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Fraudulent protein paper pulled after 6 years

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Structures were fabricated.

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What’s hot? What’s not?/Niklas Bildhauer, Wikimedia

From The Scientist:

Neither Nature nor the paper’s authors have fully explained why it took so long to retract the study. “This is a pretty old story, I don’t know why Nature took so long,” coauthor Narayana Sthanam from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) told Retraction Watch. “Nature asked us maybe two months back, do I have any comment or objection for retracting.”

Apparently, two authors did not agree to retraction.

One of the coauthors who did not agree with the retraction, former UAB researcher M. Krishna Murthy, was found “solely responsible for the fraudulent data” by the UAB investigation. More.

Note: Allegations of fraud may involve legal as well as career issues; it would be no surprise if persons were advised to reserve their defense in case of later action.

See also: Should science papers be anonymous? The problem with safeguards that don’t work is not just that they don’t work. Rather, they can work against the aims of the process.

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One Reply to “Fraudulent protein paper pulled after 6 years

  1. 1
    mahuna says:

    Having never done any work on the Grant side of government work, if the group given the grant produces a fraudulent report (for example, a report with fake data), isn’t the group liable for prosecution?

    I’m sure that a “studies and analysis” contract with DoD, for example, that failed to do any actual data collection and simply threw together a fake analysis would be liable for refund of any money paid under the contract and liable for a separate charge of Fraud. The group, and most likely the individuals, would also be blacklisted and prohibited from receiving any new contracts with the Government.

    But I get the idea that there is no downside to faking a study, especially if the guys leading the study (and raking in the lion’s share of the cash) are tenured before the fakery is exposed. This would seem to create the perverted case where fakery is the surest route to professional success.

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