WIKIMEDIA, BRIAN TURNERIn March 2008, olfactory researcher Linda Buck retracted a 2001 Nature paper after failing to reproduce the results and noticing “inconsistencies between some of the figures and data published in the paper and the original data,” according to the retraction notice. Two–and-a-half years later, Buck’s group retracted two more papers, one published in PNAS in 2005, the other published in Science in 2006. Now, the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) published its final action on the case, finding that Zhihua Zou—a former postdoc in Buck’s lab at Harvard Medical School and staff scientist in her lab at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, as well as the lead author on all three papers—was guilty of research misconduct. The ORI’s ruling applies only to the Nature and PNAS papers, according to the notice published yesterday (July 30) in the Federal Register.

Both papers—cited 168 and...

Although Zou denied any wrongdoing at the time, the ORI has found that he falsified several figures in the Nature paper and one figure in the PNAS paper “by manipulating the images to alter the number and location of positively stained cells in the olfactory bulb and olfactory cortex of mice,” according to the Federal Register notice. As a result of the ORI findings, Zou has agreed to have any research funded by the Public Health Service supervised and to exclude himself from any advisory roles for three years.

Interested in reading more?

The Scientist ARCHIVES

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!