Authors retract two JBC papers on how heart rhythms go awry; Montreal Heart Institute looking into why

The authors of two Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) studies of the molecular underpinnings of hearts whose rhythms have gone awry have retracted the papers, for reasons that are not completely clear.

The two papers are  “MicroRNA miR-133 represses HERG K+ channel expression contributing to QT prolongation in diabetic hearts,” published in 2007, and “Down-regulation of miR-1/miR-133 contributes to re-expression of pacemaker channel genes HCN2 and HCN4 in hypertrophic heart,” published in 2008.

This being the JBC, the retraction notices in the August 12, 2011 issue say nothing: Continue reading Authors retract two JBC papers on how heart rhythms go awry; Montreal Heart Institute looking into why

Blood retracts two, including a disputed paper from the Karolinska Institute

The journal Blood has two retractions this month, one of which seems particularly interesting. So let’s deal with the other one first.

The paper, “MicroRNAs 15a/16-1 function as tumor suppressor genes in multiple myeloma,” appeared online in October 2010. But according to the retraction notice, the authors

have recently discovered that the cell lines used in their paper were inadvertently misidentified. The cell lines utilized in the paper have now been found to contain the bcr/abl translocation and most likely represent the K562 CML cell line, instead of MMS1 and RPM1 myeloma cell lines. Due to this issue, the relevance of the findings to myeloma and thus, the conclusions of the paper, are not supported by the data. The authors apologize to the readers, reviewers, and editors of Blood for publishing these erroneous data.

That seems straightforward enough, and we couldn’t find any evidence that this problem affected other publications.

The second paper, however, could be more significant. Continue reading Blood retracts two, including a disputed paper from the Karolinska Institute

Traffic violations: Plagiarism leads to retraction of transit modeling paper

Journal editors like to believe they are more than mere traffic cops. But here’s a case that makes us wonder.

Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review — yes, there are parts A-D of this — is retracting a 2009 paper which stole liberally from a 1996 article in a different journal from the same publisher, in this case Elsevier.

According to the notice, which appeared online earlier this year and in the July 2011 issue: Continue reading Traffic violations: Plagiarism leads to retraction of transit modeling paper

Physics Letters A paper gets retracted twice, but the issues remain “unsettled”

A retraction with a complex and yet unclear narrative appears in the April 25, 2011 issue of Physics Letters A. According to the notice, for “Nuclear spin magnetic resonance force microscopy using slice modulation:”

This article has been retracted at the request of the Editors of Physics Letters A because there are unsettled issues on how the research was carried out, how the data were acquired and analyzed. The article was removed from the journal issue before printing although it appeared online. In addition, the article was accidentally published online twice in the same journal.

As the notice suggests, this was actually the second retraction, of the same paper. Here was the first, in 2008, shortly after the paper was published. And here is a removal notice, from later that year. We haven’t come across such an occurrence before, although we’ve been writing Retraction Watch for less than a year.

There are six editors of Physics Letters A, and we tried them all for comment on the “unsettled issues.” A few pointed to Burkhard Fricke, the communicating editor for the paper, who is no longer with the journal. He didn’t respond to requests for more information.

A few referred us to Karine van Wetering, a publisher at Elsevier: Continue reading Physics Letters A paper gets retracted twice, but the issues remain “unsettled”

Crystal myth: 11 more retractions from crystallography journal after 2010 fakery

About a year ago, Acta Crystallographica Section E issued a bombshell editorial. The journal was pulling 70 papers from two groups of researchers at the same Chinese university after discovering that the structures they reported had been fakes.

As the editorial explained, the fraud was detected during a routine review of the structures by Ton Spek, of Utrecht University in The Netherlands. According to the editorial: Continue reading Crystal myth: 11 more retractions from crystallography journal after 2010 fakery

TKO for knee replacement paper, but notice raises more questions than it answers

The journal Orthopedics is retracting a paper by Chinese researchers who appear to have been a little to hasty to submit their manuscript.

Titled “Comparison of the mini-midvastus with the mini-medial parapatellar approach in primary TKA,” the October 2010 paper purported to describe a prospective, randomized study comparing two approaches to total knee arthroplasty, or knee replacement surgery. The authors, from First Affiliated Hospital of Suzhou University, stated that “all knees were implanted with the same posterior-stabilized prosthesis by the same surgeon,” a Dr. Tang.

Having claimed to have separated the effects of the surgery from those of the prosthetic — in this case, the Genesis II device from Smith & Nephew — the authors said that the study was able to demonstrate that “the early clinical results are similar between the mini-midvastus and mini-medial parapatellar approach. The mini-medial parapatellar approach is easier to initially apply and provides better visualization for TKA.”

Except that it didn’t.  Continue reading TKO for knee replacement paper, but notice raises more questions than it answers

We wrote what? Breast cancer paper falls to rogue author

Something was fishy at China Normal University. According to the journal Anti-Cancer Drugs, a 2010 paper by researchers at the Beijing school — “3,30′-Diindolylmethane negatively regulates Cdc25A and induces a G2/M arrest by modulation of microRNA21 in human breast cancer cells” — turned out to have suffered from an unfortunate anomaly. According to the retraction notice: Continue reading We wrote what? Breast cancer paper falls to rogue author

Resurrection? Paper about Jesus and the flu remains online, not marked as retracted

In August, we reported on the retraction of a paper in Virology Journal about whether a woman allegedly cured by Jesus Christ had the flu or some other ailment. The original paper was published on July 21, 2010. On August 11, after a flurry of criticism from various bloggers, the journal’s editor, Robert Garry, apologized for publishing it in a comment. On the 13th, the journal published a retraction notice.

But as an eagle-eyed Retraction Watch reader has pointed out, the original paper, and its abstract, both remain online, without any suggestion that the paper was retracted. We found that puzzling, so we called Garry, of Tulane’s department of microbiology and immunology. Continue reading Resurrection? Paper about Jesus and the flu remains online, not marked as retracted

ME-Coli: Germ paper retracted after mentor accuses authors of idea theft

Plagiarism can involve the theft of words, and we’ve covered plenty of such cases (like this one). But here’s a case of what appears to be more wholesale lifting of everything from ideas to assays.

The Journal of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology (JMMB), a Karger title, has retracted an October 2010 paper, “Characterization of Methyltransferase Properties of Escherichia coli YabC Protein with an Enzyme-Coupled Colorimetric Assay,” by Jingsong Gu and Chunjiang Ye. Both of those scientists are in the department of biotechnology at the University of Jinan in China.

Gu had trained as a postdoctoral research in the laboratory of biologist Elaine Newman, of Concordia University in Montreal who describes herself as a “long time friend” of E. coli. (As they say, with friends like that, who needs enemas?)

The retraction notice — a trio of remarkably revealing letters — begins with an apologia from the authors: Continue reading ME-Coli: Germ paper retracted after mentor accuses authors of idea theft

No medals: Group that retracted JACS gold nanoparticle paper retracts silver one, too

Earlier this month, we reported that a group led by Jicun Ren, of Shanghai Jiaotong University, had retracted a paper in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) on a way to measure the concentration of gold nanoparticles. Turns out they are also retracting a very similar paper about silver nanoparticles published in the January 18, 2010 issue of Chemistry: A European Journal.

Ren tells Retraction Watch that the silver paper, “Ultrahighly sensitive homogenous detection of DNA and microRNA by using single-silver-nanoparticle counting,” is being retracted for the same reason as the gold one. From our earlier post (just substitute “silver” for “gold”): Continue reading No medals: Group that retracted JACS gold nanoparticle paper retracts silver one, too