Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘neuroscience retractions’ Category

Neuroscientist flags errors in his days-old paper “for the sake of science integrity”

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Only days after his paper was published online, a neuroscientist has posted a comment on PubMed alerting readers to several duplication errors.

Despite the issues, which the researcher says were introduced into the final manuscript after peer review, he reassured readers that they do not influence the final conclusions in the paper.

On February 9, ten days after the article came online, corresponding author Garret Stuber at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill wrote a detailed comment on PubMed Commons, explaining that the “research community” had brought four figure-related errors to his attention. After investigating the concerns, Stuber discovered that the problems emerged after the peer-review process, “while revising the manuscript to comply with Nature Neuroscience’s final formatting guidelines.” In his note, he outlined the specific duplication issues that arose, which he says he plans to detail to the journal in a formal corrigendum letter.

Stuber alerted the scientific community about his PubMed comment via Twitter: Read the rest of this entry »

Unusual: Neurology removes author dinged for misconduct from 2016 paper

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Neurology has partially retracted a 2016 paper, replacing a figure and removing the author who contributed it after he was found guilty of misconduct.

The journal has replaced the figure with a new one that confirmed the findings of the original, and swapped the name of Andrew Cullinane with the scientist who constructed the new figure using a new dataset. Last year, the U.S. Office of Research Integrity declared that Cullinane had falsified data in this paper and one other while working as a postdoctoral fellow in the Medical Genetics Branch at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).

Cullinane appears to be at Howard University in Washington D.C., according to his LinkedIn page. He is listed as an assistant professor in the Basic Sciences/Anatomy department of the university’s College of Medicine.

Here’s the partial retraction notice from the journal:

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Researcher issues massive changes to papers amidst plagiarism investigation

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A researcher in Greece has issued extensive — what we sometimes call “mega” — corrections to two 2016 papers published in a medical journal in Romania.

The first author — Alexandra Kalogeraki, a pathology researcher at the University of Crete in Greece — retracted two reviews from the same journal last year for plagiarism. The newest notices remove authors and correct, add, or remove text, often without providing an explicit reason for the change.

The journal told us Kalogeraki initially asked to retract the newly corrected papers, but the editors didn’t believe that the papers warranted the harsher measure, as they’d run a plagiarism scan and conducted peer review of the two papers and did not find any issues. However, the University of Crete is currently investigating allegations of plagiarism in two of Kalogeraki’s other papers, which have already been retracted by the same journal.

For the latest mega-corrections, both are so lengthy we’re only including a small portion of the notice for the case study, “Recurrent Cerebellar Desmoplastic/ Nodular Medulloblastoma in Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) in the elderly. A Cytologic Diagnosis,” which deals with authorship: Read the rest of this entry »

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

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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 »

Authors retract two statin papers, one with problems “too extensive to revise”

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Researchers in China have retracted two 2016 papers about the possible use of a cholesterol-lowering agent to treat bleeding on the brain.

One of the retracted papers in the Journal of Neurosurgery (JNS) had multiple problems that were “too extensive to revise,” according to the lengthy retraction notice, relating to issues with authorship, data analyses, and patient enrollment. The notice is signed by first author Hua Liu of the Nanjing Medical University in China.

Liu is also the first author of another recently retracted paper in Frontiers in Neuroscience, pulled for incorrectly categorizing patients.

The JNS retraction notice begins: Read the rest of this entry »

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

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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.

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

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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 »

Judge tosses case, saying that court-ordered retractions are not part of scientific publication

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“Retractions are part and parcel of academic and scientific publication. Court ordered retractions are not.”

So ends a judge’s September 30, 2016 opinion dismissing a case brought in 2014 by Andrew Mallon, a former Brown University postdoc, alleging that his advisor and former business partner, John Marshall, had published a paper in 2013 in PLOS Biology that should have listed him as a co-author.

As with most court cases, this one had a long backstory: An earlier version of the paper had listed Mallon as a co-author, but was rejected by Neuron in 2011; after the authors had a dispute over the data, a different version of the manuscript was submitted to PLOS Biology in 2012, leaving Mallon off the co-author list. So Mallon had sued to have the paper retracted.

In communications with Retraction Watch and other media, as well as during depositions of the plaintiffs, Mallon referred frequently to allegations of scientific misconduct, including the fact that the first author of the PLOS Biology paper had an unrelated paper retracted in 2010 for duplicated data. However, this case was brought under the Copyright Act, which focused on the authorship dispute.

Kevin Tottis, who represented Marshall and co-defendant Dennis Goebel, told Retraction Watch his clients “are delighted with the judge’s decision.” Massachusetts District Court Judge Timothy Hillman, he said, Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

December 14th, 2016 at 1:00 pm

Remaining fraud charges withdrawn for Parkinson’s researcher

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Caroline Barwood

Caroline Barwood

Two remaining charges against a Parkinson’s researcher recently convicted of fraud have been dropped by an Australian court.

In October, Caroline Barwood, formerly at the University of Queensland (UQ) in Brisbane, was found guilty of five out of seven charges. Subsequently, Barwood was handed two suspended sentences: one for two years, and another for 15 months, both to be served concurrently. She will not serve jail time.

Initially, Barwood pleaded not guilty to the three charges of fraud and four instances of attempted fraud — unlike her former UQ colleague Bruce Murdoch, who pleaded guilty to 17 fraud-related charges in March, and also earned himself a two-year suspended sentence

Barwood was found guilty of five charges against her, but the jury could not reach a majority verdict on one count of fraud and another of attempted fraud. She was asked to re-attend court for a “mention.” 

On December 6, those charges were withdrawn. Barwood told us: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

December 7th, 2016 at 11:30 am

More co-author misconduct raises NIH neuroscientist’s retraction count to 8

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Stanley Rapoport. Source: NIH

Stanley Rapoport. Source: NIH

Not again.

That’s the sound of learning that a third scientist you worked with committed misconduct.

In the last two years, we reported on two retractions for neuroscientist Stanley Rapoport, the result of misconduct by two different first authors. We’ve since discovered more retractions resulting from those cases — and a new retraction stemming from the actions of yet another co-author.  

Although the latest retraction notice doesn’t reveal the reason for retraction, both the journal editor and Rapoport — based at the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) — confirmed to us that it is the result of misconduct by the last author, Jagadeesh Rao. According to Rapoport, a “number of retractions [for] Rao are still in the works.”

We asked Rapoport for his reaction to multiple cases of misconduct by his colleagues, including the two first authors we’ve already reported on, Fei Gao and Mireille Basselin:

Read the rest of this entry »