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1st ever retraction for JEB

The __Journal of Experimental Biology__ (JEB) has issued the first retraction in its 85 year history, the journal reported in an linkurl:editorial;http://jeb.biologists.org/cgi/content/full/211/23/3651 and a linkurl:retraction;http://jeb.biologists.org/cgi/content/full/211/23/3764 notice in its December 1 issue. Although the authors' institution told JEB their reuse of images was a careless error, the journal's editor-in-chief called it a case of outright fraud. The linkurl:retracted paper;http

By | November 19, 2008

The __Journal of Experimental Biology__ (JEB) has issued the first retraction in its 85 year history, the journal reported in an linkurl:editorial;http://jeb.biologists.org/cgi/content/full/211/23/3651 and a linkurl:retraction;http://jeb.biologists.org/cgi/content/full/211/23/3764 notice in its December 1 issue. Although the authors' institution told JEB their reuse of images was a careless error, the journal's editor-in-chief called it a case of outright fraud. The linkurl:retracted paper;http://jeb.biologists.org/cgi/content/abstract/211/6/911 -- published by Yideng Jiang, a molecular biologist at linkurl:Ningxia Medical College;http://www.nxmc.edu.cn/ in Yinchuan, China, and his colleagues in the March 15, 2008 issue of the journal -- investigated the effects of the amino acid-like compound linkurl:homocysteine;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/11660/ on the accumulation of cholesterol-rich macrophages known as linkurl:foam cells.;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/11882/ A reader alerted the journal's editor-in-chief, linkurl:Hans Hoppeler,;http://www.uniurb.it/meeting-smotorie/Hoppeler.htm a physiologist at the University of Bern in Switzerland, that "he had seen similar plots in other papers," Hoppeler told __The Scientist__. "We tracked that, and it was quite obvious that the same plot was used in several publications." Hoppeler hired an independent expert -- "a senior high level academic working with the same technology in a very close field, but unrelated to [JEB] or that particular area of research" -- who found that figure 6B in the paper re-used Western blot bands that had been published the previous year in a linkurl:paper;http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10.1089/dna.2007.0584 in __DNA and Cell Biology__. Hoppeler said the re-used Western blots were also likely used in at least one other paper, but did not say which. "It depends where you set the level of evidence," he noted. Jiang has published only three other papers, a second linkurl:paper;http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10.1089/dna.2007.0658 in __DNA and Cell Biology__ this year and two papers in __Acta Biochimica et Biophysica Sinica__ in linkurl:May;http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118500263/abstract and linkurl:September;http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118500303/abstract 2007, according to both ISI and Pubmed. Of these papers, __The Scientist__ found only one other that showed Western blots analyzing similar data to that found in the retracted JEB study -- figure 7 of the linkurl:September 2007;http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118500303/abstract __ Acta Biochimica et Biophysica Sinica__ paper. JEB -- a journal with a 2007 impact factor of 2.97 according to ISI -- also concluded that the paper contained discrepancies in the methods and materials section, and that other data were mislabeled or inappropriately presented. At JEB's request, Ningxia Medical College -- the institute of six of the paper's seven authors -- carried out its own investigation, which concluded that the authors mistakenly reused the Western blot images due to carelessness in computer file-naming, and that further inaccuracies stemmed from limited English abilities, according to the published retraction. Jiang and his coworkers confirmed the error in figure 6B and provided a revised image to JEB. They did not admit any other problems with the paper, said Hoppeler, who has served on JEB's editorial board since 1995 and as editor-in-chief since 2004. JEB also contacted the West China College of Preclinical and Forensic Medical Sciences at linkurl:Sichuan University,;http://www.scu.org.cn/ the institute of the paper's last author, Shuren Wang, but never received acknowledgement of any of their letters or E-mails. "I think this was fraud," Hoppeler told __The Scientist__. But a retraction is "as far as we can go. We have the retraction, we know the facts are on the table, and it's clear to anybody who will ever read the paper [that this was fraud]. Beyond that it's not [JEB's] responsibility to go any further." __DNA and Cell Biology__ has been alerted of the problem, but no further actions have been taken, Hoppeler said. Jiang's 2007 __DNA and Cell Biology__ paper has been cited 5 times according to ISI. Jiang's retracted JEB paper has not been cited. JEB's publisher, the linkurl:Company of Biologists,;http://www.biologists.com/ declined to comment for this article. Jiang did not respond to E-mail requests for an interview.
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Comments

Avatar of: ERIK MARONDE

ERIK MARONDE

Posts: 3

November 20, 2008

As a reviewer I made a similar experience with a manuscript from a mostly Chinese affiliated author group. Due to serious concerns on the correctness of the description of the experiments and the obviously reused figures (2 of 5) from an already published paper I rejected the manuscript and corresponded my reasons to the editor. Some weeks later I received the unchanged manuscript to review for another journal and rejected it again once more reporting my reasons. Finally I saw the manuscript published, mostly unchanged. Later I had a similar experience but before I sent my review the editor decided to reject the manuscript due to serious ethical concerns and suspected fraud. I think beside the obvious responsibility of the authors for such scandalous misconduct, reviewers and editors overseeing such obvious attempts to betray the scientific community have to be blamed too. Proper peer review needs time!
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 2

November 21, 2008

Thank you to The Scientist for commenting on this retraction. The authors in question have published six relevant papers. Cursory and detailed examination will reward the careful observer with many more examples of "unscientific file-naming conventions and negligence". One of the more creative involves Fig 6 from 1., Fig 5b from 3. and Fig 3b from 5. I await, with hopeful interest, the retraction from DNA Cell Biology, who were informed of these irregularities on 6 March 2008. \n\n1. Yideng Jiang, Zhihong L, Jiantuan X, Jun C, Guizhong L, Shuren Wang. Homocysteine-mediated PPARalpha,gamma DNA methylation and its potential pathogenic mechanism in monocytes. DNA Cell Biol. 2008;27(3):143-50. \n\n2. Jiang Yideng, Jiang J, Xiong J, Cao J, Li N, Li G, Wang Shuren. Homocysteine-induced extracellular superoxide dismutase and its epigenetic mechanisms in monocytes. J Exp Biol. 2008;211(Pt 6):911-20.\n \n3. Jiang Yideng, Sun T, Xiong J, Cao J, Li G, Wang Shuren. Hyperhomocysteinemia-mediated DNA hypomethylation and its potential epigenetic role in rats. Acta Biochim Biophys Sin (Shanghai). 2007;39(9):657-67. \n\n4. Yi-Deng Jiang, Tao S, Hui-Ping Z, Jian-Tuan X, Jun C, Gui-Zhong L, Shu-Ren Wang. Folate and ApoE DNA methylation induced by homocysteine in human monocytes. DNA Cell Biol. 2007;26(10):737-44. \n\n5. Yideng Jiang, Jianzhong Z, Ying H, Juan S, Jinge Z, Shenglan W, Xiaoqun H, Shuren Wang. Homocysteine-mediated expression of SAHH, DNMTs, MBD2, and DNA hypomethylation potential pathogenic mechanism in VSMCs. DNA Cell Biol. 2007;26(8):603-11. \n\n6. Jiang Yideng, Zhang J, Xiong J, Cao J, Li G, Wang Shuren. Ligands of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor inhibit homocysteine-induced DNA methylation of inducible nitric oxide synthase gene. Acta Biochim Biophys Sin (Shanghai). 2007;39(5):366-76. \n
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 3

November 30, 2008

I think beside the obvious responsibility of the authors for such scandalous misconduct, reviewers and editors overseeing such obvious attempts to betray the scientific community have to be blamed too. Proper peer review needs time!\n\nXXXXXXXXXXX\n\nThis is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how much non-sense papers get published even in many highly visible journals. I think the public must be made aware of on how their tax money is being used in the name of Biological Science research. We should draw attention of The senators and Congressmen to these issues. It's high time. \n\nOne way to counteract this is:\n\nThe Reviewers and Editors should be held accountable as the authors, when a published paper is revealed to be fraudulent.\n\nTheir names should be revealed for everyone to see - so they can be judged by their ethical lapses as the corrupted authors.\n\nWhile reviewing an article for a journal, he Reviewers/Editors should have the rights to ask for RAW data/DNA constructs/details of the sources, screening data on antibodies or transgenics that have been made to be used in the studies, etc, should there be a need. \n\nImplement this, and you will see, there will be a very FEW people left to continue in the profession of Biological Research, there will be LESS publications. But then there will be only honest ones left and quality research done.

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