The University of Minnesota is investigating an allegation of misconduct related to a retracted 2010 research letter about a new H3N2 variant of the swine flu, according to Retraction Watch, a watchdog of scientific journals and studies.
U of M spokesman Justin Paquette told Retraction Watch that the university is conducting an inquiry that includes virologist Sagar Goyal, the lead author of the letter, and others involved in the underlying research. The letter was initially published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, a publication of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. External reviews of the underlying research had found potential issues of "lab contamination or mislabeling," Paquette said. Here is Paquette's statement to Retraction Watch:
"Someone within our University has filed an official concern citing potential misconduct and, as a result, the University has started the process by which they’ll assess the validity of those concerns to determine whether or not a formal misconduct review is warranted. The U of M obviously takes any such concerns seriously and wants to do all due diligence around the work in question.Along those same lines, the University is conducting an assessment of related research to determine whether additional retractions may be necessary until we can assess what led to possible contamination, mislabeling or any other issue that led to the original retraction."