Second retraction appears for arcade game-like image manipulation

Image via Wikimedia Commons
Image via Wikimedia Commons

In June, we reported on a retraction in Current Biology that came after a number of PubPeer commenters suggested that the authors had engaged in figure manipulation, memorably comparing watching the published videos to playing the old-school arcade game “Space Invaders.”

Now a second paper from the same team has been retracted from Biology Open after the authors “were unable to repeat the results.” The journal was unable to get in touch with first author Livana Soetedio, whom the University of Illinois at Chicago found had fabricated the data and images in both publications.

Here’s the notice for “Targeting of vasoactive intestinal peptide receptor 2, VPAC2, a secretin family G-protein coupled receptor, to primary cilia”:

In this paper, GPCRs were screened for their ability to target to primary cilia. VPAC2 was reported as a novel ciliary targeting GPCR. Furthermore, the ciliary targeting signal of VPAC2 was identified and its ciliary targeting mechanisms were studied.

A departmental investigation into a previously published paper in a different journal resulted in a retraction stating that the first author, Livana Soetedjo, “had manipulated some of the figures”. The investigative committee recommended that the authors re-examine and re-test aspects of their Biology Open paper. The authors contacted the Biology Open Editorial Office when they were unable to repeat the results. Investigations further revealed that the first author “manipulated and fabricated data”, and they were unable to repeat the finding that VPAC2-GFP targets to cilia. Thus, the authors regret that they must retract their paper.

They apologize to the editors, reviewers and the scientific community for any loss of time or resources caused by this publication.

The journal was unable to make contact with the first author.

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

We’ve reached out to the principal investigator, and will update with anything we learn.

Hat tip: Commenter BB

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