What Caught Our Attention: This is the fourth retraction for Robert Ryan, formerly a high-profile researcher studying infections that can be deadly in people with lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis. In 2016, the University of Dundee in Scotland determined that Ryan had committed research misconduct, including misrepresenting clinical data and duplicating images in a dozen different publications. (Ryan tried to appeal the decision, then resigned.) The latest retraction cites a few problems with the paper, including uncertainty about the provenance of some data.
According to the notice, the second-to-last author, George A. O’Toole at Dartmouth, disagrees with the text of the notice, not the decision to retract. We contacted O’Toole, who declined to comment.
We received a statement from Ryan about the retraction:
I did write to the journal to highlight the issues once they were realized. All the original data was supplied to the committees and journal to show it was a labeling issue with the samples. I was not involved in sample collection, labeling or data generation associated with these clinical samples that were misrepresented. However, as the corresponding author, I must take responsibility for missing these issues in the generation of the manuscript. I am terribly sorry about this. Nevertheless, I was very disappointed that other authors did not take responsibility for the errors directly.
It should be stressed that independent labs to date have repeated a lot of this work and shown similar outcomes from this article. At this point other articles that I have been involved with that had errors have been corrected. For the retracted articles, I have provided the strains and information to independent scientists to republish. I will provide links to the preprints and articles once they are accepted.
Journal: EMBO Molecular Medicine
Authors: Chris S Earl, Teh Wooi Keong, Shi‐qi An, Sarah Murdoch, Yvonne McCarthy, Junkal Garmendia, Joseph Ward, J Maxwell Dow, Liang Yang, George A O’Toole, Robert P Ryan
Affiliations: University of Dundee, UK; Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; University College Cork, Ireland; CSIC‐Universidad Pública Navarra‐Gobierno Navarra, Spain; Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Respiratorias (CIBERES), Spain; Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, USA
The above article, published May 20 2015 in EMBO Molecular Medicine, has been retracted by agreement between the authors of the study, CSE, TWK, SQA, SM, YMcC, JG, JW, JMD, LY, RPR, the journal Chief Editor and the EMBO Head of Scientific Publications in accordance with the outcomes of independent investigations conducted by the University of Dundee and University College Cork.
GAO’T disagrees with the text of this retraction notice, albeit not with the retraction.
The following issues are noted:
-Table 1 contains clinical data described in the paper as being derived from a cohort of asthma patients. However, the provenance of this data is unclear. Based on the evidence available, the University of Dundee investigation concluded that the majority of the patient cohort is likely to be a subset of a cohort of cystic fibrosis patients reported in PLoS One 8(12): e82432 (https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0082432), although in a number of cases the patient’s gender is at odds between the two reports.
-The RNAseq data are unavailable on the European Nucleotide Archive under the reported accession number ERG003569. RNAseq data were uploaded with accession number ERS654066 before publication.
-The paper describes use of both prednisolone and prednisone, yet only the latter was used in the study.
Date of Article: May 2015
Times Cited, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science: 8
Date of Notice: March 12, 2018
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