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

Elie Dolgin
Nov 18, 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...
p://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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