“We were very uncomfortable with this situation:” French group loses aging paper for “overlap”

The authors of a 2017 paper on how chronic inflammation might hasten aging have retracted the work because it turned out to be a collage of previously published articles.

The paper, “Chronic Inflammation: Accelerator of Biological Aging,” appeared in  The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, an Oxford University Press title. It has been cited 41 times, earning it a “Highly Cited Paper” designation from Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science, meaning it has earned more citations than 99% of papers published in its field that year. The first author is Bertrand Fougère, of Université de Toulouse III Paul Sabatier and Tours University Hospital.

Here’s the notice (which we’ve reformatted for readability): Continue reading “We were very uncomfortable with this situation:” French group loses aging paper for “overlap”

A critic with more than two dozen retractions can’t seem to stop plagiarizing

A mysterious lit and film critic who built a significant portion of his career using the words of other scholars instead of writing his own appears to be attempting a second act.  

Last year, Richard-Lawrence Etienne Barnett, who has lost more than two dozen papers for plagiarism, published a book called “The Adversarial Text,” which appears to have a rather cozy relationship with four of his retracted articles. The apparent purloinment was first reported by Volker Schröder, a scholar of French and Italian at Princeton University who has been following the Barnett case for the better part of two decades.

In 2001, Schroeder found that

Continue reading A critic with more than two dozen retractions can’t seem to stop plagiarizing

Caught Our Notice: Voinnet co-author issues another correction

Title: AtsPLA2-α nuclear relocalization by the Arabidopsis transcription factor AtMYB30 leads to repression of the plant defense response

What Caught Our Attention:  A previous collaborator with high-profile plant biologist Olivier Voinnet (who now has eight retractions) has issued an interesting correction to a 2010 PNAS paper. Susana Rivas is last author on the paper, the correction for which notes some images were duplicated, and others were “cropped and/or stretched to match the other blots.” Rivas is currently a group leader at The Laboratory of Plant-Microbe Interactions (LIPM), “a combined INRA-CNRS Research Unit.” Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Voinnet co-author issues another correction

Questions swirl around CNRS director’s decision to step down early

Anne Peyroche

Today, a French council was set to confirm the new head of a prominent research institute, the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). But the appointee took the job a few days early, after the interim director stepped down last week — and the speculation about why she left hasn’t stopped ever since.

An official announcement from the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, which runs the CNRS, said Anne Peyroche would be replaced by her expected successor, computer scientist Antoine Petit. Although there have been discussions about some of Peyroche’s work on PubPeer (some of which the authors have responded to, assuaging at least one critic), the announcement provided no reason for the new timetable; a news story in Le Figaro cited health reasons.

A spokesperson for the CNRS told Retraction Watch:

Continue reading Questions swirl around CNRS director’s decision to step down early

Paper retracted when co-author forgets he had published a figure before

A 2016 case study in Neurology exploring a “mystery case” has been retracted because four figures had already been published in a 2012 article.

The two papers have three authors in common, but according to the retraction notice, none could explain the duplicate publication. The notice states that Pierre Labauge, the corresponding author on the 2012 paper and the last author on the Neurology paper, said he “did not remember the first paper” when revising the recent one. Continue reading Paper retracted when co-author forgets he had published a figure before

Researcher discovers paper published by co-author in another journal

In February 2016, Albert Jambon received some puzzling news.

Several colleagues had alerted him to a paper, published online in late December 2015 in the Journal of African Earth Sciences (JAES), reporting the discovery of a rare mineral, which Jambon had been analyzing.

When Jambon read the paper, he realized it was a modified version of a paper he had been working on for almost eight years. Impatient, one of his co-authors, Ahmad Bilal, had published his own version of the manuscript and listed himself as the sole author.

Jambon, a professor at Pierre and Marie Curie University, believes that Bilal’s paper plagiarized his manuscript, but Bilal disputes this allegation. Bilal–who works at Damascus University in Syria–says he couldn’t wait any longer to publish the manuscript, so wrote “a completely new version.” Since the authors couldn’t resolve the authorship dispute, in August 2016, the journal issued a “temporary” expression of concern, alerting readers to the authorship concerns. Now, a year and a half later, a spokesperson for the publisher says it’s going to be retracted.

Eight years is a long time to work on a paper.

Continue reading Researcher discovers paper published by co-author in another journal

What should a journal do when a scientist who committed misconduct submits a new paper?

Chris Surridge

In December of last year, Chris Surridge found himself in a situation not uncommon to journal editors: A researcher who had been found to have committed misconduct had submitted a manuscript to the journal Surridge edits, Nature Plants. Retraction Watch readers may recall the name of the corresponding author, Patrice Dunoyer, who has had five papers retracted and five corrected following an investigation into work out of the Olivier Voinnet lab.

So what to do? The journal accepted the paper in May, and published it in June, along with a thoughtful editorial likening prizes and cheating in science to those phenomena in sports. The editors, according to the editorial, “treated the study we received as we would any other.” We asked Surridge to answer a few questions about the episode.

Retraction Watch (RW): Was there some internal debate about whether to consider publishing a paper by Dr. Dunoyer? Did you personally hesitate? Why or why not? Continue reading What should a journal do when a scientist who committed misconduct submits a new paper?

Authors retract two plant biology papers over duplicated images

Plant scientists have issued two retractions after noticing several images had been duplicated within and across the papers.

The papers both appeared in March 2002 in The Plant Cell and The Plant Journal.

The last author on both papers — Jonathan Jones, a professor and group leader at The Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, UK — took responsibility for the duplications. He told us:

As last author I was responsible for checking the papers but did not notice the similarities between figures in the different papers.  I regret this and took action as soon as I realized there was an issue. Both papers went through peer review and the issue was not picked up at that point either.

Susana Rivas, the first author on both papers, has collaborated with beleaguered plant scientist Oliver Voinnet — and was a second author on one of his eight retractions (which we covered here).

The editor-in-chief of TPJ Christoph Benning said that, after the authors contacted them, the journals looked into the issue, confirmed the duplications and then retracted the papers: Continue reading Authors retract two plant biology papers over duplicated images

Author objects to retraction after he says journal ignored his queries for three years

In 2014, a journal contacted researcher Denis Rousseau about one of his papers that had just been published online ahead of print, raising some concerns. According to Rousseau, he sent the journal a corrected figure “almost immediately,” which he believed addressed the issue.

Rousseau, a cell biologist at the University Joseph Fourier in Grenoble, France, said he then contacted the journal many times over the next three years to ask about the status of the paper — which never ended up in print — but heard nothing back.

Three years passed.

In March, the publisher finally contacted Rousseau, this time to ask him to issue a formal retraction for the paper. And despite his objections, Molecular and Cellular Biology published a sparse retraction notice, which provides little information about what went wrong:

Continue reading Author objects to retraction after he says journal ignored his queries for three years

Negligence by stressed-out postdoc led to retraction of high-profile paper, supervisor says

The timing was tight, but Sergio Gonzalez had done it. Gonzalez, a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Neurosciences of Montpellier (INSERM) in France, had a paper accepted in a top journal by the end of 2015, just in time to apply for a small number of highly sought-after permanent research positions that open up in France each year.

If Gonzalez had missed the January deadline for this system of advancement, known as concours, he would have had to wait until the following cycle to apply.

Once his paper was accepted by the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Gonzalez could breathe a sigh of relief. He began being invited to interviews. But then, a comment showed up at PubPeer.

Continue reading Negligence by stressed-out postdoc led to retraction of high-profile paper, supervisor says