Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘infectious disease’ Category

PLOS ONE pulls malaria study for “inappropriate manipulation” of figures

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PLOS OnePLOS ONE has retracted a malaria paper after an institutional investigation found evidence the authors had manipulated multiple figures.

According to the notice, the authors’ institution — the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) in New Delhi, India — recommended the journal retract the paper.

Here’s the retraction notice, issued by PLOS ONE on June 30: Read the rest of this entry »

HIV paper pulled for lack of consent, errors

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AIDS JournalA researcher failed to obtain proper consent from HIV patients included in his study about risky sexual behavior, according to the journal that retracted his paper.

The study, based on interviews with 154 men and women living with HIV, concluded that experiencing negative life events correlated with risky sexual behavior. But although the author claimed to have complied with the journal’s standard of consent, the journal disagreed, and retracted the paper in 2014 (we think this case is interesting enough to share with you now). What’s more, according to the journal, the paper contains errors that invalidate its conclusions.

Here’s the notice:

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Journal flags paper over allegations it used competitors’ text, plasmids

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MGGA journal has issued an expression of concern (EOC) for a paper on a common crop virus after the authors were accused of using competitors’ unpublished text and plasmids.

Investigations by the journal and the involved institutions — the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, where the paper’s authors are based, and North Carolina State University (presumably, where the accusing group is from) — were inconclusive, the notice states.

So the editor flagged “Sequences enhancing cassava mosaic disease symptoms occur in the cassava genome and are associated with South African cassava mosaic virus infection” with an EOC:

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Columbia investigation reveals researcher faked data — and a degree

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InnateImmunityA researcher faked data and a masters degree, according to an investigation by Columbia University.

He’s also earned his fourth retraction. The new notice, along with one we’ve uncovered from 2014, provide some information on the extent of the deception of Robert Frumento, who left Columbia a decade ago, around the time that the now-retracted papers were published.

Here’s the new retraction notice:

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PLOS ONE retracts 2 malaria papers over doubts experiments ever took place

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PLOS One

Authors have retracted a pair of PLOS ONE papers after an investigation suggested the articles might contain some fiction.

In the papers, the authors describe collecting and analyzing the DNA of mosquitoes to look for changes following the introduction of bed nets treated with insecticides to combat malaria. However, an investigation by the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement in France could not confirm some of the experiments ever took place.

Here’s the retraction notice for “How the Malaria Vector Anopheles gambiae Adapts to the Use of Insecticide-Treated Nets by African Populations,” which appears at the top of the paper:

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Journal pulls parasite paper over potential for patient harm

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Parasitology ResearchA journal has retracted a paper about a molecular diagnosis for leishmaniasis out of concern it could lead to incorrect clinical diagnoses. 

According to Parasitology Research, all data behind the figures in the main manuscript and supporting information are correct, but the authors’ misinterpretation of the data could lead doctors to diagnose patients incorrectly. 

Let’s take a look at the retraction notice, which tells us a bit more about the nature of the problem: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

May 19th, 2016 at 9:30 am

Study on pregnant women with HIV lied about having ethics approval

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Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 5.47.50 AMWe recently discovered a relatively old retraction notice — from 2014 — of a study on pregnant women with HIV.

The paper was retracted two years ago when BMC Research Notes discovered the authors falsely claimed they had obtained ethics approval from an institution in Kenya.

The study looked at the effectiveness of an antiretroviral therapy in 50 women who were receiving care at a center in Nairobi, Kenya. But the authors did not have permission from the center to use data from the women, nor the necessary ethics approval from Moi University to carry out the work.

Here’s the retraction note for “Effectiveness of option B highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) in pregnant HIV women:”

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Written by Shannon Palus

May 6th, 2016 at 11:30 am

Data manipulation flushes paper on gut bacteria

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cell reportsData manipulation in a Cell Reports paper blew the importance of a kind of bacteria out of proportion.

Retracted this month — less than three months after it was published — the paper showed, according to a summary on the cover page:

B. subtilis is a symbiont that resides in the gut of C. elegans and generates nitric oxide that is essential for the host. Xiao et al. demonstrate that nitric oxide promotes defense against pathogenic bacteria by activating p38 MAPK, demonstrating the importance of commensal bacteria in host immunity.

But B. subtilis — a member of the Bacillaceae family — aren’t actually as plentiful as they appeared, explains the retraction notice for “Gut-Colonizing Bacteria Promote C. elegans Innate Immunity by Producing Nitric Oxide:”

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Biologists earn 5th retraction following Swedish investigation

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plos pathA team of biologists have earned a fifth retraction for a paper containing manipulated images, following an investigation by the Swedish government.

Last year, the investigation found that former Uppsala University doctoral student Apiruck Watthanasurorot had manipulated figures in five papers, four of which have already been retracted. Earlier this year, we reported that his supervisor, last author Kenneth Söderhäll, had requested PLOS Pathogens simply correct the fifth paper because independent groups have confirmed the findings. But according to the retraction notice for “Bacteria-Induced Dscam Isoforms of the Crustacean, Pacifastacus leniusculus,” Söderhäll has since agreed to the retraction:

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Research assistant fired for using student’s thesis in a paper

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Reviews in Medical Microbiology

A research assistant at King Saud University (KSU) has lost his job after he used material from a student’s thesis without permission or attribution in a paper.

Lakshmana Krishnappa was terminated after a disciplinary committee considered his case last November, the vice dean for postgraduate training and research at KSU told Retraction Watch. In April of last year, Krishnappa retracted a paper published in January 2015 — we think that’s the date; the journal doesn’t make it all that clear — that included plagiarized material, published in Reviews in Medical Microbiology. He recently lost a second unrelated paper for duplication.

Here’s the retraction notice for the Reviews in Medical Microbiology paper, “Acinetobacter baumannii: pathogenecity, virulence factors and their correlation with adherence and invasion:”

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