Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Researcher faked emails for co-authors, submitted paper without consent

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A material science journal has retracted a paper after discovering that the first author faked email addresses for co-authors to submit the paper without their permission.

The journal, Materials, also discovered that the 2016 paper had plagiarized material from a 2013 paper previously published in Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A.

Here’s the retraction notice for the paper: Read the rest of this entry »

Neuroscientist in Serbia earns 8th retraction amid investigation

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RadenovicA neurobiologist has notched her eight retraction in the midst of an ongoing investigation into her work by her institution, the University of Belgrade in Serbia.

As we reported previously, a mass clean-up by the Archives of Biological Sciences (ABS), the official journal of the Serbian Biological Society resulted in six retractions of papers co-authored by Lidija Radenović. (Radenović served as vice president of the Serbian Biological Society until July 2014.)

In April, we reported that Radenović was about to notch her seventh retraction in Acta Neurologica Scandinavica; that paper has now been pulled, and ABS has retracted another one of her papers.

Here’s the retraction notice by ABS: Read the rest of this entry »

Who is Ranjit Kumar Chandra? A timeline of notoriety

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R K Chandra

R K Chandra

Last month, Ranjit Kumar Chandra was denied an extension to file an appeal of his lawsuit against the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). It seemed to mark the end of a long fall for the self-proclaimed “father of nutritional immunology,” who has ended up with multiple high-profile retractions and on the wrong end of a costly libel lawsuit.

The case had a lot of twists and turns, however. So for your convenience, we’ve compiled a timeline of everything you need to know about the events that led up to the lawsuit — where it all began, and how it ended last July, when the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled in favor of the CBC, and the apparent epilogue this June.

In the 1980s, Chandra was a highly regarded nutrition researcher; in 1989, he was made a member of the Order of Canada. He authored over 200 papers during his time at Memorial University of Newfoundland. He has referred to himself as the “father of nutritional immunology,” but the link to his website no longer appears to be active.

Here’s how it all fell apart: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Michael Koziol

July 26th, 2016 at 9:30 am

Is China using organs from executed prisoners? Researchers debate issue in the literature

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Journal of Medical EthicsA researcher is calling for the retraction of a paper about a recent ban in the use of organs from executed prisoners in China, accusing the authors of misrepresenting the state of the practice.

In April 2015, a paper in the Journal of Medical Ethics welcomed the ban by the Chinese government as “a step in the right direction,” but noted that China remains plagued by a crucial shortage in available organs.

Some academics disagreed with the authors’ take on the issue, noting that the paper fails to note that many organs may continue to be harvested from Chinese prisoners of conscience; ultimately, the journal received a letter asking to retract the paper. The journal decided not to, and instead asked the authors to issue a lengthy correction, for instance changing the language about the government decision (“law” became“guideline”), and allowed critics to publish a rebuttal to the paper in May 2016.  Read the rest of this entry »

You’ve been dupe’d: Nice data — let’s see them again

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As we’ve said before, with hundreds of retractions per year, there are simply too many for us to cover individually.

So from time to time we’ll compile a list of retractions that appeared relatively straightforward, just for record-keeping purposes.

Often, these seemingly straightforward retractions involve duplications, in which authors — accidentally or on purpose — republish their own work elsewhere.

Sometimes journals and authors blame this event on “poor communication,” our first example notes:

Read the rest of this entry »

From annoying to bitter, here are the six types of peer reviewers

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Urban Geography

After two decades of submitting papers to journals, and more than 10 years of serving on an editorial board or editing journals, geography researcher Kevin Ward knows a thing or two about peer review.

Recently, as the editor of Urban Geography, he received a particularly “grumpy” and “obnoxious” review in his inbox, which got him thinking. Although, he says, the review raised “professionally appropriate issues,” it went well beyond the widely accepted content and tone. Ward, therefore, decided to reflect on his two decades of experience, and decipher the different types of reviewers and their characteristics.

In all, Ward — from the University of Manchester in the UK — says he’s encountered six types of referees.

Here’s the first, according to his recent editorial published in Urban Geography: 

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

July 25th, 2016 at 9:30 am

Weekend reads: Lying academics; journals to blame for bad behavior; why bad science is funded

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booksThe week at Retraction Watch featured a first in transparency from Canada, and the second retraction for a fan of a conspiracy theory. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

July 23rd, 2016 at 9:40 am

Posted in weekend reads

Four more retractions for biomaterials researcher brings total to 7

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Journal of Controlled ReleaseA biomaterials researcher has lost four more papers for figure-related issues such as duplications, bringing his total to seven retractions.

We previously reported on three retractions two by the Journal of Controlled Release (JCR) of papers co-authored by Hossein Hosseinkhani, who is currently based at the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology in Taipei. Now, the JCR is pulling four more studies that list Hosseinkhani as a co-author.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Enhanced expression of plasmid dna – cationized gelatin complex by ultrasound in murine muscle:” Read the rest of this entry »

Bone researcher up to 10 retractions

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Neurology JournalA journal is retracting three papers and a letter from a bone researcher who admitted to scientific misconduct, noting that all co-authors were included only for honorary reasons.

We’ve previously reported on six retractions of papers co-authored by Yoshihiro Sato, who is based at Mitate Hospital in Japan, including one in JAMA. Retractions stemmed from the use of “honorary” co-authors, as well as concerns over the data. One paper seemed to be the victim of “extensive self-plagiarism.”

Sato, who is the first and corresponding author of all ten retractions (including the letter), accepted full responsibility of the newly retracted publications, noting that none of the co-authors took part in any misconduct.

Here’s the retraction notice — which is similar for all four new retractions — issued on July 12: Read the rest of this entry »

Author pulls study for duplication, blames editing company

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MedChemCommThe author of a paper about insulin has retracted it due to “extensive text and data overlap” with another paper.

In November 2015, MedChemComm issued an expression of concern (EOC) for the same paper. According to the EOC, the author of the paper, Yong Yang, flagged the paper to the journal, citing problems with authorship and portions of text overlap, which Yang attributed to an editing company.  

The editor-in-chief of the journal told us Yang’s institution — China Medical University — carried out an investigation into the case at the journal’s request.

We’ve also found a 2015 retraction for Yang, after he published a paper without the okay of his previous institution in Texas. 

Here’s the retraction notice: Read the rest of this entry »