Archive for the ‘immunology’ Category
In August, we reported on a case in which a researcher had been fired from Leiden University in the Netherlands for fraud. The university said there would be two retractions, but did not name the researcher in question. At the same time, however, there were clues in the university’s report that suggested it could only be one person, the lead author of a 2010 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) that was to be retracted.
A group of Belgian researchers has retracted two decade-old papers in Arthritis & Rheumatism following an investigation and court case.
The papers involved the use of the drug infliximab — sold by Johnson & Johnson as Remicade — to treat Sjögren’s syndrome, an auto-immune condition marked by the destruction of exocrine glands that secrete saliva and tears.
Infliximab is not approved for Sjögren’s. Although the two now-retracted studies suggested that it might be helpful, subsequent data did not support those findings.
In late December, we reported on the retraction of a 2010 research letter in Emerging Infectious Diseases looking at the genetics of swine flu.
The notice in the journal, a CDC publication, indicated that the conclusions were in error, although it didn’t really say much more:
To the Editor: We would like to retract the letter entitled “Triple Reassortant Swine Influenza A (H3N2) Virus in Waterfowl,” which was published the April 2010 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases (1). The nucleoprotein gene sequences from the viruses reported in that letter are very closely related to those from the earliest detected triple reassortant swine influenza viruses [CY095676 A/sw/Texas/4199–2/1998(H3N2)]. Although these viruses could have acquired a swine-origin segment, the branch lengths are quite short for 9 years of evolution. Therefore, we have withdrawn these 4 isolates from GenBank and subsequently retract this letter.
As it happens, there was more to the story.
A team of Swiss microbiologists has retracted their 2012 paper in PLoS One on the genetics of the TB mycobacterium after learning that the fusion protein they thought they’d used in their study was in fact a different molecule.
Here’s the retraction notice for the article, “A β-lactamase based reporter system for ESX dependent protein translocation in mycobacteria,” which has been cited once, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge: Read the rest of this entry »
A new study in Clinical Chemistry paints an alarming picture of how often scientists deposit data that they’re supposed to — but perhaps not surprisingly, papers whose authors did submit such data scored higher on a quality scale than those whose authors didn’t deposit their data.
Ken Witwer, a pathobiologist at Hopkins, was concerned that a lot of studies involving microarray-based microRNA (miRNA) weren’t complying with Minimum Information About a Microarray Experiment (MIAME) standards supposedly required by journals. So he looked at 127 such papers published between July 2011 and April 2012 in journals including PLOS ONE, the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Blood, and Clinical Chemistry, assigning each one a quality score and checking whether the authors had followed guidelines.
Partial retractions — as opposed corrections or the full monty — are unusual events in scientific publishing. But they appear to come in twos.
The article in question, by a group from the University of Kentucky in Lexington led by Susan Straley, appeared online in 2007. It was titled “yadBC of Yersinia pestis, a New Virulence Determinant for Bubonic Plague,” and, as the words suggest, involved a gene marker for the virulence of plague. Or so it initially seemed.
It’s pretty impressive to publish two peer-reviewed papers on complicated vaccination models while you’re still in high school. So it’s not surprising that Nathan Georgette, who grew up outside of Jacksonville, Florida, earned a prestigious fellowship from the Davidson Institute for Talent Development.
But perhaps even more impressive is realizing you’ve made a fundamental error in one of those studies, and retracting it while you’re still a college senior at Harvard. Read the rest of this entry »
Felicitas Riedel, a legal officer for the university, tells Retraction Watch that the
…Committee for Scientific Misconduct of the Philipps-University Marburg closed the matter and submitted its results to the President of the University who in the meantime after examination consented with it.
The findings? Read the rest of this entry »
Last spring, we reported on the retraction in Clinical and Translational Allergy of a 2011 paper by researchers in Egypt and Finland after “severe problems in the data set” were uncovered. The notice cited an earlier study, from 2009, in Acta Paediatrica, that formed the basis for the subsequent trial.
We have an update in the case of two Japanese scientists who first came to our attention when they retracted a 13-year-old paper in the Journal of Neuroscience last year. Shortly after that, we learned, thanks to a report in Sankei Shimbun and a helpful Retraction Watch reader, that some 17 papers were being investigated.
It now appears that 19 papers by the two researchers, Kenji Okajima and Naoki Harada, ended up under scrutiny.
Nagoya City University said last week that their investigation had concluded that Okajima and Harada committed misconduct. The university dismissed Harada, whom they found guilty of misconduct in at least eight of the papers. The investigation couldn’t find any evidence that Okajima was directly involved, but suspended him for six months because he supervised the work. Read the rest of this entry »