Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

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Carlo Croce, facing misconduct allegations, accuses former colleague of misconduct

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Carlo Croce

Carlo Croce, a cancer researcher who has faced numerous research misconduct allegations, recently accused a former lab member of misconduct. Although an institutional probe did not support that allegation, Croce’s efforts have led to a retraction.

In November 2015, Croce and another cancer researcher at Ohio State University (OSU), Ramiro Garzon, contacted PLOS ONE, alleging that the paper’s corresponding author, Stefan Costinean, published data without their knowledge or permission and without “accurately acknowledging their contributions to the research.” Although the PLOS ONE paper mentioned Croce’s and Garzon’s contributions in the acknowledgements section, the two were not included as co-authors. We have obtained a copy of the report describing OSU’s preliminary probe; it did not find evidence of misconduct, but recommended the paper be retracted for using data without permission. Although Costinean disagreed, the journal has since retracted the paper.

Croce has been on the other side of this process: Seven of his papers have been retracted for issues including manipulation and duplication. After a New York Times article, published in March, explored misconduct allegations against Croce, OSU said the university is “instituting an independent external review.” Croce is currently suing the New York Times, alleging that the newspaper defamed him in the story.

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Carlo Croce, Ohio State researcher facing misconduct allegations, suing New York Times for defamation

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Carlo Croce

Carlo Croce, a cancer researcher at The Ohio State University who has faced numerous allegations of research misconduct, has filed a lawsuit against the New York Times, claiming the newspaper defamed him in a March 8 story.

Croce filed the civil suit May 10, in the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, naming as co-defendants Times reporters James Glanz and Agustin Armendariz, publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., and executive editor Dean Baquet. According to court documents, he’s seeking damages in excess of $75,000. The Times lawsuit was first reported by Courthouse News in May, but it’s actually the second defamation suit Croce filed that we know of.

In April, we’ve recently learned, Croce filed a separate defamation lawsuit against David Sanders, a professor at Purdue University and a key source for the Times story. Croce is seeking damages from Sanders in excess of $75,000.

Croce’s lawyer, Thomas Hill, of Columbus, Ohio firm Kegler Brown Hill + Ritter, told Retraction Watch his client was fighting a “David and Goliath battle” against the Times: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Andrew P. Han

September 8th, 2017 at 6:39 pm

Carlo Croce, OSU cancer researcher under investigation, retracts paper

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Carlo Croce

A researcher whose work has come under repeated scrutiny has retracted a 2008 paper for “errors that occurred in the construction” of various figures.

Carlo Croce, the corresponding author of the newly retracted paper, has been dogged by misconduct accusations for years — as recently described in the New York Times. His employer, The Ohio State University, has recently re-opened an investigation into his work. Seven of his papers have now been retracted, and fourteen have been corrected for image and text issues such as manipulation, duplication, and errors, as well as two others earning expressions of concern.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Fhit Interaction with Ferredoxin Reductase Triggers Generation of Reactive Oxygen Species and Apoptosis of Cancer Cells,” in the Journal of Biological Chemistry: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

August 29th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Posted in united states

“My dog ate the data:” Eight excuses journal editors hear

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As a journal editor, are you tired of hearing the same excuses from authors who are facing allegations of problematic data? If so, you’re not alone.

Recently, an editor of the journal Oncogene co-authored an editorial in the journal listing the types of excuses he often hears — and why none of them is valid. Writing the article with editor Justin Stebbing of Imperial College/Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust is David Sanders of Purdue University. Sanders himself has raised allegations of misconduct against a cancer researcher (and is currently being sued for defamation as a result).

Here are the problematic excuses they encounter:

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Written by Alison McCook

October 26th, 2017 at 9:27 am

Division director leaving U.S. research watchdog after nearly 15 years

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Susan Garfinkel

The director of the Division of Investigative Oversight at the U.S. Office of Research Integrity is leaving the agency.

Susan Garfinkel told Retraction Watch that her last day is November 10. She is taking a position as assistant vice president in the Office of Research Compliance at The Ohio State University (OSU).

Garfinkel declined to comment on why she was leaving the agency:

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Written by Alison McCook

October 16th, 2017 at 11:37 am

Weekend reads: Publishing too much?; CRISPR doubts; Pharma in predatory journals

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The week at Retraction Watch featured the retraction of a paper from Yale on ketamine and depression, a retraction for Carlo Croce, and a discussion of when a citation may not be enough. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

September 2nd, 2017 at 10:26 am

Posted in weekend reads

OSU researcher under investigation corrects paper cited 500 times

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An EMBO journal has issued a correction for a well-cited 2012 review co-authored by a cancer researcher under investigation.

Carlo Croce, the last author on the review, has been beleaguered by misconduct accusations that have followed him for years (recently described in a lengthy article in the New York Times), and his university has recently re-opened an investigation into his work.

By our count, Croce — based at The Ohio State University — has logged six retractions, along with multiple expressions of concerns and corrections. The latest correction, in EMBO Molecular Medicine, notes the review lifted passages from multiple publications — and was in turn reused in later papers, as well.

Here’s the notice:

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Journals retract paper, flag two others by cancer doc under investigation

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Carlo Croce

This weekend, Carlo Croce had some reprieve from the misconduct accusations that have followed him for years (recently described in a lengthy article in the New York Times) and that have prompted his university to re-open an investigation. On Sunday, he received a prestigious award from the American Association for Cancer Research, honoring his work.

But the moment may have been short-lived. Today, Croce received two expressions of concern (EOCs) from PNAS for two well-cited papers published over a decade ago, on which Croce — chair of the Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics at The Ohio State University (OSU) — is last author. The two EOCs cite concerns over duplicated bands. What’s more, another journal recently decided to retract one of his papers, citing figures that didn’t represent the results of the experiments.

PNAS chose to issue EOCs, rather than retractions or corrections, because the authors didn’t agree that the bands were duplicated, according to executive editor Diane Sullenberger. She explained how the journal learned of the issues with the two papers: Read the rest of this entry »

Cancer org bestows award on scientist under investigation

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Carlo Croce

This month hasn’t been all bad for Carlo Croce. Despite issuing two corrections and being the subject of a lengthy New York Times article about how he’s dodged misconduct accusations for years (prompting his institution to re-open an investigation), Croce is now the recipient of a prestigious award from the American Association for Cancer Research.

In a recent news release, the AACR announced it was bestowing Croce the 11th Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research, named after the CEO of the AACR, for his work in the field.

According to the news release:

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Group whose findings support video game-violence link loses another paper

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Last July, Joseph Hilgard, a postdoctoral fellow at the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, saw an article in Gifted Child Quarterly that made him do a double take. Hilgard, who is studying the effects of violent media on aggressive behavior, said the results of the 2016 paper “caused me some alarm.”

The research—led by corresponding author Brad J. Bushman, a professor of communication and psychology at The Ohio State University (OSU)—showed that gifted and non-gifted children’s verbal skills dropped substantially after watching 12 minutes of a violent cartoon. The violent program had a greater impact on the gifted children, temporarily eliminating the pre-video verbal edge they displayed over their non-gifted peers.

To Hilgard, the results suggested that violent media can actually impair learning and performance. But the effect size was huge — so big, Hilgard thought it had to be a mistake. This, plus other questions, prompted Hilgard to contact the authors and the journal. Unfortunately, once he got a look at the data — collected by a co-author in Turkey who became unreachable after the recent coup attempt — the questions didn’t go away. So the journal decided to retract the paper.

Bushman’s body of work has continually supported the idea that violent media increases aggressive behavior, including a controversial 2012 study “Boom, Headshot!” that was retracted earlier this year.

What first struck Hilgard as odd about the 2016 paper was how large the effect of the violent cartoon was: Read the rest of this entry »