A biologist has corrected three papers that are nearly a decade old, after concerns were raised on PubPeer.
A commenter first posted a comment about an image in one of the papers in 2013; after more comments on other papers appeared in November 2015, author Zoya Avramova at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln received emails alerting her to the threads. She has responded, including to the 2013 comment, noting “the said images should have been assembled more carefully.”
After repeating some of the experiments to verify the results, she has now issued corrections on three papers, about the genetics of model organism Arabidopsis. The papers share a first author, Abdelaty Saleh, who was a postdoc in Avramova’s lab at the time of the work.
A journal is retracting a paper about a heart surgery technique after discovering the researchers did not have ethics approval to perform a the procedure on 130 patients. What’s more, the local cardiac surgical society had asked the first author to stop using the method in 2004, six years before the study was complete.
A Swedish ethical review board has censured two biologists and their employer, Uppsala University, for events related to “extensive image manipulations” in five papers published between 2010 and 2014. The case has led to criticism from an outside expert — who brought the allegations to Uppsala — over the current system in Sweden for handling such investigations.
Four of the papers have been retracted, and the authors have requested a correction in the fifth.
A paper about the molecular details of lung cancer is being retracted for repeating datasets and “careless errors” in a pair of figures.
According to the note, the editor of Carcinogenesis wouldn’t have known about the problems if he hadn’t been tipped off that the paper by first author, XiaoJuan Sun — a researcher at Shenzhen Second People’s Hospital in China — shared “significant similarities” with another one of Sun’s papers that was retracted years ago. After the journal investigated the paper, it discovered that the authors had reported the same data as in the retracted paper “without significant additions or amendments,” along with some errors and inconsistencies.
A biology journal has pulled the introduction to a symposium that was published online before the symposium papers had been finalized. After reviewers rejected multiple papers, the author of the introduction — and organizer of the symposium — refused to revise his portion accordingly, so the journal retracted it.
Suzanne Miller, an assistant editor at Integrative and Comparative Biology, told us that the journal ended up rejecting two out of the seven papers in the symposium. When editors asked the symposium organizer, Valentine Lance, to rewrite the introduction — which contained a brief background on each speaker — he told us that he refused to do the rewrite, and said that he “simply quit.”
West Virginia University biologists have retracted two papers on insecticides for fruit pests due to a confidentiality agreement with a chemical manufacturer stating that the “results should not be published.”
An advanced online paper on prenatal toxicity of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), an industrial chemical used to make waterproof coatings and Teflon, is being retracted due to “some minor errors.”
High blood levels of PFOA have been tied to kidney disease in humans, as well as several cancers in animal models. The majority of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s scientific advisory board deemed PFOA “likely to be carcinogenic in humans” in 2006, though a decade later the EPA has yet to make a decision on regulations. The retracted paper found that exposing pregnant mice to PFOA altered hormone pathways in mammary glands.
These two new retractions, in Genes and Development, stem directly from another paper by Weinberg and colleagues in Cell that will apparently be retracted, as the “same analytical methodology was used,” according to the notices [see bottom of the post for an update].
Weinberg is highly regarded, and at least 20 of his papers have been cited over a thousand times.
First author Scott Valastyan was a promising postdoc at the time of the paper’s publication. He was a 2011 Runyon Fellow at Harvard, a three-year, $156,000 award for outstanding cancer postdocs. He doesn’t seem to have published anything since 2012, though he is listed as a joint inventor with Weinberg on patents filed in 2009 and 2014.
A group of Chinese cardiologists at Capital Medical University have done a quick ewe-turn, pulling a paper after mixing up both the author order and wrongly reporting how many sheep were killed in the making of this experiment.