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Alleged Data Manipulation in Nano Letters and ACS Nano from the Pease group

Leonard Pierce III

A recent paper from Rajasekhar Anumolu and Leonard F. Pease in Nano Letters entitled, “Chopstick Nanorods: Tuning the Angle between Pairs with High Yield“, had a collection of very interesting TEM images. Below are a set of images from both Figure 4E and 4F.

The images below show the boundary of one nanorod apparently overlapping the adjacent nanorod. This is not the only type of artifacts that are visible.

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Adapted with permission from Nano Lett., Article ASAP (DOI: 10.1021/nl400959z). Copyright 2013 American Chemical Society.
In other parts of the same figure, nanorod boundaries seem to be obviously different colors than the surrounding background.

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Adapted with permission from Nano Lett., Article ASAP (DOI: 10.1021/nl400959z). Copyright 2013 American Chemical Society.
Image manipulation does not seem confined to only this manuscript; in the supporting information of another paper in a different journal, this time in ACS Nano, entitled, Fabrication of Highly Uniform Nanoparticles from Recombinant Silk-Elastin-like Protein Polymers for Therapeutic Agent Delivery, Figure S2C looks to me to be manipulated. My eyes can find a grey square and a grey ellipse added to the image.

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Adapted with permission from ACS Nano, 2011, 5 (7), pp 5374–5382 (DOI: 10.1021/nn103585f). Copyright 2011 American Chemical Society.
Both Professor Pease and Rajasekhar Anumolu were contacted two days prior to publishing this story for comment. Professor Pease informed me there was an investigation underway at the University of Utah into this matter and strongly encouraged me not to publish this story until the University completed its investigation. No comment was received from Rajasekhar Anumolu.

Prior to publishing this story Jeffrey R. Botkin, Associate Vice President for Research at University of Utah, contacted me confirming that “the University of Utah was informed of this matter by the editor of the journal and the University is conducting a thorough investigation for research misconduct.”

Update (8/15): Nano Lett paper is withdrawn.

Mitch

By August 13, 2013 85 comments science news