Both papers — which are more than a decade old — were pulled in The Journal of Clinical Investigation on November 1 by their respective corresponding authors.
One paper’s last author told us it was difficult to identify how the duplications occurred since the study took place so long ago, but added that multiple experiments had corroborated the results.
Here’s the first retraction notice for “Complementary roles of IRS-1 and IRS-2 in the hepatic regulation of metabolism:”
At the request of the corresponding author, the JCI is retracting this article. The authors were recently made aware of duplicated bands in Figures 1B, 3C, and 4C. After an extensive internal review, it was discovered that these duplications were introduced during figure assembly. The authors have stated that experimental data generated in the lab from the same time period support the original conclusions of the study and that other studies have subsequently confirmed and extended the primary conclusions of the manuscript. However, in the interest of maintaining accuracy in the published scientific literature and because the initial figures were not up to the standards of the JCI, the authors wish to retract this article. The authors apologize for these errors.
The 2005 study has so far been cited 176 times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science, formerly part of Thomson Reuters.
The study’s last author, Carl Ronald Kahn, a prominent diabetes researcher and physician, told Retraction Watch:
…after an extensive internal review, it was discovered that duplications of autoradiograms of western blots were present in 3 panels in this paper. Although it is difficult more than 10 years after the fact to determine exactly when or how these arose, they were apparently introduced during figure assembly. Almost all of these were in panels representing western blots from control tissues.
Kahn added that the study was retracted
in the interest of maintaining accuracy in the published scientific literature and because the initial figures were not up to the standards of JCI…
I have always trained my students and fellows and worked myself to uphold the highest level of scientific integrity, and to be respectful of the process and other scientists. There is no doubt that over a long career with hundreds of publications containing literally data from thousands of experiments, an occasional error in reporting an experiment will occur, but to the best of my knowledge, neither I nor any of my colleagues or trainees has ever committed intentional scientific fraud.
We’ve found six more corrections for Kahn and first author Cullen Taniguchi (five list Kahn as an author and three include Taniguchi) for image-related issues (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). Taniguchi is now based at MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Here’s the other retraction notice:
At the request of the corresponding author, the JCI is retracting this article. The authors were recently apprised that portions of the p27 blot and cyclin D1 blot of Figure 5A in this publication were duplicated and used to represent different samples. The corresponding author has indicated that previous and subsequent experiments from his and other laboratories support the conclusions reported in Figure 5A; however, the original data are no longer available. No issues have been raised with regard to any of the other data in the paper.
This 2002 paper, “Oncogenic role of the ubiquitin ligase subunit Skp2 in human breast cancer,” has been cited 215 times since publication.
We’ve reached out to the study’s first author, Sabina Signoretti (based at Harvard), and its last author, Michele Pagano (from New York University School of Medicine). We’ll update the post if we hear back.
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