Another Retraction for Discredited Researcher

Robert Ryan resigned from the University of Dundee in 2016 following an investigation of misconduct.

By Jim Daley | May 25, 2018


The Journal of Bacteriology issued a retraction today (May 25) of a study coauthored by Robert Ryan, nearly two years after a PubPeer commenter first pointed out the study’s figures appeared identical to images in two other papers. The study is among a handful of papers coauthored by Ryan that have been retracted in recent years. Retraction Watch previously reported one retraction each in PNAS and EMBO Molecular Medicine, and one in Molecular Microbiology. In addition, close to a dozen other papers coauthored by Ryan have raised concern on PubPeer.

According to Dow’s University College Cork website, Ryan first coauthored a poster with him in 2004. They published several papers together between 2006-2012, during which time Ryan was granted nearly €500,000 from Science Foundation Ireland, including funds to set up a research group at UCC, according to a 2016 article in The Irish Times.

Ryan began working at University of Dundee in Scotland in 2013, but resigned in 2016 after the university upheld the findings of an investigation that found him guilty of misconduct related to figure manipulation. There were claims of “intent to deceive” because some of the images had been rotated or flipped. Upon resigning, he also withdrew from the EMBO Young Investigator Program, which he’d been selected for in 2015, according to Retraction Watch

Correction (June 17): An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Ryan was forced to resign, when, in fact, he was not and that Retraction Watch reported two retractions in Molecular Microbiology when it only reported one. Both errors have been corrected. The story also attributed information about Robert Ryan’s time at University College Cork to a website incorrectly identified as his. Ryan informed The Scientist that the site is not his, and the reference to the website has been removed. The Scientist regrets the errors.

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Avatar of: Leonid Schneider

Leonid Schneider

Posts: 10

May 28, 2018

Some details.

The Ryan misconduct investigation at Dundee took 6 months, involved external investigators and lawyers on both sides. EMBO revoked Ryan's YIP funding after having heard of his resignation in the news. Wellcome Trust soon followed suit.

Maxwell Dow used fake pretense of copyright infringement to attack my site, by illegally ordering a DMCA take-down notice of my relevant article, claiming to act on behalf of his university UCC. Luckily, my service provdier Wordpress did not comply, but Slideshare did. UCC refused comment.

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