Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

1st retraction for researcher who lost whistleblower lawsuit

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microvascular-research

A researcher who was dismissed from Wayne State University — then lost a whistleblower lawsuit against it — has logged his first retraction.

In 2012, after Christian Kreipke was dismissed from Wayne State, he filed a lawsuit, alleging that the institution had defrauded the U.S. government of $169 million in research funding. A judge dismissed the case in 2014, noting Kreipke cited “no specific facts,” and as a public university, Wayne State had immunity as an “arm of the state.”

The university’s president has said Kreipke was fired due to misconduct — not his whistleblowing, according to Courthouse News Service

Now, a retraction has appeared for Kreipke in Microvascular Research, citing discrepancies between the original data and what was reported in the paper. 

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

Cell Press won’t retract papers despite one author confessing to fraud

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Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 18.54.35Cell Press journals will not be retracting two papers that were flagged with expressions of concern (EOCs) in April after one author claimed to have manipulated some experiments.

In a strange turn of events, as we previously reported, the study’s corresponding author refuted the claims of the author who confessed to fraud, citing concerns about his “motives and credibility.” Since then, two independent labs repeated the authors’ experiments, and “largely confirm” the central conclusions of a Cell paper, but were inconclusive regarding a paper in Molecular Cell. Regardless, in both cases, the journals have decided to take no further action. 

Both expressions of concern (and their associated editorial notes) will remain online, as part of the “permanent record,” a Cell Press spokesperson told us.

The spokesperson added more about the investigation process: Read the rest of this entry »

Say what? Journal charges fee to lodge allegations against papers

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erintHere’s something we haven’t seen before: A journal is asking tipsters to pay a fee to investigate a paper.

After receiving a tip of our own about this new requirement, we reached out to Educational Research International, and received this response: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

September 27th, 2016 at 1:58 pm

Reviewers may rate papers differently when blinded to authors’ identities, new study says

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Kanu Okike

Kanu Okike

Although previous research has suggested peer reviewers are not influenced by knowing the authors’ identity and affiliation, a new Research Letter published today in JAMA suggests otherwise. In “Single-blind vs Double-blind Peer Review in the Setting of Author Prestige,” Kanu Okike at Kaiser Moanalua Medical Center in Hawaii and his colleagues created a fake manuscript submitted to Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research (CORR), which described a prospective study about communication and safety during surgery, and included five “subtle errors.” Sixty-two experts reviewed the paper under the typical “single-blind” system, where they are told the authors’ identities and affiliations, but remain anonymous to the authors. Fifty-seven reviewers vetted the same paper under the “double-blind” system, in which they did not know who co-authored the research. We spoke with Okike about some of his unexpected results.

Retraction Watch: You found that reviewers were more likely to accept papers when they could see they were written by well-known scientists at prestigious institutions. But the difference was relatively small. Did anything about this surprise you? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

September 27th, 2016 at 11:00 am

What publishers and countries do most retractions for fake peer review come from?

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1092-coverA new analysis — which included scanning Retraction Watch posts — has identified some trends in papers pulled for fake peer review, a subject we’ve covered at length.

For those who aren’t familiar, fake reviews arise when researchers associated with the paper in question (most often authors) create email addresses for reviewers, enabling them to write their own positive reviews.

The article — released September 23 by the Postgraduate Medical Journal — found the vast majority of papers were retracted from journals with impact factors below 5, and most included co-authors based in China.

As described in the paper, “Characteristics of retractions related to faked peer reviews: an overview,” the authors searched Retraction Watch as well as various databases such as PubMed and Google Scholar, along with other media reports, and found 250 retractions for fake peer review.  (Since the authors concluded their analysis, the number of retractions due to faked reviews has continued to pile up; our latest tally is now 324.)

Here are the authors’ main findings: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

September 27th, 2016 at 9:32 am

Yes, “power pose” study is flawed, but shouldn’t be retracted, says one author

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psychological-scienceAfter the first author of a debated study about the benefits of positioning your body in an assertive ways — the so-called “power pose” — posted her concerns about the research, she has told us she does not believe the paper should be retracted.

As reported by New York magazine, late last night, the first author of a 2010 paper in Psychological Science posted a statement saying she no longer believes the effects of the “power pose” are real.

We contacted Dana Carney, now based at the University of California, Berkeley, to ask if she thought the next step would be to retract the paper. She told us: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

September 26th, 2016 at 1:36 pm

Data were “fraudulently obtained” in epilepsy paper, probe finds

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brain-research-bulletinA brain research journal has retracted a 2016 study about epilepsy after an institutional investigation determined that some of the data were taken from another published paper.

The retraction notice for the study — which appeared in Brain Research Bulletin — cites an investigation by the scientific integrity committee at Tongji University in Shanghai, China, which concluded the authors had engaged in “unethical publishing behavior.”

Here’s the retraction notice for “Clc-2 knockout attenuated experimental temporal lobe epilepsy in mice by tonic inhibition mediated by GABAA receptors:” Read the rest of this entry »

Coding error sinks cancer study

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Authors of a 2016 cancer paper have retracted it after finding an error in one line of code in the program used to calculate some of the results. Reposting as our subscription software appears to be acting up again. Read the whole post here.

Written by Alison McCook

September 26th, 2016 at 9:54 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Error in one line of code sinks cancer study

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journl-of-clinical-oncologyAuthors of a 2016 cancer paper have retracted it after finding an error in one line of code in the program used to calculate some of the results.

Sarah Darby, last author of the now-retracted paper from the University of Oxford, UK, told Retraction Watch that the mistake was made by a doctoral student. When the error was realized, Darby said, she contacted the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO), explained the issue, and asked whether they would prefer a retraction or a correction. JCO wanted a retraction, and she complied.

The journal allowed the authors to publish a correspondence article outlining their new results.

Here’s the lengthy retraction notice, published online last month: Read the rest of this entry »

Weekend reads: World’s most prolific peer reviewer; replication backlash carries on; controversial PACE study re-analyzed

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booksThe week at Retraction Watch featured news of a fine for a doctor who took part in a controversial fake trial, and a likely unprecedented call for retraction by the U.S. FDA commissioner. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

September 24th, 2016 at 9:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized