Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

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Another correction for prominent cancer researcher who’s dodged accusations for decades

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The chair of a biology department who has faced years of misconduct accusations has taken another hit—a lengthy correction due to text “overlap” between one of his PNAS papers and six other articles.

According to the correction, a reader contacted the journal to notify the editors that text and sentences in multiple sections of the 2015 paper — on which Carlo Croce is last author — were lifted from other sources without quotation marks.

This is the second correction for Croce in PNAS regarding overlap issues in just the last few weeks—the first was published on March 7 (see here). In both instances, PNAS did not call the textual similarities plagiarism, but the notice details multiple instances of overlap.

Croce, the chair of the department of cancer biology and genetics at The Ohio State University (OSU), is no stranger to controversy.

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Written by Victoria Stern

March 15th, 2017 at 11:30 am

Cancer researcher has dodged accusations for decades (and has a new correction)

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Today isn’t a great day for Carlo Croce, chair of the department of cancer biology and genetics at The Ohio State University (OSU).

The New York Times has a lengthy article detailing the misconduct accusations that have swirled around Croce for years. We’ve covered many, but The Gray Lady obtained documents that show there have been many more.

The story mentions a 2013 letter from Ohio State University to pseudonymous whistleblower Clare Francis (which we reported on in 2014), acknowledging Francis’s allegations against Croce. However, in the letter, an administrator said OSU saw no reason to investigate Croce.

The story didn’t stop there, as the Times reports:

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Journal retracts paper due to image mismatch; one co-author alleges fraud

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Researchers have retracted a biology paper that included an image mismatch — despite the fact that, as they claim, another image in the same paper confirms the original findings.

The authors say they plan to resubmit the paper with the corrected figure panel.

The second to last author — Carlo Croce, chair of the department of cancer biology and genetics at The Ohio State University — told us he believes there’s more to the retraction than what the notice says. Specifically, he said that the paper includes an image from a previous paper by the same authors, which he called “fraud.”

Here’s the latest retraction notice, published in Cell Death and Differentiation:

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Cancer biologist says Nature journal “censored” his News & Views, retracts it

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nature-reviews-clinical-oncologyA cancer biologist has retracted a 2016 News & Views article in a Nature journal, alleging that the journal tried to censor his writing by asking him to remove passages that criticized another journal (Cell)

Carlo Croce, the sole author of the article in Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology from Ohio State University in Columbus, described the journal’s actions to us as “disgusting” and “worrisome.”

A spokesperson from the journal sent us this statement:

We regret that this situation occurred. We cannot comment beyond the retraction notice.

This isn’t Croce’s first retraction (we just found another recent one, in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, over image problems). He’s also co-authored multiple papers with Alfredo Fusco, a cancer researcher in Italy who has nine retractions under his belt, and is undergoing criminal investigation for scientific misconduct.

Here’s the retraction notice, published in Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology on October 4: Read the rest of this entry »

When does “overlap” become plagiarism? Here’s what PLOS ONE decided

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PLOSOne

Consider this: Fragments of a PLOS ONE paper overlap with pieces of other publications. The authors used them without credit and without quotation marks.

This sounds an awful lot like plagiarism — using PLOS‘s own standards, even. But the journal isn’t calling it plagiarism. They’ve labeled this an instance of “text overlap,” a spokesperson told us, based on the amount of material that the paper shares with others.

The last author — Carlo Croce, who has two retractions under his belt — denies that he plagiarized, and says that his university has cleared him of a plagiarism charge from an anonymous whistleblower.

PLOS fixed this case last year with a correction notice — not the common course of action for a case of confirmed plagiarism. Take a look at the notice for yourself:

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Retractions 3 and 4 appear for researcher facing criminal probe; OSU co-author won’t face inquiry

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dna cell biology 2Alfredo Fusco, a cancer researcher in Italy who is facing a criminal investigation for fraud, has had two more papers retracted.

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Weekend reads: Suicide after misconduct; taxonomic vandalism; a disastrous Nature editorial

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Written by Ivan Oransky

September 9th, 2017 at 9:36 am

Posted in weekend reads