Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘molecular biology’ Category

Columbia University probe prompts retraction of cardiovascular paper

with one comment

A journal has retracted a 2011 study at the request of Columbia University.

According to Jeanine D’Armiento, the study’s last author, the newly retracted paper in Clinical Science contained a figure from a Journal of Hypertension paper published by the same authors earlier that year. 

First and corresponding author Joseph George told Retraction Watch the error was unintentional. A Columbia spokesperson sent us this statement: Read the rest of this entry »

Journal retracts paper due to image mismatch; one co-author alleges fraud

with 16 comments

Researchers have retracted a biology paper that included an image mismatch — despite the fact that, as they claim, another image in the same paper confirms the original findings.

The authors say they plan to resubmit the paper with the corrected figure panel.

The second to last author — Carlo Croce, chair of the department of cancer biology and genetics at The Ohio State University — told us he believes there’s more to the retraction than what the notice says. Specifically, he said that the paper includes an image from a previous paper by the same authors, which he called “fraud.”

Here’s the latest retraction notice, published in Cell Death and Differentiation:

Read the rest of this entry »

Surgery chair who blamed image issues on software logs three more retractions

with 20 comments

A researcher who claimed image problems in a retracted paper were the result of a software glitch, and not intentional, has lost three more papers — all for image manipulation.

In two notices, the Journal of Biological Chemistry specifies that duplicated images were used to represent different experimental conditions; one notice simply says the paper was affected by image manipulation.

All of the notices specify the papers are being retracted by the publisher, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology — which this month published a set of recommendations for preparing a paper, including how to avoid excessive manipulation.

The papers were published between 2002 and 2010, and all share the same last author (Paul Kuo, currently chair of surgery at Loyola Medicine) and first author (Hongtao Guo, at Duke).

Here’s the first notice:

Read the rest of this entry »

A Harvard whistleblower was subjected to a forced mental exam. Here’s why.

with 10 comments

Last March, a PhD student at Harvard filed a misconduct allegation against his mentor, a prominent stem cell researcher. Three months later, he was taken from his home by police in the middle of the night for a forced psychiatric evaluation.

How did this happen? Read the rest of this entry »

“Crucial experiments” missing from retracted plant study

without comments

A 2016 study was retracted from a Frontiers journal after editors realized the authors had omitted experiments that didn’t support the hypothesis. 

Gearóid Ó Faoleán, ethics and integrity manager at Frontiers, which publishes Frontiers in Plant Science, told us:

In accordance with our complaints protocol, the Field Chief Editor led the investigation that resulted in the decision to retract the paper.

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

Nature paper with massive correction can’t be reproduced, says independent group

with one comment

In 2011, authors of a Nature letter caught some flak for issuing a lengthy correction to a neuroscience paper that had raised eyebrows within days of publication — including some suggestions it should be retracted.

The correction notice, published months after the original letter, cited errors in image choice and labeling, but asserted the conclusions remained valid.

Now, those conclusions appear up for debate. In a recent Nature Brief Communications Arising (BCA) article, a team that raised concerns about the paper five years ago says they are unable to reproduce the results. But the authors of the original paper aren’t convinced: They argue that the BCA fails to cite important evidence, has a “complete absence or low quality of analysis,” and the scientists disregard some of their data.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

with 8 comments

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 »

Authors use same images in two studies — one is retracted, the other flagged by journal

without comments

After researchers in China included the same images in two papers published online one month apart, one paper has been retracted, and the other flagged with an expression of concern. 

According to the retraction notice in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine (IJMM), the authors intended that the two different papers offered “different research perspectives.”

Meanwhile, the Chinese Medical Journal — which published the same images one month later — has issued an expression of concern (EOC), noting it “should not be considered as a statement regarding the validity of the work.” Both papers describe how cells regulate blood flow to the retina.

Normally, journals choose to retract the most recent paper containing duplicated images, but in this case, the IJMM paper was published online in February 2016, and the Chinese Medical Journal in March.

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

Prominent researcher in Taiwan loses another paper for image duplication

without comments

In November, a vice president at an institution in Taiwan retracted a hotly debated cancer paper from Nature Cell Biology, citing image problems including duplications. Now, the Journal of Biological Chemistry has done the same, again citing image duplications.

There are a few things to note about the latest retraction: One, the last author is again Kuo Min-liang — who holds an appointment at National Taiwan University (NTU), and is also a vice president at Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan. Kuo is currently facing allegations that he accepted bribes to add co-authors to his papers; NTU told us it is investigating the latest retraction in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, including Kuo.

The other notable feature of the retraction is the notice itself, which lists a remarkable number of duplicated images. Take a look:

Read the rest of this entry »

Researcher loses 4th paper flagged by misconduct probe

with 2 comments

A researcher in Germany has logged her fourth retraction following an investigation by her former employer that found evidence of scientific misconduct.

The latest retraction for Tina Wenz in the Journal of Applied Physiology mentions the probe at the University of Cologne in Germany, which recommended retracting six of her papers. One had already been retracted by the time the report was released; last month, we reported that two others had been pulled. Now, we’ve come across a fourth.

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