A few years ago, Richard Miller of the University of Michigan had a serious dilemma: He discovered a former researcher in his lab was doing research somewhere else. Normally, that would be fine — except this research had admitted to committing misconduct in Miller’s lab.
Last week, we reported that the journal, and its publisher, Springer Nature, were having some trouble with a retracted presentation from a 2017 cancer meeting. Turns out, the issue involved crossed wires for similar articles in the journal by the same trio of researchers.
Elizabeth Hawkins, a spokeswoman for Springer Nature, told us:
A prominent (yet controversial) journalist in Australia has admitted to duplicating three images that were part of her PhD thesis — a practice outside experts agreed was acceptable, if not ideal, at the time, according to a report released today.
As part of an inquiry, the University of Adelaide convened an expert panel to investigate 17 allegations of duplication and/or manipulation in Maryanne Demasi’s 2004 thesis. Duplication is a common reason for retractions, such as when researchers use the same image to depict the results of different experiments.
Regarding the allegations of misconduct in Demasi’s thesis, the originals of the images in question were long gone, so in 14 instances, an expert concluded it was not possible to conclude whether or not duplication had occurred. But in the remaining three instances, Demasi admitted she had “duplicated or probably duplicated” the images:
When the former editor of a public health journal didn’t get a straight answer about why the journal retracted his paper that was critical of corporate-sponsored research, he brought his concerns to an organization dedicated to promoting integrity in academic publishing. He wanted the group to help resolve the impasse he’d reached with the publisher, but was sorely disappointed.
David Egilman, the former editor of the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, had been seeking answers about the paper for a year. In November, the journal’s editorial board resigned, in protest of the “apparent new direction that the journal appears to be moving towards.” They objected to the “unilateral withdraw[al]” of Egilman’s paper, with little explanation, the delay in publishing other papers that had been accepted under Egilman’s leadership, and the decision to appoint a new editor with industry ties.
Amidst all that upheaval at the journal, Egilman still wasn’t getting the answers he wanted about why his paper was withdrawn. So he brought his concerns to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).