Molecular and Cellular Biology has retracted four papers published between 1987 to 2001 by Alfredo Fusco, a cancer researcher in Italy; the Journal of Virology retracted one 1985 paper. Fusco was first author on two papers and last author on three. Both journals are published by The American Society for Microbiology (ASM), which issued identical retraction notices for all five papers, mentioning “evidence of apparent manipulation and duplication.”
Carlo Croce, a cancer researcher now at the Ohio State University, who has been dogged by misconduct allegations, co-authored one of the papers. Croce now has eight retractions.
A once-prominent stem cell biologist, who recently lost both her job and a sizable grant, has lost her fifth paper.
Recently, Molecular and Cellular Biology retracted a 2003 paper by Susana Gonzalez. Last February, the National Center for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC) in Spain dismissed her from her position over allegations of misconduct. The reason: suspicions of data manipulation.
As with a previous retraction, the journal said Gonzalez “could not be reached for approval of this retraction.”
A biology journal has issued a correction to a 2014 paper by a researcher with 11 retractions, citing “inadvertent errors” that don’t affect the conclusions.
The researcher, Rony Seger, was recently sanctioned by his institution (The Weizmann Institute in Israel) following a finding of “serious misconduct” involving data manipulation. Specifically, the institute barred him from supervising graduate students, even future ones; his lab is now dedicated to replicating his previous work, with the help of a technician.
Last month, Michal Neeman, vice president of The Weizmann Institute of Science, told us she wasn’t sure how many additional papers by Seger would need to be retracted or corrected.
Recently, one more was revealed — in the August issue of Molecular and Cellular Biology, the following correction notice appears:
Incidentally, the same issue of the journal includes a retraction notice for a paper published seven years ago, citing image duplications. A spokesperson for the American Society for Microbiology (which publishes the journal) told us the journal investigated the paper in 2016, within the cutoff period.
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:
Biologists are retracting three papers after the journal concluded they contain reused images, designed to represent different experiments. The authors stand by the conclusions, some of which they say have been “extensively validated.”
The Journal of BiologicalChemistry used image analysis software to evaluate the images, first published at least a decade ago. Unfortunately, the raw data behind the problematic images were not available. The authors have also corrected a fourth paper in another journal, and wrote on PubPeer that they are working with journals to address concerns in three more.
The papers share two authors: Mireia Duñach at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, and Antonio García de Herreros at the Institut Hospital del Mar d’Investigacions Mèdiques. A representative of the Institut Hospital del Mar d’Investigacions Mèdiques told us it is looking into Garcia de Herreros’s work.
An investigation at the University of Florida has led to the retraction of a pair of papers on the stress responses of Caenorhabditis elegans in Molecular and Cellular Biology.
One paper has been retracted, and one “partially” retracted, as the main conclusion was “not compromised.” According to the retraction notes, the investigation found the data were “falsified” by first author Chi Leung, a former postdoc at UF.
Cell Press is looking into anonymous allegations that a pair of influential papers on gene activation in yeast may contain more than two dozen instances of image manipulation, according to a spokesperson for the journal.
A review of past publications by the Japanese research institution RIKEN has produced three corrections of articles by a molecular geneticist, Haruhiko Koseki, The Scientist is reporting. The articles had appeared in Molecular and Cellular Biology between 2005 and 2010.
The review was triggered by the scandal involving Haruko Obokata, a former RIKEN scientist whose work on STAP stem cells has come under scrutiny. However, RIKEN officials said the corrections are unrelated to the Obokata case. Obokata has reportedly agreed to retract two of her articles in Nature. (RIKEN has released an English-language translation of its response to Obokata’s appeal against charges of research misconduct.)