Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

“I placed too much faith in underpowered studies:” Nobel Prize winner admits mistakes

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Daniel Kahneman

Although it’s the right thing to do, it’s never easy to admit error — particularly when you’re an extremely high-profile scientist whose work is being dissected publicly. So while it’s not a retraction, we thought this was worth noting: A Nobel Prize-winning researcher has admitted on a blog that he relied on weak studies in a chapter of his bestselling book.

The blog — by Ulrich Schimmack, Moritz Heene, and Kamini Kesavan — critiqued the citations included in a book by Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist whose research has illuminated our understanding of how humans form judgments and make decisions and earned him half of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics.

According to the Schimmack et al blog, Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

February 20th, 2017 at 12:35 pm

Paper quickly retracted after author used another group’s work

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The author of a 2016 paper has agreed to retract it after an investigation revealed that most of the article came from another research group at the same university.

According to the notice, the author based the majority of his paper on results generated by other scientists without their permission.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Controlled synthesis of magnetic block copolymers for anti-microbial purpose,” published in the Journal of Applied Polymer Science in November and retracted in February: Read the rest of this entry »

Weekend reads: The upside of predatory publishers; why no one replicates; the pain of manuscript submission

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The week at Retraction Watch featured a retraction of a state senator’s paper, and an editor busted for citation boosting. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

February 18th, 2017 at 9:30 am

Posted in weekend reads

Unusual: Neurology removes author dinged for misconduct from 2016 paper

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Neurology has partially retracted a 2016 paper, replacing a figure and removing the author who contributed it after he was found guilty of misconduct.

The journal has replaced the figure with a new one that confirmed the findings of the original, and swapped the name of Andrew Cullinane with the scientist who constructed the new figure using a new dataset. Last year, the U.S. Office of Research Integrity declared that Cullinane had falsified data in this paper and one other while working as a postdoctoral fellow in the Medical Genetics Branch at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).

Cullinane appears to be at Howard University in Washington D.C., according to his LinkedIn page. He is listed as an assistant professor in the Basic Sciences/Anatomy department of the university’s College of Medicine.

Here’s the partial retraction notice from the journal:

Read the rest of this entry »

Editor resigns from two journals after “considerable” citation boosting attempts

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An editor at two European Geophysical Union journals has resigned following revelations that he or she engaged in citation manipulation — boosting citations to his or her own papers and associated journals.

Here’s a letter announcing the news, signed by EGU publication committee chair Hubert Savenije, that ran in several EGU journals earlier this week: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

February 17th, 2017 at 10:04 am

Cancer biologist stops research as his retraction count rises to 13

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Anil Jaiswal

A cancer biologist based at the University of Maryland is transitioning out of research, as a journal has retracted three more of his papers.

Anil Jaiswal has now lost 13 papers, including, as we reported on February 6, six retractions issued earlier this month.

The Baltimore Sun reported this week that Jaiswal would no longer be conducting research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, which we confirmed from a spokesperson:

Read the rest of this entry »

“Social science isn’t definitive like chemistry:” Embattled food researcher defends his work

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Brian Wansink

It’s been a busy few months for Brian Wansink, a prominent food researcher at Cornell University. A blog post he wrote in November prompted a huge backlash from readers who accused him of using problematic research methods to produce questionable data, and a group of researchers suggested four of his papers contained 150 inconsistencies. The scientist has since announced he’s asked a non-author to reanalyze the data — a researcher in his own lab. Meanwhile, criticisms continue to mount. We spoke with Wansink about the backlash, and how he hopes to answer his critics’ questions.

Retraction Watch: Why not engage someone outside your lab to revalidate the analysis of the four papers under question? 

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

February 16th, 2017 at 10:15 am

A “plethora of data errors” prompts authors to retract oncology paper

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Researchers in China have retracted a 2016 cancer imaging paper because they introduced “a plethora of data errors” while preparing the article for submission.

Although the retraction notice provides no details on what these errors are or how exactly they occurred, it does point the finger at the researchers, explaining that the data errors happened as a result of their “negligence.”

Here’s the 2017 retraction notice for “Rituximab-conjugated, doxorubicin-loaded microbubbles as a theranostic modality in B-cell lymphoma,” published November 25, 2016 in Oncotarget: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Victoria Stern

February 15th, 2017 at 11:30 am

Researcher issues massive changes to papers amidst plagiarism investigation

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A researcher in Greece has issued extensive — what we sometimes call “mega” — corrections to two 2016 papers published in a medical journal in Romania.

The first author — Alexandra Kalogeraki, a pathology researcher at the University of Crete in Greece — retracted two reviews from the same journal last year for plagiarism. The newest notices remove authors and correct, add, or remove text, often without providing an explicit reason for the change.

The journal told us Kalogeraki initially asked to retract the newly corrected papers, but the editors didn’t believe that the papers warranted the harsher measure, as they’d run a plagiarism scan and conducted peer review of the two papers and did not find any issues. However, the University of Crete is currently investigating allegations of plagiarism in two of Kalogeraki’s other papers, which have already been retracted by the same journal.

For the latest mega-corrections, both are so lengthy we’re only including a small portion of the notice for the case study, “Recurrent Cerebellar Desmoplastic/ Nodular Medulloblastoma in Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) in the elderly. A Cytologic Diagnosis,” which deals with authorship: Read the rest of this entry »

Researchers disagree over how to explain doubts over physics findings

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After an international group of physicists agreed that the findings of their 2015 paper were in doubt, they simply couldn’t agree on how to explain what went wrong. Apparently tired of waiting, the journal retracted the paper anyway.

The resulting notice doesn’t say much, for obvious reasons. Apparently, some additional information came to light which caused the researchers to question the results and model. Although the five authors thought a retraction was the right call, they could not agree on the language in the notice.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Atomistic simulation of damage accumulation and amorphization in Ge,” published online February 2015 in the Journal of Applied Physics (JAP) and retracted two years later in January 2017: Read the rest of this entry »