Here’s a strange one: We discovered a paper about an antibiotic-resistant strain of bacteria that bore two retraction notices, and each provided a different reason for retraction. One alleged misconduct; that notice still appears now. The other — which has since disappeared — said the paper was submitted by mistake.
“In vitro effect of boric acid and calcium fructoborate esters against methicillinresistant Staphylococcus aureus strain” was published in the South-Western Journal of Horticulture, Biology and Environment. The full text isn’t available on the journal’s website.
How is that possible? A spokesperson for Springer told us that they have reason to believe a third-party company may have helped prepare the papers for publication, and in the process might have spread the material around to multiple manuscripts.
The details of the cluster are a bit perplexing, so bear with us. Two of the papers — that were published only months apart — have already been retracted, as we reported in April. Now, two other papers have been retracted from Molecular Biology Reports — and both notices cite the previously retracted papers. The new notices also say that there’s reason to believe that the peer-review process was compromised.
All papers conclude that a certain polymorphism could signal a risk for coronary artery disease among Chinese people.
We’ll start with the retraction notice for “Fibroblast growth factor receptor 4 polymorphisms and coronary artery disease: a case control study,” which cites the two papers that were retracted previously:
A journal has retracted the results of a clinical trial comparing strategies for bladder tumors after the authors mischaracterized the way patients were assigned to each procedure.
In addition, the journal European Urology has pulled a string of correspondence between author Harry Herr at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and an outside expert, who had questioned aspects of the study totally unrelated to the methodology, such as its generalizability.
A journal has retracted an abstract after discovering the author didn’t submit it — and also because it appears “highly similar” to a previous publication in Chinese.
The abstract was presented at the 2nd International Conference on Biomedicine and Pharmaceutics in 2014, and lists Qing Guo as the sole author, based Wuhan, China at the China University of Geosciences.
According to the retraction notice, published in the Journal of Investigative Medicine last December, the organizer of the conference discovered Guo hadn’t consented to publish the abstract — moreover, it appeared to overlap with another article in Chinese, written by different authors: Read the rest of this entry »
A researcher has pulled a paper about uranium oxide fuel pellets after notifying the journal the data had been falsified — and, what’s more, the publisher can’t verify the identities of the co-authors.
Originally, the Journal of the European Ceramic Society paper suggested a way to increase the compatibility of uranium oxide fuel pellets, which are usually used in nuclear reactors, at high temperatures.
A researcher in Egypt is threatening to sue a mathematics journal if it doesn’t un-retract one of his papers.
The American Journal of Computational Mathematics in May retracted Mostafa M. A. Khater‘s 2015 paper, “The Modified Simple Equation Method and Its Applications in Mathematical Physics and Biology.” The retraction notice is sparse on the details, indicating only that the article was not up to snuff: Read the rest of this entry »
Weekend reads: Scientific society vote rigging; why publish in predatory journals; academic apartheid?
The week at Retraction Watch featured a new member of our leaderboard and a discussion of what would happen if peer reviewers didn’t look at results. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Read the rest of this entry »
The corresponding author of the study that detected toxic leaks from the work of prominent British artist Damien Hirst has now retracted it — but most of his co-authors disagree with the decision.
The April Analytical Methods study was covered extensively by the media when it suggested staff at Damien Hirst’s 2012 exhibition at Tate Gallery in London of dead animals embalmed in formaldehyde were being exposed to higher than recommended levels of the carcinogen.
Tate and Hirst’s company, Science Limited, immediately objected to the results; we’ve obtained what appears to be letter from a lawyer for Science Limited to the corresponding author of the paper — Pier Giorgio Righetti of the Polytechnic University of Milan in Italy — saying it was “deeply concerned and troubled by the claims” in the paper.
Last month, the journal issued an expression of concern (EOC) for the paper, nothing the data may not be reliable, and on July 15, Righetti announced in a joint statement with Hirst’s company that he will be retracting his study.
Now, the paper has been officially retracted, noting more recent measurements show formaldehyde levels to be much lower than originally reported. But most of Righetti’s co-authors disagree with the decision, the notice says: Read the rest of this entry »
They’re now retracting the paper, from Molecular Medicine Reports, because it originally reported that higher concentrations of retinoic acid (RA) were more effective in curbing the proliferation of brain tumor cells. But it seems that the RA dose made less of a difference than they originally believed, according to the retraction notice:
A cancer researcher who tried to sue PubPeer commenters for criticizing his work has earned five more retractions, bringing his total to 18.
All of the new retractions for Fazlul Sarkar, formerly based at Wayne State University in Michigan, appear in the International Journal of Cancer. All cite an institutional investigation, and relate to issues with images.
With 18 retractions, Sarkar has now earned a spot on our leaderboard.
We first encountered Sarkar when he subpoenaed PubPeer to reveal the names of anonymous commenters that potentially cost him a job at the University of Mississippi. Earlier this month, a Wayne State spokesperson confirmed to us that Sarkar has now retired from the university. (To get up to speed, check out our timeline on the major events in this case.)