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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Image manipulation forces retraction of hepatitis C paper

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ljii20.v032.i04.coverA group of researchers from Egypt has lost their 2013 article on hepatitis C in the Journal of Immunoassay and Immunochemistry for fudging their figures.

The article was titled “In vitro neutralization of HCV by goat antibodies against peptides encompassing regions downstream of HVR-1 of E2 glycoprotein.” According to the abstract: Read the rest of this entry »

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Economics paper retracted for plagiarism after citing its twin

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econmodAs we’ve pointed out before, economics and business journals have few retractions compared with the other academic literature. Opinions vary on why this is, but the fact that only a few journals have plagiarism policies can’t help.

Research Papers in Economics, or RePEc, an organization that maintains a database of economics papers, however, thoroughly investigates accusations of misconduct. A RePEc report, which indicated that the plagiarists were polite enough to cite the original paper, was used in the notice as evidence for a retraction in Economic Modelling.

Here’s the notice for “Retraction notice to “Analysis of nonlinear duopoly game with heterogeneous players”: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

September 19, 2014 at 9:30 am

Is it time for a retraction penalty?

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labtimesThe title of this post is the headline of our most recent column in LabTimes, which begins:

As we write this in mid-August, Nature has already retracted seven papers in 2014. That’s not yet a record – for that, you’d have to go back to 2003’s ten retractions, in the midst of the Jan Hendrik Schön fiasco – but if you add up all of the citations to those seven papers, the figure is in excess of 500.

That’s an average of more than 70 citations per paper. What effect would removing those citations from calculations of Nature’s impact factor – currently 42 – have?

Science would lose 197 citations based on this year’s two retractions. And Cell would lose 315 citations to two now-retracted papers.

In other words, what if journals were penalised for retractions, putting their money where their mouth is when they talk about how good their peer review is? Clearly, if a paper is retracted, no matter what excuses journals make, peer review didn’t work as well as it could have.

We explore what this might mean for top journals. But there are some nuances here. We wouldn’t want to further discourage retractions of papers that deserved it. One solution: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

September 18, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Posted in RW announcements

Former UT-Southwestern cancer researchers faked data in 10 papers: ORI

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ut southwesternThe Office of Research Integrity (ORI) has ruled in a case we’ve been following for nearly two years — and which seems to have been launched after Retraction Watch readers took a careful look at figures from what appeared to be an unrelated case.

Takao Takahashi and Makato Suzuki, both former postdocs at a cancer research center at UT-Southwestern, both “knowingly, intentionally, and recklessly falsified data” in a total of 10 papers, according to the ORI. Takahashi, now at Gifu University in Japan, was responsible for fakery in four papers, while Suzuki, now at Kumamoto University Hospital, also in Japan, falsified data in six.

We reported on the retraction of the four Takahashi papers, and one of the Suzuki papers, in November 2012. At that time, Adi Gazdar, the head of the lab where the researchers worked, told us that
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

September 18, 2014 at 7:58 am

Publisher updates with more info on staph retraction

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cidWe brought you this story last week, about a paper on drug resistant staph being retracted for a lab error. Now, we’ve got an update from Rachel Safer, senior editor for medical journals at Oxford University Press, where the paper was published.

Apparently, the researchers “inadvertently relied upon the use of a test system that was not approved for the microorganism studied in their paper,” leading to the retraction, and the corresponding author of the study wasn’t initially all that responsive:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

September 17, 2014 at 11:30 am

A PNAS expression of concern appears — and so does its revealing backstory

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pnas 1113When retraction notices and expressions of concern appear, particularly those that are opaque, we try our best to find out what’s behind them, whether it’s better explanations or the steps that led to moves. Today, we have one story in which we’ve been able to learn a lot more than usual.

In April, Bas van Steensel, Wendy Bickmore, Thomas Cremer, and Kerstin Bystricky sent a letter to about 80 leading labs in nuclear organization and steroid receptor biology. It began (we’ve added some relevant links): Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

September 17, 2014 at 9:30 am

Another retraction for Diederik Stapel, this one from Dutch drama festival on “truth and reality”

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stapel_npcHere’s a case of art imitating science.

The organizers of a Dutch drama festival have put a halt to a play about the disgraced social psychologist Diederik Stapel, prompting protests from the authors of the skit — one of whom is Stapel himself.

According to an article in NRC Handelsblad: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Adam Marcus

September 16, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Posted in diederik stapel

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