Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘misconduct investigations’ Category

University in Japan finds cancer researcher guilty of misconduct

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A university in Japan has found a former professor guilty of falsifying and altering images in four published papers, including a 2014 paper about stem cells.

On Dec. 15, Tottori University announced the results of its misconduct investigation, in which the cancer researcher, Norimasa Miura, confessed to altering images in the four papers.

According to the report, which we translated, Miura resigned as associate professor at Tottori University a month before the investigation concluded in October of this year. Miura had already stopped receiving grant and research funding in May, one month into the six-month investigation. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Victoria Stern

January 2nd, 2018 at 8:00 am

Caught Our Notice: After ORI flags a paper by former grad student, university flags another

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Via Wikimedia

Title: The L3MBTL3 Methyl-Lysine Reader Domain Functions As a Dimer

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(ORI) determined that former graduate student Brandi Baughman had doctored 11 figures in a PLOS ONE article, which was retracted shortly after.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. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison Abritis

January 1st, 2018 at 8:00 am

Another retraction to appear for Cornell food scientist Brian Wansink

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Brian Wansink

The new year will bring a sixth retraction for food scientist Brian Wansink, whose work has been under fire for all of 2017.

Although the notice has not yet been released, the journal Appetite plans to retract a 2003 paper about the different forces that motivate people to try new foods (referring, in this specific context, to soy).

It’s unclear why “Profiling taste-motivated segments” is being retracted (we asked the journal, but haven’t immediately heard back); some potential issues were flagged in March by Nick Brown, a PhD student who has devoted hundreds of hours to analyzing Wansink’s work (and forwarded us the email from Appetite confirming the upcoming retraction).

For instance, Brown alleged the article contains duplicated material, and similarities to the results from another 2002 paper that also measured soy consumption. After analyzing those two papers and a 2004 paper (also about eating soy), Brown concluded:

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Written by Alison McCook

December 28th, 2017 at 2:24 pm

University finds falsified data in PNAS gene therapy paper, authors retract

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A university investigation has found falsified data in a 2011 paper about the side effects of a virus commonly used in gene therapy.

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. Read the rest of this entry »

Author of controversial Science fish-microplastics paper committed “intentional” misconduct, says Uppsala

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An investigation at Uppsala University has found the authors of a retracted Science paper — which explored the threat of human pollution on fish — guilty of misconduct.  

The decision, published yesterday, states that both authorsPeter Eklöv and Oona Lönnstedt“violated the regulations on ethical approval for animal experimentation,” and Lönnstedt, the paper’s corresponding author, “fabricated the results.”

Eklöv told us: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Victoria Stern

December 7th, 2017 at 10:55 am

University investigation finds misconduct by bone researcher with 23 retractions

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Hirosaki University

As a bone researcher continues to accrue retractions, an investigation at his former university has found misconduct in more than a dozen papers.

On Nov. 15, Japan’s Hirosaki University announced it had identified fabrication and authorship issues in 13 papers by Yoshihiro Sato, and plagiarism in another.

Sato, a professor at Hirosaki University Medical School from 2000 to 2003, died in January. He was last affiliated with Mitate Hospital. Multiple retractions in recent months have pushed Sato higher up our leaderboard; by our count, he now has 23 retractions and the university said there are likely more to come. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Andrew P. Han

December 6th, 2017 at 8:00 am

Carlo Croce, facing misconduct allegations, accuses former colleague of misconduct

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Carlo Croce

Carlo Croce, a cancer researcher who has faced numerous research misconduct allegations, recently accused a former lab member of misconduct. Although an institutional probe did not support that allegation, Croce’s efforts have led to a retraction.

In November 2015, Croce and another cancer researcher at Ohio State University (OSU), Ramiro Garzon, contacted PLOS ONE, alleging that the paper’s corresponding author, Stefan Costinean, published data without their knowledge or permission and without “accurately acknowledging their contributions to the research.” Although the PLOS ONE paper mentioned Croce’s and Garzon’s contributions in the acknowledgements section, the two were not included as co-authors. We have obtained a copy of the report describing OSU’s preliminary probe; it did not find evidence of misconduct, but recommended the paper be retracted for using data without permission. Although Costinean disagreed, the journal has since retracted the paper.

Croce has been on the other side of this process: Seven of his papers have been retracted for issues including manipulation and duplication. After a New York Times article, published in March, explored misconduct allegations against Croce, OSU said the university is “instituting an independent external review.” Croce is currently suing the New York Times, alleging that the newspaper defamed him in the story.

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Caught Our Notice: Ethics, data concerns prompt another retraction for convicted researchers

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Via Wikimedia

Title: Unravelling the influence of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) on cognitive-linguistic processing: A comparative group analysis

What Caught our Attention: RW readers might already be familiar with Caroline Barwood and Bruce Murdoch, two researchers from Australia who had the rare distinction of being criminally charged for research misconduct. Both Barwood and Murdoch received suspended sentences after being found guilty of multiple counts of fraud. In September 2014, University of Queensland announced that: Read the rest of this entry »

Researcher dismissed from university for suspected misconduct denies responsibility

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Masashi Emoto

A university in Japan dismissed a researcher earlier this month after a probe uncovered evidence of image falsification in several of his papers.

The immunology researcher, Masashi Emoto, denied any wrongdoing. He has said that the experiments in question were performed by another researcher and “he was not responsible” for the falsification.

In 2013, Emoto filed a suit against Gunma University, in which he claimed another researcher possessed the raw data for the experiments in question. Emoto requested those documents be returned to him. However, the court determined that Emoto possessed the raw data.

According to the report released by Gunma University on October 11 — without the raw data, the university could not prove Emoto committed the misconduct. However, the university determined that, as the corresponding author on the four papers, Emoto was responsible for the work.

According to our English version of the report, which we translated from Japanese using One Hour Translation, the committee concluded: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Victoria Stern

October 31st, 2017 at 11:00 am

Singapore university revokes second researcher’s PhD in misconduct fallout

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Last year, the fallout from a misconduct investigation at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore resulted in the university revoking the PhD of a Harvard research fellow, and a senior researcher losing his job. In July 2016, NTU told us another researcher who could not be named at the time had also come forward and confessed to making up data.

Now, Retraction Watch has learned that Sabeera Bonala — the researcher who couldn’t be named due to ongoing disciplinary procedures last year — has also had her doctorate degree revoked by the NTU. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

October 31st, 2017 at 8:00 am