A journal has retracted three articles from a chemist in Portugal with a history of problems with co-authors and data — the exact problems cited by the new notices.
Specifically, it appears as if Rodrigo J.G. Lopes made up the affiliations of multiple co-authors from the California Institute of Technology, causing the journal to “doubt the existence of the authors.”
A recent recipient of an early career award now under investigation by granting agency EMBO told us today that last week’s retraction in Nature Genetics stemmed solely from an “embarrassing error,” and she hopes to republish the data in a new paper.
Last week was rough for Sonia Melo: Nature Genetics retracted one of her papers, and the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) announced it was investigating the papers that formed the basis of her application. The retraction was of “A TARBP2 mutation in human cancer impairs microRNA processing and DICER1 function,” which has been cited 235 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.
Melo’s Installation Grant from EMBO was announced in December, and consists of 50,000 Euros annually for three to five years. She is currently based at the University of Porto, in Portugal.
EMBO has taken back an award given to beleaguered plant biologist Olivier Voinnet in 2009, and is investigating a recent grantee who had a paper retracted from Nature Genetics yesterday.
The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) “promotes excellence in the life sciences” in Europe, in part by awarding prizes to promising young scientists. Voinnet and Sonia Melo earned their awards by exhibiting potential as young scientists studying genetics — of plants and cancer, respectively — but now EMBO is skeptical of the papers that formed the basis of their applications.
Melo’s Installation Grant from EMBO was announced just last month, and consists of 50,000 Euros annually for three to five years. She is currently based at the University of Porto, in Portugal.
A chemical engineering paper published in February has been retracted for data and authorship problems.
According to the retraction notice, the authors’ institutions investigated and found that not only was the data not reproducible, but “not all co-authors on the manuscript were aware of or agreed to the content and scientific conclusions in the article.”