Via CBC News British Columbia: UBC researchers pull paper linking vaccine component to autism after data alleged to be manipulated. Excerpt:
Researchers from the University of British Columbia are retracting their scientific paper linking aluminum in vaccines to autism in mice, because one of the co-authors claims figures published in the study were deliberately altered before publication — an issue he says he realized after allegations of data manipulation surfaced online.
The professor also told CBC News there's no way to know "why" or "how" the figures were allegedly contorted, as he claims original data cited in the study is inaccessible, which would be a contravention of the university's policy around scientific research.
The paper looked at the effects of aluminum components in vaccines on immune response in a mouse's brain. It was published in the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry on Sept. 5.
Co-authored by Dr. Chris Shaw and Lucija Tomljenovic, it reported aluminum-triggered responses "consistent with those in autism." Shaw said he and Tomljenovic drew their conclusions from data that was "compiled" and "analyzed" for the paper, rather than raw data. Dr. Chris Shaw, a neurobiologist and professor at UBC, co-authored the paper. He said he requested a retraction from the journal and notified the university. (Chris Shaw)
However, subsequent scrutiny has raised questions about the validity of the data, with one doctor calling the paper "anti-vaccine pseudoscience."
The allegations were published last week on Retraction Watch, a site that reports on withdrawn papers as "a window into the scientific process."
By the middle of September, commenters on PubPeer — a database where users can examine and comment on published scientific papers — pointed out that figures in the study appeared to have been altered, and in one case lifted directly from a 2014 study also authored by Shaw and Tomljenovic.
Shaw, a professor at UBC's department of ophthalmology, said he and the lab ran their own analysis of the figures in question after seeing allegations from PubPeer on Sept. 24. He said he requested a retraction from the journal within two days and notified the university.