Another 24 papers with image manipulation, duplication from CSIR-Indian Institute of Toxicology Research

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With 24 additional papers containing manipulated, duplicated images, the total number of problematic papers from CSIR-Indian Institute of Toxicology Research is 130. The huge number raises a serious issue for science journalists — how do we trust the claims made in papers published even in peer-reviewed journals?

If Pubpeer.com website does not surprise me anymore, this should be the last bath of 24 papers containing manipulated and/or duplicated images from the Lucknow-based CSIR-Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (CSIR-IITR). With this the grand total of questionable papers published from the institute comes to 130.

And this number does not include papers that have already been retracted due to issues with image manipulation or duplication.

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The only silver lining is that there are about a dozen scientists who do not have even a single paper listed on Pubpeer. I am not sure if it is because independent researchers have not checked their papers for image manipulation or is it really because none of their papers have any issues with images. I want to believe the latter to be the case but can’t be sure anymore. This experience has left me deeply shaken.

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Some of the papers with problematic images might be due to honest mistakes and can be easily corrected if the concerned scientists take necessary action. Still, as a science journalist I am deeply concerned with what I have found so far. Even with a PhD in science, I am no expert even in my own field (Earth Sciences). So most often science journalists write on lab work based on certain criteria. The first requirement is that the results of the work should have been published in a peer-reviewed journal. (Pre-prints are a different issue and I am not addressing it here.) Of course, we do check if the journal is a respectable one, and if we have not heard of it we check its impact factor (sorry, we have no other reliable indicator to grade scientific journals). As an unwritten rule, I try to stay clear of papers published from State universities and lesser known institutions.

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Papers from CSIR, ICMR and ICAR institutions are generally viewed positively. But after this experience, things are not going to be the same anymore. I am wondering whether I should get scientists such as Dr. Elisabeth M. Bik, Science consultant at Harbers-Bik LLC, San Francisco, California, to first check the paper for  image issues even before beginning to work on it. Or should we stick to writing about the work done by dozens of scientists we already know well. These are serious issues that we at The Hindu should consider immediately.

While surfing the Pubpeer website today, I did come across some questionable papers from CSIR’s Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI), also based in Lucknow.  And this only makes me more worried.

Problematic papers listed on Pubpeer website

1) Bisphenol-A Mediated Inhibition of Hippocampal Neurogenesis Attenuated by Curcumin via Canonical Wnt Pathway

Shashi Kant Tiwari, Swati Agarwal, Anurag Tripathi, Rajnish Kumar Chaturvedi

Molecular Neurobiology (2016)

2) Dynamin-related Protein 1 Inhibition Mitigates Bisphenol A-mediated Alterations in Mitochondrial Dynamics and Neural Stem Cell Proliferation and Differentiation

Swati Agarwal, Anuradha Yadav, Shashi Kant Tiwari, Brashket Seth, Lalit Kumar Singh Chauhan, Puneet Khare, Ratan Singh Ray, Rajnish Kumar Chaturvedi

The Journal of biological chemistry (2016)

3) Axin-2 knockdown promote mitochondrial biogenesis and dopaminergic neurogenesis by regulating Wnt/β-catenin signaling in rat model of Parkinson’s disease

Sonu Singh, Akanksha Mishra, Soni Jignesh Mohanbhai, Virendra Tiwari, Rajnish Kumar Chaturvedi, Sukant Khurana, Shubha Shukla

Free Radical Biology and Medicine (2018)

4) Effects of cypermethrin on monoamine transporters, xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes and lipid peroxidation in the rat nigrostriatal system

Manindra Nath Tiwari, Anand Kumar Singh, Israr Ahmad, Ghanshyam Upadhyay, Dhirendra Singh, Devendra Kumar Patel, Chetna Singh, Om Prakash, Mahendra Pratap Singh

Free Radical Research (2010)

5) CYP2E1-mediated oxidative stress regulates HO-1 and GST expression in maneb- and paraquat-treated rat polymorphonuclear leukocytes

Israr Ahmad, Smriti Shukla, Deepali Singh, Amit Kumar Chauhan, Vinod Kumar, Brajesh Kumar Singh, Devendra Kumar Patel, Haushila Prasad Pandey, Chetna Singh

Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry (2014)

6) Involvement of mitochondria mediated pathways in hepatoprotection conferred by Fumaria parviflora Lam. extract against nimesulide induced apoptosis in vitro

Madhulika Tripathi, Brijesh Kumar Singh, Chetna Mishra, Sheikh Raisuddin, Poonam Kakkar

Toxicology in Vitro (2010)

7) Gellan gum blended PEI nanocomposites as gene delivery agents: evidences from in vitro and in vivo studies

Ritu Goyal, S.K. Tripathi, Shilpa Tyagi, K. Ravi Ram, K.M. Ansari, Y. Shukla, D. Kar Chowdhuri, Pradeep Kumar, K.C. Gupta

European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics (2011)

8) Organochlorine pesticide, endosulfan induced cellular and organismal response in Drosophila melanogaster

Anurag Sharma, M. Mishra, A.K. Shukla, R. Kumar, M.Z. Abdin, D. Kar Chowdhuri

Journal of Hazardous Materials (2012)

9) Modulation of sestrin confers protection to Cr(VI) induced neuronal cell death in Drosophila melanogaster

Pallavi Singh, D. Kar Chowdhuri

Chemosphere (2018)

10) Expression profiling of lymph nodes in tuberculosis patients reveal inflammatory milieu at site of infection

Abhijit Maji, Richa Misra, Anupam Kumar Mondal, Dhirendra Kumar, Divya Bajaj, Anshika Singhal, Gunjan Arora, Asani Bhaduri, Andaleeb Sajid, Sugandha Bhatia, Sompal Singh, Harshvardhan Singh, Vivek Rao, Debasis Dash, E Baby Shalini, Joy Sarojini Michael, Anil Chaudhary, Rajesh S. Gokhale, Yogendra Singh

Scientific Reports (2015)

11) Arsenic exposure impels CD4 commitment in thymus and suppress T cell cytokine secretion by increasing regulatory T cells

Ruchi Gera, Vikas Singh, Sumonto Mitra, Anuj Kumar Sharma, Alok Singh, Arunava Dasgupta, Dhirendra Singh, Mahadeo Kumar, Pankaj Jagdale, Satyakam Patnaik, Debabrata Ghosh

Scientific Reports (2017)

12) Oroxylin A, a constituent of Oroxylum indicum inhibits adipogenesis and induces apoptosis in 3T3-L1 cells

Jyotsna Singh, Poonam Kakkar

Phytomedicine (2014)

13) Monocrotophos induced apoptosis in PC12 cells: role of xenobiotic metabolizing cytochrome P450s

Mahendra Pratap Kashyap, Abhishek Kumar Singh, Vivek Kumar, Vinay Kumar Tripathi, Ritesh Kumar Srivastava, Megha Agrawal, Vinay Kumar Khanna, Sanjay Yadav, Swatantra Kumar Jain, Aditya Bhushan Pant

PLoS ONE (2011)

14) Involvement of endogenous nitric oxide in myeloperoxidase mediated benzo(a)pyrene induced polymorphonuclear leukocytes injury

Abhai Kumar, Suman Patel, Yogendra Kumar Gupta, Mahendra Pratap Singh

Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry (2006)

15) Singlet oxygen mediated DNA damage induced phototoxicity by ketoprofen resulting in mitochondrial depolarization and lysosomal destabilization

Ratan Singh Ray, Syed Faiz Mujtaba, Ashish Dwivedi, Neera Yadav, Ankit Verma, Hari Narayan Kushwaha, Saroj Kumar Amar, Shruti Goel, Deepti Chopra

Toxicology (2013)

16) Involvement of cathepsin B in mitochondrial apoptosis by p -phenylenediamine under ambient UV radiation

Shruti Goyal, Saroj Kumar Amar, Divya Dubey, Manish Kumar Pal, Jyoti Singh, Ankit Verma, Hari Narayan Kushwaha, Ratan Singh Ray

Journal of Hazardous Materials (2015)

17) Attenuated neuroprotective effect of riboflavin under UV-B irradiation via miR-203/c-Jun signaling pathway in vivo and in vitro

Amit Kumar Tripathi, Ashish Dwivedi, Manish Kumar Pal, Namrata Rastogi, Priyanka Gupta, Shakir Ali, Manjunatha B H Prabhu, Hari Narayan Kushwaha, Ratan Singh Ray, Shio Kumar Singh, Shivali Duggal, Bhaskar Narayan, Durga Prasad Mishra

Journal of Biomedical Science (2014)

18) Dynamin-related Protein 1 Inhibition Mitigates Bisphenol A-mediated Alterations in Mitochondrial Dynamics and Neural Stem Cell Proliferation and Differentiation

Swati Agarwal, Anuradha Yadav, Shashi Kant Tiwari, Brashket Seth, Lalit Kumar Singh Chauhan, Puneet Khare, Ratan Singh Ray, Rajnish Kumar Chaturvedi

The Journal of biological chemistry (2016)

19) Photosensitized 2-amino-3-hydroxypyridine-induced mitochondrial apoptosis via Smac/DIABLO in human skin cells

Shruti Goyal, Saroj Kumar Amar, Ashish Dwivedi, Syed Faiz Mujtaba, Hari Narayan Kushwaha, Deepti Chopra, Manish Kumar Pal, Dhirendra Singh, Rajnish Kumar Chaturvedi, Ratan Singh Ray

Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology (2016)

20) Chronic cerebral hypoperfusion-induced impairment of Aβ clearance requires HB-EGF-dependent sequential activation of HIF1α and MMP9

Anushruti Ashok, Nagendra Kumar Rai, Waseem Raza, Rukmani Pandey, Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay

Neurobiology of Disease (2016)

21) Exposure to As-, Cd-, and Pb-mixture induces Aβ, amyloidogenic APP processing and cognitive impairments via oxidative stress-dependent neuroinflammation in young rats

Anushruti Ashok, Nagendra Kumar Rai, Sachin Tripathi, Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay

Toxicological Sciences (2015)

22) Characterization of developmental neurotoxicity of As, Cd, and Pb mixture: synergistic action of metal mixture in glial and neuronal functions

Asit Rai, Shailendra Kr Maurya, Priyanka Khare, Abhinav Srivastava, Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay

Toxicological Sciences (2010)

23) CDK5-induced p-PPARγ(Ser 112) downregulates GFAP via PPREs in developing rat brain: effect of metal mixture and troglitazone in astrocytes

A Rai, S Tripathi, R Kushwaha, P Singh, P Srivastava, S Sanyal, S Bandyopadhyay

Cell Death and Disease (2014)

24) Ameliorative effects of dimetylthiourea and N-acetylcysteine on nanoparticles induced cyto-genotoxicity in human lung cancer cells-A549

Ritesh Kumar Srivastava, Qamar Rahman, Mahendra Pratap Kashyap, Mohtashim Lohani, Aditya Bhushan Pant

PLoS ONE (2011)

2 Thoughts

  1. You’r doing a great job, putting this message forward, and things happening in IITR should not happen anywhere. But when picking up content from any website (pubpeer in this case), you should be more careful. Some papers are mentioned in pubpeer when someone didn’t understand the biology behind an experiment also.. I do condemn image duplicacy to its highest level. But what I am suggesting is not to do blind cherry-picking and improving the content in reporting.

  2. If they do like this my suggestion is that the institution affiliation and author named banned for Future,therefore No body can repeat this for all publisher house, that means carrier has been closed of this author
    Thank

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