Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Weekend reads: Research parasite awards; money-back research guarantees; Sci-Hub takes over the world

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booksThis week at Retraction Watch featured a confession about research misconduct, and a debate over whether a paper should have been retracted. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

April 30th, 2016 at 10:20 am

Posted in weekend reads

Why that Evolution paper should never have been retracted: A reviewer speaks out

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Ben Ashby

Earlier this week, we covered the case of a retraction that happened against one of the author’s wishes. That’s not all that unusual. What was unusual in this story, however, is that the author who objected to the retraction had published a well-considered paper in which she identified an error in the original work, and corrected it. That led many scientists on Twitter and elsewhere to ask: Doesn’t a retraction send the wrong message? Don’t we want researchers to correct and update their work?

One of the people asking those questions was Ben Ashby, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Exeter in the UK — who, it turns out, reviewed the corrective paper. Here, we present his thoughts: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

April 29th, 2016 at 12:56 pm

Posted in evolution

Premature adaptation leads to withdrawal of sexual function paper

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jsexmartherAhem.

The Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy has retracted a 2012 paper by a pair of authors in Spain who failed to obtain approval to adapt the model of sexual function they used in their study.

The article indicates that the work was based on previous research. But that declaration wasn’t enough to satisfy the creators of the model involved.

As the retraction notice states: Read the rest of this entry »

Team in Japan earns third retraction for misconduct

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JSRA team of researchers has earned its third retraction after an investigation at Oita University in Japan found instances of misconduct in their research.

The most recent notice mentions the investigation, and specifies that the first author, Satoshi Hagiwara, was responsible for the problematic figures in the paper. Hagiwara is also the first author on two retracted papers we reported on last year; one of the earlier retractions also mentions the investigation, but does not assign responsibility to any particular author. All three papers share three authors.

The retraction notice for “Continuous Hemodiafiltration Therapy Ameliorates LPS-Induced Systemic Inflammation in a Rat Model,” published in the Journal of Surgical Research, explains the issues with the paper:

Read the rest of this entry »

Authors in 2014 peer review ring lose 4 more papers each for “compromised” review

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human factors and ergonomicsA journal is pulling additional papers authored by twin brothers for peer review issues.

After retracting three papers by Cheng-Wu Chen earlier this year for “compromised” peer reviewHuman Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing & Service Industries is now pulling four more by Chen for the same reason — and four others by his twin brother, Chen-Yuan Chen, who was a the center of a peer review ring that SAGE busted in 2014.

Cheng-Wu Chen lost 21 papers during that episode. He’s now up to 28; Chen-Yuan Chen, who also goes by Peter Chen, is now up to 43. Both are present on our leaderboard.

The notes, which appear in the March/April issue of the journal, are all identical, and also cite issues with citations:

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Confusion reigns: Are these four retractions for compromised peer review, or not?

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Open Automation Journal CoverThe Open Automation and Control Systems Journal has published five items this calendar year — and all of those are retraction notices.

That’s what we’re sure about. Now to what we’re not clear on in this story, which is one of a growing number of cases we’ve seen in which so-called “predatory” publishers are starting to retract papers, perhaps because they hope the practice suggests they are rigorous. Four of the papers have been pulled for “compromised” peer review, some of which are due to the actions of an “external agent,” according to the journal. A co-author of one of these manuscripts, however, claims the paper has been pulled for using material from another researcher’s paper without acknowledgement but the journal has retracted it for issues with peer review.

The remaining paper has been pulled for plagiarizing from another published paper.

Let’s take a look at the retraction notice for the four papers felled by rigged peer review, which are all similar. They read: Read the rest of this entry »

Neuroscience journal retracts expression of concern 15 years after investigation

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Here’s something we don’t get to write about often: A journal has retracted an expression of concern (EOC) more than 15 years after issuing it.

What took so long? Apparently, the European Journal of Neuroscience (EJN) just recently learned about a review carried out by the author’s previous institution, which concluded that she had not committed misconduct.

Let’s take a look at the retraction note of the expression of concern, which was published last month: Read the rest of this entry »

Paper linking fecal transplants to obesity in rats retracted for faked data

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Diabetes Cover

A paper linking the fecal microbiome to obesity has been retracted after it became clear that one of the co-authors faked some of the data.

The 2014 paper in Diabetes — which found that rats given fecal transplants from obese mice were more likely to become obese themselves if given a particular diet — was pulled after after an institutional investigation found a co-author guilty of falsifying data underlying one figure and fabricating the data of two others.

Co-author Yassine Sakar — formerly based at the French National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRA) in Paris, France — was found responsible for the misconduct. But an official from the institution said that some responsibility must also be shared by the corresponding author Mihai Covosa, who has since resigned from the institution.

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

Einstein grad student admits cooking data, settles with Office of Research Integrity

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Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 1.05.49 PMOne Friday in January, graduate student Meredyth Forbes was reviewing material for her dissertation with her mentor when she decided to make a confession.

She “burst out with a statement that some of the data was fabricated,” said Edward Burns, research integrity officer at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where Forbes worked. It was, Burns told Retraction Watch: Read the rest of this entry »

Research assistant fired for using student’s thesis in a paper

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Reviews in Medical Microbiology

A research assistant at King Saud University (KSU) has lost his job after he used material from a student’s thesis without permission or attribution in a paper.

Lakshmana Krishnappa was terminated after a disciplinary committee considered his case last November, the vice dean for postgraduate training and research at KSU told Retraction Watch. In April of last year, Krishnappa retracted a paper published in January 2015 — we think that’s the date; the journal doesn’t make it all that clear — that included plagiarized material, published in Reviews in Medical Microbiology. He recently lost a second unrelated paper for duplication.

Here’s the retraction notice for the Reviews in Medical Microbiology paper, “Acinetobacter baumannii: pathogenecity, virulence factors and their correlation with adherence and invasion:”

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