Author pulls Diabetes paper with duplicated Western blots

diabetesA researcher has retracted a paper from Diabetes after re-using some Western blots in one of the figures from other papers.

According to the retraction notice, the first and corresponding author — Eric Berglund, formerly at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee — contacted the journal himself to report the error, for which he takes full responsibility.

Here’s the retraction notice:

The corresponding author wishes to retract the above-listed article. Representative Western blots in Fig. 4K were previously published as independent experiments representing distinct experimental conditions in a 2009 Journal of Clinical Investigation article (Fig. 5D; Berglund et al., J Clin Invest 2009;119:2412–2422) and a 2010 American Journal of PhysiologyEndocrinology and Metabolism article (Fig. 6A; Berglund et al., Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 2010;299:E607–E614). The corresponding author contacted Diabetes to voluntarily report this inaccuracy and to request a retraction. He takes full responsibility for the error and apologizes to the journal, its readers, and the other authors.

The 2011 paper, “Hepatic Glucagon Action Is Essential for Exercise-Induced Reversal of Mouse Fatty Liver,” has been cited 18 times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science, formerly part of Thomson Reuters.

According to this page, Berglund moved to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center after completing his PhD at Vanderbilt University.

A user on PubPeer noted similarities between the images in 2014, and suggested there may be other similarities, as well.

We’ve contacted Berglund for further clarifications, and will update the post with anything else we learn.

Update 11/2/16 1:54 p.m. eastern: Astute commenter YML just pointed out that the American Journal of PhysiologyEndocrinology and Metabolism paper mentioned in the Diabetes notice was retracted yesterday. Here’s the notice for “Glucagon and lipid interactions in the regulation of hepatic AMPK signaling and expression of PPARα and FGF21 transcripts in vivo,” cited 45 times:

The first author, senior author, and Vanderbilt University request retraction of this article because Figure 6 contains errors in its preparation. Specifically, several Western blots were duplicated within the figure. In addition, Western blots in Figure 6 were also published as independent experiments representing distinct experimental conditions in a 2009 Journal of Clinical Investigation article (Fig. 5, D and G; Berglund et al. J Clin Invest 119: 2412–2422, 2009) and a 2011 Diabetes article (Fig. 4K; Berglund et al. Diabetes 60: 2720–2729, 2011). The first author takes full responsibility for these errors and apologizes to the coauthors, this Journal, and its readers.

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3 thoughts on “Author pulls Diabetes paper with duplicated Western blots”

  1. I think there is more to this story. According to Pubpeer entries, this is not an isolated incident. Very productive during the early stages of his career. According to NIH reporter, this dude has been funded almost continuously by NIH from his PhD days. He also has just been awarded his first R01 this year. Will be interested to hear what he has to say.

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