Retraction Watch (RW): You “undertook a survey of publication rates, for authors with multiple retractions in the biomedical literature, to determine whether they changed after authors’ first retractions.” What did you find?
Retraction Watch readers may recall the name Yoshihiro Sato. The late researcher’s retraction total — now at 51 — gives him the number four spot on our leaderboard. He’s there because of the work of four researchers, Andrew Grey, Mark Bolland, and Greg Gamble, all of the University of Auckland, and Alison Avenell, of the University of Aberdeen, who have spent years analyzing Sato’s papers and found a staggering number of issues.
Those issues included fabricated data, falsified data, plagiarism, and implausible productivity, among others.In 2017, Grey and colleagues contacted four institutions where Sato or his co-authors had worked, and all four started investigations. In a new paper in Research Integrity and Peer Review, they describe some of what happened next:
A researcher who was found guilty of committing misconduct while using three federal grants has published new findings that cite those grants.
In 2012, the U.S. Office of Research Integrity determined that Michael Miller, a former department chair at the State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, had committed misconduct by falsifying and/or fabricating data. The affected research was funded by three grants issued by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
A professor specializing in the health of children and pregnant women has left her post at the University of Glasgow, and issued three retractions in recent months.
All three notices — issued by PLOS ONE — mention an investigation at the university, which found signs of data manipulation and falsification. Fiona Lyall, the last author on all three papers, is also the only author in common to all three papers; she did not respond to the journal’s inquiries.
According to the University of Glasgow, the affiliation listed for Lyall, she is no longer based at the university. When we asked about the circumstances of her departure, the spokesperson told us the university has a “commitment to confidentiality,” but noted:
We’ve covered a number of stories about scientific whistleblowers here at Retraction Watch, so readers will likely be familiar with what often happens to them: Their motives are questioned, they are ostracized or pushed out of labs, or even accused of misconduct themselves. But there’s more to it, says Kathy Ahern in a recent paper in the Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing. Ahern writes that “although whistle-blowers suffer reprisals, they are traumatized by the emotional manipulation many employers routinely use to discredit and punish employees who report misconduct.” Another way to put it is that “whistleblower gaslighting” — evoking the 1944 film of the same name — “creates a situation where the whistle-blower doubts her perceptions, competence, and mental state.” We asked Ahern some questions about the phenomenon.
After he left Liverpool, Antoine took a position at the University of Edinburgh. However, the faculty page is now blank, and a spokesperson told Retraction Watch he is “no longer employed by the University”:
The University of Gothenburg has requested the dismissal of a researcher who has been found guilty of scientific misconduct in seven articles.
The researcher, Suchitra Sumitran-Holgersson, is “guilty of research misconduct through intentional fabrication, falsification or suppression of basic material and deliberately abandoning good scientific practice in seven of the reviewed articles,” according to a press release from the University of Gothenburg (GU). Sumitran-Holgersson continues to insist any issues were the result of “unfortunate errors,” not misconduct.
As a consequence, GU vice-chancellor Eva Wiberg has:
KI is also calling to retract six articles co-authored by Macchiarini and his colleagues, including two highly cited papers in The Lancet. The papers described the procedure and outcomes of transplanting synthetic tracheas into three patients between 2011 and 2013.
KI’s investigation uncovered “serious inaccuracies and misleading information in the reviewed articles:”