Top Cancer Center Seeks to Retract or Correct Dozens of Studies

Other papers that Dr. David discovered to comprise irregularities have been based mostly on knowledge generated in labs apart from these of the Dana-Farber scientists, Dr. Rollins mentioned. He mentioned the institute had started reviewing potential knowledge errors in some of the circumstances flagged by Dr. David even earlier than he published a blog post about them on Jan. 2, or the Harvard Crimson followed with a story a number of days later. He additionally mentioned a evaluation of three of the manuscripts highlighted by Dr. David didn’t assist allegations of knowledge irregularities.

“The presence of image discrepancies in a paper is not evidence of an author’s intent to deceive,” he added. “That conclusion can only be drawn after a careful, fact-based examination, which is an integral part of our response.”

Dr. David, who earned a doctorate in mobile and molecular biology from Newcastle University in Britain, mentioned he routinely pored over scientific papers on his personal time. Despite having solely a single, low-dollar supporter on the online platform Patreon — representing the one earnings he earns for his work — he estimated that he had left about 2,000 feedback on PubPeer, a web site the place scientists present public suggestions on research.

While he usually digs round in low-quality analysis from China, Dr. David mentioned, not too long ago he had been wanting into researchers who collaborated with American-based scientists whose research he had beforehand discovered defective. After stumbling on irregularities in work by some Dana-Farber scientists, he visited the institute’s web site, started scrolling down its management web page after which dove into these researchers’ papers.

He recognized some issues with the assistance of AI software program earlier than checking them himself. Others he discovered on his personal. Other PubPeer customers had first flagged some of the problems years earlier.

“You’ve got a cluster of people at one institution with image problems,” Dr. David mentioned. “How many mistakes are we happy with people making and just kind of saying, ‘That’s an innocent error’?”

Among the most typical irregularities he discovered have been outcomes from a western blot, a way used to detect proteins, that have been copied and pasted throughout completely different experiments, mistakenly suggesting {that a} given protein had been recognized. In different circumstances, he mentioned, the photographs appeared copied and rotated or stretched in a approach that steered deliberate manipulation.

In one research, he discovered that a picture of mice from day one of an experiment appeared to reappear within the outcomes on day 16, in a special half of the experiment.

“I’m concerned about the whole process, rather than specifically this blot or that blot,” Dr. David mentioned. “Clearly something has gone awry along the way.”

The findings additionally highlighted the conflicts of curiosity that may complicate inner opinions of knowledge irregularities. Dr. Rollins, Dana-Farber’s analysis integrity officer, is himself an creator on just a few of the papers flagged by Dr. David. The institute mentioned he can be recused from any investigation concerning his analysis.

In the case of Dr. Glimcher, the institute’s chief government, a committee of trustees will make a ultimate dedication about any findings.

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