Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘misconduct investigations’ Category

So you want to be a whistleblower? Part II

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john thomas

John R. Thomas

This is the second article in a series by John R. Thomas, Jr., a lawyer at Gentry Locke who represents whistleblowers in a variety of False Claims Act cases. In this installment, he writes about how whistleblowers can tell if they have a viable FCA case.

In my first article, I briefly outlined the role that the False Claims Act (FCA) can play in promoting scientific integrity and safeguarding public grant funding. This article will answer a more substantive and practical question that a potential whistleblower must consider: What constitutes a viable FCA case? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

May 6th, 2015 at 9:30 am

Trove of VA reports reveals research misconduct, medical malpractice

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va logoLast week, the Veteran Affairs Office of Inspector General released eight years of reports investigating allegations of nefarious behavior at VA hospitals and institutions around the country, ranging from mistreating a patient in Florida, misspending grant money in New York, and conducting unauthorized research in Iowa.

In one report, Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Brendan Borrell

April 27th, 2015 at 9:30 am

Bielawski and Wiggins retraction count grows to six

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chemical scienceA group of chemists whose work was investigated by the University of Texas-Austin has had another paper retracted, this one of a Chemical Science study previously subjected to an Expression of Concern.

That makes six retractions for Christopher Bielawski and Kelly Wiggins.

Here’s the notice for “Homonuclear bond activation using a stable N,N′-diamidocarbene”, signed by all three authors of the paper: Read the rest of this entry »

Nature retracts epigenetics paper by author who lost two Science papers last year

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cover_natureFrank Sauer, formerly of the University of California, Riverside, has had a 2002 letter on epigenetics retracted from Nature due to “inappropriate image manipulation.”

Sauer had two papers retracted from Science last year following a university investigation. Here’s the Nature notice for “Histone methylation by the Drosophila epigenetic transcriptional regulator Ash1:” Read the rest of this entry »

Investigations into Voinnet’s work announced; critic publishes original peer review

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Olivier Voinnet

Olivier Voinnet

The story about Olivier Voinnet, a high-profile plant biologist whose work has fallen under scrutiny, continues to build momentum. Late last week, Voinnet’s employer and one of his funders announced they were investigating his work, and one of the peer reviewers of a soon-to-be-retracted paper has made her original report public.

Here’s the statement from CNRS, which funds Voinnet: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

April 13th, 2015 at 2:00 pm

Two more retractions bring lab break-in biochemist up to eleven

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bbrcKarel Bezouška, the Czech biochemist who was caught on hidden camera breaking into a lab fridge to fake results, has turned it up to eleven with two new retractions.

Both retractions appeared in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, one in October 2014 and one in January 2015.  His story began two decades ago in 1994, when he published a paper in Nature that couldn’t be reproduced, and was eventually retracted in 2013.

The best part of the story, of course, is that when his university was attempting to recreate his experiments, Bezouška broke into a lab fridge to tamper with the experiments. Unbeknownst to him, he was caught on hidden camera.  Read the rest of this entry »

Journal retracts part of molecular bio paper due to “unsubstantiated conclusions”

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j mol evAll but one of the authors of a 2013 Journal of Molecular Evolution paper have requested a partial retraction due to “erroneous data” and “scientific misconduct” on the part of the remaining author.

The note blames second author Michael Kolesnikov for falsifying data on the formation of ATP. According to the notice, the misconduct was confirmed by a “thorough investigation” by the Bach Institute of Biochemistry in Russia, which no longer employs Kolesnikov.

Here is the note for “Abiotic Photophosphorylation Model Based on Abiogenic Flavin and Pteridine Pigments”: Read the rest of this entry »

How should journals handle multiple allegations from the same person?

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copeIt’s not uncommon for us to hear from overworked journal editors that they are faced with a deluge of allegations about a particular author’s papers. And while we think it’s the responsibility of said editors to make sure their publications are as transparent as possible, we’re also sympathetic to the demands that investigations can take.

The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) offers suggestions for dealing with these issues in a new discussion document. As COPE explains: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

March 24th, 2015 at 5:00 pm

University finds Dutch economist guilty of misconduct; he responds

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Peter Nijkamp

The Free University of Amsterdam found Peter Nijkamp, one of the nation’s leading economists who has lost several papers for self-plagiarism, has been found guilty of “questionable research practices,” according to the newly released results of an investigation.

Nijkamp has published a strongly worded criticism of the report (at least according to Google Translate, since his writing is in Dutch).

According to independent student publication Ad Valvas, the commission, led by Jaap Zwemmer, a professor emeritus at the University of Amsterdam, found Nijkamp was guilty of “questionable research practices.” University rector Frank van der Duyn Schouten, on the other hand, said in an official statement that there was “insufficient basis” to claim questionable research practices for each article.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

March 20th, 2015 at 11:30 am

Bielawski and Wiggins up retraction count to five with three in JACS

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Journal of the American Chemical SocietyThe Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) has retracted three articles that had earned expressions of concern by chemistry researchers who were under investigation at the University of Texas, Austin.

Kelly Wiggins and Christopher Bielawski have already received two other retractions and several EoCs.

The newly retracted articles have each been cited more than 50 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

The three papers are: Read the rest of this entry »