Four more Bulfone-Paus paper retractions accepted

About two weeks ago, we reported on the first retraction of a paper co-authored by Silvia Bulfone-Paus, whose work at her Research Center Borstel lab is being investigated for misconduct. On Friday, Borstel announced that journals had accepted four more retractions of papers by Bulfone-Paus’s group.

Three of those papers are in the Journal of Immunology (citations according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge): Continue reading Four more Bulfone-Paus paper retractions accepted

Fraud by Naoki Mori claims another paper, this one in a journal whose board he sits on

Late last month we wrote about a handful of retractions involving Naoki Mori, a promising Japanese cancer researcher who appears to have built a CV with the help of fabricated evidence.

The fraud earned Mori a 10-year publishing ban from the American Society of Microbiology, which publishes Infection and Immunity. There were two other retractions in Blood, from the American Society of Hematology.

Now, another journal has joined the party. Continue reading Fraud by Naoki Mori claims another paper, this one in a journal whose board he sits on

Paper by Silvia Bulfone-Paus to be retracted

At least one of the dominoes may be falling from a scandal at Research Center Borstel.

Retraction Watch has learned that one of six papers that an investigation found to include data manipulation will be retracted by the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. The paper, “ATP induces P2X7 receptor-independent cytokine and chemokine expression through P2X1 and P2X3 receptors in murine mast cells,” includes Silvia Bulfone-Paus as a co-author. The retraction notice will appear in the March issue of the journal, editor Luis Montaner told Retraction Watch today.

Bulfone-Paus is at the center of a complex case, and we’ll refer you to Nature‘s excellent coverage. As Nature reported last month: Continue reading Paper by Silvia Bulfone-Paus to be retracted

Update on Small retraction: Co-author says failed follow-up led to detection of tech’s fraud

We have a little more information on the lab-tech case out of the University of Chicago that we reported on last week. A brief summary: The journal Small retracted a 2007 paper on a method of producing insulin-secreting cells after one of the co-authors, a technician named Matthew Connors, was found to have fabricated a key figure. Connors has had a long career as a lab tech and his name has appeared on several published articles.

Reached by e-mail, Milan Mrksich, a chemistry professor at Chicago and a co-author of the retracted paper– as well as an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute — told us that the fraud surfaced during follow-up research: Continue reading Update on Small retraction: Co-author says failed follow-up led to detection of tech’s fraud

Japanese virologist hit with publishing ban after widespread data manipulation

A leading Japanese virologist has received a 10-year publishing ban from the American Society of Microbiology after many of his published articles were found to have evidence of data manipulation.

In its January 2011 issue, Infection and Immunity, an ASM title, is retracting five articles by the researcher, Naoki Mori, of the University of Ryukyus in Okinawa. The articles, published between 2000 and 2009, involve work on Helicobacter pylori which Nori conducted with co-authors from the United States and elsewhere. Some of the studies listed co-authors from drug companies, including Merck and Boehringer Ingelheim, although it’s not clear whether the companies helped support any of the research.

Despite the impending holidays, Ferric Fang, editor of Infection and Immunity, graciously and quickly replied to our request for comment yesterday (as he has before, about another paper in Nature involving fraud): Continue reading Japanese virologist hit with publishing ban after widespread data manipulation

Small problem: Nano-micro journal pulls diabetes paper with phony figure

Readers of this blog are aware that many of the retractions we’ve covered involve the misadventures of post-docs. That makes some superficial sense: post-docs, after all, are trainees, and therefore might be more likely to make mistakes. They’re also hungry to break into their chosen specialty, and how better to do that than by producing spectacular results? (None of this is to say that post-docs are by nature incompetent or venal — only that the raw ingredients exist for typecast villainy.)

But one figure about whom we haven’t written (to the best of our knowledge) is the career lab tech — until today.

Matthew Connors was working as a tech at the University of Chicago (Chief Research Technologist, on his online resume) when he became a co-author on a 2007 study, published in the journal Small, purporting to show a technique for encapsulating pancreatic islet cells in a coating that’s opaque to the immune system. As the researchers explained: Continue reading Small problem: Nano-micro journal pulls diabetes paper with phony figure

Update on a Best Of retraction: Elsevier edits notice suggesting renaming Israel “historical Palestine” was political

About two months ago, we posted an item on a curious retraction as the first installment in our Best of Retractions series. In the notice of the retraction in Agricultural Water Management, the editor wrote:

Reason: During the second revision of the manuscript, the authors modified Figure 1 (changing the label from “Israel” to  “Historical Palestine”), apparently with the goal of inserting a political statement into a scientific journal article. The authors did not inform the editors or the publisher of this change in their manuscript. As such, the authors have not lived up to the standards of trust and integrity that form the foundation of the peer-review process. The Editors-in-Chief take a very strong view on this matter and, hence, the retraction of the article from publication in Agricultural Water Management.

As Pieter van der Zaag, one of the paper’s authors informed us over the weekend in a comment on that post, however, the phrase “apparently with the goal of inserting a political statement into a scientific journal article” has now been removed from the notice. We asked van der Zaag, of the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, for some more information. Here are his comments: Continue reading Update on a Best Of retraction: Elsevier edits notice suggesting renaming Israel “historical Palestine” was political

Best of Retractions Part III: Whatever can go wrong …

Paging Dr. Murphy.

In July, the editors of Cancer Biology & Therapy published a retraction remarkable for its scope. Apparently, nearly everything dishonest authors can do to doctor a manuscript, these authors did.

The paper, “Overexpression of transketolase protein TKTL1 is associated with occurrence and progression in nasopharyngeal carcinoma,” initially appeared on the journal’s website in January 2008. It came out in print three months later, in the April issue, and has been cited 8 times since, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

The authors were Song Zhang, Jian Xin Yue,  Ju Hong Yang, Peng Cheng Cai and Wei Jia Kong, of Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Hubei, China. It will be quite clear why we listed all those authors in a moment. Continue reading Best of Retractions Part III: Whatever can go wrong …

“What were you thinking? Do not manipulate those data”

The title of this post is stolen, with adoring attribution, from a piece in the November 16, 2010 issue of Autophagy, because we couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

In the piece, the journal’s editor, Dan Klionsky, focuses on images. It reads, in part: Continue reading “What were you thinking? Do not manipulate those data”

Cell pulls fruit fly article, citing image manipulation

The journal Cell has retracted a paper on fruit fly genetics over concerns that the first author, a postdoc in a German laboratory, might have manipulated dozens of electron micrographs in the manuscript.

The article, published in November 2009, was titled “Assembly of Endogenous oskar mRNA Particles for Motor-Dependent Transport in the Drosophila Oocyte.” It has been cited six times since then, according to the Thomson Scientific Web of Knowledge.

Not having the foggiest notion of what those words might mean, other than that the paper was about fruit flies, we called in a ringer, Jeff Perkel, who explained as patiently as he could that the gist of the research involved Continue reading Cell pulls fruit fly article, citing image manipulation