Other papers that Dr. David said contained irregularities were based on data generated in laboratories other than those of Dana-Farber scientists, Dr. Rollins said. He said the institute began looking into possible data errors in some of the cases Dr. David reported even before he did so. published a blog post about them on January 2or the Harvard Crimson followed with a story a few days later. He also said a review of three of the manuscripts highlighted by Dr David did not support claims of irregularities in the data.
“The presence of discrepancies in an article’s images does not constitute evidence of an author’s intent to deceive,” he added. “This conclusion can only be drawn after careful and factual consideration, which is an integral part of our response. »
Dr David, who holds a doctorate in cellular and molecular biology from Newcastle University in Britain, said he regularly reviews scientific papers in his spare time. Although there is only one low-income supporter on the Patreon online platform — representing the only income he earns for his work — he estimates he has left about 2,000 comments on PubPeer, a website where scientists provide public feedback on their studies.
Although he often digs into low-quality research from China, Dr. David said he had recently looked into researchers who were collaborating with U.S.-based scientists whose studies he had previously found defective. After coming across irregularities in the work of some Dana-Farber scientists, I visited the institute’s website, began browsing its directorate page, and then dove into the articles of these researchers.
He identified some issues using AI software before checking them himself. He found others on his own. Other PubPeer users had reported some issues years earlier.
“You have a group of people in a facility with image problems,” Dr. David said. “How many mistakes are we happy with that people make and just say, ‘It’s an innocent mistake’?”
Among the most common irregularities he found were results from a Western blot, a method used to detect proteins, which were copied and pasted during different experiments, falsely suggesting that a given protein had been identified. In other cases, he said, the images appeared copied, rotated or stretched in a way that suggested deliberate manipulation.
In one study, I found that a mouse image from the first day of an experiment seemed to reappear in the results from day 16, in a different part of the experiment.
“I’m concerned about the whole process, rather than this or that spot,” Dr. David said. “Obviously something is wrong along the way.”
The findings also highlighted conflicts of interest that can complicate internal reviews of data irregularities. Dr. Rollins, Dana-Farber’s chief research integrity officer, is himself the author of some of the articles reported by Dr. David. The institute said he would be recused from any investigation affecting his research.
In the case of Dr. Glimcher, director general of the institute, an administrative committee will make a final decision on the findings.