Originally published June 17, 2016, the paper was retracted Jan. 15. Led by corresponding author Xavier Altafaj, of the University of Barcelona (UB) and Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), researchers described using an amino acid, D-serine, to treat a child with a rare genetic disorder that affects neurons.
According to the notice, the researchers did use D-serine in lab work used as proof-of-concept; however, when it came time to try it in the patient, as a result of a “communication error:”
Here’s a rather odd case: A postdoctoral researcher says his former boss changed his name on a paper without his permission. According to the postdoc, Antonio Herrera-Merchan, his principal investigator at University of Granada insisted on the name change to distance them both from a scandal in Herrera-Merchan’s previous lab.
After publishing a paper in Oncotarget in October 2017, Herrera-Merchan’s name was changed on the paper. Now, two versions of the paper exist: an earlier version that lists Antonio Herrera-Merchan as first author, and the current version that spells his name without “Merchan.”*
We’ve obtained an email exchange between his former boss, Pedro Medina, and Oncotarget, requesting the name change.
What Caught Our Attention: A big peer review (and perhaps academic mentorship) fail. These researchers used the wrong anticoagulant for their blood samples, leading them to believe that certain blood components were fighting microbes. The authors counted the number of colonies to show how well or poorly Tuberculin mycobacteria were growing in cultures — but blood samples need anticoagulants to prevent clots before analysis, and they used an anticoagulant that actually prevented the microbes from colonizing. The authors (and reviewers) should have known this from Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Dear peer reviewer, please read the methods section. Sincerely, everyone
A once-prominent stem cell biologist, who recently lost both her job and a sizable grant, has lost her fifth paper.
Recently, Molecular and Cellular Biology retracted a 2003 paper by Susana Gonzalez. Last February, the National Center for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC) in Spain dismissed her from her position over allegations of misconduct. The reason: suspicions of data manipulation.
As with a previous retraction, the journal said Gonzalez “could not be reached for approval of this retraction.”
A journal has issued expression of concerns (EOCs) for four papers after a concerned reader notified the editors of issues in several figures.
According to the EOCs, the Journal of Cell Science (JCS) discussed the concerns with the corresponding author, José Ignacio Rodriguez-Crespo, and subsequently notified his institution, Complutense University of Madrid. Last year, all four papers were questioned on PubPeer (1,2,3,4).
In 2014, researchers condemned the Spanish Government for “destroying the R&D horizon of Spain and the future of a complete generation” in the acknowledgment section of a paper about wireless networks.
In the fall of 2015, out-of-work stem cell biologist Mavi Camarasa decided she had waited long enough. It had been three years since she and a colleague were, best they could tell, the first to successfully correct the most common cystic fibrosis mutation in stem cells derived from a patient.
But her former lab director, Daniel Bachiller, had blocked her from writing even a short report, she told Retraction Watch:
He said we are not submitting at this time, wait until [the project is] complete. “Wait, wait,” is the only answer I’d had from him ever.
Though she’d left the Spanish regenerative medicine lab in 2013 to take care of an ailing parent and had mostly been scooped by another group in April of that year, Camarasa thought she still might be able to get something out of the project. She hatched a plan to make him an offer he couldn’t refuse — an already accepted manuscript where all he would have to do is attach his name at the last minute.
But this story didn’t turn out exactly how she’d hoped — and illustrates how the pressure to publish can affect researchers at different levels in the lab.
All too often, when an article is flagged by a journal that’s concerned about the findings, the notice lingers in limbo, leaving readers unclear whether or not to rely on the findings. One chemistry paper’s two-year stint in purgatory ended last month, when the journal lifted its expression of concern (EOC) and replaced it with a correction.
The journal chose to swap the 2015 EOC with a correction after the authors addressed its concerns in a follow-up paper, also published in Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry.
The journal’s executive editor Richard Kelly provided further insights about what happened: