Superconductor researcher loses fifth paper

Ranga Dias

Ranga Dias, the physics researcher whose work on room-temperature superconductors has been retracted after coauthors raised concerns about the data, has lost another paper for the same reason. 

This retraction brings Dias’ total to five, by our count

The University of Rochester in New York, where Dias is an assistant professor, is investigating his work, Science has reported. Washington State University, where Dias obtained his PhD, is also investigating allegations of plagiarism in his thesis. 

Dias has not responded to our request for comment about his latest retraction, of a 2021 paper in Physical Review Letters titled “Synthesis of Yttrium Superhydride Superconductor with a Transition Temperature up to 262 K by Catalytic Hydrogenation at High Pressures.” The article has been cited 178 times, according to information presented on its abstract page. 

In December, the journal published an expression of concern for the paper, stating it was investigating concerns “regarding the origins and integrity of the transport data” in several of the paper’s figures “with the cooperation of the authors.” 

On June 13, the journal retracted the paper. The notice states: 

Following publication, a majority of the co-authors of this study raised concerns about the origins of the superconductivity in this study as presented in Fig. 1C, Fig. 2, Fig. 3, Fig. S10B, Fig. S13, and sections of Table S1. These figures and the table were provided solely by Ranga P. Dias. After the origin of the data for these figures and the table was put into question, Physical Review Letters published an Expression of Concern.

After repeated attempts to locate the raw data and obtain an authoritative account of its origins, Physical Review Letters concurs that the article is not supported by its data and that it needs to be retracted. Ranga P. Dias stands by the data in the aforementioned figures and table, and does not agree to retract the paper. The remaining authors regret any confusion or inconvenience caused to the scientific community.

Daniel Ucko, head of ethics and research integrity for the American Physical Society, which publishes the journal, told us the society had “no information to add” to the published notices. 

Like Retraction Watch? You can make a tax-deductible contribution to support our work, subscribe to our free daily digest or paid weekly updatefollow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or add us to your RSS reader. If you find a retraction that’s not in The Retraction Watch Database, you can let us know here. For comments or feedback, email us at [email protected].

21 thoughts on “Superconductor researcher loses fifth paper”

  1. I am a new grad student in science field. There is one thing that I don’t understand and anyone who can answer my question would be greatly appreciated.
    My question : When he published his results on Nature, didn’t he know that his work will be seriously scrutinized. So he really believe he could get away? Or he believe he could get the funding first and then prove his theory is true, like “fake it until make it”?

    1. The Nature paper clearly was not his first time. He seems to have been doing that for a long time. As he find out he could get away with shortcutting his research, he started to become embolden and make stronger and stronger claims. Only when the claim was big enough (superconductors at room temperature) was his work scrutinized for the first time. At this point of his career he is so used to doing science this way that he probably honestly believes this is how you do science.

      It has been revealed that a huge fraction of papers randomly selected are non-reproducible non-sense so he is far from being alone, in fact, he might even be in the majority.

    2. We’ll probably never know because Dias is never going to come clean. His behavior has been so irrational and short-sighted it’s very hard to make sense of. Particularly the N-LuH “discovery” that in principle could be reproduced by many dozens of different labs in short order.
      It’s possible he believes he’s really discovered something – but that’s only because he’d been faking data for so long that he forgot (or never knew) how to actually do science. Combine delusional narcissism with an utter lack of compunction about fabricating data and lying to colleagues and this is what you get.

      1. In most cases, other groups won’t push hard to actually reproduce the results. Even when other groups getting suspicious, it’s not common to accuse misconducts based on the published papers only.
        Most people just got away easily, except those few superstar scientists faked results too significant to be ignored.
        The coauthors could be victims. Quite often, you only check your portion of research.

    3. Truth is, most scientists just want to publish, but they really don’t want their works read. You bet, most don’t want their works read. This quickly calls into question, the peer review process!

    4. It is because the NSF is highly corrupt and do nothing when their funds, tax payers money, is wasted in the form of research misconduct. NSF is to blame for this current situation.

      1. NSF does not publicize its actions taken in such situations. Unless you filed a FOIA request to find out what NSF might have done you know nothing.

    5. Dear Frank,
      They clearly fake it to get to the money first. The whole system is a mess. Further, I have seen articles and YouTube videos, that religiously discussed the findings with all the YouTube hipe (lol).

  2. Publication is a mafia funded by major agencies. I think the paper under discussion got through because some one known to him reviewed it, or just because of his affiliation it got through. I am aadine either is the case, because a work which is not close enough to prove a theory has been through but a through investigation by a lesser known researcher is stamped garbage just because he is not there in the editorial board members circle.
    The entire thing is funder and run by groups which get lot of money as APC.

  3. Related: June 12th a Dias/Salamat arXiv preprint was withdrawn:

    This retraction is due to findings from a recent investigation by the University of Rochester, which directly impact the presented data and method for removing background. The investigation states “The most probable explanation for understanding the relationship between the measured data and UDB_1R is that the measured data were computed by adding UDB_1R to the published data.”

    In the arXiv paper Dias and Salamat defended their superconducting CSH discovery (the now retracted Nature 2020 paper), in particular the background subtraction procedure mentioned above.. The NSF investigation had no good words for this misleading piece. And now it is finally gone.

  4. Lost? At first I thought someone had stolen his paper. Is it too harsh to say rejected? For falsification of data? I forgot, straightforward language is no longer acceptable. It might hurt someone’s feelings. I admit I’m out of touch. Evidently words like false and reject are technically incorrect in the rarefied air of research.

    1. The concept of Truth is under attack more than any time in my life. Not calling things by their proper terms is just a derivative of that.

  5. Every one earth must be given authority to publish regardless of his/her educational history📖. Because knowledge does NOT come from books it comes from nature surrounding us.

  6. Charlatans like Dias are corrosive to science. His fraudulent claims overshadow legitimate research diminishing both its credibility and impact.

    Personally my group has published a series of papers on doped graphene that shows clear indications that superconductivity at high temperatures. We do not claim absolutely that we have a room temperature superconductor but our samples have been tested at a few labs and some have even partially verified our results independently fabricating their own phosphorus doped graphene/ highly ordered pyrolitic graphite and testing it.

    For those interested a link from Google scholar to one of our papers is here:


    Grover Larkins

  7. I earned my Ph.D. at the University of Rochester during the time period when the high temperature ceramic superconductors were first discovered. It was an exciting time. That was 35 years ago. And very little progress has been made in that area of research in the intervening years. Dr. Dias has apparently included fabricated data in several of his publications. And those papers have now been discredited. I hope that his Ph.D. dissertation undergoes close scrutiny as well. He may have faked data in it too. And if he did, he should be stripped of his Ph.D. credential and FIRED.

  8. This was bound to happen:
    Short Note on the Observation of Ambient Condition Room Temperature Superconductivity in Nitrogen-Doped Lutetium Hydride
    May 2023Journal of Superconductivity and Novel Magnetism 36(9)
    DOI: 10.1007/s10948-023-06563-y

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.