A critic with more than two dozen retractions can’t seem to stop plagiarizing

A mysterious lit and film critic who built a significant portion of his career using the words of other scholars instead of writing his own appears to be attempting a second act.   Last year, Richard-Lawrence Etienne Barnett, who has lost more than two dozen papers for plagiarism, published a book called “The Adversarial Text,” which … Continue reading A critic with more than two dozen retractions can’t seem to stop plagiarizing

How my fellowship and an interest in oysters took me to France

How my fellowship and an interest in oysters took me to France | www.APHLblog.org

By Chelsea Carman

When I applied to APHL’s Infectious Diseases Laboratory Fellowship in 2017, I had no idea I’d find myself spending three weeks in Nantes, France, with a leading expert in norovirus detection in oysters. While I love to travel, and France had been on my list of places to explore, I never anticipated that I would have this opportunity during my fellowship or that the opportunity would be made possible through the network of researchers connected through it.

I began my year-long fellowship at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health State Laboratory last summer. Less than a year before, the state faced a norovirus outbreak linked to consumption of raw oysters from Wellfleet, MA. Oysters are filter feeders, so whatever is in their surrounding environment will filter through their body and possibly bioaccumulate, (i.e., accumulate in the oyster rather than being excreted). When people eat the oysters raw, they can be exposed to a potentially infectious dose of the virus.

The state public health lab did not have a protocol to test oysters for norovirus, so I was tasked with this project. I was invited to visit the Shellfish Purification Plant in Newburyport, MA, which is the oldest depuration facility in the world and the largest in the US. I thought this hour and a half trip to the tip of Plum Island on the north shore of Massachusetts would be the furthest I would travel during this fellowship, and was happy to enjoy this fascinating field trip.

As part of my research, I began contacting experts in similar fields. Upon connecting with an international expert in norovirus detection in oysters, I was invited to visit and train at IFREMER, a French research and national reference lab. I was thrilled to accept!

A few months later I was in Nantes, France, a beautiful and green city on the Loire River, approximately 30 miles inland from the western Atlantic coast. There I spent three weeks learning the ISO method for detection of norovirus in oysters along with another visiting researcher from Morocco. I also learned about other research projects at the lab, and its responsibilities as a national reference lab.

On my second day there, the public transportation workers went on strike, so I joined some of the lab scientists and walked to work through the morning mist on a forest trail. I happened to mention that it was my birthday that day, and soon one of the students had organized a group dinner to celebrate. I gained a strong sense of inclusiveness from the group and had a truly memorable experience. It was wonderful to be able to ask as many questions as I wanted about their work (sometimes with the aid of Google translate because my French was quite limited), which was enormously helpful for my own project.

From my time training in the IFREMER lab, I learned the nuances of dissecting out the digestive tissue of an oyster, as well as two different homogenization and ribonucleic acid (RNA) extraction techniques. It was an opportunity to work with people that routinely work with both oysters and norovirus. While I could have read and interpreted the protocols from Massachusetts, it was extremely helpful to observe the intricate steps and ask the experts questions to fully understand the protocol. I’m now back in Massachusetts and have implemented much of what I learned into my project.

Once I returned and shared my experience with friends and family, they had one question for me: Do I still eat oysters? I did eat oysters but then I started finding live pea crabs inside them. Pea crabs are a parasite in the oyster and I felt they represented a large physical manifestation of all the other potential parasites, bacteria or viruses that can reside in oysters. That was enough to make me avoid them, at least for a while. I might begin eating them again after I complete this project; I’m still young and have a relatively good immune system to protect me from whatever might be lurking in an oyster!

 

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Caught Our Notice: Voinnet co-author issues another correction

Title: AtsPLA2-α nuclear relocalization by the Arabidopsis transcription factor AtMYB30 leads to repression of the plant defense response What Caught Our Attention:  A previous collaborator with high-profile plant biologist Olivier Voinnet (who now has eight retractions) has issued an interesting correction to a 2010 PNAS paper. Susana Rivas is last author on the paper, the … Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Voinnet co-author issues another correction

Questions swirl around CNRS director’s decision to step down early

Today, a French council was set to confirm the new head of a prominent research institute, the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). But the appointee took the job a few days early, after the interim director stepped down last week — and the speculation about why she left hasn’t stopped ever since. An official […]

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Paper retracted when co-author forgets he had published a figure before

A 2016 case study in Neurology exploring a “mystery case” has been retracted because four figures had already been published in a 2012 article. The two papers have three authors in common, but according to the retraction notice, none could explain the duplicate publication. The notice states that Pierre Labauge, the corresponding author on the […]

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Researcher discovers paper published by co-author in another journal

In February 2016, Albert Jambon received some puzzling news. Several colleagues had alerted him to a paper, published online in late December 2015 in the Journal of African Earth Sciences (JAES), reporting the discovery of a rare mineral, which Jambon had been analyzing. When Jambon read the paper, he realized it was a modified version […]

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What should a journal do when a scientist who committed misconduct submits a new paper?

In December of last year, Chris Surridge found himself in a situation not uncommon to journal editors: A researcher who had been found to have committed misconduct had submitted a manuscript to the journal Surridge edits, Nature Plants. Retraction Watch readers may recall the name of the corresponding author, Patrice Dunoyer, who has had five papers […]

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Authors retract two plant biology papers over duplicated images

Plant scientists have issued two retractions after noticing several images had been duplicated within and across the papers. The papers both appeared in March 2002 in The Plant Cell and The Plant Journal. The last author on both papers — Jonathan Jones, a professor and group leader at The Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, UK — took […]

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Author objects to retraction after he says journal ignored his queries for three years

In 2014, a journal contacted researcher Denis Rousseau about one of his papers that had just been published online ahead of print, raising some concerns. According to Rousseau, he sent the journal a corrected figure “almost immediately,” which he believed addressed the issue. Rousseau, a cell biologist at the University Joseph Fourier in Grenoble, France, said he then contacted the journal many […]

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Negligence by stressed-out postdoc led to retraction of high-profile paper, supervisor says

The timing was tight, but Sergio Gonzalez had done it. Gonzalez, a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Neurosciences of Montpellier (INSERM) in France, had a paper accepted in a top journal by the end of 2015, just in time to apply for a small number of highly sought-after permanent research positions that open up in France each […]

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