What Caught Our Attention: Here’s a cut-and-paste issue that gave us pause. The authors of an 18-year-old paper in PNAS corrected it after realizing some bands in a figure were duplicated (an issue raised on PubPeer one year ago). It turns out, the first author had cut the paper into pieces and reassembled them to present the blots in the “desired order,” and some had become duplicated by mistake. The overall results were unaffected, so the journal swapped the image with a corrected version. Continue reading Caught Our Notice: “The first author cut the thermoprinter paper printout into pieces and reassembled them”
The investigation—conducted jointly by the University of California, San Francisco, and the San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center—uncovered image manipulation in Figure 2D, which “could only have occurred intentionally.” The institutions, however, could not definitively attribute the research misconduct to any individual.
According to the notice, the UCSF-VA committee determined that a correction to the 2008 PNAS paper—which explores the genetic underpinnings of prostate cancer—was “appropriate,” and the authors have now replaced the problematic figure with a corrected version. The 2008 paper has been cited 630 times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science.
A spokesperson for PNAS told Retraction Watch: Continue reading UCSF-VA investigation finds misconduct in highly cited PNAS paper
A third paper co-authored by researchers based at a prominent lab whose work has been under investigation on and off for almost three years has been retracted.
According to the notice, the university’s investigation found that a 2008 paper in FEBS Letters contained “clear signs of manipulation” in three figures.
Research from geneticist David Latchman’s group has been dogged by misconduct allegations since late 2013 and subject to two investigations by the University College London (UCL). Continue reading “Clear signs of manipulation” in paper co-authored by prominent geneticist
A former researcher at New York University falsified and/or fabricated data in multiple papers and grant applications, according to the U.S. Office of Research Integrity.
According to the ORI:
After being “blindsided” a few months ago when she was told one of her 2005 papers was going to be retracted, a researcher scrambled to get information about why. And when she didn’t like the answers, she took to PubPeer.
Eight days ago, Shalon (Babbitt) Ledbetter, the first author of the 2005 paper published in Cell, posted a comment on the site announcing the paper was going to be retracted after the last author’s institution, Saint Louis University (SLU), determined that some figures had been manipulated by the last author, Dorota Skowrya. A letter dated September 2, 2015 sent by SLU to Cell describes the results of the investigation — namely, that the manipulations were “cosmetic,” and had no effect on the data or the conclusions. More than two years later, Ledbetter learned the journal was planning to retract the paper, and an initial draft of the notice wouldn’t identify who was responsible; she has since been pulled into a confusing web of blame-shifting and conflicting information that has been, in her words, “heartbreaking.”
Ledbetter wrote on PubPeer:
What Caught Our Attention: A previous collaborator with high-profile plant biologist Olivier Voinnet (who now has eight retractions) has issued an interesting correction to a 2010 PNAS paper. Susana Rivas is last author on the paper, the correction for which notes some images were duplicated, and others were “cropped and/or stretched to match the other blots.” Rivas is currently a group leader at The Laboratory of Plant-Microbe Interactions (LIPM), “a combined INRA-CNRS Research Unit.” Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Voinnet co-author issues another correction
A researcher who is facing a criminal investigation in Italy for research misconduct has seen five more papers retracted, for a total of
Molecular and Cellular Biology has retracted four papers published between 1987 to 2001 by Alfredo Fusco, a cancer researcher in Italy; the Journal of Virology retracted one 1985 paper. Fusco was first author on two papers and last author on three. Both journals are published by The American Society for Microbiology (ASM), which issued identical retraction notices for all five papers, mentioning “evidence of apparent manipulation and duplication.”
Carlo Croce, a cancer researcher now at the Ohio State University, who has been dogged by misconduct allegations, co-authored one of the papers. Croce now has eight retractions.
Here’s the notice presented for all five retractions: Continue reading Retraction count for Italian researcher swells to 15 as five papers fall
One of the most common reasons for retractions is image manipulation. When searching for evidence of it, researchers often rely on what their eyes tell them. But what if screening tools could help? Last week, researchers described a new automated tool to screen images for duplication (reported by Nature News); with help from publishing giant Elsevier, another group at Harvard Medical School is developing a different approach. We spoke with creators Mary Walsh, Chief Scientific Investigator in the Office for Professional Standards and Integrity, and Daniel Wainstock, Associate Director of Research Integrity, about how the tool works, and why — unlike the other recently described automated tool — they want to make theirs freely available.
Retraction Watch: What prompted you to develop this tool?
Carlo Croce, who has had numerous papers retracted and corrected for issues including image manipulation, has received an award for more than $300,000 for his achievements in personalized medicine.
The Dan David Prize, awarded earlier this month by a charitable organization based at Tel Aviv University, bestowed $1 million to three researchers who have “made pioneering and ground-breaking discoveries in the field of personalized medicine.”
Croce, chair of the Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics at The Ohio State University, shares this year’s award with two prominent researchers—Mary-Claire King, a professor of genome sciences and medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle, and Bert Vogelstein, a professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.
A chemistry journal has retracted a nanoparticle paper following heavy outcry from readers, who alleged the paper contained signs of obvious manipulation.
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.”
The first comment about the paper appeared on PubPeer three months ago; earlier this month, the journal ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering retracted the paper.
Here’s the notice: