Tomorrow is Joe Thomas’s 35th birthday. And earlier this week, he received quite a birthday present, even if it wasn’t intended that way: Thomas earned a $33.75 million payout from a lawsuit he filed against Duke University six years ago.
Retraction Watch readers may recall the name Erin Potts-Kant. We’ve been reporting on retractions by Potts-Kant, a former lab tech at Duke, since 2013. (The count is now 17.) Along the way, we learned that she had been convicted of embezzlement, but that there was a bigger story: There was a False Claims Act case against Duke, Potts-Kant, and Michael Foster, in whose lab she worked, alleging that the university had known that faked data had been included in grant applications.
Molecular Vision appears to have been flying blind when it retracted a 2013 paper by Rajendra Kadam and colleagues.
In December 2018, Kadam, a former “golden boy” in pharmaceutical research at the University of Colorado, Denver, was the subject of a finding from the U.S. Office of Research Integrity, which stated that he had fabricated his data. As part of the agreement, Kadam agreed to retract a paper in Molecular Vision. .
When Venkata Sudheer Kumar Ramadugu, then a postdoc at the University of Michigan, admitted to the university on June 28 of last year that he had committed research misconduct in a paper that appeared in Chemical Communications in 2017, he also “attested that he did not manipulate any data in his other four co-authored publications published while at the University of Michigan.”
And so, a few days later, Michael J. Imperiale, the university’s research integrity officer, wrote a letter to the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) informing them of the findings. On August 2, Ramadagu was terminated from Michigan. And on August 3, Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy, the head of the lab where Ramadagu had worked, wrote a letter to Chemical Communications requesting retraction of the paper.
After years of back and forth, a highly cited paper that appeared to show that gay people who live in areas where people were highly prejudiced against them had a significantly shorter life expectancy has been retracted.
Imagine you’re a journal editor. A group of authors sends you a request to retract one of their papers, saying that “during figure assembly certain images were inappropriately processed.”
What do you do next? Do you ask some tough questions about just what “inappropriately processed” means? Do you check your files for whether the author’s institution had told you about an investigation into the work? Do you Google the author’s names? Do you…search Retraction Watch?
Carlo Croce, a professor at The Ohio State University in Columbus who has faced multiple investigations into misconduct allegations, has been denied a temporary restraining order that he sought in order to be reinstated as chair of his department.
Croce was forced to step down from the post last year. Magistrate Jennifer D. Hunt, of the Franklin County civil court, wrote in a January 23 decision that
third parties and the public interest will be harmed if a temporary restraining order is granted and Dr. Croce is reinstated as Chair.
A paper in Contraception that purported to show serious flaws in an earlier study of abortion laws and maternal health has been retracted, after the authors of the original study found what were apparently significant flaws in the study doing the debunking.
That’s the short version of this story. The longer version involves years of back-and-forth, accusations of conflict of interest and poor research practice, and lawyers for at least two parties. Be warned: We have an unusual amount of information to quote from here that’s worth following.
As the editor of Contraception, Carolyn Westhoff, put it: