Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘immunology retractions’ Category

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 »

Romanian journal bans author following 4 retractions

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Romanian Journal of Internal MedicineA medical journal in Romania has issued a lifetime ban for a researcher after retracting four of his papers.

Since April, the Romanian Journal of Internal Medicine (RJIM) retracted nine papers (eight for plagiarism, one for duplication); four of these were co-authored by Manole Cojocaru, a researcher at the Titu Maiorescu University (TMU) in Bucharest, Romania. Subsequently, the journal has banned Cojocaru from submitting manuscripts, and has also informed the ethics committee at his institution.

Here’s the retraction notice, which is the same for six of the papers: Read the rest of this entry »

Unwitting co-author requests retraction of melatonin paper

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Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 10.54.58 PMNine years ago, a well-known pharmacologist hosted a researcher from another university in his lab. On a Saturday night last September, he learned while surfing Google Scholar that they had published a paper together.

Marco Cosentino, who works at the University of Insubria in Italy, know that Seema Rai, a zoologist at Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya in India, had collected data during during her six months in his lab, but had warned her they were too preliminary to publish. She published the data — on melatonin’s role in immunity — anyway, last summer in the Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology, listing Cosentino as the second author.

The day after he discovered the paper, Cosentino sent an email to the editor in chief of the journal, Charles Malemud, explaining why he did not approve of the publication:

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Authors retract PNAS paper suggesting silk stabilizes vaccines

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PNASA PNAS paper that caught the media’s attention for suggesting that adding silk could stabilize vaccines and antibiotics has been pulled after the authors realized there were significant errors in the data analysis. 

According to the notice, the authors agreed to retract the 2012 paper; however, the corresponding author told us the authors did not think a retraction was required as, according to him, the conclusions remained valid.

The paper presented a solution to the long-standing problem that sensitive biological compounds such as vaccines and antibiotics begin to lose their effectiveness outside the recommended temperature range, and naturally biodegrade over time. The degradation process cannot be reversed, and may even speed up during transport or storage under less ideal temperatures.

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

Fraudster loses third attempt to remove 7-year debarment

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court caseA U.S. judge has denied a virology researcher’s third attempt to overturn a seven-year debarment from receiving federal funds, following a 2010 decision by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity.

The ORI banned Scott Brodie for seven years after concluding he had committed 15 acts of misconduct at the University of Washington. The deception affected grant applications, published papers, manuscripts, and presentations. Since then, Brodie has tried multiple times to reverse the ruling in court.

In the latest decision, dated June 13, United States District Judge James E. Boasberg writes: Read the rest of this entry »

Researcher who sued to stop retractions gets his sixth

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Mario Saad

Mario Saad

A sixth retraction has appeared for a diabetes researcher who previously sued a publisher to try to stop his papers from being retracted.

Mario Saad‘s latest retraction, in PLOS Biology, stems from inadvertent duplications, according to the authors.  Though an investigation at Saad’s institution — the University of Campinas in Brazil — found no evidence of misconduct, a critic of the paper told The Scientist he does not believe that the issues with blots were inadvertent.

Previously, Saad sued the American Diabetes Association to remove four expressions of concern from his papers; they were later retracted, even though Unicamp recommended keeping three of them published.

Here’s the new retraction notice, for “Gut Microbiota Is a Key Modulator of Insulin Resistance in TLR 2 Knockout Mice:” Read the rest of this entry »

Software glitch — not intentional manipulation — sunk immunology paper, says author

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kuo photo

A black box appears over the control lane on the left

New evidence suggests a retracted paper was felled not by intentional manipulation — as it first appeared — but by a software glitch.

In 2014, we reported that Biochemical Journal had retracted a paper on suspicion it contained “shoddy Photoshopping”  — someone appeared to have blacked out a control lane in one figure. Now there’s evidence that it wasn’t done on purpose: An investigation at Duke into eight papers, including the Biochemical Journal paper, did not find evidence of misconduct; lead author Paul Kuo, currently chair of surgery at Loyola Medicine, told us that a glitch in the software caused the black box. Nevertheless, the journal does not plan to un-retract the paper. Read the rest of this entry »

Antifungal drug paper didn’t have institution’s approval

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Authors have pulled a paper on an antifungal drug that is potentially toxic because it lacked final approval from their institution.

The study describes a patient who had experienced liver toxicity after taking voriconazole. During the study, the authors re-administered the drug to the patient using “a slow dose titration.” But their institution didn’t approve the study before it was published online.

Here’s the retraction note for “Successful Rechallenge with Voriconazole following Medication-Induced Hepatotoxicity,” published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.  Read the rest of this entry »

Journal temporarily removes paper linking HPV vaccine to behavioral issues

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1-s2.0-S0264410X16X00084-cov150hThe editor in chief of Vaccine has removed a paper suggesting a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine can trigger behavioral changes in mice.

The note doesn’t provide any reason for the withdrawal, although authors were told the editor asked for further review.

Two co-authors on the paper — about Gardasil, a vaccine against HPV — have previously suggested that aluminum in vaccines is linked to autism, in research a World Health Organization advisory body concluded was “seriously flawed.”

Approximately 80 million doses of Gardasil were administered in the U.S. between 2006 and 2015. Both the the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have ruled the vaccine to be safe — the CDC, for instance, calls it “safe, effective, and recommended.”

The journal published an uncorrected proof of “Behavioral abnormalities in young female mice following administration of aluminum adjuvants and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil” online on January 9th, 2016. In its place now is a note that says:

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Paper on plant immunity can’t fight off manipulation

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A paper on how plants respond to bacteria has an invader of its own — data manipulation.

The “irregularities and inappropriate data manipulation” were found in a figure produced by the first author, Ching-Wei Chen, whose LinkedIn page lists him as a student at the National Taiwan University. The authors were unable to replicate the results in the figure, according to the note.

The authors are doing more experiments to verify the main conclusion of the 2014 paper, “The Arabidopsis Malectin-Like Leucine-Rich Repeat Receptor-Like Kinase IOS1 Associates with the Pattern Recognition Receptors FLS2 and EFR and Is Critical for Priming of Pattern-Triggered Immunity,” published in The Plant Cell.

The retraction note explains the what happened in more detail:

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