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The journal Nature decided to revoke an award it gave to Spanish biochemist Carlos López-Otín in 2017 in recognition of his work as a mentor for young researchers, after nine articles from his research group at the University of Oviedo were retracted due to image manipulation. Shortly after the award, a number of papers coauthored by López-Otín were denounced on PubPeer, an internet forum that allows users to discuss and point out errors in published articles. Nature responded by opening an investigation into 98 articles published by the group between 2012 and 2019, and found problems with the images in 18 of them. The publishers of Nature and the judges of the award analyzed the instances of manipulation and concluded that as the corresponding author of nine of the papers, López-Otín’s behavior was inconsistent with the high-quality mentoring distinguished by the award. According to a statement by Nature’s editor in chief Magdalena Skipper and the Springer Nature group’s editor in chief Philip Campbell, the decision to revoke the award is not meant as a judgment on the validity of López-Otín’s work, which was not the subject of the investigation.

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