Cell retraction for bogus images in genetics paper reveals another, in Journal of Molecular Biology

Call it bad luck, but the journal Cell has been victimized again by image manipulation. For the second time this month, the publication has retracted a paper whose authors acknowledged that one of them had played around with the figures.

Published in August 2009, the paper, “Population-Level Transcription Cycles Derive from Stochastic Timing of Single-Cell Transcription,” has been cited 16 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. It purported to show using computer modeling that

transcriptional cycling, i.e., periodic assembly of transcription factors and their cofactors and the resulting cyclical accumulation of mRNA, may stem from stochastic timing and sequential activation of transcription in individual cells.

The authors, from several European institutions, presented experimental data to back up their computer model, including multiple figures. Some of those, they now admit, were fabricated — to the point where the whole paper collapsed: Continue reading Cell retraction for bogus images in genetics paper reveals another, in Journal of Molecular Biology

Science plays two — a retraction, and concern issued about genetics papers

It’s a busy week at Science. The journal is retracting a controversial paper about which it had previously expressed doubts, and has published an “Expression of Concern” about another article that looks like it might be headed for the same fate.

First, the retraction.

The move involves an October 2009 paper, on which we’ve previously posted, by European researchers who claimed to have made a major advance in the ability to watch how enzymes behave in cells — thereby giving scientists a new tool for monitoring the function of genes.

But back in December, Science editor Bruce Alberts issued this “Expression of Concern” about the research: Continue reading Science plays two — a retraction, and concern issued about genetics papers

Cell pulls fruit fly article, citing image manipulation

The journal Cell has retracted a paper on fruit fly genetics over concerns that the first author, a postdoc in a German laboratory, might have manipulated dozens of electron micrographs in the manuscript.

The article, published in November 2009, was titled “Assembly of Endogenous oskar mRNA Particles for Motor-Dependent Transport in the Drosophila Oocyte.” It has been cited six times since then, according to the Thomson Scientific Web of Knowledge.

Not having the foggiest notion of what those words might mean, other than that the paper was about fruit flies, we called in a ringer, Jeff Perkel, who explained as patiently as he could that the gist of the research involved Continue reading Cell pulls fruit fly article, citing image manipulation

Top German anesthesiologist’s cardiac surgery paper retracted over “very serious misrepresentations”

Self-plagiarism alert: A very similar version of this post is being published online in Anesthesiology News, where one of us (AM) is managing editor.

A leading German anesthesiologist with more than 200 papers to his name has been accused of misrepresenting critical aspects of a paper  — possibly including the data itself — published late last year in the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia.

In a retraction notice published online today, Steven L. Shafer, editor-in-chief of the journal, writes that Joachim Boldt and his coauthors failed to obtain approval from an institutional review board, did not get patient consent and did not follow up as promised with volunteers in their study, reported in the December 2009 article, “Cardiopulmonary Bypass Priming Using a High Dose of a Balanced Hydroxyethyl Starch Versus an Albumin-Based Priming System.”

In addition, the journal said, it has reason to suspect that data in the paper were fabricated, a possibility that is being investigated by German authorities. As the notice states: Continue reading Top German anesthesiologist’s cardiac surgery paper retracted over “very serious misrepresentations”

Warts and all: Derm pub retracts plantar paper after author cries foul

Both Retraction Watch bloggers are all too familiar with the artwork in dermatology journals. One of us, AM, used to write for Skin & Aging, while the other, IO, waited eagerly for issues of Cutis sent to his pediatrician father to show up on the coffee table. And IO recently broke the incredibly important story of “Mexican beer dermatitis.”

But we always trusted that the images we were looking at were real. A group of Egyptian dermatologists seems to have hit on a novel solution to the problem of uncooperative images: Continue reading Warts and all: Derm pub retracts plantar paper after author cries foul

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