Two weeks ago, we posted on a Nature Immunology retraction by a group that had earlier published a correction to figures in a Science paper. At the time, many readers suggested there was more to this story — and we had the same hunch.
Turns out those hunches were right.
Today, Science issued an “Expression of Concern” about the paper they’ve already corrected:
In the 4 June 2010 issue, Science published the Report “SphK1 regulates proinflammatory responses associated with endotoxin and polymicrobial sepsis” by P. Puneet et al. [Science 328, 1290 (2010)]. On 22 March 2011, Science learned that authorities at the authors’ principal institutions at the time of publication and the corresponding author’s more recent affiliation were investigating allegations of figure manipulation in the Science Report. The investigation has not yet reached a conclusion. Pending the results of the investigations, Science is publishing this Editorial Expression of Concern to alert our readers to the fact that serious questions have been raised about the validity of findings in the Puneet et al. paper.
Re: the corresponding author, here’s all we learned for our last post:
The corresponding author of both papers, Alirio Melendez, told us by email early last week that he was on medical leave, with intermittent access to email, but would respond as soon as he could. He is currently at the University of Liverpool, having left positions recently at the University of Glasgow and the National University of Singapore.
We’ll update with anything we find out. In the meantime, the Abnormal Science blog has a number of alleged irregularities in other papers by the group.
Please see an update on this post, with news of an investigation into some 70 papers by Melendez.
Hat tip: Toby White