More than one third — 35% — of the world’s top-ranked science journals that responded to a survey don’t have a retraction policy, according to a new study. And that’s a dramatic improvement over findings of a similar study a little more than a decade ago.
For the new paper, “Retraction policies of top scientific journals ranked by impact factor,” David Resnik, Grace Kissling, and Elizabeth Wager (a member of the board of directors of The Center For Scientific Integrity, our parent non-profit organization) surveyed 200 science journals with the highest impact factors about their retraction policies. About three-quarters provided the information: Read the rest of this entry »
A 2011 paper about the crystal structure of a transcription regulator has been pulled by Molecules and Cells for “unethical behavior by the authors.”
Five years ago today, we wrote our first post, “Why write a blog about retractions?” And although every year since has been terrific, this year we have the most to celebrate so far. Here are some highlights: Read the rest of this entry »
Weekend reads: What really happened in that lab?; best excuses for falsifying data and rejecting grants
The week at Retraction Watch featured the correction of a widely covered study claiming to find evidence of the plague and anthrax on New York City subways, and rulings against scientists suing Harvard, a journal, and the CBC. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Read the rest of this entry »
Authors of a widely covered study that documented traces of plague and anthrax on surfaces across New York City have revised the paper after public health officials challenged their interpretations of the data.
It’s hard to overestimate the attention these findings received when first published.
“Bubonic plague found in NYC subway,” wrote The Daily Beast.
“NY subway has bubonic plague,” declared Newser.
The self-proclaimed “father of nutritional immunology,” Ranjit Kumar Chandra, has lost a libel lawsuit against the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC).
The suit was in response to a 2006 three-part documentary from the CBC, which examined allegations of fraud against the former Memorial University researcher.
After the 58-day trial, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice “ruled in favour of CBC, on the grounds that the words in the broadcast were true,” according to CBC producer Lynn Burgess: Read the rest of this entry »
A paper on how abnormal stem cells can cause benign bone tumors has been retracted by Cell Stem Cell after an inquiry into image duplications also uncovered “multiple instances of inappropriate western blot image adjustment.”
The first two authors “declined” to sign the retraction, according to the notice.
Besides confirming initial suspicions that images had been duplicated, the editors also found “multiple instances of inappropriate western blot image adjustment, such as uneven compression of images and removal of background elements:”
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is retracting a paper that showed genetically engineered rice serves as an effective vitamin A supplement after a Massachusetts judge denied the first author’s motion for an injunction against the publisher.
The journal announced plans to retract the paper last year following allegations that the paper contained ethical mis-steps, such as not getting informed consent from the parents of children eating the rice, and faking ethics approval documents.
Last July, first author Guangwen Tang at Tufts University filed a complaint and motion for preliminary injunction against the journal’s publisher, the American Society for Nutrition, to stop the retraction.
According to the ASN, on July 17, a Massachusetts Superior Court “cleared the way” for the publisher to retract the paper. So they have, as of July 29. Here’s more from the retraction notice:
We present a guest post from Tracy Tullis, author of a recent story in the New York Times that — as we reported — the editors said afterwards they “would not have assigned” to her if they’d known about her “involvement in a cause related to news coverage.” This is her side of the story.
Last month I wrote a story for The New York Times called “The Loneliest Elephant,” about an elephant named Happy who has been kept alone at the Bronx Zoo for the past nine years. Animal welfare groups say she should be released to a wildlife sanctuary where she could have the companionship of other elephants; the Bronx Zoo says she’s fine where she is.
The day after the article was published in the Sunday paper, The Times learned I had signed an online petition in support of sending the elephant to a sanctuary (I signed it last April, three weeks before I pitched the article). As Retraction Watch has reported, The Times added an editor’s note to the online version of the article, explaining that signing the petition was “at odds with The Times’s journalistic standards.”
The New York Times Ethical Journalism handbook, which I received six months ago when I wrote my first freelance article for The Times, warns that writers should do nothing that “might reasonably raise doubts about their ability or The Times’s ability to function as neutral observers in covering the news”: no donations to political candidates, no marches or rallies, no buttons or bumper stickers. The handbook doesn’t mention petitions, physical or digital (it was published in 2004, before clickable appeals became commonplace), but it makes sense that signing them would likewise be considered a violation.
There’s a backstory, though, as I suppose there always is. When Retraction Watch asked if I would be interested in telling it, however, I hesitated. My inclination was to curse my mistake, apologize privately to my editor (which I have done), and put it all behind me. But I think the incident raises pertinent questions about how media organizations handle issues of neutrality—and about what happens when the institutions they cover critically accuse writers of bias. And so I agreed to write this. Read the rest of this entry »
Olivier Voinnet — a plant researcher who was recently suspended for two years from the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) after an investigation by
ETH Zurich and CNRS found evidence of misconduct — has issued his second retraction and two more corrections.
PNAS posted the retraction earlier this week for a 2006 article after an inspection of the raw data revealed “errors” in study images. Authors confirmed the issues in some figures and revealed “additional mounting mistakes” in others.
Voinnet has promised to issue retractions and corrections for every study that requires them. These latest notices bring our tally up to nine corrections, two retractions and one Expression of Concern.