Molecular and Cellular Biology has retracted four papers published between 1987 to 2001 by Alfredo Fusco, a cancer researcher in Italy; the Journal of Virology retracted one 1985 paper. Fusco was first author on two papers and last author on three. Both journals are published by The American Society for Microbiology (ASM), which issued identical retraction notices for all five papers, mentioning “evidence of apparent manipulation and duplication.”
Carlo Croce, a cancer researcher now at the Ohio State University, who has been dogged by misconduct allegations, co-authored one of the papers. Croce now has eight retractions.
But the moment may have been short-lived. Today, Croce received two expressions of concern (EOCs) from PNAS for two well-cited papers published over a decade ago, on which Croce — chair of the Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics at The Ohio State University (OSU) — is last author. The two EOCs cite concerns over duplicated bands. What’s more, another journal recently decided to retract one of his papers, citing figures that didn’t represent the results of the experiments.
Today isn’t a great day for Carlo Croce, chair of the department of cancer biology and genetics at The Ohio State University (OSU).
The New York Times has a lengthy article detailing the misconduct accusations that have swirled around Croce for years. We’ve covered many, but The Gray Lady obtained documents that show there have been many more.
A cancer biologist has retracted a 2016 News & Views article in a Nature journal, alleging that the journal tried to censor his writing by asking him to remove passages that criticized another journal (Cell).
Carlo Croce, the sole author of the article in Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology from Ohio State University in Columbus, described the journal’s actions to us as “disgusting” and “worrisome.”
A spokesperson from the journal sent us this statement:
We regret that this situation occurred. We cannot comment beyond the retraction notice.
Consider this: Fragments of a PLOS ONE paper overlap with pieces of other publications. The authors used them without credit and without quotation marks.
This sounds an awful lot like plagiarism — using PLOS‘s own standards, even. But the journal isn’t calling it plagiarism. They’ve labeled this an instance of “text overlap,” a spokesperson told us, based on the amount of material that the paper shares with others.
The last author — Carlo Croce, who has two retractions under his belt — denies that he plagiarized, and says that his university has cleared him of a plagiarism charge from an anonymous whistleblower.
PLOS fixed this case last year with a correction notice — not the common course of action for a case of confirmed plagiarism. Take a look at the notice for yourself:
Retraction number nine, by The Journal of Clinical Investigation, is for duplicating data from another publication — which has also faced questions on PubPeer about image manipulation, along with many other papers by Fusco.