Last year, chemist Marcus Tius at the University of Hawaii saw a paper describing the synthesis of some organic compounds, and was “struck by the implausibility” of the reported structures. So he joined up with some colleagues to try to replicate the data.
While Tius and his team were trying to repeat the experiment, however, in December 2017 the journal — Organic Letters — retracted the paper. The journal, published by the American Chemical Society, noted that the authors had not been able to produce crystal structures that confirm they had synthesized those compounds in particular. So Tius and his colleagues knew they couldn’t replicate the findings — but carried on their experiment anyway:
After the paper appeared in 2017, one critic lamented it contained “obviously fabricated” images, and asked the journal to retract it. Another suggested the presence of one image merited “an instant lifetime ban.”
A researcher has retracted a 2009 chemistry paper after discovering that a figure had been “inappropriately edited.”
According to the journal, a reader brought the images in question in Figure 1 to the editors’ attention last September.Timothy P. Lodge, distinguished professor at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis — and editor of Macromolecules through December 2017 —told Retraction Watch:
Researchers at a prominent Japanese university have retracted a 2016 paper in a chemistry journal after the first author admitted to scientific misconduct.
According to the notice, Kyushu University investigated and verified that the first author had committed scientific misconduct.
We requested a copy of the misconduct report, which revealed that the researcher, Prasenjit Mahato, a postdoctoral fellow at Kyushu University who is no longer affiliated with the university, “admitted to falsifying research” in two papers on which he was first author: a highly cited 2015 paper in Nature Materials, which was retracted in 2016, as well as the 2016 paper in Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS), retracted earlier this month. The university investigated and confirmed misconduct in both papers.
Wecovered the Nature Materials retraction last year, but at the time, the paper’s corresponding author, Nobuo Kimizuka, only told us that the “matter has been under investigation by the formal investigation panel of our University.”
Despite a university’s attempts to avoid discussing a misconduct investigation involving one of its former (and prominent) researchers, we keep reading more about it.
In the third retraction this year for physicist Dmitri Lapotko, the journal mentions a misconduct investigation at Rice University, which concluded the data had been falsified. Trouble is, whenever we’ve tried to talk to Rice about that investigation, they won’t even confirm it took place.
Here’s the retraction notice for “Transient Photothermal Spectra of Plasmonic Nanobubbles,” published by Langmuir:
Several years ago, a group of four chemists believed they had stumbled upon evidence that contradicted a fairly well-established model in fluid dynamics.
Between 2013 and 2015, the researchers published a series of four papers detailing their results — two in ACS Macro Letters and two in Macromolecules. Timothy P. Lodge, the journals’ editor and a distinguished professor at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, explained that the results were “somewhat controversial,” because they appeared to contradict the generally accepted model for how some polymer fluids move.
Indeed, the papers sparked debate between the authors and other experts who questioned the new data, arguing it didn’t upend the previous model.
Researchers have retracted two 2016 papers from the same journal which were published without the permission of the supervising scientists.
According to the retraction notices, the two Applied Materials & Interfaces articles were “published without the full knowledge or consent of the principal investigators” who guided the research, but are not named in the notices.
A cancer researcher who sued PubPeer commenters for criticizing his work has lost six more papers, bringing his total to 13 retractions.
Four of the new retraction notices issued by the journal Cancer cite an investigation at Wayne State University in Michigan into the work of Fazlul Sarkar and some of his colleagues. All the new notices, including the other two in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, are for image-related issues.