STAP stem cell researcher Obokata loses another paper

Nature protocols

The first author of two high-profile Nature retractions about a technique to easily create stem cells has lost another paper in Nature Protocols.

Haruko Obokata, once “a lab director’s dream,” according to The New Yorker, also had her PhD revoked from Waseda University last fall.

After learning of concerns that two figures are “very similar” and “some of the error bars look unevenly positioned,” the rest of the authors were unable to locate the raw data, according to the note. The journal could not reach Obokata for comment before publishing the retraction.

Reproducible subcutaneous transplantation of cell sheets into recipient mice” has been cited 21 times, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science. It was published in June 2011, soon after Obokata earned her PhD. 

Here’s the note:

Continue reading STAP stem cell researcher Obokata loses another paper

Surgery journal publishes — then retracts — response to letter that never appeared

Annals of Surgery

How’s this for confusing: A surgery journal is retracting researchers’ response to a letter about their paper, because the letter was never actually published.

According to the managing editor of the Annals of Surgery, the letter — about a 2011 analysis of IV fluids in trauma patients — was accepted, prompting the journal to ask for a response from the authors of the 2011 paper. But the letter-writers never supplied required forms, such as conflict of interest. After spending two years trying to track them down, the journal decided not to publish the letter.

In the meantime, however, the authors’ response to the letter was “inadvertently published,” forcing the journal to retract it. Continue reading Surgery journal publishes — then retracts — response to letter that never appeared

Eighth retraction published for former physiology researcher

International Journal of CancerA lung cancer paper in the International Journal of Cancer has been retracted because of “serious errors related to image duplication.” This marks the eighth retraction for first author, ShouWei Han.

The decision was made by the journal’s editor-in-chief, the publisher Wiley and co-author Jesse Roman (a co-author on Han’s other retracted papers). According to the notice, Han didn’t respond “to requests by the journal or the co-author.”

In 2011, Han was the target of an investigation by his former employer, the University of Louisville in Kentucky. Papers in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology and American Journal of Physiology: Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology have been retracted.

Here’s the full retraction notice for the latest retraction:

Continue reading Eighth retraction published for former physiology researcher

Data “mismatch” and author’s illness pluck bird sex-ratio study from literature

coverInaccessible data and an author’s illness are to blame for the retraction of a paper on sex ratios of baby finches, according to the authors.

The paper, “Experimental evidence that maternal corticosterone controls adaptive offspring sex ratios,” published in Functional Ecology, outlined how a hormone in mother finches can “skew” the number of males vs females that hatch from the eggs in her nest.

But after questions about the data were raised, the authors were unable to address the “mismatch” between the experimental data and those that were published. Compounding the situation is the fact that, while working on the paper, first author Sarah Pryke at the Australian National University “was suffering from a medical condition that likely impaired her cognitive abilities,” according to a statement from Pryke’s co-authors.

An email to Pryke was met with an out-of-office reply:

Continue reading Data “mismatch” and author’s illness pluck bird sex-ratio study from literature

Yup, this happened: “Mystery” writer impersonated cardiovascular pathologist, penned published letter

A 2014 letter in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has been retracted because editors aren’t sure who wrote it.

“Can Grayscale IVUS Detect Necrotic Core-Rich Plaque?”, a letter on the potential of intravascular ultrasound, was submitted under the name of a researcher at the University of Copenhagen, Erling Falk. The paper was sent with a Gmail account (a technique used by some academics to conduct fake peer reviews), and editors communicated with the author through the acceptance process.

Shortly after the letter was published, Erling Falk of Aarhus University contacted the journal and asked who wrote the letter. They discovered that nobody by that name worked at the University of Copenhagen and emails to the author’s Gmail address went unanswered. So the journal issued a retraction.

Here’s the complete notice:

Continue reading Yup, this happened: “Mystery” writer impersonated cardiovascular pathologist, penned published letter

Dead men tell no tales – nor respond to journal’s formatting queries

mamasIn November 2014, Mechanics of Advanced Materials and Structures withdrew an online-first publication on the grounds that, over the previous two years, the corresponding author has not responded to questions regarding formatting.

There is, apparently, a good reason for that, although the notice for “Analysis of Effective Properties of Three-phase Electro-magneto-elastic Solids” suggests the editors of the journal are unaware of it:

Continue reading Dead men tell no tales – nor respond to journal’s formatting queries