Take the case of a recent expression of concern in the Journal of Cell Science following concerns about image manipulation in a 2006 paper, “Inhibition of TPO-induced MEK or mTOR activity induces opposite effects on the ploidy of human differentiating megakaryocytes.”
A group of researchers based in Italy has had three papers retracted for likely using the same images to represent different experimental conditions.
The retractions, in Diabetes, published by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), follow expressions of concern for the papers in early 2018 and the launch of an investigation by the authors’ institution into the work. The status of that investigation by Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, however, is unclear, as the university has stopped responding to the journal’s inquiries.
In July 2017, a JAMA journal called for an investigation into a 2013 paper it had published after concluding that the article had “scientific and ethical concerns.” Now the journal, JAMAOtolaryngology − Head & Neck Surgery, is retracting the paper.
The article, “Dexamethasone for the prevention of recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy and other complications after thyroid surgery: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial,” came from a group in Italy led by Mario Schietroma, of the Department of Surgery at the University of L’Aquila, in Abruzzo, Italy. Schietroma, who in December admitted to us that a retracted 2015 paper of his in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons suffered from “misinterpretation of the statistical data,” now has four retractions.
The paper has been cited a total of 18 times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science, including twice since it was subjected to an expression of concern. One of those citations was by a Cochrane systematic review.
A year ago, PLOS ONE published a study claiming that there was strong evidence that a person wrapped in the Shroud of Turin — according to lore, the burial shroud of Jesus Christ — had suffered “strong polytrauma.”
In 2015, a group of researchers based in Spain decided to write a review article on high blood pressure. But when they looked over eight articles co-authored by the same person, they noticed some undeniable similarities.
Over the last few years, Giuseppe Derosa, based at the University of Pavia in Italy, has racked up 10 retractions after journals determined he’d published the same material multiple times. But there’s much more to this story: The researchers in Spain (led by Luis Carlos Saiz of the Navarre Regional Health Service in Pamplona) kept digging into his publication record, and have since identified dozens of additional potential duplicates. Although the outside researchers alerted journals to the additional potentially problematic papers in 2015, most have not taken action; recently, two journals published by Taylor & Francis flagged 12 of Derosa’s articles, three of which they had been alerted about in 2015 by Saiz and colleagues.
Now, Saiz is telling his story — and why duplication of medical research matters:
Two stem cell scientists who left Harvard University in the aftermath of a messy misconduct investigation may have found new roles in Italy’s National Institute of Health.
According to a document on the institute’s website, which we had translated, Piero Anversa and Annarosa Leri have been approved to start work at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS) by the institute’s board of directors. However, the president of the organization told us that the hirings are not yet final.
The document says the board unanimously recommended the appointments of Anversa and Leri on January 31 as winning candidates with “a rating of ‘excellent.’”
According to the document, Anversa would be an ISS expert in stem cell-based treatments for diabetes and Leri would be an expert in stem-based therapies for cardiovascular disease.
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.