University of Lisbon finds “substantial data misrepresentation;” two Journal of Neuroscience papers retracted

j neuroscienceA University of Lisbon investigation has prompted two retractions in the Journal of Neuroscience.

The papers share a few authors, including senior author Ana M. Sebastião. Here’s the notice for the first paper:

The Journal of Neuroscience has received a report describing an investigation by Universidade de Lisboa, which found substantial data misrepresentation in the article “Modulation of GABA Transport by Adenosine A1R–A2AR Heteromers, Which Are Coupled to Both Gs– and Gi/o-Proteins” by Sofia Cristóvão-Ferreira, Gemma Navarro, Marc Brugarolas, Kamil Pérez-Capote, Sandra H. Vaz, Giorgia Fattorini, Fiorenzo Conti, Carmen Lluis, Joaquim A. Ribeiro, Peter J. McCormick, Vicent Casadó, Rafael Franco, and Ana M. Sebastião, which appeared on pages 15629–15639 of the November 2, 2011 issue. Because the results cannot be considered reliable, The Journal is retracting the paper.

The paper has been cited three times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

The notice is the same for “Activation of Adenosine A2A Receptors Induces TrkB Translocation and Increases BDNF-Mediated Phospho-TrkB Localization in Lipid Rafts: Implications for Neuromodulation” by Natália Assaife-Lopes, Vasco C. Sousa, Daniela B. Pereira, Joaquim A. Ribeiro, Moses V. Chao, and Ana M. Sebastião, which appeared in 2010 and has been cited17 times.

The second-to-last author, Moses Chao, is the immediate past-president of the Society for Neuroscience, which publishes the Journal of Neuroscience. His Spring 2012 message to the SfN membership was about the need for change in scientific publishing. Both retraction notices are behind a paywall, so making them freely available would be a good start. We’ve also had issues with the opacity of such notices in the journal, although these two do give some information.

We’ve contacted Sebastião for comment, and will update with anything we hear back.

Update, 2 p.m. Eastern, 1/17/13: Please see a new post on this case, which includes the University of Lisbon report.

3 thoughts on “University of Lisbon finds “substantial data misrepresentation;” two Journal of Neuroscience papers retracted”

  1. Involvement of SFN’s ex president is definitely
    a scandal but as is typical with this society they will be sweep it under the rug

  2. I had the pleasure to work with Ana Sebastião for nearly 10 years. She is a scientist with the highest ethical standards. It would be good to fully elucidate why this has occurred since this will undoubtedly wipe out all possible suspicions about Ana’s involvement in this process. Whoever knows her can testify how unfair this situation is.

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