A journal has added expressions of concern (EOCs) to four papers about diabetes, including one co-authored by an author who previously sued a different journal when it took a similar action on his papers.
The Journal of Physiology flagged the papers after an investigation “could not rule out the possibility” that they contained duplicated Western blots. Though the three other papers do not include Mario Saad on their author list, he plays a role: The papers include blots duplicated from other papers of Saad’s. And they reveal that Saad may have published those blots multiple times in his own work.
Four expressions of concern in the journal Diabetes have turned into retractions for Mario Saad, a move which he had tried to stop with a lawsuit.
Last August, a judge dismissed Saad’s suit against the American Diabetes Association, which publishes Diabetes, concluding that the expressions of concerns on the papers were not defamation, but part of an “ongoing scientific discourse.” Now, after an investigation at the University of Campinas in Brazil, where Saad is based, and an assessment from an ADA ethics panel (which overturned some of Unicamp’s recommendations), the journal has added to that discourse by turning the EOCs into retractions — and flagging two more of Saad’s papers with EOCs.
Together, the retracted papers have been cited more than 600 times.
In Saad’s latest attempt to employ legal action against the journal — arguing the EoC was defamatory — the United States District Court of Massachusetts was clear in its ruling (which you can view in its entirety here):
As reported by the National Law Journal, a federal judge in Boston has denied Saad’s requests to stop the ADA’s flagship journal, Diabetes, from publishing expressions of concern about four of Saad’s papers, and to prevent the journal from retracting the studies.
The State University of Campinas University of Campinas and the American Diabetes Association disagree strongly over how to handle disputed images from faculty member Mario Saad, who is suing the ADA to prevent retraction of his papers.
While the State University of Campinas University of Campinas (Unicamp) acknowledges that 2 of Saad’s papers contain “mistakes”, it concluded there was “not an intention in the actions of the authors,” and the mistakes did not have a negative impact on the scientific community. Ultimately: “the studies published have their own strength, are healthy and were not artificially strengthened by the incorrect images.”
In response, however, Saad’s lawsuit says the ADA asked the school to reinvestigate the articles, and refused to accept any papers from Unicamp faculty in any ADA journals until the issues are resolved.
The ADA has issued four expressions of concern in Saad’s research published in its flagship journal, Diabetes. Saad’s lawsuit aims to prevent the journal from retracting those papers, and asks for monetary compensation.
Retraction Watch has obtained a report of the investigation by Unicamp and Saad’s lawsuit. You can read the full lawsuit here, and the investigation report here.
As reported in the Boston Business Journal, Saad’s lawsuit claims that his institution, the State University of Campinas, investigated two articles at the journal’s behest. The American Diabetes Association was unhappy with the results, and asked the school to reopen the investigation, including two additional papers.
Saad is suing to prevent the journal from retracting the papers, in addition to monetary compensation.