A retraction in the Potti case?

In our very first post, we noted the case of Anil Potti,

a Duke researcher who posed as a Rhodes Scholar and appears to have invented key statistical analyses in a study of how breast cancer responds to chemotherapy[.The case] has sent ripples of angst through the cancer community. Potti’s antics prompted editors of The Lancet Oncology to issue an “expression of concern” — a Britishism that might be better expressed as “Holy Shit!” — about the validity of a 2007 paper in their journal by Potti and others.

There hasn’t been any further movement on The Lancet Oncology study, as far as we know, but on Friday the Raleigh News & Observer reported that one of Potti’s co-authors on a 2007 Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO) paper had requested a retraction: Continue reading A retraction in the Potti case?

Third retraction for Indiana University scientist who altered figures in NIH-funded research

Another shoe has dropped in the case of Emily M. Horvath, the Indiana researcher whose tinkering with figures while on a $369,000 federal grant ended in sanctions by government officials.

Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, an Elsevier title, has retracted another paper on which Horvath was an author, bringing to three the number of her articles tainted in the scandal. The paper, “A novel membrane-based anti-diabetic action of atorvastatin,” was published online in June 2008, and cited four times since, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. (Atorvastatin is sold as Lipitor.) According to the journal: Continue reading Third retraction for Indiana University scientist who altered figures in NIH-funded research

They wuz robbed: Editorial TKO for boxing paper leads to retraction, republication

In the blue corner: California researchers who reviewed trends in death rates among professional boxers.

In the red (ink) corner: The editors of Neurosurgery, who misclassified the article, leading to an abbreviated version appearing in print.

The decision: A retraction, followed by a reclassification and republication of the complete article: Continue reading They wuz robbed: Editorial TKO for boxing paper leads to retraction, republication

Update on Axel Ullrich retractions: Lead author manipulated figures, says Ullrich

Axel Ullrich, courtesy the Max Planck Institute

Yesterday, we noted that Axel Ullrich, a decorated cancer researcher, had retracted two papers in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The journal gave no explanation for the retractions, and our conversation with the publication director for the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, which puts out the journal, was less than illuminating. This morning, Ullrich responded to all of the questions we sent him by email, and our follow-ups. The picture is now a lot more clear.

Ullrich tells Retraction Watch that he found out from a “private investigator” several months ago that the papers’ lead author, Naohito Aoki, had manipulated their figures. Aoki was a postdoc in Ullrich’s lab in the early 1990s: Continue reading Update on Axel Ullrich retractions: Lead author manipulated figures, says Ullrich

Scientist raised serious questions about 2008 Cell study by Amy Wagers

Amy Wagers, a Harvard stem cell researcher, retracted a Nature study last week and has another published paper under scrutiny at Blood. Retraction Watch has now learned that a 2008 Cell paper she co-authored drew significant criticism from a stem cell researcher at Children’s National Medical Center.

In the paper, Wagers and her team said they were able to prepare a set of muscle cells that reversed some of the effects of muscular dystrophy in a mouse model of the disease. In a 2008 letter to the editor of Cell, however, Terence Partridge wrote Continue reading Scientist raised serious questions about 2008 Cell study by Amy Wagers

Editor of another journal where Wagers and Mayack published an abstract is monitoring the situation

Yesterday, we noted that Amy Wagers and Shane Mayack have published five papers together. One of those, published earlier this year in Nature, was retracted Wednesday, and another is now the subject of a “notice of concern” from Blood.

We wanted to find out about some of the other papers published by Wagers and Mayack, so we contacted the editor of Developmental Biology, which published one of them. They have not heard from Wagers or Harvard, but are monitoring developments, according to editor in chief Robb Krumlauf: Continue reading Editor of another journal where Wagers and Mayack published an abstract is monitoring the situation

Blood posts “notice of concern” over second Wagers-Mayack paper

A day after an up and coming Harvard stem cell scientist retracted a Nature paper, Blood has issued a notice of concern about another paper by the same group, published in August 2008, the Boston Globe reports. Such notices often, but not always, precede retractions.

According to the notice for “Osteolineage niche cells initiate hematopoietic stem cell mobilization”: Continue reading Blood posts “notice of concern” over second Wagers-Mayack paper

Highly cited Harvard stem cell scientist retracts Nature paper

courtesy Nature

Amy Wagers, an up and coming stem cell researcher at Harvard who made a name for herself as a postdoc early by questioning the work of others, has retracted a January 2010 paper she co-authored in Nature. According to the retraction:

Three of the authors (J.L.S., F.S.K. and A.J.W.) wish to retract this Article after a re-examination of the publication raised serious concerns with some of the reported data. These concerns have undermined the authors’ confidence in the support for the scientific conclusions reported, specifically the role of osteopontin-positive niche cells in the rejuvenation of haematopoietic stem cells in aged mice. Although this matter is under further review, these authors wish to retract the paper in its entirety, and regret any adverse consequences that may have resulted from the paper’s publication. The retraction has not been signed by Shane R. Mayack, who maintains that the results are still valid.

Beyond retractions: A technique gets an obituary

Sometimes, apparently, a retraction isn’t enough to put research findings to bed forever. Consider this obituary recently posted online at the Journal of Pediatrics, for a method of detecting gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in children:

We commonly recognize the contributions of distinguished members of the pediatric community and, with regret, their passing. It is appropriate, therefore, that we acknowledge the timely death of an old friend, the pH probe. Crushed to death under the weight of evidence against it, it was found abandoned in a trash can with a note that read, ‘‘Good riddance to a bad test.’’

To be fair, the pH probe has always been the standard bearer for mediocrity.

The obituary goes on: Continue reading Beyond retractions: A technique gets an obituary

Nobelist Linda Buck retracts two studies on olfactory networks — and the news is embargoed

Well, it’s happened: The Embargo Watch and Retraction Watch worlds have collided. I had initially figured on two posts here, but it soon became clear that how journals were handling these retractions, using embargoes, was central to both. So this is being cross-posted on both blogs.

Linda Buck, who shared the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, has retracted two papers published in 2005 and 2006. Both retractions — one in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and one in Science — appear online today.

The papers describe how nerves that carry information about scents connect from the nose to the olfactory bulb, where they are processed. They were published after the 2004 Nobel, which was for discoveries “of odorant receptors and the organization of the olfactory system.”

The retractions come two and a half years after Buck retracted a 2001 Nature paper co-authored with Zhihua Zou, a post-doc in her then-Harvard lab. She’s been at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center since 2002, and is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. In 2008, Nature’s news section reported:

Harvard Medical School has formed an ad hoc committee to review the retraction, and Buck has asked the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to review two later publications on which Zou was the lead author. “It’s disappointing of course,” says Buck. “The important thing is to correct the literature.”

The PNAS and Science retractions are of those two later publications. The PNAS study was cited 61 times, and the Science study was cited 73 times, according to the Thomson Scientific Web of Knowledge.

The Science retraction reads: Continue reading Nobelist Linda Buck retracts two studies on olfactory networks — and the news is embargoed