Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘ori investigations’ Category

4th ORI-flagged paper by Oregon student is retracted

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home_cover (2)The last of four papers containing data falsified by University of Oregon neuroscience student David Anderson has been retracted.

When the Office of Research Integrity report flagging the papers came out in July, Anderson told us he “made an error in judgment,” and took “full responsibility” for the misconduct.

The newly retracted paper, “A common discrete resource for visual working memory and visual search,” published in Psychological Science, has been cited 28 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. According to the abstract, it demonstrates a possible link between working memory and the ability to “rapidly identify targets hidden among distractors.”

But according to the retraction note, Anderson produced “results that conformed to predictions” by “removing outlier values and replacing outliers with mean values”  in some of the data.

Here’s the retraction note in full:

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Science Signaling corrects data fudged by former UCSF student

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afbb251f8bc8f71e26b313c77669d48fA paper containing data fudged by former University of California San Francisco grad student Peter Littlefield has been corrected. We knew that this was coming — last month, the Office of Research Integrity issued a report that Littlefield had admitted to misconduct, and agreed to a retraction or correction of the two affected papers.

Published in Science Signaling, “Structural analysis of the /HER3 heterodimer reveals the molecular basis for activating HER3 mutations” examined the structural details of a protein associated with cancer. It has been cited two times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

According to the correction note, the concentration of a protein presented in one figure was “miscalculated;” in another figure, the error bars were “calculated incorrectly.”

A statement from the UCSF affirmed that principle investigator Natalie Jura has “not been implicated in any research misconduct finding,” and explains that Read the rest of this entry »

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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Former UCSF grad student fudged data in two papers

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ORIA former graduate student at the University of California, San Francisco “knowingly falsified and/or fabricated” data in two published papers, according to the Office of Research Integrity.

According to a case summary published this morning, Peter Littlefield was working on his PhD, studying the ways that cells respond to external signals, when he published the two problematic papers. He is the first author on the papers; Natalia Jura, whose lab he worked in, is the last on both.

The report’s findings are based on, among other sources, “the respondent’s admission.”

The first paper, “Structural analysis of the EGFR/HER3 heterodimer reveals the molecular basis for activating HER3 mutations” was published in Science Signaling and has been cited twice, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Three figures in the paper are problematic, says the ORI summary:

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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

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

Four papers by former Wayne State researcher retracted after ORI report

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Teresita L. Briones

Teresita L. Briones

Retractions have been published for four papers authored by former Wayne State University professor, Teresita L. Briones, after an April ORI report found evidence of misconduct in the articles.

Investigators found that Briones had “intentionally, knowingly, and recklessly engaged in research misconduct by falsifying and/or fabricating data.” They flagged five papers and three grant applications that contained false data.

As a result of their findings, four out of the five papers have been retracted, and the editors of the remaining journal say they are looking into the last paper.

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Oregon grad student admits to faking data in four neuroscience papers

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oriweb_logoA graduate student at the University of Oregon in Eugene has admitted to faking data that appeared in four published papers in the field of visual working memory, according to the Office of Research Integrity.

David Anderson’s supervisor at the time was Edward Awh, who has since moved to the University of Chicago.

Anderson told Retraction Watch that the misconduct stemmed from “an error in judgment”:

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Penn State postdoc faked data in cancer manuscript

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oriweb_logoA former postdoctoral fellow at Penn State University faked numerous data and analyses in a manuscript submitted to Molecular Cancer Research, according to the Office of Research Integrity (ORI).

In a notice released today, the ORI found Julie Massè: Read the rest of this entry »

HIV postdoc faked data in published paper, 2 grants

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Julia Bitzegeio

An HIV researcher has admitted to faking data in a published paper, a manuscript, and two grant applications, according to a notice released today by the the Office of Research Integrity (ORI).

Former postdoc Julia Bitzegeio faked data in a 2013 paper, published in the Journal of Virology, about how HIV adapts to interferon. In the paper, “the manipulation was really minor,” Theodora Hatziioannouprincipal investigator of the lab at the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center (ADARC) in New York City where Bitzegeio worked, told Retraction Watch. “She just made cosmetic changes.”

The paper will be corrected, Hatziioannou said. Bitzegeio has left her lab, and her future is somewhat less clear:

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