Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘misconduct investigations’ Category

Investigation of prominent geneticist Latchman finds “procedural matters,” no misconduct

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David Latchman, Birkbeck

An investigation by the University College London has cleared prominent geneticist David Latchman of misconduct, but concluded he has “procedural matters in his lab that required attention.”

Latchman has two retracted paperson PubPeer, there are questions about nearly four dozen more.

The results of the investigation were first reported by the Times Higher Education. We also received a short statement from a UCL spokesperson:

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Court grants Toronto researchers review of misconduct findings

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A Canadian court has granted a review of two researchers’ application to quash the findings of a university investigation that found signs of falsified data, according to the researchers’ lawyer.

Yesterday, the court ruled that the application by Sylvia Asa and her husband, Shereen Ezzat, to quash the University Health Network investigation’s findings be reviewed by a full panel of the divisional court.

That review should take place within the next few months, Brian Moher, the researchers’ attorney, told us. The pair are pleased with the outcome, Moher told Retraction Watch:

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Written by Alison McCook

August 28th, 2015 at 2:30 pm

Trachea surgeon Macchiarini acted “without due care,” but is not guilty of misconduct: Karolinska

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Paolo Macchiarini

Paolo Macchiarini

Following an investigation, Karolinska Institutet has found that surgeon and visiting professor Paolo Macchiarini acted in some cases “without due care,” but that his behavior “does not qualify as scientific misconduct.”

Karolinska’s Vice Chancellor has also recommended that Macchiarini submit an unspecified number of corrections “to clarify and rectify the failings that the inquiry has brought to light.”

Macchiarini is most well-known for pioneering the creation of tracheas from cadavers and patients’ own stem cells. However, the glow of his success was diminished somewhat after four Karolinska surgeons filed a complaint, alleging Macchiarini had downplayed the risks of the procedure and not obtained proper consent, among other accusations.

An external review by Bengt Gerdin of Uppsala University concluded in May that Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

August 28th, 2015 at 8:45 am

Three retractions for Oregon neuroscience student investigated by ORI

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Journals have retracted three out of the four papers flagged by the Office of Research Integrity during its investigation of a University of Oregon neuroscience student, David Anderson.

Last month, when we first reported on the case, Anderson told us that he “made an error in judgment,” and took “full responsibility.” Two of the retraction notes say that Anderson “knowingly falsified data,” and cited the Office of Research Integrity case summary.

All three papers focus on memory.

The note for the first retraction, from the  Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, reveals exactly how Anderson falsified data in the paper. It’s paywalled — tsk, tsk — but printed here in full:
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Researchers suspended in Japan for funding violations

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Sanae Ariga

Sanae Ariga

Hokkaido University has suspended two of its professors after an investigation found “improper receipt of research funding.”

One member of the team was awarded more than 15 million yen (roughly $120,000 USD) in research grants from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), according to the official statement (translated by One Hour Translation).

The researchers share a last name. Hiroyoshi Ariga, a professor of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Science and the head of a university lab, was given 8 million yen in 2006 and 7.5 million in 2007. It appears that Sanae Ariga also received funds for a similar study, based on the translation:

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Diederik Stapel ups count to 55 retractions

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Diederik Stapel

Dutch social psychologist and well-known fraudster Diederik Stapel is up to 55 retractions. He remains secure in his spot at #4 on our leaderboard.

The “fraudulent” Social Cognition article found, according to its abstract, that the more positively you perceive yourself, the less you need to compare yourself to other people. Conversely, negative thoughts were linked to more comparison to others. As an article in the New York Times points out, where Stapel’s faulty studies often succeeded is in telling us what we want to believe about the world.

Here’s the retraction note for the article:

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Journal that published bogus chocolate study delisted from open access directory

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logo_croppedThe journal that recently published a bogus study showing the health benefits of chocolate has been kicked out of a membership organization for open access journals.

According to the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), the International Archives of Medicine was removed from the list of member journals August 20, due to “suspected editorial misconduct by publisher.”

The journal is still was listed in PubMed until November 2014.

According to the DOAJ website, membership to the organization serves as a stamp of approval for OA journals:

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Written by Alison McCook

August 25th, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Former Wake Forest grad student fudged data for drug study

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Brandi Blaylock

A former graduate student at Wake Forest School of Medicine “presented falsified and/or fabricated data” in a government-funded drug study, according to findings released by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity earlier today.

The report was released in the wake of an investigation conducted by the university and the ORI. Investigators found that although Brandi Blaylock recorded responses of a dozen laboratory monkeys after giving them anti-abuse drugs, she hadn’t given them the compounds “per protocol.”

Blaylock then presented the data at “two poster presentations, several laboratory meetings, and progress reports.”

Some of her research was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, “Dopamine D2 Receptors In Primate Models of Cocaine Abuse,” which examined the effects of novel dopamine D3 receptor compounds on drug addiction on monkeys.

However, according to the report, Blaylock presented the falsified responses from a dozen monkeys: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ross Keith

August 21st, 2015 at 2:06 pm

Trouble with data proves toxic for a pair of toxicology papers

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logoA pair of papers about the risks of titanium dioxide nanoparticles that share many of the same authors has been retracted from a toxicology journal following an investigation at Soochow University in China.

Particle and Fibre Toxicology is retracting the papers for problems with the statistical methods and missing data, as well as for sharing figures.

Here’s the note for “Intragastric exposure to titanium dioxide nanoparticles induced nephrotoxicity in mice, assessed by physiological and gene expression modifications:”

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8 things you might not know about research misconduct proceedings: Guest post

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Callan Stein

Have you ever wondered what could happen if you’re accused of misconduct and face official proceedings? We are pleased to present a guest post from Callan Stein, a lawyer who represents U.S. researchers in misconduct cases, who describes some nuances many may not realize about these situations. 

Most researchers know that being accused of research misconduct is a very serious matter. When research misconduct allegations are made, institutions embark upon lengthy, multi-staged inquiry and investigation processes as required by federal law. The federal government’s Office of Research Integrity (“ORI”) – part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) – oversees those institutional findings and imposes potentially career-threatening punishments on those found guilty. While researchers generally understand the basics of how a research misconduct case unfolds, many are unaware of the nuances that bear greatly on the outcome.  What follows are brief descriptions of eight such nuances of which every researcher should be aware.

  1. While “honest error” exempts researchers from misconduct, it is very hard to prove.

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Written by Alison McCook

August 13th, 2015 at 11:30 am