What caught our attention: One year ago, a PubPeer user suggested an image from a 2008 paper looked similar to one from another paper. After the authors stated their belief in the soundness of the image, without providing the originals, the journal issued only an Expression of Concern for the paper. Some journals have issued retractions for lack of original data, some have issued corrections, and even fewer have published editorial notices. Expressions of concern usually indicate that some type of final resolution will be announced, but in reality, a significant proportion remain unresolved for years. Based on the wording of this notice, it may be around for a while. Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Concerns about image in 2008 paper prompt editorial notice
Researchers have retracted their third paper due to missing original data, following an investigation at their former institution in New York.
We’ve previously reported on two retractions of papers co-authored by Bhagavathi Narayanan and Narayanan K. Narayanan, previously based at the New York University (NYU) School of Medicine. The studies were pulled when the pair couldn’t provide original images to investigators at NYU School of Medicine. One author has blamed the lack of original data on the abrupt closure of her previous institution in 2004, after it allegedly misspent millions in federal grants.
However, the latest retraction affects a paper published eight years later in the International Journal of Oncology. Its coauthors include Bhagavathi Narayanan, Narayanan K. Narayanan and Rajkishen Narayanan; we haven’t been able to uncover if there is a relation between them.
A spokesperson for the NYU School of Medicine sent us this statement: Continue reading Authors retract third cancer paper for missing original data
A cancer researcher who tried to sue PubPeer commenters for criticizing his work has earned five more retractions, bringing his total to 18.
All of the new retractions for Fazlul Sarkar, formerly based at Wayne State University in Michigan, appear in the International Journal of Cancer. All cite an institutional investigation, and relate to issues with images.
With 18 retractions, Sarkar has now earned a spot on our leaderboard.
We first encountered Sarkar when he subpoenaed PubPeer to reveal the names of anonymous commenters that potentially cost him a job at the University of Mississippi. Earlier this month, a Wayne State spokesperson confirmed to us that Sarkar has now retired from the university. (To get up to speed, check out our timeline on the major events in this case.)
Here’s the first of the retraction notices, issued today: Continue reading Five more retractions for researcher who sued PubPeer commenters brings tally to 18
A series of mistakes have caused a pair of cancer researchers based in China to retract one paper and correct another.
The retraction stems from a duplication of figures in a paper about the molecular underpinnings of colorectal cancer, which the editor of the journal told us he believed was caused by honest error. The other paper was corrected after the authors realized they had published the wrong versions of multiple figures, an error which the authors say does not affect the paper’s conclusions.
This isn’t the first time the pair has had to correct the record — these changes follow a mega-correction for Jie Hong, and Jing-Yuan Fang, both of the Shanghai Jiao-Tong University, where Fang is the director of the Shanghai Institute of Digestive Disease.
Here’s the retraction note for “Role of STAT3 and vitamin D receptor in EZH2-mediated invasion of human colorectal cancer,” published in the Journal of Pathology:
A 2006 paper investigating the effects of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and celecoxib on prostate cancer cells has been retracted because it appears to contain panels that were duplicated, and the authors could not provide the raw data to show otherwise.
This is the second paper the authors have lost because they couldn’t furnish the original data to defend their work against allegations of image manipulation. The reason: the Institute for Cancer Prevention in New York, where the authors did the work, shut its doors abruptly in 2004, co-author Bhagavathi A. Narayanan told us. (The institute closed thanks to $5.7 million in grant that was misspent, the New York Post reported at the time.)
Recently, some of Narayanan’s papers have been questioned on PubPeer; her work has been the subject of an investigation at New York University, where Narayanan is now based.
Narayanan told us that the criticism of their work has deeply affected her and her co-authors:
Bharat Aggarwal is the last author on all three papers. He is now up to six corrections, two unexplained withdrawals, and two Expressions of Concern. He’s also threatened to sue us in the past, and has told us that his institution has been looking into his work.
Only one note specifies that the correction does not affect the paper’s conclusions.
First up: “Inhibition of growth and survival of human head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cells by curcumin via modulation of nuclear factor-κB signaling,” published in the International Journal of Cancer and cited 168 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. The issues span two figures, according to the erratum note:
A study on the cellular interactions underlying prostate cancer has been retracted after a whistleblower pointed out duplicated images in one of the paper’s figures that were “erroneously presented as unique.”
The International Journal of Cancer posted the notice in June. The authors backed the paper’s conclusions but agreed, “the most responsible course of action is to retract.”
The notice reads:
The decision was made by the journal’s editor-in-chief, the publisher Wiley and co-author Jesse Roman (a co-author on Han’s other retracted papers). According to the notice, Han didn’t respond “to requests by the journal or the co-author.”
In 2011, Han was the target of an investigation by his former employer, the University of Louisville in Kentucky. Papers in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology and American Journal of Physiology: Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology have been retracted.
Here’s the full retraction notice for the latest retraction:
A paper about a protein being used — unapproved by health agencies — to treat diseases including cancer and autism has been retracted.
Here’s the notice from the International Journal of Cancer about a 2007 paper purporting to show that the substance, GcMAF, is useful against breast cancer: Continue reading Paper about widely touted but unapproved “cure” for cancer, autism retracted
The International Journal of Cancer, a Wiley title, has retracted a pair of articles from a group at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, for image manipulation.
The first was titled “Aberrant methylation of Reprimo in human malignancies.” According to the retraction notice: Continue reading Five retractions for cancer research team for manipulated figures