Earlier this year, Justin Pickett, a criminologist at the University of Albany at the State University of New York, asked journals to look into potentially problematic data in five papers — including one on which he had been a co-author.
As we reported in July, Pickett’s request came after he’d received an anonymous email pointing out issues with the data — concerns ranging from “Anomalies in standard errors, coefficients, and p-values” to “Unlikely survey design and data structure.”
At the time, one of the five articles had already received a correction for a “coding error” that changed the results. Pickett requested that the journal retract the paper entirely, but was rebuffed.
Now, two other journals have taken action on the articles on the list.
The Journal of Biological Chemistry has retracted three papers by a group from the University of California, Los Angeles, citing problems with the figures.
Two of the papers, published in 2002, 2004 and 2009, have the same last author, Mark H. Doolittle, who is the first author of the most recent article. Doolittle, who appears to be a highly talented woodworker, has left UCLA and did not respond to a request for comment.
The retraction notice for the 2002 paper, “Maturation of lipoprotein lipase in the endoplasmic reticulum: Concurrent formation of functional dimers and inactive aggregates,” states:
The University of Kentucky has started termination proceedings against a pair of scientists found guilty of “significant departures from accepted practices of research,” according to the institution.
The scientists, Xianglin Shi, who up until now had held the William A. Marquard Chair in Cancer Research and served as associate dean for research integration in the UK College of Medicine, and Zhuo Zhang in the Department of Toxicology and Cancer Biology in the College of Medicine, have lost access to their laboratories, which are shuttered, and other university equipment, UK said in a statement. A third researcher, Donghern Kim, who worked under Zhang, already has been fired in the scandal.
In October, the university told us that it was aware of the retractions but “not able to provide more information at this time.” The ongoing investigation was first reported in April by the Lexington Herald-Leader.
According to the UK’s announcement today, the inquiry, which began in June 2018, into Shi, Zhang and Kim found that:
Carlo Croce, a prolific cancer researcher at The Ohio State University (OSU) in Columbus who was the subject of a 2017 front page story in The New York Times about allegations of misconduct against him, has lost a libel suit that he filed against the newspaper.
On Sunday, May 5 of this year, Justin Pickett received an email from a “John Smith” with the subject line “Data irregularities and request for data.”
“There seem to be irregularities in the data and findings in five articles that you published together with two surveys,” the anonymous correspondent wrote. “This document outlines those irregularities.”
The Journal of Biological Chemistry has retracted two papers by a Georgia State University researcher, as well as flagged eight more with expressions of concern, a move the scientist called “unfair and unjustified.”
Ming-Hui Zou, the common author on all ten papers — as well as on twomore that have been corrected by the same journal — is, according to Georgia State,
an internationally recognized researcher in molecular and translational medicine and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Molecular Medicine and associate vice president for research at Georgia State University…
On March 30, 2018, The Ohio State University (OSU) released a 75-page report concluding that Ching-Shih Chen, a cancer researcher, had deviated “from the accepted practices of image handling and figure generation and intentionally falsifying data.” The report recommended the retraction of eight papers.
By the end of August of 2018, Chen had had four papers retracted — one in Cancer Research, two in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, and one in PLoS ONE.
But it wasn’t until more than a year after the report was released that the other four papers — two from Carcinogenesis, one from Clinical Cancer Research, and one from Molecular Cellular Therapeutics — were retracted, all between April 1 and May 1 of this year.
What took so long? Your guess is as good as ours; none of the editors of those journals responded to our requests for comment.
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.