Third retraction for Indiana University scientist who altered figures in NIH-funded research

Another shoe has dropped in the case of Emily M. Horvath, the Indiana researcher whose tinkering with figures while on a $369,000 federal grant ended in sanctions by government officials.

Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, an Elsevier title, has retracted another paper on which Horvath was an author, bringing to three the number of her articles tainted in the scandal. The paper, “A novel membrane-based anti-diabetic action of atorvastatin,” was published online in June 2008, and cited four times since, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. (Atorvastatin is sold as Lipitor.) According to the journal: Continue reading Third retraction for Indiana University scientist who altered figures in NIH-funded research

They wuz robbed: Editorial TKO for boxing paper leads to retraction, republication

In the blue corner: California researchers who reviewed trends in death rates among professional boxers.

In the red (ink) corner: The editors of Neurosurgery, who misclassified the article, leading to an abbreviated version appearing in print.

The decision: A retraction, followed by a reclassification and republication of the complete article: Continue reading They wuz robbed: Editorial TKO for boxing paper leads to retraction, republication

Leading cancer scientist retracts two papers, one 14 years old, but journal won’t say why

One of the world’s leading cancer researchers, Axel Ullrich of Germany, has retracted two papers published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Ullrich, director of microbiology at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, has been a central figure in many groundbreaking discoveries, from the development of genetically engineered insulin to the identification of the breast cancer gene HER2. The founder of several biotech firms, he also runs an international consortium, the Singapore Oncogenome Project, looking for other so-called oncogenes linked to protein-tyrosine kinase, or PTK, an enzyme that regulates cell growth and which, when run amok, is implicated in a variety of tumor types.

The retractions involve two articles, published eight years apart, on protein-tyrosine. The first, from 1996, was titled Continue reading Leading cancer scientist retracts two papers, one 14 years old, but journal won’t say why

Another stem cell paper retracted, for “breach of established ethical guidelines”

Last week’s big Retraction Watch news — which got us quoted in the New York Times — was a Nature paper by Amy Wagers and Shane Mayack. The now-retracted paper suggested that the aging of stem cells could be reversed, and Blood has issued a notice of concern about a second paper.

Now comes news about another stem cell finding. The International Journal of Urology has retracted a 2009 paper by Japanese researchers who claimed to have used stem cells derived from fatty tissue to treat urinary incontinence in two men. The men had developed bladder problems after undergoing surgery to remove their cancerous prostates.

According to the editor’s note, the article Continue reading Another stem cell paper retracted, for “breach of established ethical guidelines”

Errors, phantom author, retraction? It’s enough to set your teeth on edge

 

Photo by mattlemmon via flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/mplemmon/

 

Authorship issues, sloppy science, deception — more often than not, at least one of these is at the heart of a retracted paper. But it’s rare when all three are involved. Which, of course, means that such a case is precisely what we’re about to deliver.

The Journal of Medical Case Reports, a BioMed Central title, recently retracted an intriguing item about a young man who developed a condition called pubic osteomyelitis after becoming infected with Streptococcus viridans following oral surgery to pull a wisdom tooth. As the authors, from Great Britain, explained in their 2008 paper describing the episode: Continue reading Errors, phantom author, retraction? It’s enough to set your teeth on edge

Rheumatology journal retracts tai chi-arthritis paper over fraud concerns

Most retractions happen in the dark: An article appears in print. One day it is withdrawn, with only a brief paragraph or two on the page to alert us to its fate.

On rare occasions, however, the process is more transparent, and when that happens it’s like the publishing equivalent of a supernova, a chance to glimpse in (here’s where the cosmic analogy stalls) almost real-time the retraction as it unfolds.

Here’s one of those unusual events.

The Journal of Clinical Rheumatology this week has retracted a March 2010 paper by Ni and colleagues in China, in which the authors reported that elderly women with osteoarthritis of the knee gained significant improvement in physical function and pain from a six-week course of tai chi. That claim is hardly controversial—other researchers have produced similar results and published studies of tai chi’s benefits for arthritis patients date back nearly a decade on Medline.

But the appearance of the article prompted an extraordinary letter to the journal, also published this week, from Chenchen Wang, of Tufts University, who smelled a rat. (Wang recently published a study of tai chi and fibromyalgia in the New England Journal of Medicine, which was criticized by some.) Of the Ni paper she writes (we added a link): Continue reading Rheumatology journal retracts tai chi-arthritis paper over fraud concerns

Microbial reproduction: Plagiarism from Wikipedia, elsewhere leads to retraction of biotech paper

When is an advance not an advance?

Biotechnology Advances has retracted a 2008 review by researchers in India who allegedly stole chunks of their manuscript from several sources including journal articles, Wikipedia, and StateMaster.com, a statistics clearinghouse.

According to the notice, the article, titled “Microbial production of dihydroxyacetone” Continue reading Microbial reproduction: Plagiarism from Wikipedia, elsewhere leads to retraction of biotech paper

Best Of Retractions Part II: Keyword search “Irony” as paper on Google infringement case plagiarized

For would-be plagiarists, now is both the best and worst of times. Thanks to Google and other search tools, never has it been easier to appropriate someone else’s thoughts or words. But the Internet taketh away, too—offering up scads of sleuthing software that promise the ability to sniff out cheats.

Which is what makes this post about a retraction in Computer Law & Security Review all the more delicious. As they say in the law, res ipsa loquitur: Continue reading Best Of Retractions Part II: Keyword search “Irony” as paper on Google infringement case plagiarized

Best Of Retractions, Part I: Water, water, everywhere, except in “Historical Palestine,” aka Israel

Although Retraction Watch might have been born just before yesterday, we find it instructive to look back in time for items we would have covered had we been around a bit longer. We’ll do this periodically to generate a “Best Of” collection of retractions that catch our eye both for what they might suggest about scientific publishing and for good old-fashioned  interest. Here’s the first installment:

A furtive attempt to play politics with a galley proof led to the retraction of a paper on Middle East water policy a few months ago. The article, “Optimizing irrigation water use in the West Bank, Palestine,” appeared in the February 2010 issue of Agricultural Water Management, an Elsevier journal. Written by Palestinian and Dutch researchers, the article modeled various scenarios of water and crop policies in the West Bank in an effort to determine the most efficient use of resources.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the printer. The authors decided to make a political protest of sorts in the galleys, a ham-handed gesture that led to the retraction of the paper, as the journal explained in a note: Continue reading Best Of Retractions, Part I: Water, water, everywhere, except in “Historical Palestine,” aka Israel

Update on gene therapy researcher Savio Woo retractions: Two post-docs dismissed for fraud

More on the case of Savio Woo, the New York gene therapy researcher who, as Retraction Watch reported  this week, had several papers pulled by noted journals.

Two of Woo’s post-doctoral fellows at Mount Sinai School of Medicine were dismissed for “research misconduct,” said Ian Michaels, a spokesman for the institution. According to Michaels:

When Dr. Savio L C Woo came to suspect that two post-doctoral fellows in his laboratory may have engaged in research misconduct he notified the Mount Sinai Research Integrity Office. Mount Sinai immediately initiated institutional reviews that resulted in both post-doctoral fellows being dismissed for research misconduct. At no time were there allegations that Dr. Woo had engaged in research misconduct. As part of its review, the investigation committee looked into this possibility and confirmed that no research misconduct could be attributed to Dr. Woo, who voluntarily retracted the papers regarding the research in question. Mount Sinai reported the results of its investigations to the appropriate government agencies and continues to cooperate with them as part of its commitment to adhere to the highest standards for research integrity.

We have plenty of other questions for Mount Sinai about the details of the investigation—including when the post-docs were let go, which Michaels declined to answer—and will update when we learn more.