This is the first finding of misconduct issued this year by the ORI.
According to the finding, published in the Federal Register, Brandi M. Baughman — formerly at the National Institute of Environmental and Health Sciences (NIEHS) — tweaked data and text in a PLOS ONE paper about screening for compounds that inhibit an enzyme known as inositol phosphate kinase. According to the notice, however, some of those experiments didn’t proceed as described:
Two journals have retracted two papers by the same group within months of each other, after editors were independently tipped off that they contained duplicated figures representing different experiments.
The two papers were published by PLOS ONE and The Egyptian Journal of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (EJBMB) in 2015 and 2014, respectively. According to the PLOS ONE paper’s corresponding author, last author Saad A. Noeman from Tanta University in Egypt used the same Figure 1 in both papers, along with another 2013 paper in EJBMB.
Corresponding author Yasser S. El-Sayed, head of the Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology at Damanhour University in Egypt, told us he learned of this issue after a reader brought the figure manipulation and duplication concerns to PLOS ONE’s attention.
El-Sayed said that he tried to figure out what had happened.
The timing was tight, but Sergio Gonzalez had done it. Gonzalez, a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Neurosciences of Montpellier (INSERM) in France, had a paper accepted in a top journal by the end of 2015, just in time to apply for a small number of highly sought-after permanent research positions that open up in France each year.
If Gonzalez had missed the January deadline for this system of advancement, known as concours, he would have had to wait until the following cycle to apply.
Once his paper was accepted by the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Gonzalez could breathe a sigh of relief. He began being invited to interviews. But then, a comment showed up at PubPeer.
Pfizer has retracted a paper by a former employee who was fired after the company discovered she had been doctoring data.
The retraction, in Molecular Cancer Research, is the third of five papers Pfizer asked to retract, after an investigation discovered they contained duplicated images. The papers have been discussed on PubPeer, which is also mentioned in the latest retraction notice.
Last March, a PhD student at Harvard filed a misconduct allegation against his mentor, a prominent stem cell researcher. Three months later, he was taken from his home by police in the middle of the night for a forced psychiatric evaluation.
Researchers have agreed to pull a 2015 study exploring whether a plant extract can safeguard tanners from ultraviolet exposure after not obtaining formal approval from an ethics committee.
According to the first author, the problem lay in a misunderstanding – when they originally applied for approval six years ago, the researchers believed they didn’t need to go through a formal approval process, since the compound was commercially available without a prescription. Once they realized their mistake, they chose to retract the paper.
A biologist at the University of Georgia has lost a paper after an investigation revealed she had tampered with three images.
In 2014, Azza El-Remessy notched three retractions for a series of image errors. Now, a fourth retraction notice, and an expression of concern, explain there has been an investigation into her work. The investigation — conducted by two Georgia institutions, along with the Charlie Norwood Veterans Affairs Medical Center, where El-Remessy has additional appointments — has found evidence of misconduct.
The head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has called for the retraction of a study about a drug that the agency itself approved earlier this week, despite senior staff opposing the approval.
In a lengthy report Commissioner Robert Califf sent to senior FDA officials on September 16 — that was made public on September 19 — he called for the retraction of a 2013 study published in Annals of Neurology funded by the seller of eteplirsen, which showed beneficial effects of the drug in DMD patients. Califf writes in the report: