Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Labor pains study brought into this world twice

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YJPAI_v16_i6_COVER.inddA group of authors published two articles about one study on pain during childbirth, so one journal is retracting it.

This may seem like a standard case of salami slicing — but this one comes with a nearly 600-word commentary co-authored by the editors of the two journals in question.

The commentary lays out — in a refreshingly transparent way — exactly why the journals came to a joint decision to retract one of the papers:

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Authors used wrong dataset in study on shock therapy, exercise in depression

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J psych resA psychiatric journal has pulled a 2014 paper that found electroconvulsive therapy and exercise helped people with depression, after the authors determined they had mistakenly analyzed the wrong data.

According to the retraction notice from the Journal of Psychiatric Research, the researchers had “erroneously analyzed” data from a previous study they had published the year before.

Here’s more from the note for “Electroconvulsive therapy and aerobic exercise training increased BDNF and ameliorated depressive symptoms in patients suffering from treatment-resistant major depressive disorder:” Read the rest of this entry »

2014 ORI finding results in retraction of cancer paper with manipulated images

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Mol Can TherA paper flagged in an Office of Research Integrity notice more than one year ago has finally been retracted. According to the notice, the paper includes images manipulated by author H. Rosie Xing, a former University of Chicago cancer researcher.

The main conclusions of the paper are affected by the ORI finding, according to the retraction note from Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. But otherwise, the note contains information that was available in the ORI finding, published in December 2014.

Pharmacologic Inactivation of Kinase Suppressor of Ras1 Sensitizes Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor and Oncogenic Ras-Dependent Tumors to Ionizing Radiation Treatment” has been cited seven times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge — twice since the ORI finding came out.

The retraction note explains which images were affected by the manipulation:

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Nobel Prize official resigns in wake of Macchiarini case

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Urban Lendhal

Urban Lendhal

The secretary general of the Nobel Assembly, the body responsible for choosing the Nobel Prizes, has resigned from his post because “he may be involved” in the Karolinska Institutet investigation of trachea surgeon Paolo Macchiarini.

Urban Lendahl, professor of genetics at the Karolinska, has also resigned as secretary general of the Nobel Committee in Physiology or Medicine. Here’s a statement released yesterday by the Nobel Assembly: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

February 7th, 2016 at 10:32 am

Posted in Paolo Macchiarini

Weekend reads: Scientist slams bloggers; men love their own work; public science broken?

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Written by Ivan Oransky

February 6th, 2016 at 9:30 am

Posted in weekend reads

Investigation prompts 5th retraction for cancer researcher for “unresolvable concerns”

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3.coverAn investigation at the University of New South Wales in Australia has led to a fifth retraction for a cancer researcher long accused of misconduct, due to “unresolvable concerns” with some images.

As we reported in December, UNSW cleared Levon Khachigian of misconduct, concluding that his previous issues stemmed from “genuine error or honest oversight.” Now, Circulation Research is retracting one of his papers after an investigation commissioned by UNSW was unable to find electronic records for two similar images from a 2009 paper, nor records of the images in original lab books.

Again, the retraction note affirms that this is not a sign of misconduct:

UNSW has not attributed any instance of research misconduct or responsibility for the unavailability of the original data to Professor Khachigian or to any of the authors of the publication.

Here’s the retraction note in full for “Angiotensin II-Inducible Smooth Muscle Cell Apoptosis Involves the Angiotensin II Type 2 Receptor, GATA-6 Activation, and FasL-Fas Engagement:” Read the rest of this entry »

A new metric: The Rapid Science Collaboration Score

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Sarah Greene

Sarah Greene

For all our talk about finding new ways to measure scientists’ achievements, we’ve yet to veer away from a focus on publishing high-impact papers. This sets up a system of perverse incentives, fueling ongoing problems with reproducibility and misconduct. Is there another way? Sarah Greene, founder of Rapid Science, believes there is – and we’re pleased to present her guest post describing a new way to rate researchers’ collaborative projects.

In science, we still live – and die – by the published paper. Discontent with the Impact Factor, the H-Index, and other measures of article citation in scholarly journals has led to altmetrics’ quantification of an article’s impact in social media outlets—e.g., Twitter, blogs, newspapers, magazines, and bookmarking systems. But discussions regarding alternative reward systems do not generally swerve from this genuflecting of the scientific paper. Consequently, publishing big, “positive” findings in high-impact journals (and now in social media) is the researcher’s Holy grail.

One unfortunate corollary of this doctrine is Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

February 5th, 2016 at 11:00 am

Karolinska orders new investigation of trachea surgeon Macchiarini

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Paolo Macchiarini

Paolo Macchiarini

The Karolinska Institutet University Board announced today it was issuing a new external investigation of trachea surgeon Paolo Macchiarini, looking into questions about his recruitment and the handling of previous allegations of misconduct.

According to a press release:

The University Board deems such an inquiry to be an important part of restoring the confidence of the public, the scientific community, staff and students in the university.

The board hopes to appoint the investigative team, which will not consider “matters of a medical-scientific nature,” next week. The goal is to conclude the investigation by the summer.

There were many signs this was coming:  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

February 5th, 2016 at 8:30 am

After hesitating, Science retracts chemistry paper against authors’ wishes

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F1.mediumToday, Science has retracted a 2004 paper that’s been under scrutiny for years, despite the authors’ objections.

This paper has a long backstory: Recently, a report from the National Science Foundation’s Office of Inspector General surfaced that announced the agency had cut off the authors from funding. Last month, editor Marcia McNutt told us that the journal planned to retract the paper as soon as possible. Then, on January 21st, “just as we were going to press with the retraction,” said McNutt, the authors submitted a correction, which Science wanted to take some time to consider.

Now, the paper has a retraction note, against the wishes of authors Bruce Eaton and Dan Feldheim, currently at the University of Colorado.

Here it is the retraction note:

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Data irregularities force author to retract three solar cell papers

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no spine minimum. full size. Editor: Jon JEM: Esther RTP: Bryan Nolte TOC image

An engineer has retracted three papers on a method for making nanoscale materials that are useful in solar cells.

The papers, all published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, contain irregularities in data, and one includes images “which have been published elsewhere and identified with different samples,” according to the note.

The first author on all three papers is Khalid Mahmood, who — according to the bio from a talk he gave last year on efficient solar cells — is currently a postdoc at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia. He did the work in the retracted papers while a student at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, where, according to the bio, he completed his PhD in two years.

Here’s the retraction note for the first paper (which also contains a typo in the title — “electrospay”)

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