Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘misconduct investigations’ Category

JACS corrects, removes author from previously flagged paper

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JACSA paper at the center of a high-profile case of alleged misconduct in Hong Kong has earned a correction notice.

The correction replaces an expression of concern on the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) paper, which followed allegations of data manipulation. It provides some un-cropped images, and removes a co-author from the paper. However, it does not appear to address previous allegations of misconduct, nor a recent ruling from an investigation at Hong Kong University (HKU), which found that some of the data were “invalid.”

Here is the correction notice for “Molecular Imaging of Peroxynitrite with HKGreen-4 in Live Cells and Tissues:”

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Neuroscientist forged co-author’s signature, submitted paper without consent

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European Journal of Neuroscience cover2The European Journal of Neuroscience has pulled a paper after learning that one author’s name had been included without his consent.

Co-editor-in-chief of the journal, Paul Bolam, told us that the Shandong University of Medicine in China (where the work was carried out) conducted an investigation and found “a serious case of academic misconduct” — one author had forged the signature of another researcher, in order to add him as a co-author on a project in which he had not participated.

Here’s the retraction notice, which tells us a bit more: Read the rest of this entry »

Researcher who sued to stop retractions gets his sixth

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Mario Saad

Mario Saad

A sixth retraction has appeared for a diabetes researcher who previously sued a publisher to try to stop his papers from being retracted.

Mario Saad‘s latest retraction, in PLOS Biology, stems from inadvertent duplications, according to the authors.  Though an investigation at Saad’s institution — the University of Campinas in Brazil — found no evidence of misconduct, a critic of the paper told The Scientist he does not believe that the issues with blots were inadvertent.

Previously, Saad sued the American Diabetes Association to remove four expressions of concern from his papers; they were later retracted, even though Unicamp recommended keeping three of them published.

Here’s the new retraction notice, for “Gut Microbiota Is a Key Modulator of Insulin Resistance in TLR 2 Knockout Mice:” Read the rest of this entry »

Dutch university ordered to pay economist after she was accused of plagiarism

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VU UniversityA court in the Netherlands has fined Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) 7,500 euros to compensate for “immaterial damage” to an economist accused of plagiarism.

Karima Kourtita researcher at VU, has been at the receiving end of anonymous complaints to her institution accusing her of plagiarism and her professor, high-profile economist Peter Nijkamp, of duplication (i.e. self-plagiarism). Kourtit is now seeking to prosecute the unnamed source of the complaint for defamation; the VU told us it will no longer accept fully anonymous complaints.

The case began when VU cancelled Kourtit’s thesis defense for plagiarism, and a report published on the VSNU, the Association of Universities, accused Nijkamp of self-plagiarism. Two of Nijkamp’s papers have been retracted as a result of the investigation; Kourtit is an author on one of the retracted papers.

A VU spokesperson told us:

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Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

May 20th, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Software glitch — not intentional manipulation — sunk immunology paper, says author

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kuo photo

A black box appears over the control lane on the left

New evidence suggests a retracted paper was felled not by intentional manipulation — as it first appeared — but by a software glitch.

In 2014, we reported that Biochemical Journal had retracted a paper on suspicion it contained “shoddy Photoshopping”  — someone appeared to have blacked out a control lane in one figure. Now there’s evidence that it wasn’t done on purpose: An investigation at Duke into eight papers, including the Biochemical Journal paper, did not find evidence of misconduct; lead author Paul Kuo, currently chair of surgery at Loyola Medicine, told us that a glitch in the software caused the black box. Nevertheless, the journal does not plan to un-retract the paper. Read the rest of this entry »

Dairy journal retracts paper lacking co-authors’ consent

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Dairy science and technologyA journal about dairy science has retracted a paper after learning that it was published without the consent of all its authors.

An independent inquiry found no evidence of research misconduct, but nevertheless recommended that the institution — Curtin University in Perth, Australia — request to retract the paper.

Here’s the retraction notice, published in Dairy Science and Technology: Read the rest of this entry »

Former accounting prof adds 4 more retractions, bringing total to 37

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James Hunton, via Bentley University

James Hunton, via Bentley University

We’ve found four more retractions for an erstwhile accounting professor, bringing his total to 37.

The latest retractions follow a 2014 investigation into the work of James H. Hunton by his former employer, Bentley University in Massachusetts, which found him guilty of misconduct, resulting in more than two dozen retractions. Here’s the list of retractions released by the American Accounting Association

Here is the retraction notice, which is similar for all the newly retracted papers:

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Biologist under investigation asks journal to swap image, journal retracts the paper

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Suchitra Sumitran-Holgersson, via the University of Gothenburg

Suchitra Sumitran-Holgersson, via the University of Gothenburg

When a researcher discovered one of the images in her papers was a duplication, she asked the journal to fix it — but the journal decided to retract the paper entirely.

The researcher, Suchitra Sumitran-Holgersson, is currently being investigated by the University of Gothenburg in Sweden after a number of her papers were questioned on PubPeer. She told us the duplication was the result of ‘‘genuine human error.’’ Tissue Engineering Part A, however, decided the request to swap the image was a ‘‘cause for concern,’’ and chose to retract the paper. 

Here’s the retraction notice:

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Authors suspended as duplications sink papers on ship building

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Computational Materials Science

A pair of researchers affiliated with the University of Galati in Romania were suspended after duplicating work in their papers on materials used to build ships, earning them four retractions last year, and one the year before.

According to Romanian newspaper Impact Est, in December an ethics committee found that co-authors Ionel Chirica and Elena-Felicia Beznea committed “a number of breaches of ethics,” including self-plagiarism. Both received two-year suspensions from holding certain research positions.

These aren’t the only problems Chirica has faced: In 2013, he resigned from his position as the director of the Doctoral School of Engineering, according to Impact Estfor reasons that are unclear. In 2012, he also lost two additional papers on which he is the sole author.

Last fall, Computational Materials Science retracted four papers by Chirica and Beznea, publishing almost identical notices. We’ll start with the one for “Response of ship hull laminated plates to close proximity blast loads:”

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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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