Science chemistry paper earns retraction after expression of concern, marking second for UT group

scienceThe authors of a 2011 Science paper that proposed a new way to direct chemical bonds have withdrawn the paper after concerns about the data prompted an investigation and Editorial Expression of Concern last year from the journal. The retraction is the second for the group, which has also had seven other expressions of concern.

After a reader emailed the editors to raise suspicions about the data, corresponding author Christopher W. Bielawski, then based at the University of Texas at Austin, led an investigation of all the figures. It found substantial problems: “In over 50% of the figure parts, the authors deemed the data unreliable due to uncertainty regarding the origin of data or the manner in which the data were processed,” according to the retraction notice.

UT Austin concluded that there had been misconduct, but did not elaborate.

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Misconduct forces retraction of health behavior paper

j behav medA pair of psychology researchers at West Virginia University have lost their 2013 article in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine after one of the authors was found to have cooked the data.

The paper, “Preference for immediate reinforcement over delayed reinforcement: relation between delay discounting and health behavior,” was written by Shane Melanko and Kevin Larkin. It examined whether people who place less importance on the future were also less likely to adopt healthy behaviors, which come with delayed benefits. Melanko, then a doctoral candidate under Larkin, was evidently at one time a psychology student of some promise.

That promise might go unfulfilled. According to the retraction notice: Continue reading

Danish high court clears Pedersen in misconduct case


Klarlund Pedersen

Lawyers one, scientists nil.

Danish judges have overruled scientists in that nation, concluding that a panel of experts erred in finding that physiologist Bente Klarlund Pedersen, of the University of Copenhagen, was guilty of misconduct.

Last September, Pedersen announced that she would fight the ruling of the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD, Danish acronym UVVU), which had said she had committed misconduct in four of 12 articles it had examined.

As we reported then, Pedersen’s case is tied to that of another Copenhagen scientist, Milena Penkowa, with whom she had collaborated and who also has been found guilty of scientific misdeeds. (The new ruling does not address Penkowa.) Continue reading

Second former University of Queensland researcher to appear in court to face fraud charges

Bruce Murdoch

Bruce Murdoch

Bruce Murdoch, a neuroscientist formerly of the University of Queensland, will appear in court next week to face fraud charges stemming from an investigation that has already led to three retractions, several corrections, and similar charges for one of his colleagues.

Here’s the notice from the Crime and Corruption Commission: Continue reading

Second expression of concern appears for chemistry group under institutional review

chemsciThe journal Chemical Science has issued an expression of concern over a 2012 article by a pair of Texas researchers whose “unclick reaction” work has been under scrutiny by their institution.

The article, “Homonuclear bond activation using a stable N,N-diamidocarbene,” was written by Kelly M. Wiggins and Christopher W. Bielawski, of UT Austin. It’s the second EoC that we know of for a paper by Wiggins and Bielawski. We covered a previous one, from Science, that appeared in June.

Here’s the notice (pdf): Continue reading