An Italian court has acquitted a gastroenterologist who was accused of fraud and embezzlement.
An earlier institutional investigation into Stefano Fiorucci, based at the University of Perugia in Italy, found that he had manipulated images in publications that he allegedly used to win two million Euros of funding. The story, which has dragged on for years, has resulted in four retractions and nine expressions of concern for publications authored by Fiorucci.
A sixth retraction has appeared for a diabetes researcher who previously sued a publisher to try to stop his papers from being retracted.
Mario Saad‘s latest retraction, in PLOS Biology, stems from inadvertent duplications, according to the authors. Though an investigation at Saad’s institution — the University of Campinas in Brazil — found no evidence of misconduct, a critic of the paper told The Scientist he does not believe that the issues with blots were inadvertent.
Previously, Saad sued the American Diabetes Association to remove four expressions of concern from his papers; they were later retracted, even though Unicamp recommended keeping three of them published.
A 2015 study about dietary emulsifiers has been corrected by Nature after another researcher pointed out a few ambiguities.
When it first appeared, the study — which showed emulsifiers cause inflammation in the guts of mice — received a fair amount of media attention, including from Nature’s own news department. But since publication, a researcher noted some imprecision around the ages of mice used in the sample, affecting the paper’s calculations of weight gain over time. Andrew Gewirtz, co-author of the study from Georgia State University, told us the change did not affect the conclusions of the paper.
Data manipulation in a Cell Reports paper blew the importance of a kind of bacteria out of proportion.
Retracted this month — less than three months after it was published — the paper showed, according to a summary on the cover page:
B. subtilis is a symbiont that resides in the gut of C. elegans and generates nitric oxide that is essential for the host. Xiao et al. demonstrate that nitric oxide promotes defense against pathogenic bacteria by activating p38 MAPK, demonstrating the importance of commensal bacteria in host immunity.
The authors of a paper on a new probiotic strain of bacteria found in pig feces have retracted it from Animal Science Journal after discovering some of the bacteria might have been contaminated.
Readers likely know by now how easy it is for this to happen, as we frequently report on retractions due to similar reasons. Like other instances of mistaken cell identity, the authors of this 2013 paper realized the mistake following further tests of the bacteria used in the experiment.
We were alerted to this story by La Repubblica, and contacted by the son of the patient (who asked not to be named, for privacy reasons). He told us he found the study and asked the journal to retract it:
…I can say that it was absolutely devastating to realise that the pictures I was looking at were from the surgery that led to the death of my father. It is something that gives me a lot of sorrow thinking that the man in that picture with the open belly was him, when he was fighting for his life. I asked the rest of my family not to see them to avoid them the same shock.
Sumitran-Holgersson already has one retraction under her belt — of a 2005 Blood paper, after another investigation concluded the results “cannot be considered reliable.” Sumitran-Holgersson and her husband, co-author Jan Holgersson, did not sign the retraction notice. Both were based at the Karolinska Institutet (KI) at the time, but have since moved to the University of Gothenburg.
A group of gastroenterology researchers in Italy has lost their 2010 paper in Internal and Emergency Medicine, the journal of the Italian Society of Internal Medicine, for plagiarizing and duplicate publication.