Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

3-D printing paper accidentally includes secrets

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A paper on 3-D printing has been pulled because it “inadvertently” included some sensitive material.

We’re not sure which parts of the paper were the specific problem. But the sensitive material may have something with how to improve the surfaces of 3-D printed products, which is the subject of “Feasibility of using Copper(II)Oxide for additive manufacturing.”

Here’s what the paper, published in the International Journal of Precision Engineering and Manufacturing contains, according to the abstract:

Additive manufacturing, in spite of its ever wider application range, is still plagued by issues ranging from accuracy to surface finish. In this study, to address the latter issue, the feasibility of using Copper(II)Oxide powder with a polymer binder deposited through a Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D printing technique is explored.

Here’s the retraction note:

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Duplication shatters two photonic crystal papers

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Two journals published by Elsevier are retracting a pair of material science papers that appear to share figures.

The papers  — in Materials Letters and Optics Communications — discuss photonic crystals, a kind of material used to manipulate light. They share the same first author, Zheng-qi Liu at Jiangxi Normal University and  Nanjing University in China, as well as six other authors. Each paper presents one of the duplicated figures as a slightly different material.

One of the duplicated figures is a a picture of a photonic crystal taken with a scanning electron microscope that gives detail at the level of a few micrometers (it looks like a honeycomb, but it’s composed of tiny spheres). It’s Figure 1a in both papers:

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A Retraction Watch retraction: Our 2013 advice on reporting misconduct turns out to have been wrong

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2015_06_miniNearly three years ago, our co-founders Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus penned a column in Lab Times suggesting ways for readers to report alleged scientific misconduct. They are now retracting that advice.

In the retracted column, they suggested initially contacting the editor of the journal that published the potentially problematic work, and if the editor suggests it, contact the authors of that work. In their latest column for Lab Times, Oransky and Marcus say: Forget that advice.  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

November 30th, 2015 at 9:30 am

Weekend reads: Criminal charges for plagiarism; NFL scientific interference; the authorship explosion

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Written by Ivan Oransky

November 28th, 2015 at 9:30 am

Posted in weekend reads

Osteoporosis paper felled by concerns with “scientific integrity”

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A paper suggesting that exposure to sunlight might help prevent hip fractures in the elderly has been retracted, due to duplication and “concerns about the underlying data.”

An expression of concern that appeared last July flagged the 2005 paper as containing text that matched another paper with the same first author that was published in 2011. According to the publisher, that duplicated text sparked a closer look at the text, which raised concerns about the scientific integrity of the paper.

The retraction note, published by the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, says that the first author was responsible for the content of the paper: Read the rest of this entry »

Cropped, spliced image leads to a PLOS One correction

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Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 4.27.21 PMA PLOS One paper on morphine treatment for cancer cells has a couple issues with figures, prompting a massive correction — what we affectionately call a “mega-correction” — by the journal.

In one figure, there was “an undisclosed splice.” Another figure contained two panels that were “mistakenly from the same sample.”

The 2013 paper in question, “Chronic Morphine Treatment Attenuates Cell Growth of Human BT474 Breast Cancer Cells by Rearrangement of the ErbB Signalling Network,” has been cited four times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Here’s the correction:

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Written by Shannon Palus

November 27th, 2015 at 9:30 am

Investigation finds data issues polluted air quality paper

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1-s2.0-S0013935113X0009X-cov150hAn investigation at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia has found that a paper on air pollution and human health contains a host of issues with the data and its analysis. The paper has been retracted with a very detailed note from Environmental Research.

The issues with the paper include an “incorrect analysis of the data,” and its failure to properly cite multiple papers and one researcher’s contributions. Ultimately, according to the retraction note, the investigation found that the “conclusions of the paper are flawed.”

“Submicrometer particles and their effects on the association between air temperature and mortality in Brisbane, Australia” has been cited three times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

The retraction note is very, very detailed. It outlines the problems with the paper:

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Honest errors take down math paper

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1-s2.0-S0022247X15X00217-cov150hAn incorrect proof has felled a math paper. There’s not too much to say in a straightforward situation like this one, which we’ve seen before — the result of honest errors, not any malfeasance.

Here’s the abstract for “Spectral mapping theorem for generalized Kato spectrum:”

In this paper, we give an affirmative answer to Mbekhta’s conjecture (Mbekhta, 1990) about the pseudo Fredholm operators in Hilbert space. As a consequence, we characterize pseudo Fredholm operators and we prove that the generalized Kato spectrum satisfies the spectral mapping theorem in the Hilbert spaces setting.

The paper — published in the Journal of Mathematical Analysis and Applications — has been cited twice, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Here’s the retraction note:

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Written by Shannon Palus

November 26th, 2015 at 9:30 am

Prominent nutrition researcher Marion Nestle retracting recent article

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jphp_journal_coverProminent nutrition expert Marion Nestle is pulling an opinion piece she recently co-authored in the Journal of Public Health Policy following revelations that the piece contained multiple factual errors and failed to reveal her co-author’s ties to one of the subjects of the article.

The article, “The food industry and conflicts of interest in nutrition research: A Latin American perspective,” was published October 29 and raised concerns about the conflicts of interest that can occur when a food company pairs with a public health organization. Specifically, the article critiqued the supposed relationship between the biggest beverage distributor in Guatemala and the leading Guatemala-based public health organization, aligned to distribute a fortified supplement for undernourished children.

However, after the paper appeared, Nestle learned they had misrepresented the relationship between the key parties, and failed to disclose that her co-author, Joaquin Barnoya, received “a substantial portion of his salary” from INCAP. Retracting the opinion was the best solution, Nestle wrote on her blog today: Read the rest of this entry »

Black hole paper by teenaged prodigy retracted for duplication

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Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 8.39.44 AMAn astrophysics journal is retracting a paper on black holes whose first author is a teenager about to earn his PhD, after learning the paper “draws extensively” from a book chapter by the last author.

Many papers are pulled for duplication, but few get a news release from the publisher about it. In a move that we approve of, the editors of The Astrophysical Journal announced the forthcoming retraction on the American Astronomical Society (AAS) website.

The paper‘s first author Song Yoo-Geun who turns 18 this month, and is on track to earn his doctorate next year from the University of Science and Technology in South Korea. According to the news release, the paper borrows heavily from a book chapter published in 2002 by his adviser and co-author, Seok Jae Park at the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute.

AAS is handling this very quickly. The paper was published in October, someone alerted the journal to the duplication on November 14, and the announcement of the retraction went up on the AAS website just ten days later.

The retraction note for “Axisymmetric nonstationary black hole magnetospheres: revisited” will be published in the next issue of ApJ. In the meantime, the news release explains what happened:

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