Bone researcher with lifetime funding ban earns third retraction

via WCH

A researcher who received a lifetime funding ban for misconduct from a Canadian agency has logged her third retraction, after a re-analysis of her work unveiled “serious inconsistencies.”

In July, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) released a report about Sophie Jamal, following an investigation by her former employer, The Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, Canada. The probe concluded that Jamal had manipulated data, which resulted in her being banned from CIHR funding for life, and the retraction of a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

After that retraction, researchers that made up the the Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study Group (CaMos) decided to take a second look at Jamal’s work. In August, we reported on a retraction that came out of that examination, in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases (AJKD). At the time, a senior researcher from the group told us the group had also requested another journal retract a CaMos paper. 

Now, that other retraction has appeared. Here’s the retraction notice Osteoporosis International issued earlier this month:

The majority of the authors of this work believe the original conclusions presented have been compromised by inconsistencies in the data and that the article should be retracted; a decision supported by the Editors of Osteoporosis International.

The following authors agree with this retraction decision: David Goltzman, David A. Hanley, Alexandra Papaioannou, Jerilynn C. Prior and Robert G. Josse. The following author could not be reached for comment: Sophie A. Jamal.

The authors deeply regret the impact of this action on the work of other investigators.

The 2008 study, “Nitrate use and changes in bone mineral density: the Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study,” has been cited 14 times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science, formerly part of Thomson Reuters.  

David Goltzman, Principal Investigator of CaMos from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, told us earlier this year that the two retracted CaMos papers 

…were found to contain serious inconsistencies that are difficult to reconcile with the original data in the CaMos data repository. In these two cases, the reanalysis yielded results that do not support the conclusions originally published.

Goltzman added:

CaMos is committed to the integrity of the biomedical literature and believe there is no risk that these possibly invalid conclusions harmed CaMos participants or patients with osteoporosis.

Last week, Goltzman confirmed to Retraction Watch that this the 

second and final [CaMos] paper that we requested be retracted.

The CIHR concluded that Jamal committed a number of offenses, including manipulating data, accusing another researcher of the manipulation, and impeding the institutional investigation. 

Jamal resigned from her positions at the Women’s College Hospital amidst the ongoing probe. From May 4, Jamal is ineligible from funding from the CIHR as well as Canada’s two other science funding agencies; she’ll also have to return the funds from her CIHR grants.

Jamal was the first sanctioned researcher to have her identity disclosed by the CIHR — the agency has not previously named researchers due to confidentiality concerns. 

On December 14, we reported on another case in Science that sparked concerns over secrecy around misconduct probes in Canadian institutions.

Of note: Goltzman has worked with fraudster Anil Potti, and a 2006 Cancer paper they co-authored is under discussion at PubPeer.

Earlier this year, last author Robert Josse from the University of Toronto retracted a Diabetes Care paper about using nuts as a replacement for carbohydrates in the diets of diabetics, the result of an error in the analysis. Here’s the retraction notice for “Nuts as a Replacement for Carbohydrates in the Diabetic Diet:”

The authors wish to retract this article because of an unintended error in statistical applications. A subsequent reanalysis of the data has shown that a number of the findings of the study described in this publication are no longer definitively different. The corresponding author voluntarily reported these discrepancies to the editors of Diabetes Care. The decision to retract the article is supported by all the authors based on their reevaluation of the data. The decision to retract the article is also supported by the editors of the journal and the American Diabetes Association, the publisher of Diabetes Care. At a later date, the authors intend to submit a revised article to Diabetes Care for full peer review with the appropriate statistical analysis applied.

The 2011 paper has been cited 50 times.

Hat tip: Patrick Skerrett

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