There was more news today about papers co-authored by Silvia Bulfone-Paus, whose lab at Research Centre Borstel has been under investigation for scientific misconduct.
The EMBO Journal, which we reported last month had accepted the retraction of a 2005 Bulfone-Paus paper that has been cited 37 times, published the retraction notice for the study today:
Eight of the authors (ZO, LT, UM, PB, CB, DA, RP and SB-P) wish to retract this paper, following an independent formal investigation initiated by the Research Center Borstel into scientific misconduct (see http://www.fz-borstel.de/cms/index.php?id=1). The investigation concluded that multiple figures contained PCR and western blot duplications and possible other manipulations (Figures 2A, 3A, 4A, 5, 7A and 7C, Supplementary Figures S1A, S2A and S2B, unconfirmed: Figure 1C). The above signed declare that Vadim Budagian and Elena Bulanova conducted these experiments and generated the figures. The authors declare that key experiments presented in the majority of these figures were recently reproduced and that the results confirmed the experimental data and the conclusions drawn from them. However, due to these unacceptable irregularities, the listed authors retract this paper in its entirety and regret any adverse consequences that may have resulted from its publication. Vadim Budagian and Elena Bulanova declined to sign the retraction.
With the third retraction of a paper by Anil Potti this weekend, plus details of various investigations dribbling out, we decided to check in with the world’s two leading medical journals about whether they planned to retract the papers of Potti’s they’d published.
The steady drip-drip-dripping sound you hear from the cancer literature these days comes from the stream of retractions involving studies by Naoki Mori, the now jobless scientist whose work on cancer viruses appears to be evaporating before our eyes.
Cancer Science, which used to be called the Japanese Journal of Cancer Research, has retracted three more of Mori’s papers, each of which, according to the journal, contained multiple unreliable images. That brings the tally of retractions involving Mori’s articles to 14 by our count, an impressive number by any measure. Mori has more than 50 papers to his name, however, so it’s possible that the number of retractions will grow.
Soon after Retraction Watch launched, one of our readers posed an important question: How should researchers note that their papers have been retracted?
The question is important mostly for transparency reasons. (We’ve also wondered, however, whether authors whose papers have been retracted because of journal office errors should be forced to list those.) Should they remove any reference to retracted papers? Leave them, but mark them as retracted?
We are watching an intriguing case out of the Netherlands, involving a young researcher whose dubious results have led to the retraction of a pair of papers.
The retracted articles, which appeared in 2008 in Cancer Research and the British Journal of Cancer, come from the lab of the prominent Dutch scientist Ed Roos, of the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam. Both papers addressed the actions of certain chemokine receptors — molecules on cell surfaces that interact with blood proteins involved in the immune response — on the behavior of tumor cells.
The first author on each paper was Joost Meijer, at the time a graduate student in Roos’ shop.
A journal has accepted the sixth retraction of a paper co-authored by Silvia Bulfone-Paus, the Research Centre Borstel announced late last week. Borstel has been investigating allegations that two of Bulfone-Paus’s former postdocs manipulated images.
We’ve had two questions since learning of the fraud case involving Naoki Mori: Who discovered the manipulations? And how?
We now have answers. We recently received an e-mail from a researcher who specializes in Mori’s field — cancer viruses — and who claims to have been a reviewer of a paper he submitted early last year to a journal in his field. (We’re obscuring some details to maintain our source’s anonymity.)