Two journals have retracted papers by a biologist who was recently found guilty of misconduct by his former employer, the University of Colorado Denver, bringing the total to five.
The investigation report by UC Denver, which we obtained earlier this year via a public records request, had recommended one of the two newest retractions, which appears in the journal Hepatology. The other retraction, in the Journal of Immunology, was not flagged by the report — which found, among other conclusions, that Almut Grenz had altered multiple values in research that had already been submitted for peer review.
Here’s the notice for the Journal of Immunology paper:
Continue reading Two more retractions for former US prof who altered dozens of images
In 2014, a journal contacted researcher Denis Rousseau about one of his papers that had just been published online ahead of print, raising some concerns. According to Rousseau, he sent the journal a corrected figure “almost immediately,” which he believed addressed the issue.
Rousseau, a cell biologist at the University Joseph Fourier in Grenoble, France, said he then contacted the journal many times over the next three years to ask about the status of the paper — which never ended up in print — but heard nothing back.
Three years passed.
In March, the publisher finally contacted Rousseau, this time to ask him to issue a formal retraction for the paper. And despite his objections, Molecular and Cellular Biology published a sparse retraction notice, which provides little information about what went wrong:
Continue reading Author objects to retraction after he says journal ignored his queries for three years
A pair of stem cell researchers have earned two corrections, the result of images that were mislabeled, distorted, or compiled incorrectly, according to the notices.
Kang Cheng prepared the gels when he was a research fellow in last author Sanjeev Gupta‘s lab at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Gupta told us he reviewed the original gels, and the errors didn’t affect the conclusions in the papers, which were reproducible. He noted he believes the problems are the result of honest mistakes:
The errors did not confer any benefits whatsoever either for the papers or for Dr. Cheng.
On PubPeer, commenters have raised questions about the now corrected papers — along with several others on which Gupta is the senior author, but Cheng is not a co-author.
Edward Burns, research integrity officer at Einstein, told us that the medical school looked into an allegation of misconduct against Gupta:
Continue reading Stem cell researchers fix two papers following PubPeer comments
A study on chronic liver inflammation was pulled from the journal Hepatology because of “insufficient permission by the authors’ funding institution to submit and publish the manuscript.”
The paper, which was published in July, looked into how steatosis, the abnormal retention of fat in the liver, turns into steatohepatitis, also known as fatty liver disease. Researchers found that Treg cells play a central role in controlling the disease.
Unfortunately, the journal’s managing editor didn’t provide any information about the nature of the permission problems, and the notice doesn’t give any details.
Here it is, in full:
Continue reading “Insufficient permission” from funder resects liver disease paper
A group of liver researchers from the University of Pittsburgh has earned a pair of corrections in Hepatology for image problems.
The team was led by George K. Michalopoulos, chair of the department of pathology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
One article, “Excessive hepatomegaly of mice with hepatocyte-targeted elimination of integrin linked kinase following treatment with 1,4-bis [2-(3,5-dichaloropyridyloxy)] benzene,” appeared in January 2011. According to the notice: Continue reading Hepatology issues corrections in two papers from Pitt liver group
We have an update on the case of Olav and Axel Gressner, a father-son (or, in this case, son-father) pair of German liver researchers caught up in a fraud investigation. The inquiry focused on Olav, who left the University of Aachen under a cloud of suspicion. A 2008 research letter on which he was a co-author (his father was senior author) was retracted earlier this year by the Journal of Hepatology.
The journal’s position in the retraction notice, published online in June and in print in September, bears repeating here. The authors: Continue reading Update on the Gressner case: Son Olav says he’s the unfairly targeted “bête noire”
Yesterday we reported on a retraction in a European liver journal involving post-acceptance shenanigans by a group of German researchers including a father and son, Axel and Olav Gressner. Well, it turns out there’s a bit more there there.
Didier Samuel, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Hepatology, where the team’s letter to the editor was retracted, tells Retraction Watch he was contacted earlier this year by the University of Aachen. The university was investigating potential misconduct by Olav Gressner. The journal launched its own inquiry, leading to the retracted letter, Samuel says.
Samuel’s journal has not pulled any other papers from the Gressners. However, the group “is not encouraged to submit to our journal” in the future, he says. Although the lab has claimed that “typewritten errors” were to blame for the alerted manuscript, Samuels says, “the editors were not convinced” of this explanation. Continue reading Update: German university investigating authors who retracted caffeine-liver fibrosis letter
Work from a prolific father-son team of liver researchers in Germany has come under scrutiny after accusations that they falsified data in a 2009 letter to the editor that appeared in the Journal of Hepatology.
The letter, retracted in the September issue (after an online notice in June), referred to a 2008 article in the journal by Axel Gressner, his son Olav, and their colleagues at University Hospital in Aachen in which the authors reported that doses of caffeine might be an effective treatment for liver fibrosis, scarring of the organ that results from chronic ailments such as cirrhosis or hepatitis.
Epidemiologic evidence has suggested that people who drink coffee are somewhat protected from liver fibrosis—although some experts dispute the purported connection—and the German group claimed to have been among the first to find a plausible molecular mechanism for the link. Their November 2008 paper on the subject has been cited 16 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Science, a hefty number for just 22 months.
In their follow-up letter, they went a step further, stating that injecting rats with caffeine blocked the expression of a key protein associated with growth of connective tissue necessary for the formation of liver scars.
But the evidence backing the letter appears to be far weaker than the researchers initially let on. Continue reading Liver spots: Hepatology journal yanks research letter on caffeine-fibrosis link, saying authors falsified data