Cancer biologist retracts five papers

Samson Jacob

A cancer researcher based at The Ohio State University has retracted five papers from one journal, citing concerns about figures.

The notices for all five papers state the Journal of Biological Chemistry raised questions about some figures, and the authors were not able to supply raw data in all instances. Four of the notices say the authors offered to submit data from repeat experiments and corrected figures, which the journal declined.

According to Kaoru Sakabe, data integrity manager at JBC, the authors “agreed to withdraw these articles after we declined their offers.”

Continue reading Cancer biologist retracts five papers

Controversial Australian journalist’s paper flagged by journal

The Journal of Biological Chemistry has added an expression of concern to a 2003 paper that arose from the PhD thesis of a once-prominent — and controversial — science journalist in Australia.

The first author of the paper is Maryanne Demasi, a journalist whose reporting created unintentional headlines in recent years. In 2013, she produced a controversial series about cholesterol and fat (and even cast doubt on cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins); in 2016, she was fired from the science program Catalyst, after it aired an episode alleging wi-fi could cause brain tumors.

Now, it appears the research community is taking a second look at some of the work underlying her PhD in rheumatology from Royal Adelaide Hospital. Here’s the notice from the journal:

Continue reading Controversial Australian journalist’s paper flagged by journal

Authors withdraw study, citing “accidentally duplicated” images

Researchers in Australia have withdrawn a 2006 paper in The Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC), citing image duplication.

In the withdrawal notice, published July 14, 2017, the authors claim that the “errors do not impact the underlying scientific findings of the article.”

Although the notice does not mention an investigation, a comment on PubPeer on March 2017—signed by Mark Hargreaves, the vice-chancellor at the University of Melbourne—indicates that the university conducted an investigation to assess the issues in the paper and determined that research misconduct “did not occur.”

Here’s the withdrawal notice for “Induction of the unfolded protein response in familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and association of protein-disulfide isomerase with superoxide dismutase 1:” Continue reading Authors withdraw study, citing “accidentally duplicated” images

“Data had been manipulated,” again: Swiss probe prompts two more retractions

A biologist at the University of Basel is retracting two papers, citing data manipulation uncovered during an institutional investigation. That investigation has already led to the retraction of a paper in Science Translational Medicine by some of the same authors earlier this year.

The two latest retractions, in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC), share the same  corresponding author — Michael Sinnreich, based at University of Basel — and first author, Bilal Azakir, who is now an assistant professor at Beirut Arab University. The retraction notices cite an investigation at the University of Basel.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Proteasomal inhibition restores biological function of mis-sense mutated dysferlin in patient-derived muscle cells:” Continue reading “Data had been manipulated,” again: Swiss probe prompts two more retractions

Author admits to manipulating more than a dozen images in 2013 paper

A former graduate student at the University of Hong Kong confessed to making “inappropriate modifications” to several figures in a 2013 paper in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC).

According to the retraction notice, the authors identified issues in 13 images while reviewing the data; the paper’s first author, Yingying Lu, copped to manipulating the figures. Even though “these modifications did not change the results or interpretations of this work,” the authors requested the paper be retracted.

The paper’s corresponding author, Jainbo Yue, previously based at the University of Hong Kong and now at the City University of Hong Kong, had nothing to add to the retraction notice, and told us that a “third person” is repeating the key experiments.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Two pore channel 2 (TPC2) inhibits autophagosomal-lysosomal fusion by alkalinizing lysosomal pH,” published in July: Continue reading Author admits to manipulating more than a dozen images in 2013 paper

“Some experiments were not performed appropriately:” Florida researchers lose two papers

Two molecular biologists have withdrawn two 2015 papers published in the same journal, citing image duplication and manipulation, among other issues.

One notice — published in June — explains that, after further investigation, the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) found certain experiments “were not performed appropriately.” The other notice cites “missing data” and notes that certain data “did not accurately represent experimental conditions.”

The authors of the papers—Daniel L. Kaplan, associate professor at Florida State University who heads a genomics lab, and Irina Bruck, assistant scholar scientist in Kaplan’s lab—also received a correction in JBC this month, which cites image duplication.

The three notices, all published this month in JBC, may reveal a pattern, but there’s still a lot we don’t know. One of the two papers was questioned on PubPeer. Several commenters flagged duplicated images and had questions about the antibody used.

Here’s one retraction notice, published this month: Continue reading “Some experiments were not performed appropriately:” Florida researchers lose two papers

Journal retracts nine papers in one day by author under investigation at the Weizmann Institute

On April 27, the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) retracted nine papers by a researcher based in Israel, including some dating back to 2000.

The reason: Image manipulation.

Michal Neeman, vice president of The Weizmann Institute of Science, told us that the researcher, Rony Seger, is under investigation following an allegation of misconduct affecting papers in multiple journals.

So far, we’ve found 11 retractions for papers by Seger, a molecular biologist. In the notices, the authors state they have “full confidence” in the findings, and in many instances have replicated the work.

According to Neeman:

Continue reading Journal retracts nine papers in one day by author under investigation at the Weizmann Institute

Paper by Harvard cancer biologist flagged over “credible concerns”

A cancer biologist at Harvard who’s issued multiple editorial notices in recent years has received an expression of concern about a 2011 paper, citing “credible concerns” with the data and conclusions.

The publisher does not detail the nature of the issues in the notice.

In the past few years, last author Sam W. Lee lost a Molecular Cell paper in 2013 due to figure duplication and a Journal of Biological Chemistry paper in 2015, citing “manipulated” data in a figure.

Lee also issued two mega-corrections in 2011 in Nature and Current Biology, which also cited figure duplication. Interestingly, both papers were corrected for a second time — the 2006 Current Biology paper in 2016, over figure-related errors, and the 2011 Nature paper in 2015, over concerns the animals used may have experienced excess suffering (prompting an editorial from the journal).

The latest notice, issued by the Journal of Biological Chemistry, doesn’t provide much information for the basis of its expression of concern over Lee’s 2011 paper: Continue reading Paper by Harvard cancer biologist flagged over “credible concerns”

A university asked for numerous retractions. Eight months later, three journals have done nothing.

Anil Jaiswal

When journals learn papers are problematic, how long does it take them to act?

We recently had a chance to find out as part of our continuing coverage of the case of Anil Jaiswal at the University of Maryland, who’s retracted 15 papers (including two new ones we recently identified), and has transitioned out of cancer research. Here’s what happened.

As part of a public records request related to the investigation, we received letters that the University of Maryland sent to 11 journals regarding 26 “compromised” papers co-authored by Jaiswal, four of which had been retracted by the time of the letter. The letters were dated between August and September 2016 (and one in February) — although, in some cases, the journals told us they received the letter later. Since that date, three journals have retracted nine papers and corrected another, waiting between four and six months to take action. One journal published an editorial note of concern within approximately two months after the university letter.

And six journals have not taken any public action.

Continue reading A university asked for numerous retractions. Eight months later, three journals have done nothing.

Harvard diabetes researcher retracts third paper

A prominent diabetes researcher based at Harvard Medical School has retracted a third paper, citing manipulation of multiple figures.

Late last year, Carl Ronald Kahn—also chief academic officer at Joslin Diabetes Center—retracted two papers for similar reasons. In November, Kahn pulled a 2005 paper from The Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI) and a month later, he retracted a 2003 paper from The Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC), both times citing duplications that the authors said were introduced while assembling the figures.

Last month, Kahn retracted his third paper, also published in JBC in 2003, because the authors omitted data when constructing the images. Still, the authors remain confident in their findings, given that data from other labs “have confirmed and extended the conclusions of the manuscript.”

Here’s the retraction notice: Continue reading Harvard diabetes researcher retracts third paper