We reached out to many of the corresponding authors on papers in the January 26 issue, the seventh issue published in 2018. Many are based at leading institutions around the world; all had submitted their manuscripts months ago. Some noted that they were surprised by the decision, as the review process appeared quite rigorous; some told us that if they’d known the journal was going to be delisted, they would not have submitted their papers there.
Here’s a rather odd case: A postdoctoral researcher says his former boss changed his name on a paper without his permission. According to the postdoc, Antonio Herrera-Merchan, his principal investigator at University of Granada insisted on the name change to distance them both from a scandal in Herrera-Merchan’s previous lab.
After publishing a paper in Oncotarget in October 2017, Herrera-Merchan’s name was changed on the paper. Now, two versions of the paper exist: an earlier version that lists Antonio Herrera-Merchan as first author, and the current version that spells his name without “Merchan.”*
We’ve obtained an email exchange between his former boss, Pedro Medina, and Oncotarget, requesting the name change.
Researchers in China have retracted a 2016 cancer imaging paper because they introduced “a plethora of data errors” while preparing the article for submission.
Although the retraction notice provides no details on what these errors are or how exactly they occurred, it does point the finger at the researchers, explaining that the data errors happened as a result of their “negligence.”
A federal investigation into a paper on prostate cancer has now led to a retraction. In an unusual twist, it happened following a request from the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
In January, the Office of Research Integrity reported that corresponding author Dong Xiao “intentionally fabricated data” in an Oncotarget study of how a steroid inhibits the growth of prostate cancer. Xiao, a former cancer researcher at the University of Pittsburgh, claimed that he had tumor data from more mice than he did, and falsified several figures.
In July, after no sign of the retraction, a researcher at PETA followed up with the journal, Oncotarget, on behalf of the organization “and our more than 3 million members and supporters to request the immediate retraction.”
Last month, they received a reply from the publisher, which they forwarded to us:
A former researcher at the University of Pittsburgh inflated the number of mice used in his experiments, and faked data in a number of images in a paper reporting the results, according to the Office of Research Integrity (ORI).