Researcher and biotech founder in Ireland issues four retractions

Therese Kinsella

An award-winning researcher and founder of a biotech company based in Ireland has retracted four papers and corrected another.

In the last few weeks, Therese Kinsella — a professor at the University of College of Dublin (UCD) — has issued a correction and three retractions in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) of papers dating back to 2001, and retracted a 2012 paper in the Journal of Lipid Research.

The retraction notices describe image manipulations, but add that the authors stand by the results. The corrected paper discloses a “possible duplication,” and presents replicated data.

Kinsella is the founder and Chief Scientific Officer of ATXA Therapeutics Limited, a UCD spinoff developing drugs for pulmonary arterial hypertension which recently secured €2.5 million in public funding. Most of her retracted papers investigate the molecular biology of prostacyclin, a synthetic form of which is used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Continue reading Researcher and biotech founder in Ireland issues four retractions

Former rising star found guilty of misconduct issues 2nd retraction

A once-lauded researcher in the field of infectious disease — who has since been found guilty of misconduct — has retracted a second paper.

Last year, the University of Dundee in Scotland investigated and ultimately concluded that Robert Ryan — whose work focused on infections that can be deadly in people with lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis — had committed “serious research misconduct,” affecting multiple publications. After appealing the decision, Ryan resigned.

We covered his first retraction earlier this month, which cited multiple instances of image duplication. Now Ryan has retracted his second paper, published in 2011 in Journal of Bacteriology, also due to image problems.

Here’s the retraction notice: Continue reading Former rising star found guilty of misconduct issues 2nd retraction

Study of child with rare cancer retracted due to lack of parental consent

Researchers in Ireland have retracted a case study about a rare type of cancer in a child because – contrary to what they claimed in the paper – they had not obtained the necessary permission from the parents.

In the June 2016 article, the authors stated they had received “written informed consent” from the parents to publish the case. But according to the retraction notice — issued just a few months later in October — that was not the case.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Paediatric Ewing-like sarcoma arising from the cranium – a unique diagnostic challenge,” which for legal reasons, the publisher has withdrawn from public view:

Continue reading Study of child with rare cancer retracted due to lack of parental consent

“An example for all authors to uphold:” Researcher logs 5 corrections

A scientist in Ireland has corrected five of his papers in a single journal dating back more than a decade, after image-related problems were brought to his attention.

Four of the newly corrected papers have a common last and corresponding author: Luke O’Neill of Trinity College Dublin in the Republic of Ireland. O’Neill is also a co-author of the remaining paper that was fixed. O’Neill told us the mistakes were a “bit sloppy,” noting that he takes responsibility for the errors in the four papers on which he is last author.

O’Neill forwarded Retraction Watch a comment he received from Kaoru Sakabe — data integrity manager at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (which publishes The Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC)) — that reads: Continue reading “An example for all authors to uphold:” Researcher logs 5 corrections

Researcher in Ireland loses two 13-year old studies

journal-of-biological-chemistryThe Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) has retracted two 2003 studies after concluding that figures in the papers had been duplicated, and portions of some figures in one paper “did not accurately represent the results of the experimental conditions.”

The two newly retracted papers have the same last author — Therese Kinsella, a biochemist at the University College Dublin (UCD), who told us the data have been upheld by subsequent research, but that she supports the retractions, which are now part of a UCD investigation.

The retractions will bring up some familiar names: The first author on one of the papers is Sinéad Miggin from Maynooth University in the Republic of Ireland; in 2014, Miggin logged two retractions in the JBC, which triggered an investigation into co-author Aisha Qasim ButtLast year, Maynooth University revoked Butt’s PhD after she admitted to “falsification and misrepresentation” of data in both studies as well as her PhD thesis. At the time, Miggin and two other researchers were fully exonerated by Maynooth University from “any wrongdoing.”

Butt, however, is not an author of either of the newly retracted papers. Although Butt’s LinkedIn page still lists her as a postdoctoral researcher at UCD, a spokesperson from the institution told us she is no longer based there.

We don’t often see such old papers retracted. Kaoru Sakabe, Manager of Publishing Issues at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, which publishes JBC, told us how this decision came about: Continue reading Researcher in Ireland loses two 13-year old studies

Irish university strips student of PhD following investigation

maynoothMaynooth University has revoked a former student’s PhD following an investigation into the circumstances that led to two previous retractions in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

During the investigation, Aisha Qasim Butt admitted to some misconduct in the two papers and the research that made up her PhD, according to a university statement (which you can read in full here): Continue reading Irish university strips student of PhD following investigation

Authors retract second study about medical uses of honey

Journal of Clinical NursingA paper that tested the clinical value of honey on venous ulcers has been pulled by the Journal of Clinical Nursing after an investigation uncovered “errors in the data analysis.” Last year, the authors pulled another paper on the healing properties of honey on wounds

We just discovered this second retraction, which appears in the September 2015 issue of the journal, but was posted online last year.

The journal’s editor-in-chief, Debra Jackson, confirmed the dates and said that “a commercial company” brought the matter to their attention. After the journal asked a statistician to weigh in, they stated that a “substantial re-write would be required to correct the article,” and a retraction would be “the most suitable course of action.”

Although she said the authors initially sought to correct, not retract, the study, they eventually agreed with the decision.

Here’s the notice:

Continue reading Authors retract second study about medical uses of honey

Authors “did not have permission” to use pesticide data

10661An environmental journal is retracting an article about the risks of pesticides to groundwater after determining it contained data that “the authors did not have permission (implicit or explicit) to publish.”

According to the retraction note in Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, the paper said the data came from a non-author’s PhD thesis, but it’s not there. Those mysterious data were used to validate a model for pesticide exposures, described in an excerpt from the abstractContinue reading Authors “did not have permission” to use pesticide data

Sticky situation: Paper using honey for healing pulled over data issues

honey
Image via Hillary Stein

A paper on dressing wounds with honey has been retracted after the journal realized that an outlier patient was throwing off the data analysis.

Honey has been used for millennia as an antimicrobial wound dressing. Doctors can even buy sterile preparations of the sweetener. But the evidence that honey is better than other wound dressings is still inconclusive.

According to the retracted paper, published in International Wound Journal in 2008, Manuka honey has an acidic pH which helps reduce the alkaline environment of chronic woulds. Indeed, the authors found that Manuka honey dressings lowered wound pH and reduced wound size.

Sadly, the paper was pulled in 2014, after someone realized one patient had a particularly large wound that was throwing off statistics. The injury was 61 cm^2 at the beginning of the study, while the others ranged from .9 to 22 cm^2. After removing that patient from the analysis, the results no longer held up.

Continue reading Sticky situation: Paper using honey for healing pulled over data issues

“Unacceptable level of text parallels” loses neuroscientist a paper, but not her PhD

maynoothWe should probably launch a new blog just on the euphemisms used for plagiarism.

A case of “inadequate procedural or methodological practices of citation or quotation” causing an “unacceptable level of text parallels” has sunk a review paper, but not a thesis, for a PhD who studied memory consolidation at Maynooth University in Ireland. According to a statement from the school, Jennifer Moore used “poor practice of citation and attribution” in both her thesis and in a review article published with her post-graduate P.I. in Reviews in the Neurosciences.

The review article, which has been cited four times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge, will be retracted. Because there was no data fabrication and “no misleading of other scientists or laboratories,” the school will not be retracting the thesis nor taking away her PhD.

According to Google Scholar, the review has been cited 8 times. Moore now works as a neuropsychologist at the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. We’ve contacted her for comment and will update if we hear back.

Here’s the notice for “Reconsolidation Revisited: A Review and Commentary on the Phenomenon”: Continue reading “Unacceptable level of text parallels” loses neuroscientist a paper, but not her PhD