In December 2015, a U.S. government watchdog said a researcher named Girija Dasmahapatra had faked data in 11 papers. Two of those papers were retracted by October 2016.
And then, until this year, nothing happened.
Since February, four journals have retracted seven of Dasmahapatra’s papers, and two journals have corrected two others. That completes the list of 11 that the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) said included false data.
But since the ORI report, the nine papers retracted or corrected this year have been cited more than 80 times. That’s more than 80 papers that relied, at least in some small part, on faked studies in Blood, Cancer Biology & Therapy, Leukemia Research, Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, Molecular Pharmacology, and the British Journal of Haematology.
As we noted in 2016, all 11 papers mentioned in the ORI report list Steven Grant as last author, while Paul Dent is a co-author of nine of these studies. Both have retractions or corrections that do not involve Dasmahapatra.
We’ve written about delays like this before, and one publisher issued an apology last year. We understand that journals often want to do their own analysis, and can fear legal threats if they act rashly.
But it’s never been clear why it should take years for journals to act after findings from a body like the ORI, nor why they don’t use expressions of concern in the meantime.
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