Authors get away with throwing quotation marks around plagiarized passages. Again.

PNAS jan15Back in November 2013, we wrote about a correction in PNAS about a May 2012 paper by a group from Toronto and Mount Sinai in New York who, as we said at the time

had been rather too liberal in their use of text from a previously published paper by another researcher — what we might call plagiarism, in a less charitable mood.

Continue reading Authors get away with throwing quotation marks around plagiarized passages. Again.

ORI sanctions collaborator of Nobel winner Buck for data fabrication

ori logoThe Office of Research Integrity has sanctioned a former researcher in the lab of Linda Buck, winner of the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, for falsifying data in two papers written with the support of grants from the National Institutes of Health.

The researcher, Zou Zhihua, worked with Buck as a post-doc at Harvard and then at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, in Seattle, Buck’s current home. After leaving there in 2005, he spent three years at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and now appears to be a faculty member at Jilin University in China.

According to the report:

Continue reading ORI sanctions collaborator of Nobel winner Buck for data fabrication

Cardiology researcher who admitted to fraud earns four-year funding ban

dfg_logoA researcher who admitted in 2012 to “intentional and systematic manipulation” of data and had two papers retracted has been banned from funding by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Dennis Rottländer, who will also be returning prize money he was awarded for the research, worked in Uta C. Hoppe’s lab at the University of Cologne. Hoppe, now at University Hospital Salzburg, remains under investigation, according to a statement from the DFG.

Excerpt: Continue reading Cardiology researcher who admitted to fraud earns four-year funding ban

Rapid mood swing: PNAS issues Expression of Concern for controversial Facebook study

pnas 1113The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) is subjecting a much-criticized study involving Facebook that it published just two weeks ago to an Expression of Concern.

From the abstract of the original study: Continue reading Rapid mood swing: PNAS issues Expression of Concern for controversial Facebook study

Former Mount Sinai postdoc faked gene therapy data: ORI

ori logoA former postdoc at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York faked data in four published papers, one submitted manuscript, and four NIH grant applications, according to new findings by the Office of Research Integrity.

We reported on six retractions from Savio Woo’s Mount Sinai lab in 2010, from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, and two each from Human Gene Therapy and Molecular Therapy. The PNAS paper, as we noted then:

claimed to have discovered a possible cure for phenylketonuria, or PKU, in mice—a finding that was cited more than 30 times and trumpeted in the media.

At the time, Mount Sinai said that two of the lab’s postdocs had been dismissed for misconduct. Now, more than three and a half years later, the ORI reports that a former postdoc in that lab, Li Chen: Continue reading Former Mount Sinai postdoc faked gene therapy data: ORI

Shigeaki Kato notches retractions 16 and 17, in PNAS

katoShigeaki Kato has two more retractions, both in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Here’s one of the notices: Continue reading Shigeaki Kato notches retractions 16 and 17, in PNAS

Former NIH scientist falsified images in hepatitis study: ORI

Baoyan Xu, via NIH
Baoyan Xu, via NIH

A former postdoc at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) committed misconduct in a study of hepatitis by falsely claiming that data from a single trial subject were actually from more than a dozen different people, the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) has found.

The investigation was prompted by allegations made by readers of the paper. Baoyan Xu made what the ORI called “a limited admission” that “some better looking strips were repeatedly used as representatives for several times [sic].”

According to a report of the ORI’s findings to be published in the Federal Register tomorrow, the paper, “Hybrid DNA virus in Chinese patients with seronegative hepatitis discovered by deep sequencing, published earlier this year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS): Continue reading Former NIH scientist falsified images in hepatitis study: ORI

Cell, Nature, Science boycott: What was Randy Schekman’s tenure at PNAS like?

Randy Schekman, via eLife
Randy Schekman, via eLife

By now, Retraction Watch readers may have heard about new Nobel laureate Randy Schekman’s pledge to boycott Cell, Nature, and Science — sometimes referred to the “glamour journals” — because they damage and distort science. Schekman has used the bully pulpit of the Nobels to spark a conversation that science dearly needs to have about the cult of the impact factor.

The argument isn’t airtight. Schekman — now editor of eLife, an open access journal — says that open access journals are a better way to go, although he doesn’t really connect mode of publishing with the quality of what’s published. Others have pointed out that the move will punish junior members of his lab while likely having no effect on the career of someone who has published dozens of studies in the three journals he’s criticizing, and has, well, won a Nobel.

All that aside, it was Schekman’s reference to retractions that, not surprisingly, caught our eye: Continue reading Cell, Nature, Science boycott: What was Randy Schekman’s tenure at PNAS like?

PNAS retraction notice reveals name of Leiden University researcher fired for data manipulation

pnas 1113In August, we reported on a case in which a researcher had been fired from Leiden University in the Netherlands for fraud. The university said there would be two retractions, but did not name the researcher in question. At the same time, however, there were clues in the university’s report that suggested it could only be one person, the lead author of a 2010 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) that was to be retracted.

That notice has now appeared, and confirms that the fired employee was Annemie Schuerwegh, as a number of our comments surmised. Here’s the notice: Continue reading PNAS retraction notice reveals name of Leiden University researcher fired for data manipulation

Correction by punctuation? PNAS fixes paper by putting quotes around plagiarized passages

PNAScover1113PNAS has a curious correction in a recent issue. A group from Toronto and Mount Sinai in New York, it seems, had been rather too liberal in their use of text from a previously published paper by another researcher — what we might call plagiarism, in a less charitable mood.

To paraphrase Beyoncé: If you like it, better put some quotation marks around it. But we’re pretty sure she meant before, not after, the fact.

The article, “Structural basis for substrate specificity and catalysis of human histone acetyltransferase 1,” had appeared in May 2012, in other words, some 17 months ago. It has been cited twice, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

As the notice states: Continue reading Correction by punctuation? PNAS fixes paper by putting quotes around plagiarized passages