Alfredo Fusco, a researcher in Italy under criminal investigation, now has a seventh retraction for manipulated images.
Here’s the notice for “Retraction: Identification of new high mobility group A1 associated proteins,” to which not all of the authors agreed:
The above article from Proteomics, published online on 19 September 2007 in Wiley Online Library (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/pmic.200700148/pdf) and in Volume 7, No. 20, pp. 3735–3742, has been retracted by agreement between some of the authors (S. Giraud, W. V. Bienvenut, J. J. Diaz), the Editor-in-Chief and Wiley-VCH GmbH & Co. KGaA. The retraction has been agreed due to concerns in relation to Figure 2C. Multiple HMGA1-pulldown bands in the immunoblot images (upper panel) appear to have been duplicated. In addition, the Coomassie gel bands of Figure 2C (lower panel) appear to have also been duplicated. The authors are unable to provide the original source files that were used to generate these data. While the authors maintain that these findings were confirmed in replicate experiments, the Editorial Board of Proteomics has decided to retract the paper. No issues have been raised with regard to any of the other data in this manuscript. The remaining authors (G. M. Pierantoni, F. Esposito, A. Fusco) have not agreed to the retraction.
The paper has been cited eight times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.
We spoke to editor-in-chief Mike Dunn for more details:
This matter was brought to our attention by a whistleblower, whose name we will not disclose. We subsequently carried out our own investigations on the relevant Figure, taking advice and opinions from several expert scientists. We came to the conclusion that this was a case of image manipulation, leading to the retraction of the paper.
As for whether PubPeer comments had any effect on the retraction, Dunn said:
No we had not seen the PubPeer Commentary. Seems to be quite a useful thing.