Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘misconduct investigations’ Category

Author pulls study for duplication, blames editing company

with 5 comments

MedChemCommThe author of a paper about insulin has retracted it due to “extensive text and data overlap” with another paper.

In November 2015, MedChemComm issued an expression of concern (EOC) for the same paper. According to the EOC, the author of the paper, Yong Yang, flagged the paper to the journal, citing problems with authorship and portions of text overlap, which Yang attributed to an editing company.  

The editor-in-chief of the journal told us Yang’s institution — China Medical University — carried out an investigation into the case at the journal’s request.

We’ve also found a 2015 retraction for Yang, after he published a paper without the okay of his previous institution in Texas. 

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

4th retraction for neuroscientist sentenced for fraud

without comments

Bruce Murdoch

Bruce Murdoch

A Parkinson’s researcher has earned his fourth retraction after receiving a two-year suspended sentence for fraud.

The sentence for Bruce Murdoch, issued on March 31, 2016, came following an investigation by his former employer, the University of Queensland (UQ) in Australia, into 92 papers. Murdoch entered guilty pleas for 17 fraud-related charges, which resulted in the retraction of three papers co-authored by Murdoch and Caroline Barwood, another former UQ Parkinson’s researcher who faced fraud charges (and was granted bail in 2014).

Now, a fourth retraction has appeared for Murdoch in Brain Injury, this time for duplication and failing to obtain consent from his co-authors.

Here’s the retraction notice, issued on July 11: Read the rest of this entry »

Against authors’ wishes, journal pulls study with errors, statistical mistake

with 2 comments

Annals of the Rheumatic DiseasesA rheumatology journal has retracted a paper about treating knee pain after an institutional investigation found a mistake in the statistical process.

Over several months, the authors proposed a series of corrections to the 2014 study. However, the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases (ARD) decided that there were “unresolved concerns” about the reliability of the data, and decided to retract the paper entirely, despite the authors’ objections.

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

Institute director loses third paper following investigation

without comments

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 4.16.03 PM

An autism researcher is retracting a paper she shared with the director of a New York institute, following a misconduct investigation.

In 2011, suspicions raised by peer reviewers triggered the investigation into several papers by Xiaohong Li at the Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities (IBR) in New York. The probe concluded in 2013 that there was no evidence of misconduct, but the committee recommended the institute review all relevant papers. This additional review led to the latest retraction, the result of problems with figures which “underpin the conclusions of the study.”

This is Li’s third retraction, all of which she shares with W. Ted Brown, the director of  IBR. The pair lost two articles in 2013.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Alteration of astrocytes and Wnt/beta-catenin signaling in the frontalcortex of autistic subjects,” published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation: 

Read the rest of this entry »

Canada funding agency bans researcher for fraud, and in first, reveals her name

with 5 comments

via WCH

via WCH

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has banned a bone researcher for life following a finding of misconduct. And in a first, the agency has named her, in their report out today.

The case of Sophie Jamal may be familiar to Retraction Watch readers, as we covered it in October of last year following reporting by The Toronto Star. JAMA retracted a 2011 study by Jamal and colleagues in December, as we reported, and resigned her positions at Women’s College Hospital (WCH) and the University of Toronto.

Jamal, according to the an investigating committee at WCH: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

July 19th, 2016 at 8:30 pm

Researcher hired lawyers to try to get journal to run correction he wanted

without comments

BMCLogoWhen a researcher suspected a paper on fireflies had borrowed some of its methodology, he called lawyers to help him convince the publisher to craft a correction notice that was to his satisfaction.

Although the authors submitted a correction to BMC Plant Biology acknowledging Robert Birch as the original author of some material, as we reported previously, the publisher instead issued an expression of concern (EOC), noting that there was an “authorship dispute.”

When our post ran earlier this year, we didn’t know why a request for correction had turned into an EOC, which — as its name states — is typically more cause for concern than a correction. We’re still not sure exactly why, but we have learned that Birch disputed the content of the authors’ suggested correction, and hired lawyers to try to change the wording. From his perspective, there are several problems with the paper, he told us:

Read the rest of this entry »

War over whistleblower protection for Kansas ecology prof wages on

with one comment

nsfA contentious case over whether a fired ecologist deserves whistleblower protection is playing out in Kansas, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) has once again weighed in.

For the second time, the NSF has told the researcher, Joseph Craine, that he does not qualify for protection as a whistleblower after he was fired from Kansas State University (KSU) for sharing misconduct allegations with a journal editor.

Craine initially asked the NSF for whistleblower protection status in 2014, arguing that he had been retaliated against for making misconduct allegations to the journal Ecology. The NSF denied Craine’s claim, but Craine appealed to federal court, which found the NSF’s reasoning opaque and remanded the case back to the agency. On June 24, the NSF’s General Counsel Lawrence Rudolph issued a new 11-page letter that lays out the basis for its decision: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Brendan Borrell

July 19th, 2016 at 9:30 am

Doctor who blew whistle on defunded study speaks

with 3 comments

steve williams

Steve Williams

It’s rare for the U.S. government to revoke grants – but it happened recently, according to a report this week by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting (KyCIR). As the report notes, in March the government revoked $914,000 in funding awarded to Susan Harkema at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, after discovering problems with a study that examined whether the muscle relaxant baclofen helps paralyzed patients move on treadmills. (The university has denied it lost any government funding; a representative of Louisville Public Media, which houses the KyCIR, is standing by the story.) All of this has not been news to Steve Williams, a physician now based at the University of Washington, who has been raising questions about the study for years.

Retraction Watch: What was your role in the study in question, that’s now been defunded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILIRR)?

Steve Williams: I was the study physician who evaluated patients for enrollment.

RW: According to the KyCIR, the study began recruiting patients in 2012. When did you start getting concerned about how it was being conducted? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

July 15th, 2016 at 9:30 am

Plagiarism concerns raised over popular blockchain paper on catching misconduct

with 15 comments

f1000researchA graduate student at McGill University is raising concerns that a popular F1000Research paper may have plagiarized his 2014 blog post that — ironically — proposed a method to prevent scientific misconduct. The student calls the paper “a mirror image” of his work.

The February 2016 F1000Research paper, “How blockchain-timestamped protocols could improve the trustworthiness of medical science,” was highlighted by us earlier this year, as well as by The Economist and FierceBiotech. In the paper, physician Greg Irving of the University of Cambridge and John Holden of Garswood Surgery in the UK describe a proof-of-concept of how to use a blockchain—a technology best-known for powering the digital currency bitcoin—to audit scientific studies and prevent misconduct in clinical trials.

After the student brought his concerns to the journal, Irving and Holden published a second version of their paper online, this time prolifically citing the blog entry and altering language that had been identical between the two pieces. F1000Research says “the scientific content is still valid” and has no plans to retract the article. Two public peer reviewers of the work also stand by its validity. Read the rest of this entry »

Harvard researcher’s PhD revoked, former group earns three more retractions

with 5 comments

Journal of Biological ChemistryA research fellow at Harvard has lost his PhD from a university in Singapore after being found guilty of falsifying data, and his former group leader’s contract has been terminated by his institution.

But that’s not the whole story. This tangled mess involves not only the Harvard researcher, Sudarsanareddy Lokireddy, and his former boss, Ravi Kambadur at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore, but an as-yet unnamed colleague of theirs who, we’re told, has admitted making up data in three papers, on which Lokireddy and Kambadur are co-authors. Bear with us as we walk you through this tale.

Two of those papers have been retracted by The Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC); one in Molecular Endocrinology has yet to be pulled. Kambadur, who held joint appointments at the NTU and the Agency for Science, Research and Technology (A*STAR) in Singapore, has now had his contract terminated at both institutions.  Read the rest of this entry »