Probe finds misconduct in eight papers by researcher in Sweden

Suchitra Sumitran-Holgersson, via the University of Gothenburg

An external probe has concluded that a researcher based at the University of Gothenburg committed misconduct in multiple papers, all of which should be withdrawn.

Among 10 papers by Suchitra Sumitran-Holgersson at the University of Gothenburg, an Expert Group concluded that eight contained signs of scientific misconduct. The Expert Group, part of Sweden’s Central Ethical Review Board, also found evidence of problems within her laboratory environment.

In an email to Retraction Watch, Sumitran-Holgersson denied any “willful manipulation of data.”

According to the report (in Swedish, which we translated using Google):

Continue reading Probe finds misconduct in eight papers by researcher in Sweden

Journal investigating earlier work by author of discredited fish-microplastics paper 

A biology journal is investigating concerns about a 2014 paper by a marine biologist who was found guilty of misconduct last year.

In December, Uppsala University concluded that Oona Lönnstedt had fabricated the results” of a controversial 2016 Science paper (now retracted), which examined the harms of human pollution on fish. (Lönnstedt’s supervisor Peter Eklöv was also found guilty of misconduct and had a four-year government grant terminated.) Continue reading Journal investigating earlier work by author of discredited fish-microplastics paper 

Macchiarini, 3 co-authors found guilty of misconduct in 2015 paper

The Karolinska Institutet in Sweden has declared that once-lauded surgeon Paolo Macchiarini and three co-authors committed misconduct in a 2015 paper.

The decision by KI’s vice chancellor will be followed by a request to retract the paper, published by the journal Respiration.

In the paper, the researchers described the case of a man with an acute lung disorder, in which he received an experimental treatment involving the use of his own blood-derived cells and the drug erythropoietin, which stimulates the production of red blood cells. The patient “demonstrated an immediate, albeit temporary, clinical improvement,” according to the authors. However, he ultimately died of multisystem organ failure.

Continue reading Macchiarini, 3 co-authors found guilty of misconduct in 2015 paper

Swedish gov’t rescinds grant for fish-plastics researcher

Peter Eklöv

The Swedish government has terminated a four-year grant to a researcher at Uppsala University recently found guilty of misconduct — and, in a first, has also banned him from applying for grants for another two years.

A representative of the Swedish Research Council told us that it is “very rare” for the body to rescind a grant — and it has never simultaneously rescinded a grant and temporarily banned the researcher from applying for funding.

The researcher is Peter Eklöv, who co-authored a now-retracted Science paper which suggested fish larvae prefer to eat tiny particles of plastic over their own natural prey.  As soon as it appeared in 2016, the paper earned both media attention  and controversy, as critics alleged it contained missing data and used a problematic methodology. Late last year, the Swedish Research Council announced that Eklöv  was among more than 300 recipients of new grants; his totalled 3,300,000 ($355,440 USD).

At the time, a representative of the Swedish Research Council told us it knew Eklöv was under investigation by Uppsala, and was awaiting that decision.

Continue reading Swedish gov’t rescinds grant for fish-plastics researcher

Author of controversial Science fish-microplastics paper committed “intentional” misconduct, says Uppsala

An investigation at Uppsala University has found the authors of a retracted Science paper — which explored the threat of human pollution on fish — guilty of misconduct.  

The decision, published yesterday, states that both authorsPeter Eklöv and Oona Lönnstedt“violated the regulations on ethical approval for animal experimentation,” and Lönnstedt, the paper’s corresponding author, “fabricated the results.”

Eklöv told us: Continue reading Author of controversial Science fish-microplastics paper committed “intentional” misconduct, says Uppsala

Caught Our Notice: Forgot to make your article open access? It’ll cost you (with a correction)

Via Wikimedia

Title: Industrial antifoam agents impair ethanol fermentation and induce stress responses in yeast cells

What Caught Our Attention: When authors decide they want to make their articles freely available after they’ve already been published, how should publishers indicate the change, if at all? Recently, Ross Mounce (@rmounce) thought it was odd a Springer journal issued a formal correction notice when the authors wanted to make their paper freely available, and we can’t say we disagree.  As he posted on Twitter:

Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Forgot to make your article open access? It’ll cost you (with a correction)

Caught Our Notice: To know if someone’s been vaccinated, just asking isn’t enough

Via Wikimedia

Title: Hepatitis B Virus Infection in Preconception Period Among Women of Reproductive Age in Rural China – A Nationwide Study

What Caught Our Attention: When researchers set out to study hepatitis B among women in rural China, and they wanted to know if the women had been vaccinated against the virus, they simply asked them. While that can sometimes be useful, apparently it was a mistake in this case, as the reliance on patient memory injected too much doubt into these findings.  Continue reading Caught Our Notice: To know if someone’s been vaccinated, just asking isn’t enough

Caught Our Notice: Author of controversial retracted paper earns Swedish gov’t grant

Last week, a Swedish government funding agency announced 325 recipients of grants in Natural and Engineering Sciences. We don’t normally write about grant announcements, but we’re flagging this one because one recipient may be familiar to our readers.

It is Peter Eklöv of Uppsala University, a co-author of a now-retracted Science paper about the potential dangers of microplastics to fish.

Eklov will receive 800,000 ($94,784 USD) each year in 2018-2020 and 900,000 ($106,632 USD) in 2021, totalling 3,300,000 ($355,440 USD). The granting agency is the Swedish Research Council, controlled by Sweden’s Ministry of Education and Research.

Eklöv‘s retracted paper — which he co-authored with Oona Lönnstedt — got significant media coverage when it first appeared in June 2016, as it suggested fish larvae prefer to eat microplastic over their own natural prey. But soon after it was published, a group of researchers raised several allegations, including that the paper contained missing data and used a problematic methodology Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Author of controversial retracted paper earns Swedish gov’t grant

Swedish review board finds misconduct by Macchiarini, calls for six retractions

Paolo Macchiarini

An ethical review board in Sweden is asking journals to retract six papers co-authored by former star surgeon Paolo Macchiarini, after concluding that he and his co-authors committed misconduct.

One of the papers is the seminal 2011 article in The Lancet, which described the first case of a transplant using an artificial trachea seeded with the patient’s own stem cells, and now bears an expression of concern from The Lancet editors. Over time, multiple authors have asked to be removed from the paper.

The Expert Group on Scientific Misconduct at the Central Ethical Review Board has determined that concerns over that paper — and five others co-authored by Macchiarini, once based at the Karolinska Institutet (KI) — were justified. In a press release, it says:

Continue reading Swedish review board finds misconduct by Macchiarini, calls for six retractions

Swedish prosecutor won’t pursue criminal case against Macchiarini

Paolo Macchiarini

A Swedish prosecutor has announced she won’t continue investigating a former star surgeon who has since fallen from grace.

Paolo Macchiarini made a name for himself by transplanting synthetic tracheas. After multiple patients died, however, allegations against the researcher have continued to swirl. He was dismissed from the Karolinska Institutet last year, after it reopened its misconduct investigation. The Swedish prosecutor was investigating Macchiarini’s role in the deaths of three out of four patients he operated on five times between 2011-2013.

Although the prosecution concluded that most of the operations proceeded “negligently,” it could not conclude Macchiarini was criminally responsible.

According to the public prosecutor Jennie Nordin:

Continue reading Swedish prosecutor won’t pursue criminal case against Macchiarini