Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘misconduct investigations’ Category

Biologists earn 5th retraction following Swedish investigation

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plos pathA team of biologists have earned a fifth retraction for a paper containing manipulated images, following an investigation by the Swedish government.

Last year, the investigation found that former Uppsala University doctoral student Apiruck Watthanasurorot had manipulated figures in five papers, four of which have already been retracted. Earlier this year, we reported that his supervisor, last author Kenneth Söderhäll, had requested PLOS Pathogens simply correct the fifth paper because independent groups have confirmed the findings. But according to the retraction notice for “Bacteria-Induced Dscam Isoforms of the Crustacean, Pacifastacus leniusculus,” Söderhäll has since agreed to the retraction:

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Team in Japan earns third retraction for misconduct

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JSRA team of researchers has earned its third retraction after an investigation at Oita University in Japan found instances of misconduct in their research.

The most recent notice mentions the investigation, and specifies that the first author, Satoshi Hagiwara, was responsible for the problematic figures in the paper. Hagiwara is also the first author on two retracted papers we reported on last year; one of the earlier retractions also mentions the investigation, but does not assign responsibility to any particular author. All three papers share three authors.

The retraction notice for “Continuous Hemodiafiltration Therapy Ameliorates LPS-Induced Systemic Inflammation in a Rat Model,” published in the Journal of Surgical Research, explains the issues with the paper:

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Neuroscience journal retracts expression of concern 15 years after investigation

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Here’s something we don’t get to write about often: A journal has retracted an expression of concern (EOC) more than 15 years after issuing it.

What took so long? Apparently, the European Journal of Neuroscience (EJN) just recently learned about a review carried out by the author’s previous institution, which concluded that she had not committed misconduct.

Let’s take a look at the retraction note of the expression of concern, which was published last month: Read the rest of this entry »

Poll: Should there be a statute of limitation on retractions?

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With PubPeer and other online resources (such as PubMed Commons and our comment section), it’s never been easier for readers to raise public suspicions of published papers. But what should we do when we learn about potential problems in papers that are decades old, and all of the authors are deceased?

That’s the question we’re asking ourselves, after reading “Due process in the Twitter age,” this week’s editorial from Science editor Marcia McNutt.

She presents this compelling scenario:

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Written by Alison McCook

April 22nd, 2016 at 9:30 am

Raw files help fix 2003 figure by heart researcher accused of fraud

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A researcher accused of misconduct by an anonymous Japanese blogger has corrected a 2003 paper in Circulation Research, after providing a university investigation with the original source files.

Allegations of fraud have dogged Shokei Kim-Mitsuyama for years, and even caused him to step down from his position as editor in chief at another journal. However, Kim-Mitsuyama and his colleagues call the latest correction a “mistake,” which didn’t affect any of the paper’s conclusions.

We’ve unearthed a total of five publications co-authored by Kim-Mitsuyama that have earned corrections, the latest of which cites an investigation by the university:

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Singapore investigation leads to another retraction, correction for Harvard research fellow

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After an investigation found evidence of misconduct, a biologist has issued a third retraction.

Sudarsanareddy Lokireddy — now a research fellow at Harvard Medical School — “admitted falsification,” a Research Integrity Officer at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore told us in December. According to The Scientist, another journal has also published a correction that the authors had requested earlier.

The newly retracted paper is “Myostatin is a novel tumoral factor that induces cancer cachexia,” published in Biochemical Journal and cited 40 times, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science. Here’s the retraction note:

Communications researcher loses two book chapters, investigated for plagiarism

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BrillA researcher who studies how others communicate is struggling with his own communications: Peter J. Schulz has lost two book chapters for misappropriating the work of others, and is under investigation by his university.

Although the publisher believes the errors were unintentional, the retractions have prompted it to stop selling the books altogether.

Schulz now has a total of three retractions and one erratum for failing to properly cite other works. The University of Lugano in Switzerland, where he is based, told us they’re investigating allegations of plagiarism against him.

Both of the chapters that were recently retracted appear in books published by Brill. The retraction notes say the same thing:

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Written by Shannon Palus

April 18th, 2016 at 9:30 am

Cell Press flags two papers after author confesses to fraud

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Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 8.45.56 PMNormally, when we see disputes over fraud allegations, it’s one author accusing another — but an unusual case at Cell has recently crossed our desk.

The journal has flagged a paper after an author confessed to committing fraud himself — but the corresponding author is disputing that confession, citing concerns about the confessor’s “motives and credibility.”

Independent labs are repeating the experiments to determine if the third author on the paper did, as he so claims, manipulate experiments. In the meantime, Cell and Molecular Cell have issued expressions of concern (EOCs) for two papers on which Yao-Yun Liang was a co-author. The notices cite an inquiry at Baylor College of Medicine, where the work was done, which was inconclusive, and recommended the journals take no action about the papers.

The EOCs are pretty much the same (both journals are published by Cell Press). Here’s the EOC that appears on “PPM1A functions as a Smad phosphatase to terminate TGFbeta signaling,” published in 2006 by Cell and cited 251 times, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science:

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DC court allows part of lawsuit against GW to proceed

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kumarA DC court has denied part of George Washington University’s motion to dismiss a $8 million lawsuit by a biologist who claims his employer mishandled an investigation into his work.

Last spring, GW filed a motion to dismiss the case, brought forward by Rakesh Kumar, who has three retractions.  A judge has allowed the case to proceed, honoring parts of the school’s motion to dismiss, but denying most of it.

The memorandum opinion gives the specifics:

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Written by Shannon Palus

April 13th, 2016 at 11:30 am

Peer reviewer stole text for her own dentistry paper, says journal investigation

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Journal of Conservative DentistryFollowing a “thorough investigation,” the Journal of Conservative Dentistry (JCD) has retracted a paper after concluding that the first author stole the text from another paper when peer reviewing it for a different journal. 

The JCD decided that the 2013 paper about white spot lesions and inhibiting the growth of the bacteria Streptococcus mutans in the mouth is a “verbatim copy” of a paper that was rejected by the International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry in 2012 but published by The Journal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry in 2014.

The first author denied the charges, saying she had finished the paper before reviewing the other, which she suggested rejecting.

Let’s take a look at the retraction note, which tells us more about the journal’s investigation: Read the rest of this entry »