What Caught Our Attention: After an expression of concern (EOC) is published in a journal, the usual procedure is to either publish a subsequent correction or retraction — or, unfortunately, leave it sit ad infinitum. But apparently, there’s another option. Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Unusual — journal flags paper for concerns, then updates them
What Caught Our Attention: Six months ago, the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) determined that former graduate student Brandi Baughman had doctored 11 figures in a PLOS ONE article, which was retracted shortly after. The PLOS ONE paper listed two affiliations for Baughman — the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC); now UNC has triggered a second retraction of a paper co-authored by Baughman, also due to research misconduct. Although the ORI notice makes no mention of this additional paper, the agency recently took a “targeted approach” by not issuing comprehensive findings of misconduct for one researcher, in order to conserve resources. Of course, sometimes universities make findings that don’t meet the ORI’s bar, too. Continue reading Caught Our Notice: After ORI flags a paper by former grad student, university flags another
The two papers have three authors in common, but according to the retraction notice, none could explain the duplicate publication. The notice states that Pierre Labauge, the corresponding author on the 2012 paper and the last author on the Neurology paper, said he “did not remember the first paper” when revising the recent one. Continue reading Paper retracted when co-author forgets he had published a figure before
For some of the papers, the issues went beyond the single image. According to the retraction notice, several papers contained other duplicated images, as well as “overlapping text.” The notice, published in October 2017 in Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention (APJCP), is essentially a letter PLOS ONE wrote to several journals, informing them of the issues in the eight papers, all published between 2014 and 2016. The letter mentions that one of the papers—a 2016 analysis in Korean Journal of Physiology (KJPP)—had already been retracted earlier this year. One author of the retracted KJPP paper confessed to using a company to prepare and submit the manuscript. Continue reading One image was duplicated in eight papers. Yes, eight.
The authors are retracting the paper, but one co-author told Retraction Watch they stand by their main conclusions. According to Roland Herzog, a professor at the University of Florida (UF) College of Medicine and a co-author of the paper, the falsified data were related to a minor part of the paper.
The paper, “Activation of the NF-κB pathway by adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors and its implications in immune response and gene therapy,” was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in March 2011. All authors were affiliated with UF at the time; the handling editor, Kenneth Berns, is an emeritus professor at UF. The paper has been cited 50 times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science. Continue reading University finds falsified data in PNAS gene therapy paper, authors retract
The presence of allegedly obvious manipulations in a 2017 chemistry paper has prompted a reader outcry.
Over the last couple of days, a user on PubPeer and others on Twitter have accused the paper of containing clear duplications; the paper was already corrected in August, in which one scientist alleges the authors replaced “an obviously fabricated” figure with a “slightly better photo-shopped one.”
In response, the editor of ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering, David Kaplan, told us:
That’s about as much as we know: The retraction notice provides few details about the nature of the issue, only that the authors—most of whom work at Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine in Hershey—could not provide the original data for the recently published figures.
The paper, published in American Journal of Physiology – Renal Physiology, was retracted October 1, just over four months after appearing online in mid-May. Continue reading Where’s the data? Authors can’t support figures in 2017 kidney paper
PLOS ONE has retracted two 2014 papers from a group of researchers, after an institutional investigation confirmed image duplication. Although the authors initially asked to correct the figures in the two papers, they ultimately agreed with the decision to retract.
Mrinal K. Maiti—an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology at Kharagpur and corresponding author on the two now-retracted PLOS ONE papers—also corrected a 2016 paper published in PLOS ONE over figure-related errors. Maiti is the only author in common to all papers.
A spokesperson for the journal told us:
Continue reading PLOS ONE retracts two papers one year after author says he okayed the move
Despite losing a lawsuit against his former mentor, a researcher hasn’t stopped his efforts to discredit his mentor’s work. These efforts have led to new editorial notices — including, most recently, a correction and expression of concern for one paper by a former colleague, who wasn’t even the subject of the lawsuit.
In the 2014 suit, former Brown University postdoc Andrew Mallon said research misconduct by John Marshall — his lab director and former business partner– tainted a 2013 paper published in PLoS Biology. Though the case failed to trigger the retraction Mallon sought, it put his concerns into the public record; the text of the lawsuit includes an accusation of misconduct against Cong Cao — Marshall’s former mentee and the first author of that 2013 paper.
Mallon has since contacted journals to raise concerns about papers by Cao, and two journals have taken action. The most recent move: On Aug. 10, the Biochemical Journal did something we don’t see very often — it issued both a correction and an expression of concern (EoC) for one of Cao’s papers: “EGFR-mediated expression of aquaporin-3 is involved in human skin fibroblast migration,” originally published Nov. 14, 2006. Continue reading More duplications for researcher accused of misconduct in lawsuit
When a publisher rolls out image screening on its journals over an eight-year-period, some surprising things happen. For one, researchers whose papers were flagged are less likely to make the same mistake again. That’s according to new findings presented by the American Physiological Society (APS), which began increasingly checking images in accepted papers for splicing and other tweaks before they are published. (Note: they are not the only outlet to institute such checks.) At the recent International Congress on Peer Review and Scientific Publication, the APS presented findings from seven journals, spanning from 2009 when very few articles were checked, all the way to 2016, when all seven journals screened images before publishing them. We spoke with APS associate publisher for ethics and policy Christina Bennett about the data — which also showed that, over time, fewer papers were flagged for images concerns, and those that were flagged were addressed prior to publication (which reduced the number of corrigenda published to correct image errors). What’s more, the percentage of papers with questionable images has fallen by 0.7% each year since 2013.
Retraction Watch: What prompted APS journals to start doing image checks?