In a recent editorial, the Journal of Neurochemistry declared it would no longer accept author-suggested reviewers. While other journals have done the samein order to preventfake reviews, the Journal of Neurochemistry is basing its decision on a different logic. We spoke with editor Jörg Schulz about why he believes relying on reviewers picked by editors helps reduce bias in the peer-review process.
Retraction Watch: What prompted you to compare the outcomes of papers reviewed by experts suggested by authors versus experts selected by editors, or experts the authors “opposed?”
A neurochemistry journal has retracted a paper from a group in China over a duplicated image.
According to the notice, the authors used the same image in the two papers to represent different experimental conditions. The only distinguishing feature between the images: “apparent brightness changes.”
Recently, we’ve reported on multiple retractions of papers co-authored by Rapoport after three different first authors were found to have committed misconduct. Now, the fallout from one of those cases had led to four more retractions, bringing Rapoport’s total to 12.
The latest batch of retractions stem from the actions of Jagadeesh Rao.
Post earthquake, someone digitally filled in a western blot analysis of proteins from a cell line and rat brains, as a “temporary solution.” And then the temporary solution made its way into the Journal of Neurochemistry.
Here’s the retraction note from the journal, including an image of the sneaky western blot:
Two papers by an overlapping group of researchers in Italy have been retracted for manipulated figures.
In late 2013, perennial tipster Clare Francis sent their concerns about several papers, including the two that have been retracted, by authors who frequently publish together. One of the papers, in the Journal of Neurochemistry, is from a team led by Ferdinando Nicoletti; four other papers from the group have been criticized on PubPeer for image manipulation, which he addressed via email with us.
The second retracted paper, from the Journal of Immunology, has shares one author with the first: Patrizia Di Iorio of the University of Chieti, though according to Nicoletti she had no role in preparing the figures.
They say that a poor workman blames his tools. If you’re a scientist and you discover your tools don’t do exactly what you thought they did, however, the right thing to do is let other scientists relying on your work know.