Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘misconduct investigations’ Category

Biologist loses second paper — again, for unvalidated figures

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Cellular SignallingA researcher at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio has retracted a second paper after a review found the figures didn’t match the original data.  

Last year, we reported on a previous retraction of a paper co-authored by biologist Alan Levine in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, which was pulled for the exact same reason; even the retraction notices use similar language. The first author on both papers is Debasmita Mandal, also listed at Case Western Reserve University.

Here’s the retraction notice for “REDOX regulation of IL-13 signaling in intestinal epithelial cells: usage of alternate pathways mediates distinct gene expression patterns,” published by Cellular Signalling: Read the rest of this entry »

Peer review manipulation fells another study

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Spectrochimica ActaA spectroscopy journal has retracted a 2016 study after concluding that its editors had been misled by a fake review.

According to the retraction notice, the journal — Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy — accepted the paper due to positive feedback from someone assuming the identity of an expert reviewer, using an email address provided by the author of the study.

An official from the author’s institution in Turkey informed us that it will conduct an investigation. 

Here’s the retraction notice for “Diagnosis of cervical cancer cell taken from scanning electron and atomic force microscope images of the same patients using discrete wavelet entropy energy and Jensen Shannon, Hellinger, Triangle Measure classifier:” Read the rest of this entry »

Embezzlement, 15 retractions, and a whistleblower could add up to trouble for Duke

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scienceRetraction Watch readers may recall the case of Erin Potts-Kant, who pled guilty to embezzling funds from a lab, and now has 15 retractions, and Michael Foster, both formerly of Duke. You may also remember that we’ve featured discussions of the False Claims Act, which some attorneys are trying to use to expose wrongdoing — and earn large settlements for whistleblowers in the process.

It turns out those two threads are intertwined, as we learned only last month when a federal court case against Potts-Kant, Foster, and Duke was unsealed last month. (False Claims Act cases are frequently sealed when initially filed, with big penalties for anyone — including the attorneys — who talk about them, which is why we didn’t know of this link before.) In today’s Science, as part of our new partnership, we tell the story in a lot more detail, and describe the potential ramifications for Duke and other universities.

The whistleblower in the Duke case is named Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

September 1st, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Professor forced to retire after threatening co-author

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jialalI-bio

Ishwarlal “Kenny” Jialal

As the University of California Davis is reeling from the resignation of Chancellor Linda Katehi over alleged ethical violations, we’ve learned of more drama at the school: The fallout from a single retraction back in 2012 pushed one UC Davis professor into early retirement this summer without professor emeritus status.

What’s more, a UC Davis committee had recommended that former professor Ishwarlal “Kenny” Jialal retire early but maintain his professor emeritus status, and Katehi overruled that decision, deciding to strip Jialal of any future emeritus status.

Here’s the story: Jialal was found innocent of any research misconduct after Nutrition Reviews journal editors found portions of a 2008 review paper contained writing from the Linus Pauling Institute website, according to an internal investigation. However, after the first author — former postdoc Uma Singh, now an adjunct professor at Valencia College in Orlando — admitted to plagiarizing a passage, the investigation found Jialal sent her threatening emails in reaction to the perceived smear of the retraction on his reputation.

For instance, Read the rest of this entry »

Written by trevorlstokes

September 1st, 2016 at 11:30 am

Former NIH postdoc doctored data

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ori-logoA genetics researcher included falsified data in two published papers, according to a report by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) released today.

At the time of the misconduct, Andrew Cullinane was a postdoctoral fellow in the Medical Genetics Branch at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). According to his LinkedIn page, he is now an assistant professor at Howard University in Washington D.C. The university’s College of Medicine lists him as an assistant professor in the Basic Sciences/Anatomy department.

As today’s notice in the Federal Register reports, Cullinane Read the rest of this entry »

Former professor shoots dean who fired him for misconduct

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MountSinai_IcahnSchool_LogoA former assistant professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York fired a shotgun yesterday at two men– including the school’s dean, who had fired him six years ago.

The New York Times reports that Hengjun Chao was taken into custody on charges of attempted murder, after his shots hit Mount Sinai dean Dennis Charney and another man outside of a suburban New York deli. Both men were treated at a local hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

Chao was fired from Mount Sinai in 2010 after an investigating committee found that he Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

August 30th, 2016 at 9:36 am

Scotland researcher suspended during misconduct probe: report

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Robert Ryan

Robert Ryan

A prominent researcher in Scotland has been suspended amidst a misconduct investigation at the University of Dundee.

According to The Scotsman, the allegations against Robert Ryan center around falsifying data and duplicating figures in his work about molecular bacteriology.

As the outlet reports: Read the rest of this entry »

Why do scientists commit misconduct?

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Cristy McGoff

Cristy McGoff

What makes a person fabricate data? Pressure from different corners in his or her life, to get published, funding, or promotions? Are there personality traits that occur more often among those caught committing misconduct? We spoke with Cristy McGoff, the Director of the research integrity office at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro – who also has a master’s degree in forensic psychology from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice – about the minds of serial fraudsters.

Retraction Watch: Let’s start with your background. Why did you make the switch from forensic psychology to research compliance? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

August 29th, 2016 at 9:30 am

USDA finds “evidence of manipulation” in vaccine study

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VaccineA journal is retracting a paper by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture about a vaccine to protect fish from a deadly bacterial infection, after an investigation found evidence of data manipulation. 

The retraction notice — which appears in the journal Vaccine — cites an investigation by the USDA. It also notes that the authors — who are no longer with the USDA — have not agreed to the retraction.

Here’s the retraction notice, issued on August 20: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

August 26th, 2016 at 9:30 am

U Colorado’s former “golden boy” up to 7 retractions

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University of Colorado DenverA former graduate student at the University of Colorado Denver has gained three retractions and two expressions of concern (EOC), following an institutional probe into his work. 

Last year, we reported on an investigation by the University of Colorado Denver into the research of Rajendra Kadam, which recommended retracting 10 papers. The report also flagged eight additional papers co-authored by Kadam whose data could not be validated, raising “concerns as to the scientific validity and integrity” of the material. A few months later, we reported on some of the notices — four retractions and an EOC — that had begun to appear for Kadam’s manuscripts.

We’ve since discovered more notices, bringing his total to seven retractions and three EOCs. 

Kadam was once a prominent member in the lab of Uday Kompella, and often referred to by colleagues as the “golden boy,” according to the institution’s report. In 2012, he won a graduate student symposium award from the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists.

A University of Colorado Denver spokesperson told Retraction Watch: Read the rest of this entry »