Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Data “were destroyed due to privacy/confidentiality requirements,” says co-author of retracted gay canvassing study

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science coverAs promised, Michael LaCour, the co-author of the now-retracted Science paper on gay canvassing, has posted a detailed response to the allegations against him.

In the 23-page document — available here — LaCour claims to

introduce evidence uncovering discrepancies between the timeline of events presented in Broockman et al. (2015) and the actual timeline of events and disclosure.

He also says that the graduate students who critiqued his work failed to follow the correct sampling procedure and chose an incorrect variable in what LaCour calls “a curious and possibly intentional ‘error.'” He writes: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

May 29th, 2015 at 9:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Oregon public health employee faked 56 infection case reports: ORI

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downloadA former employee in the public health division of the Oregon Health Authority committed misconduct in 56 case reports about Clostridium difficile infections in Klamath County, Oregon, as well as in a manuscript submitted to JAMA Internal Medicine and a published report in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report in March, 2012.

Ryan Asherin, previously a Surveillance Officer and Principal Investigator at the OHA, was a busy man. According to the details from a report by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity, Asherin:

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Written by Alison McCook

May 29th, 2015 at 12:32 pm

Brain paper retracted after university report finds “substantial data misrepresentation”

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jneurosci_coverThe Journal of Neuroscience is retracting a 2012 paper on how estrogen produced in the brain shapes the auditory system on the basis of “a report from Northwestern University that describes substantial data misrepresentation” in the paper.

The paper, “Mechanistic Basis and Functional Roles of Long-Term Plasticity in Auditory Neurons Induced by a Brain-Generated Estrogen,” is, according to PubMed, the last one published by its last (and corresponding) author Raphael Pinaud, and first author Liisa Tremere, who were both at Northwestern University at the time. Before his position at Northwestern, Pinaud held positions at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Rochester.

Pinaud and Tremere jointly published a handful of papers on the role of estrogen in the auditory system of the brain starting in 2009, some of which are co-authored by two of the other researchers on the current paper, which has been cited 8 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Here’s the retraction notice:

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Chocolate-diet study publisher claims paper was actually rejected, only live “for some hours.” Email, however, says…

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John — aka “Johannes” — Bohannon

Following revelations in this week from John Bohannon about how he successfully “created” health news by conducting a flawed trial of the health benefits of chocolate and gaming the data to produce statistically significant results, the journal that ultimately published the findings is now claiming the paper wasn’t accepted.

Trouble is, we’ve got correspondence from Bohannon showing that’s false. Here’s a quote from an email from publisher Carlos Vazquez to which Bohannon responded on March 2:

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Written by Alison McCook

May 28th, 2015 at 4:41 pm

Science retracts troubled gay canvassing study against LaCour’s objections

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science coverFollowing revelations of data issues and other problems (which crashed our server last week), Science is retracting a paper claiming that short conversations could change people’s minds on same-sex marriage.

The co-author who admitted to faking the data “does not agree” to the retraction, according to Science. Here’s more from the note: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

May 28th, 2015 at 2:31 pm

Should the chocolate-diet sting study be retracted? And why the coverage doesn’t surprise a news watchdog

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Gary Schwitzer

Gary Schwitzer

Note: This story has been updated to include the journal’s response. See below.

Yesterday, John Bohannon described in how he successfully”created” health news — he conducted a flawed trial of the health benefits of chocolate, gamed the data to produce statistically significant results, and published the findings in the International Archives of Medicine:

It was terrible science. The results are meaningless, and the health claims that the media blasted out to millions of people around the world are utterly unfounded.

Given that the author himself says the study is meaningless, clearly, the journal will retract it, yes?  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

May 28th, 2015 at 9:09 am

Misconduct found in 7 papers by Macchiarini, says English write-up of investigation

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Paolo Macchiarini

Paolo Macchiarini

The Karolinska Institutet in Sweden has released an English translation of an external review that found Paolo Macchiarini, a celebrated surgeon who is credited with creating tracheas from cadavers and patients’ own stem cells, committed misconduct in a series of papers describing the work.

You can read the entire report, news of which was first reported by Sciencehere. The investigator, Bengt Gerdin, of Uppsala University, considered a series of allegations about Macchiarini’s papers, and found a number of them lived up to the verdict of misconduct. There were seven affected papers, not six, as was reported last week based on the initial findings (reported in Swedish).

For instance, in a 2014 Nature Communications paper describing the procedure in rats, Gerdin found that the scientists erred when none of the listed authors could assume responsibility for a CT image showing rats with “a smooth and patent oesophagus” (the researcher who took it asked to be left off the author list when he disagreed with how it was being interpreted), among other issues: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

May 28th, 2015 at 8:30 am

Scientists “wish to resign as co-authors:” Quantum dot paper retracted

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chemcommChemical Communications has retracted a 2015 article by a group of researchers in China over concerns about fabricated data and an incredible shrinking list of authors.

The paper, “N, S co-doped graphene quantum dots from a single source precursor used for photodynamic cancer therapy under two-photon excitation,” was ostensibly written by nine researchers at the Collaborative Innovation Center for Marine Biomass Fiber, Materials and Textiles of Shandong Province, the Shandong Sino-Japanese Center for Collaborative Research of Carbon Nanomaterials, Laboratory of Fiber Materials and Modern Textiles, the Growing Base for State Key Laboratory at the  College of Chemical Science and Engineering at Qingdao University, and Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minn.

According to the abstract: Read the rest of this entry »

Geology dust-up: Second sand paper swept away for duplication

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GeomorphologyCiting an “abuse of the scientific publishing system,” the editors of Geomorphology have retracted a paper from a quartet of geologists in China for containing “significant similarity” to four other papers.

It is the second recent retraction for the group: In a loop of self-plagiarism, the Geomorphology paper was cited as a source of copied material in a retraction last month from Sedimentary Geology.

This most recent retraction is of a January 2014 paper, “The influence of sand bed temperature on lift-off and falling parameters in windblown sand flux,” analyzing the rise and fall of windblown sand based on the temperature of the sand bed.

Here is the full text of the notice:

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Written by Megan Scudellari

May 27th, 2015 at 11:30 am

Fluid mechanics article retracted with no explanation

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JHeatTransf_ak7An article published earlier this year has been retracted from the  Journal of Heat Transfer. But the retraction notice gives no information about what was amiss.

The article is entitled “Neural Network Methodology for Modeling Heat Transfer in Wake Flow,” and the retraction notice, in full, reads: Read the rest of this entry »