Columbia historian stepping down after plagiarism finding

Charles Armstrong

A tenured professor of history at Columbia University will be stepping down at the end of next year after an investigating committee at the school found “incontrovertible evidence of research misconduct” in his controversial 2013 book.  

Charles King Armstrong, the Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Studies in the Social Sciences, was found to have “cited nonexistent or irrelevant sources in at least 61 instances” in “Tyranny of the Weak: North Korea and the World, 1950-1992,” according to the Columbia Spectator, which first reported on the resignation last week. 

In a September 10 letter, Maya Tolstoy, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, announced the news to the institution: 

Continue reading Columbia historian stepping down after plagiarism finding

‘The problem is that there is no IL-26 gene in the mouse’ — an exasperated letter leads to a retraction

via Flickr

A group of ophthalmology researchers in China got caught trying to pull the wool over the eyes of readers by falsely claiming to have used a therapy that doesn’t exist. 

As its title would indicate, the article, “Anti-angiogenic effect of Interleukin-26 in oxygen-induced retinopathy mice via inhibiting NFATc1-VEGF pathway,” by a team from Jinhua Municipal Central Hospital in Zhejiang, purported to show that IL-26 could prevent the growth of new blood vessels in mice with damaged retinas. 

Per the abstract of the paper, which appeared in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications (BBRC): 

Continue reading ‘The problem is that there is no IL-26 gene in the mouse’ — an exasperated letter leads to a retraction

“Unjustified authorship” spikes paper by daughter of South Korea official

Following weeks of scrutiny, the daughter of a high-profile official in South Korea has had a paper she wrote as a high school student retracted, in part because the journal determined she had made no intellectual contributions to the study.

Cho Kuk, who was officially appointed yesterday (September 9) as the top justice official in South Korea, is embroiled in a controversy over undeserved academic advantages his daughter, Cho Min, obtained. 

According to a story by Reuters about the larger controversy last week: 

Continue reading “Unjustified authorship” spikes paper by daughter of South Korea official

‘No scientific contribution’: Journal pulls paper alleging radiation coverup

via US NPS

The journal Magnetochemistry has retracted a 2019 article by a controversial researcher in New Zealand who argued that scientists are suppressing evidence that microwave radiation from smartphones and other devices cause harm to people. 

The paper was titled “Conflicts of interest and misleading statements in official reports about the health consequences of radiofrequency radiation and some new measurements of exposure levels.” In it, author Susan Pockett, a psychologist at the University of Auckland, argued that: 

Continue reading ‘No scientific contribution’: Journal pulls paper alleging radiation coverup

Criminology saga leads to an expression of concern, and a correction

via Tony Webster/Flickr

Earlier this year, Justin Pickett, a criminologist at the University of Albany at the State University of New York, asked journals to look into potentially problematic data in five papers — including one on which he had been a co-author. 

As we reported in July, Pickett’s request came after he’d received an anonymous email pointing out issues with the data — concerns ranging from “Anomalies in standard errors, coefficients, and p-values” to “Unlikely survey design and data structure.”

At the time, one of the five articles had already received a correction for a “coding error” that changed the results. Pickett requested that the journal retract the paper entirely, but was rebuffed. 

Now, two other journals have taken action on the articles on the list. 

Continue reading Criminology saga leads to an expression of concern, and a correction

Northwestern researcher has four more papers retracted, making five

Yashpal Kanwar

A pathologist in Chicago has lost five papers for image manipulation and other problems. 

The first retraction for Yashpal Kanwar, of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, appeared in 2013, for a review article published earlier that year in the American Journal of Physiology Renal Physiology. According to the notice

Continue reading Northwestern researcher has four more papers retracted, making five

“A flooding accident:” Engineer has seven papers retracted at once

via U.S. Library of Congress

A chemical engineer in China who claims his supporting data were wiped out in a flood has notched his ninth retraction, seven from a single journal, for suspicious images and related issues. 

The work of Dong Ge Tong, of Chengdu University of Technology, had come under scrutiny in PubPeer, and several of his articles received expressions of concern before ultimately falling to retraction.

Last week, the Journal of Materials Chemistry A pulled seven papers on which Tong was an author. Here’s the notice for one of those articles, “Hollow amorphous NaFePO4 nanospheres as a high-capacity and high-rate cathode for sodium-ion batteries,” first published in 2015: 

Continue reading “A flooding accident:” Engineer has seven papers retracted at once

UCLA group has three papers retracted

The Journal of Biological Chemistry has retracted three papers by a group from the University of California, Los Angeles, citing problems with the figures. 

Two of the papers, published in 2002, 2004 and 2009, have the same last author, Mark H. Doolittle, who is the first author of the most recent article. Doolittle, who appears to be a highly talented woodworker, has left UCLA and did not respond to a request for comment. 

The retraction notice for the 2002 paper, “Maturation of lipoprotein lipase in the endoplasmic reticulum: Concurrent formation of functional dimers and inactive aggregates,” states: 

Continue reading UCLA group has three papers retracted

“I sincerely apologise:” UK cancer researcher calls for retraction of his work years after it’s flagged on PubPeer

Richard Hill

A cancer researcher in England says he will be retracting a 2011 paper after acknowledging “unacceptable” manipulation of some of the figures in the article.

Richard Hill, of the University of Portsmouth, this week agreed to retract the article, “DNA-PKcs binding to p53 on the p21WAF1/CIP1 promoter blocks transcription resulting in cell death,” which appeared in the journal Oncotarget.

The paper, which Hill wrote while he was at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, had drawn scrutiny on PubPeer four years ago, with one poster noting “many indications of blot image manipulation” in the figures. Additional comments appeared earlier this month.  

In a comment on PubPeer posted this week, Hill wrote:

Continue reading “I sincerely apologise:” UK cancer researcher calls for retraction of his work years after it’s flagged on PubPeer

Cancer researcher up to five retractions

A researcher in India is up to five retractions, by our count, for problematic data and image issues. 

The latest retractions involve articles published in 2008 and 2013 in the journal Life Sciences. The last author on the papers is Yogeshwer Shukla, of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, about whom we have previously written

The first paper, “Resveratrol induces apoptosis involving mitochondrial pathways in mouse skin tumorigenesis,” is rife with image problems

Continue reading Cancer researcher up to five retractions