytes” reads:

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Former UCSF grad student fudged data in two papers

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ORIA former graduate student at the University of California, San Francisco “knowingly falsified and/or fabricated” data in two published papers, according to the Office of Research Integrity.

According to a case summary published this morning, Peter Littlefield was working on his PhD, studying the ways that cells respond to external signals, when he published the two problematic papers. He is the first author on the papers; Natalia Jura, whose lab he worked in, is the last on both.

The report’s findings are based on, among other sources, “the respondent’s admission.”

The first paper, “Structural analysis of the EGFR/HER3 heterodimer reveals the molecular basis for activating HER3 mutations” was published in Science Signaling and has been cited twice, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Three figures in the paper are problematic, says the ORI summary:

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Voinnet notches second retraction, two more corrections

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PNASOlivier Voinnet — a plant researcher who was recently suspended for two years from the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) after an investigation by ETH Zurich and CNRS found evidence of misconduct — has issued his second retraction and two more corrections.

PNAS posted the retraction earlier this week for a 2006 article after an inspection of the raw data revealed “errors” in study images. Authors confirmed the issues in some figures and revealed “additional mounting mistakes” in others.

Voinnet has promised to issue retractions and corrections for every study that requires them. These latest notices bring our tally up to nine corrections, two retractions and one Expression of Concern.

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Cell biologist Hanna issues two errata; images mysteriously disappear from Imgur

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Jacob Hanna

Jacob Hanna

Cell biologist Jacob Hanna, the highly cited stem cell researcher currently at the Weizmann Institute of Science,  has posted a long erratum for a 2005 paper in Blood for “inadvertent mistakes,” among other issues; soon after, Hanna’s team issued another erratum for a 2009 Cell Stem Cell paper.

There’s more to tell: Last month, commenters on PubPeer noticed that images from at least 10 of the research papers Hanna coauthored in seven journals — that commenters had posted on the image hosting website Imgur and linked to on PubPeer — had been deleted.

Imgur did not confirm whether these specific images had been deleted, but told Retraction Watch:

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Corrections (and one EoC) propagate for distinguished plant biologist, Olivier Voinnet

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Olivier Voinnet

Olivier Voinnet

There may be some deeply rooted issues in the work of high-profile plant biologist Olivier Voinnet, biology department research director at ETH in Zurich. Corrections have continued to pile up months after his work was hit with a barrage of criticism on PubPeer. We’ve tracked a total of seven corrections over the past five months (not including the April retraction of a 2004 paper in The Plant Cell). One of the corrected papers also received an Expression of Concern this week.

Collectively, the corrected papers have accumulated more than 1200 citations.

In January, Voinnet said he planned to correct multiple papers, after receiving “an anonymous email.”

One of the recent corrections we found is for a 2004 article in The Plant Journal, “An enhanced transient expression system in plants based on suppression of gene silencing by the p19 protein of tomato bushy stunt virus,” which details using proteins from a tomato virus to help alter gene expression. The study has been cited 862 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. Here’s the correction notice, posted June 8:

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