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Good practices

A collection of retracted articles

An article about the health benefits of broccoli was recently retracted by the journal Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry, 12 years after it was published. It is not that the healthy nature of the vegetable is being reassessed. The problem is in the practices adopted by the paper’s author, US-based Indian physician Dipak Kumar Das (1947–2013). Das was director of the Cardiovascular Research Center at the University of Connecticut and has had 22 articles retracted for data fabrication, image falsification, irregular attribution of authorship, self-plagiarism, and violations of ethical research standards. His work on broccoli was invalidated because it referenced other papers by Das that have been retracted in recent years.

A prolific scholar, Das wrote over 500 scientificarticles, 117 of them on resveratrol, an ingredient of red wine that has antioxidant effects. In 2008, he was the subject of an anonymous tipoff that prompted the University of Connecticut to investigate his scientific output. He was ultimately fired from the institution in 2012, when a committee identified 145 examples of data and image fabrication and falsification in 26 articles published by the author in 11 scientific journals. The following year, he announced plans to file a lawsuit against the university for defamation, seeking damages of US$35 million, but he died before the case went to court. The fraudulent papers did not impact existing research on resveratrol, since Das was studying secondary aspects of the compound.