With 23 more added, Amrita Centre for Nanosciences has 38 papers with duplicated, manipulated images

Nair4 - manipulation-Optimized

With 23 more papers added to Pubpeer, the total number of papers with image duplication and/or manipulation from Amrita Centre for Nanosciences and Molecular, Kochi stands at 38. In addition, there are 11 papers that have been corrected for image problems and two retracted for the same reason, taking the grand total of problematic papers to 51.

A day after 15 papers with duplicated images were posted on Pubpeer website, a fresh set 23 papers from the Amrita Centre for Nanosciences and Molecular Medicine at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Kochi, Kerala has been posted on the website. With this, the total number of papers with duplicated and/or manipulated images stands at 38.

Pubpeer website allows independent scientists to publish post-publication review of scientific papers. All the papers have been scrutinised and posted on the website by Dr. Elisabeth Bik, who is a Science Consultant at Harbers-Bik LLC, San Francisco, California.

In addition to the 38 papers that have problems with images, there are 11 more papers where a correction for image duplication has been published in the respective journals and two more papers that have been retracted for the same reason, taking the grand total of published papers with problematic images to 51.

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While Dr. R. Jayakumar is the corresponding author in most of the papers, Dr. Dr. Shantikumar V. Nair and Dr. Manzoor Koyakutty are corresponding authors in a few papers.

Dr. Jayakumar’s publications have been cited more than 14,400 times with h-index-62. Besides other awards, he is a recipient of the India Research Excellence-Citation Awards-2017 (Health & Medical Science area) from Clarivate Analytics, Web of Science. Dr. Jayakumar is a reviewer and editorial board member of many international journals.

Whereas image manipulation was present only in one paper in the earlier list of 15 papers, there are two papers in the current list wherein image manipulation was seen, taking the total to three. While in most cases the images have been reused in more than one paper — some images have been used in as many as three papers — there are only a few instances where image duplication is seen in the same paper. In one paper, there are six figures there the images have been used in two or more papers.

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The large number of cases of image duplication either between or within the same paper seen in a majority of cases is indeed shocking and cannot be dismissed as carelessness of the authors. What is even more appalling is image manipulation in three papers. Even if duplication of images in so many papers is attributed to sloppiness and therefore as inadvertent mistakes, image manipulation is a deliberate act and it amounts to cheating.

“I want to say that we have proactively informed the journals even before they appeared on Pubpeer.  The university is taking timely action on any papers where there is the slightest question raised,” Dr. Nair says in an email to me. While 11 papers already carry a correction, Dr. Nair says a vast majority of the papers have already been accepted as corrigendum by editorial boards of journals.

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“The numbers we may retract are still expected to be very small.  We are totally committed to retract any paper where we ourselves see a doubt because keeping the purity of the scientific literature is a sacred commitment of our academic institution. In cases where errors have been brought to our attention by others we are thankful for that,” he says.

And about Dr. Jayakumar’s case, Dr. Nair says: “There is no doubt carelessness was there on his part and not only on the students. The university committee has taken this incident seriously and has not arrived at a decision yet as to the consequence.  The decision will likely await full completion of review of all papers by the journal editors themselves.”

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However, Dr. Nair does not mention anything about image manipulation in four papers. “In almost all of the papers, errors were inadvertent rather than intentional. We will attempt to prevent inadvertence very strictly in the processes we have now set up,” he says.

“As I said earlier, we have now set up a tight system of data cross-checking because many other institutions are also facing this problem. We feel we now have a rigorous system where errors, whether intentional or not, can be detected prior to publication,” Dr. Nair says.

Problematic papers listed on Pubpeer website

1) Multifaceted chitin/poly(lactic-co-glycolic) acid composite nanogels

Sanoj Rejinold, Raja Biswas, Gopi Chellan, R. Jayakumar

International Journal of Biological Macromolecules (2014)

2) Synthesis, characterization and in vitro cytocompatibility studies of chitin nanogels for biomedical applications

Sanoj Rejinold, Amrita Nair, M. Sabitha, K.P. Chennazhi, H. Tamura, S.V. Nair, R. Jayakumar

Carbohydrate Polymers (2012)

3) Anti-cancer, pharmacokinetics and tumor localization studies of pH-, RF- and thermo-responsive nanoparticles

Sanoj Rejinold, Reju George Thomas, Muthunarayanan Muthiah, K.P. Chennazhi, K. Manzoor, In-Kyu Park, Yong Yeon Jeong, R. Jayakumar

International Journal of Biological Macromolecules (2015)

4) Synthesis, characterization and cytocompatibility studies of α-chitin hydrogel/nano hydroxyapatite composite scaffolds

P.T. Sudheesh Kumar, Sowmya Srinivasan, Vinoth-Kumar Lakshmanan, H. Tamura, S.V. Nair, R. Jayakumar

International Journal of Biological Macromolecules (2011)

5) β-Chitin hydrogel/nano hydroxyapatite composite scaffolds for tissue engineering applications

P.T. Sudheesh Kumar, Sowmya Srinivasan, Vinoth-Kumar Lakshmanan, H. Tamura, S.V. Nair, R. Jayakumar

Carbohydrate Polymers (2011)

6) Fabrication of alginate/nanoTiO2 needle composite scaffolds for tissue engineering applications

V.V. Divya Rani, Roshni Ramachandran, K.P. Chennazhi, H. Tamura, S.V. Nair, R. Jayakumar

Carbohydrate Polymers (2011)

7) Fabrication of chitin–chitosan/nano TiO2-composite scaffolds for tissue engineering applications

Jayakumar, Roshni Ramachandran, V.V. Divyarani, K.P. Chennazhi, H. Tamura, S.V. Nair

International Journal of Biological Macromolecules (2011)

8) Manganese doped nano-bioactive glass for magnetic resonance imaging

Nikhil Vadera, Anusha Ashokan, Genekehal S. Gowd, K.M. Sajesh, R.P. Chauhan, R. Jayakumar, Shantikumar V. Nair, Manzoor Koyakutty

Materials Letters (2015)

9) Injectable alginate-O-carboxymethyl chitosan/nano fibrin composite hydrogels for adipose tissue engineering

Dhanya Jaikumar, K.M. Sajesh, S. Soumya, T.R. Nimal, K.P. Chennazhi, Shantikumar V. Nair, R. Jayakumar

International Journal of Biological Macromolecules (2015)

10) Curcumin-loaded biocompatible thermoresponsive polymeric nanoparticles for cancer drug delivery

Sanoj Rejinold, M. Muthunarayanan, V.V. Divyarani, P.R. Sreerekha, K.P. Chennazhi, S.V. Nair, H. Tamura, R. Jayakumar

Journal of Colloid and Interface Science (2011)

11) Biocompatible, biodegradable and thermo-sensitive chitosan-g-poly (N-isopropylacrylamide) nanocarrier for curcumin drug delivery

Sanoj Rejinold, P.R. Sreerekha, K.P. Chennazhi, S.V. Nair, R. Jayakumar

International Journal of Biological Macromolecules (2011)

12) Multifunctional Chitin Nanogels for Simultaneous Drug Delivery, Bioimaging, and Biosensing

Sanoj Rejinold N, Krishna Prasad Chennazhi, Hiroshi Tamura, Shantikumar V. Nair, Jayakumar Rangasamy

ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (2011)

13) 5-Fluorouracil loaded fibrinogen nanoparticles for cancer drug delivery applications

Sanoj Rejinold, M. Muthunarayanan, K.P. Chennazhi, S.V. Nair, R. Jayakumar

International Journal of Biological Macromolecules (2011)

14) Saponin-loaded chitosan nanoparticles and their cytotoxicity to cancer cell lines in vitro

Sanoj Rejinold, M. Muthunarayanan, K. Muthuchelian, K.P. Chennazhi, Shanti V. Nair, R. Jayakumar

Carbohydrate Polymers (2011)

15) Biodegradable and thermo-sensitive chitosan-g-poly(N-vinylcaprolactam) nanoparticles as a 5-fluorouracil carrier

Sanoj Rejinold, K.P. Chennazhi, S.V. Nair, H. Tamura, R. Jayakumar

Carbohydrate Polymers (2011)

16) Novel biodegradable chitosan–gelatin/nano-bioactive glass ceramic composite scaffolds for alveolar bone tissue engineering

Mathew Peter, N.S. Binulal, S.V. Nair, N. Selvamurugan, H. Tamura, R. Jayakumar

Chemical Engineering Journal (2010)

17) Preparation and characterization of chitosan–gelatin/nanohydroxyapatite composite scaffolds for tissue engineering applications

Mathew Peter, Nitya Ganesh, N. Selvamurugan, S.V. Nair, T. Furuike, H. Tamura, R. Jayakumar

Carbohydrate Polymers (2010)

18) Development of a phytochemical scaffold for bone tissue engineering using Cissus quadrangularis extract

Soumya, K.M. Sajesh, R. Jayakumar, S.V. Nair, K.P. Chennazhi

Carbohydrate Polymers (2012)

19) Biocompatible conducting chitosan/polypyrrole–alginate composite scaffold for bone tissue engineering

K.M. Sajesh, R. Jayakumar, Shantikumar V. Nair, K.P. Chennazhi

International Journal of Biological Macromolecules (2013)

20) Electrospinning of carboxymethyl chitin/poly(vinyl alcohol) nanofibrous scaffolds for tissue engineering applications

K.T. Shalumon, N.S. Binulal, N. Selvamurugan, S.V. Nair, Deepthy Menon, T. Furuike, H. Tamura, R. Jayakumar

Carbohydrate Polymers (2009)

21) Development of novel α-chitin/nanobioactive glass ceramic composite scaffolds for tissue engineering applications

Mathew Peter, Pandian Thodi Sudheesh Kumar, Nelson Sathy Binulal, Shanti V. Nair, Hiroshi Tamura, Rangasamy Jayakumar

Carbohydrate Polymers (2009)

22) A Polymer-Protein Core–Shell Nanomedicine for Inhibiting Cancer Migration Followed by Photo-Triggered Killing

Ranjith Ramachandran, Giridharan Loghanathan Malarvizhi, Parwathy Chandran, Neha Gupta, Deepthy Menon, Dilip Panikar, Shantikumar Nair, Manzoor Koyakutty

Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology (2014)

23) Transferrin-Conjugated Biodegradable Graphene for Targeted Radiofrequency Ablation of Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Divya Bijukumar, C. M. Girish, Abhilash Sasidharan, Shantikumar Nair, Manzoor Koyakutty

ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering (2015)

 

6 Thoughts

  1. It’s a shame and disgrace to scientific community, especially of India. I too have been n research field for more than 50 yrs and during my active phase till a few years ago, only one case was reported and that was from University of Madras. It was plagiarism and by sheer coincidence the thesis was sent to a foreign examiner whose work was just copied word by word by this candidate. A similar case was reported from RRL ( old name) Trivandrum. This would have gone unnoticed but for the apology note given by the Editor.

  2. Most of the nanotechnology papers from India has fabrication in the title suggesting the AUTHORS know what they are doing. What a waste of research funding and fraud? for what purpose?

  3. “The decision will likely await full completion of review of all papers by the journal editors themselves.”

    Journals often take years to review papers and finally retract them. That is just adding to the delay.
    The primary reponsibility lies with the home institution, not with the journals. Many journals will not act unless instructed by the home institution.

    Two examples of journals taking years to react:-

    https://retractionwatch.com/2019/06/05/why-did-all-of-these-retractions-take-more-than-three-years/

    https://retractionwatch.com/2018/07/13/nearly-two-years-after-a-university-asked-for-retractions-two-journals-have-done-nothing/

  4. What is going on in India? Do Indian researchers kill science? It will be frustrating if everything proves.

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