Authors retract heart disease paper for “nonscientific reason”

Researchers have retracted a 2018 paper about the genetic underpinnings of heart disease from the FASEB Journal — and it’s not entirely clear why.

The paywalled retraction notice simply cites a “nonscientific reason.” Cody Mooneyhan, the director of publications at the journal, declined to provide further details, and the authors have provided different accounts of what happened: The paper’s corresponding author, John Yu, told Retraction Watch that he requested the retraction because the first author, Chia‐Ti Tsai, refused to sign the journal’s copyright agreement. Tsai, a professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at National Taiwan University in Taipei, told us he was “not notified before the paper was submitted.” Continue reading Authors retract heart disease paper for “nonscientific reason”

Caught Our Notice: Journals still (slowly) purging archives of bad cell line studies

Via Wikimedia

Title: Tanshinone IIA Induces Apoptosis in Human Oral Cancer KB Cells through a Mitochondria-Dependent Pathway

What Caught Our Attention: Thousands of papers have relied on contaminated or wrong cell lines, a problem journals have not been particularly proactive in addressing. So far, only a few studies have been retracted for using misidentified cell lines. Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Journals still (slowly) purging archives of bad cell line studies

More duplications for researcher accused of misconduct in lawsuit

Despite losing a lawsuit against his former mentor, a researcher hasn’t stopped his efforts to discredit his mentor’s work. These efforts have led to new editorial notices — including, most recently, a correction and expression of concern for one paper by a former colleague, who wasn’t even the subject of the lawsuit.

In the 2014 suit, former Brown University postdoc Andrew Mallon said research misconduct by John Marshall — his lab director and former business partner– tainted a 2013 paper published in PLoS Biology. Though the case failed to trigger the retraction Mallon sought, it put his concerns into the public record; the text of the lawsuit includes an accusation of misconduct against Cong CaoMarshall’s former mentee and the first author of that 2013 paper.

Mallon has since contacted journals to raise concerns about papers by Cao, and two journals have taken action. The most recent move: On Aug. 10, the Biochemical Journal did something we don’t see very often — it issued both a correction and an expression of concern (EoC) for one of Cao’s papers: “EGFR-mediated expression of aquaporin-3 is involved in human skin fibroblast migration,” originally published Nov. 14, 2006. Continue reading More duplications for researcher accused of misconduct in lawsuit

Did the author of a now-retracted article bribe a critic to silence him?

Authors react in a variety of ways to criticism of their work. Some stonewall, some grit their teeth but make corrections, and others thank their critics. But what about bribery? Continue reading Did the author of a now-retracted article bribe a critic to silence him?

President of Taiwan university to step down amidst investigation

Pan-Chyr Yang

The president of a top university in Taiwan has announced he will resign from his post at the end of his first term in June.

President Pan-chyr Yang of National Taiwan University (NTU) has opted not to seek a second term as president given two recent investigations — one which concluded last month and one which is ongoing — into allegations of misconduct in papers he co-authored.

Despite being cleared of misconduct in the investigation conducted by his university, Yang felt that the scandal had left a stain on NTU’s reputation, which he hoped to restore by stepping down as president. Here’s more from Focus Taiwan: Continue reading President of Taiwan university to step down amidst investigation

Japan, Taiwan taking closer look at fraud — and how to stop it

Two countries have recently announced plans to learn more about research misconduct, with the goal of preventing it from happening in the first place.

In Japan, the effort takes the form of a joint study group among six universities, which will interview researchers who have engaged in misconduct to discover patterns and common factors for their wrongdoing. In Taiwan, the government recently announced plans to establish an Office of Research Integrity, based on the version in the U.S., to investigate alleged cases of misconduct.

Here’s more about the new Taiwan office, from the Taipei Times:

Continue reading Japan, Taiwan taking closer look at fraud — and how to stop it

Prominent researcher in Taiwan loses another paper for image duplication

In November, a vice president at an institution in Taiwan retracted a hotly debated cancer paper from Nature Cell Biology, citing image problems including duplications. Now, the Journal of Biological Chemistry has done the same, again citing image duplications.

There are a few things to note about the latest retraction: One, the last author is again Kuo Min-liang — who holds an appointment at National Taiwan University (NTU), and is also a vice president at Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan. Kuo is currently facing allegations that he accepted bribes to add co-authors to his papers; NTU told us it is investigating the latest retraction in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, including Kuo.

The other notable feature of the retraction is the notice itself, which lists a remarkable number of duplicated images. Take a look:

Continue reading Prominent researcher in Taiwan loses another paper for image duplication

Nature Cell Biology retracts hotly debated cancer paper

ncbLast week, we learned a 2016 paper heavily discussed on PubPeer might be retracted — today, we learned that Nature Cell Biology has indeed pulled the paper, citing inappropriate image modifications.

As we reported last week, a comment on PubPeer flagged as coming from an author said they had requested a retraction. A representative of National Taiwan University (NTU) told us the first author had resigned, and the paper was under investigation — an investigation which included the last author, a prominent researcher who is also a vice president at another institution in Taiwan.

Here’s Nature Cell Biology‘s official statement about the paper, in the form of a retraction notice that appears to be written by the authors:  Continue reading Nature Cell Biology retracts hotly debated cancer paper

Nature Cell Bio paper may be headed for retraction

ncbA Nature Cell Biology paper published only a few months ago by prominent researchers in Taiwan has sparked a heated discussion on PubPeer, which now includes a comment allegedly from an author saying they have requested its retraction.

Although a representative of the journal wouldn’t confirm to us that the authors had requested a retraction, the comment on PubPeer says the paper contains several figures that were “inappropriately manipulated” by the first author.

Here’s the full comment on PubPeer, tagged as coming from one of the authors of the paper:

Continue reading Nature Cell Bio paper may be headed for retraction

Cardiovascular researcher in Taiwan logs four retractions

clinical-scienceA researcher has earned four retractions following an investigation at his institutions in Taiwan.

The retraction notices, which appear in Clinical Science, mention investigations into the work of Kou-Gi Shyu at the Shin-Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial Hospital and Taipei Medical University (TMU).

Shyu is listed as being affiliated with both institutions in the original papers, but a TMU official told us Shyu left his teaching role at TMU amidst the probe. Shyr-Yi Lin, professor of medicine and dean of research and development at TMU, noted: Continue reading Cardiovascular researcher in Taiwan logs four retractions