IISc has 33 papers listed on Pubpeer for image duplication

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About half a dozen IISc researchers have 33 papers listed on Pubpeer for image duplication. Most of the duplication is within the same paper. With 13 papers, Akhil R. Chakravarty has the most number of problematic articles. A few researchers have already got or are about to get an erratum published.

India’s premier institution Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru too seems to have problems with images in papers published in journals. At last count, 33 papers published by half a dozen researchers have images that have been duplicated. While most of the image duplication is within the same paper, a couple of images have been reused in more than one paper. None of the images appear to have been manipulated.

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All the problematic images have been posted by independent researchers on Pubpeer website. The Pubpeer website allows independent scientists to publish post-publication review of scientific papers. Once a comment is posted on the website, the concerned authors are automatically alerted by the website.

All the papers listed on Pubpeer where the authors have already not admitted to mistakes in the images were cross-checked by Dr. Elisabeth Bik. Dr. Bik is a Science Consultant at Harbers-Bik LLC, San Francisco, California and an expert in identifying duplication and manipulation in images.

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Leading the pack with 13 papers

With 13, Prof. Akhil R. Chakravarty from the Department of Inorganic and Physical Chemistry has the most number of papers from the institution to be listed on the website. He is the corresponding author in all the 13 papers. Erratum has already been published in the journals for six of the 13 papers.

Prof. Avadhesha Surolia from the Molecular Biophysics Unit at IISc has four papers with problematic images. While he is the corresponding author in three papers, he is only a co-author in the fourth. In a note on the Pubpeer website, the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine, which published one of Prof. Surolia’s paper last year, says it is “looking into this issue” of image duplication.

“All the mistakes/errors that were there in the papers [have been] rectified now and most of the corrections have already appeared in the respective journals. Some are in the process of publication as erratum/corrigendum/addition-correction,” Prof. Chakravarty mentions in email to me. “All the alerts came at a time in December 2018. We [have been] successful in rectifying the errors within six months time.”

IISc6-OptimizedOn why 13 papers from his group have problems with images, Prof. Chakravarty says: “These papers are during the last 10 years. There is no problem with the majority of the images. Only problem was how they were presented. That gave an impression that the gel lanes are copied. Wherever there were serious mistakes, we accepted that and requested the editors to permit us to submit the corrections. With due permission, we submitted the corrections and got the mistakes corrected… The conclusions of the papers remain the same.”

“As the senior author of the publications, I accept the blame for these errors,” he adds. “I have asked my students to be very careful when they get the images from the institute facilities. I have also requested my collaborators to thoroughly check the images. I am looking carefully [at] the data from my research group. We are now trying to get the software for checking image duplication.”

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In the process of getting it corrected

In an email to me, Prof. Sathees Raghavan from the Department of Biochemistry at IISc, who has two papers listed on Pubpeer says: “In one of the papers two images (control and one of the treated sample) were duplicated. Upon crosschecking the originals, we found out that this happened during copy pasting of images.  There will not be any change in the conclusions drawn.  Nevertheless, I am in the process of correcting this in the journal.”

“The second problem pointed out was use of common control for Comet assay used for three compounds published as independent articles in journals. While going through the experimental note book of the Postdoc who conducted the study, we now figured out that Comet assay for all three compounds was done at the same time and therefore a common control was used. In this scenario, I am contacting the journal to see whether a correction is required,” Prof. Raghavan adds. “Although, all these were unintentional errors, I have brought several new rules to lab to ensure that such errors are not repeated.”

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Does not affect the conclusion

Responding to an email, Prof. Annapoorni Rangarajan from the Department of Molecular Reproduction, Development and Genetics defends the Western blot image in one of her papers posted on Pubpeer. She says: “Due to the dearth of space allocated by the journals, the whole blots are not usually shown in the manuscript and typically only the portions of the blots containing the data are provided. Such presentation of the Western blots, though conventionally accepted in the scientific community, may mislead the inexperienced readers but the Reviewers of the manuscripts who are expert in these techniques understand and approve of them.”

Admitting to duplication of images in another paper of hers, Prof. Rangarajan says: “There has indeed been an error in the topmost panel in Fig. 2d. While assembling 36 images in this sub-figure, one image has been inadvertently shown twice. We will provide the journal with the correct image and request the editor to publish an erratum. This will in no way affect the conclusions drawn in the paper.”IISc-6-Optimized

Problematic papers listed on Pubpeer website

1) Curcumin “Drug” Stabilized in Oxidovanadium(IV)-BODIPY Conjugates for Mitochondria-Targeted Photocytotoxicity (Erratum published)

Utso Bhattacharyya, Brijesh Kumar, Aditya Garai, Arnab Bhattacharyya, Arun Kumar, Samya Banerjee, Paturu Kondaiah, Akhil R. Chakravarty

Inorganic Chemistry (2017)

2) Anaerobic Photocleavage of DNA in Red Light by Dicopper(II) Complexes of 3,3′-Dithiodipropionic Acid (Erratum published)

Debojyoti Lahiri, Tuhin Bhowmick, Biswarup Pathak, Oottikkal Shameema, Ashis K. Patra, Suryanarayanarao Ramakumar, Akhil R. Chakravarty

Inorganic Chemistry (2009)

3) Mitochondria localizing high-spin iron complexes of curcumin for photo-induced drug release (Erratum published)

Avishek Jana, Brijesh K. Verma, Aditya Garai, Paturu Kondaiah, Akhil R. Chakravarty

Inorganica Chimica Acta (2018)

4) Metal-based netropsin mimics showing AT-selective DNA binding and DNA cleavage activity at red light (Erratum published)

Ashis K. Patra, Tuhin Bhowmick, Suryanarayanarao Ramakumar, Akhil R. Chakravarty

Inorganic Chemistry (2007)

5) Photocytotoxicity of copper(II) complexes of curcumin and N-ferrocenylmethyl-l-amino acids

Tridib K. Goswami, Sudarshan Gadadhar, Bappaditya Gole, Anjali A. Karande, Akhil R. Chakravarty

European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry (2013)

6) Synthesis, crystal structure, DNA binding and photo-induced DNA cleavage activity of (S-methyl-l-cysteine)copper(II) complexes of heterocyclic bases

Ashis K. Patra, Munirathinam Nethaji, Akhil R. Chakravarty

Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry (2007)

7) Red-light photosensitized cleavage of DNA by (l-lysine)(phenanthroline base)copper(II) complexes

Ashis K. Patra, Munirathinam Nethaji, Akhil R. Chakravarty

Dalton Transactions (2005)

8) Ternary iron(III) complex showing photocleavage of DNA in the photodynamic therapy window (Erratum published)

Mithun Roy, Sounik Saha, Ashis K. Patra, Munirathinam Nethaji, Akhil R. Chakravarty

Inorganic Chemistry (2007)

9) Photodynamic effect in near-IR light by a photocytotoxic iron(III) cellular imaging agent

Uttara Basu, Imran Khan, Akhtar Hussain, Paturu Kondaiah, Akhil R. Chakravarty

Angewandte Chemie International Edition (2012)

10) Impact of metal binding on the antitumor activity and cellular imaging of a metal chelator cationic imidazopyridine derivative

Mithun Roy, Balabhadrapatruni V. S. K. Chakravarthi, Chelliah Jayabaskaran, Anjali A. Karande, Akhil R. Chakravarty

Dalton Transactions (2011)

11) Nuclear targeting terpyridine iron(II) complexes for cellular imaging and remarkable photocytotoxicity (Erratum published)

Uttara Basu, Imran Khan, Debasis Koley, Sounik Saha, Paturu Kondaiah, Akhil R. Chakravarty

Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry (2012)

12) Endoplasmic reticulum targeting tumour selective photocytotoxic oxovanadium(IV) complexes having vitamin-B6 and acridinyl moieties

Samya Banerjee, Akanksha Dixit, Anjali A. Karande, Akhil R. Chakravarty

Dalton Transactions (2016)

13) Photocytotoxic oxovanadium(IV) complexes of ferrocenyl-terpyridine and acetylacetonate derivatives (Erratum published)

Babu Balaji, Babita Balakrishnan, Sravanakumar Perumalla, Anjali A. Karande, Akhil R. Chakravarty

European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry (2015)

14) An allosteric inhibitor of Mycobacterium tuberculosis ArgJ: Implications to a novel combinatorial therapy

Archita Mishra, Ashalatha S Mamidi, Raju S Rajmani, Ananya Ray, Rajanya Roy, Avadhesha Surolia

EMBO Molecular Medicine (2018)

15) Insulin signaling pathway protects neuronal cell lines by Sirt3 mediated IRS2 activation

Neha Mishra, Sonam Lata, Priyanka Deshmukh, Kajal Kamat, Avadhesha Surolia, Tanushree Banerjee

BioFactors (2018)

16) Alzheimer’s and Danish dementia peptides induce cataract and perturb retinal architecture in rats

Bhanuprakash Reddy, P. Yadagiri Reddy, Avadhesha Surolia

BioMolecular Concepts (2017)

17) Heat shock protein 70-2 (HSP70-2) a novel cancer testis antigen that promotes growth of ovarian cancer

Namita Gupta, Nirmala Jagadish, Avadhesha Surolia, Anil Suri

American Journal of Cancer Research (2017)

18) Absence of Receptor Guanylyl Cyclase C Enhances Ileal Damage and Reduces Cytokine and Antimicrobial Peptide Production during Oral Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium Infection

Shamik Majumdar, Vishwas Mishra, Somesh Nandi, Mudabir Abdullah, Anaxee Barman, Abinaya Raghavan, Dipankar Nandi, Sandhya S. Visweswariah

Infection and Immunity (2018)

19) Co-liposomes having anisamide tagged lipid and cholesteryl tryptophan trigger enhanced gene transfection in sigma receptor positive cells

Santosh K. Misra, Parikshit Moitra, Paturu Kondaiah, Santanu Bhattacharya

Colloids and Surfaces B Biointerfaces (2016)

20) Role of areca nut induced JNK/ATF2/Jun axis in the activation of TGF-β pathway in precancerous Oral Submucous Fibrosis

Ila Pant, S. Girish Rao, Paturu Kondaiah

Scientific Reports (2016)

21) The characterization of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Mre11/Rad50/Xrs2 complex reveals that Rad50 negatively regulates Mre11 endonucleolytic but not the exonucleolytic activity

Gargi Ghosal, K. Muniyappa

Journal of Molecular Biology (2007)

22) Molecular Mechanism Underlying ATP-Induced Conformational Changes in the Nucleoprotein Filament of Mycobacterium smegmatis RecA

P. Manjunath, Neelesh Soni, Pavana L. Vaddavalli, Dipeshwari J. Shewale, M. S. Madhusudhan, K. Muniyappa

Biochemistry (2016)

23) A plant-derived dehydrorotenoid: a new inhibitor of hepatitis C virus entry

Mihika Bose, Mohini Kamra, Ranajoy Mullick, Santanu Bhattacharya, Saumitra Das, Anjali A. Karande

FEBS Letters (2017)

24) Identification of Early Biomarkers during Acetaminophen-Induced Hepatotoxicity by Fourier Transform Infrared Microspectroscopy

Rekha Gautam, Bhagawat Chandrasekar, Mukta Deobagkar-Lele, Srabanti Rakshit, Vinay Kumar B. N., Siva Umapathy, Dipankar Nandi

PLOS ONE (2012)

25) Common host genes are activated in mouse brain by Japanese encephalitis and rabies viruses

S. Saha, P N Rangarajan

Journal of General Virology (2003)

26) Introduction of SV40ER and hTERT into mammospheres generates breast cancer cells with stem cell properties

A N Paranjape, T Mandal, G Mukherjee, M V Kumar, K Sengupta, A Rangarajan

Oncogene (2012)

27) Simian virus 40 small T antigen activates AMPK and triggers autophagy to protect cancer cells from nutrient deprivation

Sravanth Hindupur Kumar, Annapoorni Rangarajan

Journal of Virology (2009)

28) Distinct roles of FANCO/RAD51C protein in DNA damage signaling and repair: implications for Fanconi anemia and breast cancer susceptibility

Kumar Somyajit, Shreelakshmi Subramanya, Ganesh Nagaraju

The Journal of biological chemistry (2012)

29) ATM- and ATR-Mediated Phosphorylation of XRCC3 Regulates DNA Double-Strand Break-Induced Checkpoint Activation and Repair

Kumar Somyajit, Shivakumar Basavaraju, Ralph Scully, Ganesh Nagaraju

Molecular and Cellular Biology (2013)

30) Knockdown of Cytosolic Glutaredoxin 1 Leads to Loss of Mitochondrial Membrane Potential: Implication in Neurodegenerative Diseases

Uzma Saeed, Lalitha Durgadoss, R. Khader Valli, Dinesh C. Joshi, Preeti G. Joshi, Vijayalakshmi Ravindranath

PLOS ONE (2008)

31) Ascorbic acid-mediated enhanced cardiomyocyte differentiation of mouse ES-cells involves interplay of DNA methylation and multiple-signals

Deepti Abbey, Polani B. Seshagiri

Differentiation (2017)

32) A novel DNA intercalator, butylamino-pyrimido[4′,5′:4,5]selenolo(2,3-b)quinoline, induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in leukemic cells

S. Shahabuddin, Mridula Nambiar, Bibha Choudhary, Gopal M. Advirao, Sathees C. Raghavan

Investigational New Drugs (2010)

33) Novel derivatives of spirohydantoin induce growth inhibition followed by apoptosis in leukemia cells

C.V. Kavitha, Mridula Nambiar, C.S. Ananda Kumar, Bibha Choudhary, K. Muniyappa, Kanchugarakoppal S. Rangappa, Sathees C. Raghavan

Biochemical Pharmacology (2009)

Published in The Hindu on July 10, 2019

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