India’s Council of Scientific & Industrial Research is investigating potential image-manipulation problems flagged by PubPeer commenters in 130 papers from its Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, The Hindu reported last week (June 4). The publication has separately reported PubPeer comments pointing out apparent image manipulation for 31 papers from the CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (CSIR-IICB), and 35 from the CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute (CSIR-CDRI).
“CSIR has a zero tolerance policy on the issue of scientific integrity. In the past, such matters have been dealt with very firmly,” CSIR Director-General Shekhar Mande tells The Hindu in an email. “If anyone is found to be guilty of manipulations thereby leading to deliberate scientific fraud, the person will face suitable disciplinary action.”
A handful of the papers have been retracted or corrected by journals, The Hindu notes. CSIR-CDRI’s Naibedya Chattopadhyay, who has had one paper retracted and four corrected, wrote in an email to the publication that, “I was co-author and not the corresponding author of the paper that has been retracted. Second, the papers where I am the corresponding author, [image duplication was due to] erroneous copying and pasting of images within the same paper and not a deliberate act. Those have been corrected. However, in none of my cases those errors changed the conclusion of the paper and the journals allowed corrigendum after due diligence of checking raw data. So, to call these mistakes as image manipulation is factually incorrect.”