Former University of Utah researchers, one guilty of “reckless disregard,” have another paper retracted

cell metabolismA pair of University of Utah researchers who both left their posts last year following an investigation into problems with their work have had another paper retracted from Cell Metabolism.

The investigation found “reckless disregard” in papers in which Ivana De Domenico was first author. She left the university at the end of June 2013, and and her lab head, Jerry Kaplan, retired at the same time.

Here’s the notice for 2008’s “The Hepcidin-Binding Site on Ferroportin Is Evolutionarily Conserved:”

A number of errors have been detected in the generation and presentation of the figures. The data as published in FigureĀ 4A were found to be erroneous and do not support the conclusions in the paper. All coauthors agree with this decision. The authors regret the inconvenience to the field.

The paper has been cited 85 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. It is the third Cell Metabolism retraction for the authors, although a different reason was cited in the first two notices. The researchers have also had two papers corrected, in Blood and the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

5 thoughts on “Former University of Utah researchers, one guilty of “reckless disregard,” have another paper retracted”

  1. What a useless and untransparent retraction notice. One sub-figure (Fig. 4A) does not “support the conclusions in the paper.”?! This indicates three possibilities: 1) Bad team work since 10 sets of eyes could not figure out that a figure did not support the conclusions made. 2) Bad editorial work since the responsibility of the editors and peer reviewers is precisely to ensure that the conclusions made are supported by and based on the data, including figures. 3) A secret that one or more parties is not telling. Options 1) and 2) are the most realistic, but judging by this thinned-out retraction notice and a retraction based on such a small issue, I feel that option 3) is more probable. Even if one sub-figure does not support the conclusions made, does the remaining 99% of the paper’s conclusions become invalidated? It is cases like thse that make me wonder if a retraction is necessary, or simply an erratum, with a sincere apology.

  2. In cases like this I feel that retraction is important simply because there is no trust left to the authors of this paper. Weather the problematic content is caused by sloppy practice or deliberate fraud is irrelevant because you cannot trust the conclusion of this work. There should be a lot more retractions to correct science!

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