Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Is China using organs from executed prisoners? Researchers debate issue in the literature

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Journal of Medical EthicsA researcher is calling for the retraction of a paper about a recent ban in the use of organs from executed prisoners in China, accusing the authors of misrepresenting the state of the practice.

In April 2015, a paper in the Journal of Medical Ethics welcomed the ban by the Chinese government as “a step in the right direction,” but noted that China remains plagued by a crucial shortage in available organs.

Some academics disagreed with the authors’ take on the issue, noting that the paper fails to note that many organs may continue to be harvested from Chinese prisoners of conscience; ultimately, the journal received a letter asking to retract the paper. The journal decided not to, and instead asked the authors to issue a lengthy correction, for instance changing the language about the government decision (“law” became“guideline”), and allowed critics to publish a rebuttal to the paper in May 2016.  Read the rest of this entry »

You’ve been dupe’d: Nice data — let’s see them again

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As we’ve said before, with hundreds of retractions per year, there are simply too many for us to cover individually.

So from time to time we’ll compile a list of retractions that appeared relatively straightforward, just for record-keeping purposes.

Often, these seemingly straightforward retractions involve duplications, in which authors — accidentally or on purpose — republish their own work elsewhere.

Sometimes journals and authors blame this event on “poor communication,” our first example notes:

Read the rest of this entry »

From annoying to bitter, here are the six types of peer reviewers

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Urban Geography

After two decades of submitting papers to journals, and more than 10 years of serving on an editorial board or editing journals, geography researcher Kevin Ward knows a thing or two about peer review.

Recently, as the editor of Urban Geography, he received a particularly “grumpy” and “obnoxious” review in his inbox, which got him thinking. Although, he says, the review raised “professionally appropriate issues,” it went well beyond the widely accepted content and tone. Ward, therefore, decided to reflect on his two decades of experience, and decipher the different types of reviewers and their characteristics.

In all, Ward — from the University of Manchester in the UK — says he’s encountered six types of referees.

Here’s the first, according to his recent editorial published in Urban Geography: 

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

July 25th, 2016 at 9:30 am

Weekend reads: Lying academics; journals to blame for bad behavior; why bad science is funded

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booksThe week at Retraction Watch featured a first in transparency from Canada, and the second retraction for a fan of a conspiracy theory. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

July 23rd, 2016 at 9:40 am

Posted in weekend reads

Four more retractions for biomaterials researcher brings total to 7

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Journal of Controlled ReleaseA biomaterials researcher has lost four more papers for figure-related issues such as duplications, bringing his total to seven retractions.

We previously reported on three retractions two by the Journal of Controlled Release (JCR) of papers co-authored by Hossein Hosseinkhani, who is currently based at the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology in Taipei. Now, the JCR is pulling four more studies that list Hosseinkhani as a co-author.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Enhanced expression of plasmid dna – cationized gelatin complex by ultrasound in murine muscle:” Read the rest of this entry »

Bone researcher up to 10 retractions

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Neurology JournalA journal is retracting three papers and a letter from a bone researcher who admitted to scientific misconduct, noting that all co-authors were included only for honorary reasons.

We’ve previously reported on six retractions of papers co-authored by Yoshihiro Sato, who is based at Mitate Hospital in Japan, including one in JAMA. Retractions stemmed from the use of “honorary” co-authors, as well as concerns over the data. One paper seemed to be the victim of “extensive self-plagiarism.”

Sato, who is the first and corresponding author of all ten retractions (including the letter), accepted full responsibility of the newly retracted publications, noting that none of the co-authors took part in any misconduct.

Here’s the retraction notice — which is similar for all four new retractions — issued on July 12: Read the rest of this entry »

Author pulls study for duplication, blames editing company

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MedChemCommThe author of a paper about insulin has retracted it due to “extensive text and data overlap” with another paper.

In November 2015, MedChemComm issued an expression of concern (EOC) for the same paper. According to the EOC, the author of the paper, Yong Yang, flagged the paper to the journal, citing problems with authorship and portions of text overlap, which Yang attributed to an editing company.  

The editor-in-chief of the journal told us Yang’s institution — China Medical University — carried out an investigation into the case at the journal’s request.

We’ve also found a 2015 retraction for Yang, after he published a paper without the okay of his previous institution in Texas. 

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

4th retraction for neuroscientist sentenced for fraud

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Bruce Murdoch

Bruce Murdoch

A Parkinson’s researcher has earned his fourth retraction after receiving a two-year suspended sentence for fraud.

The sentence for Bruce Murdoch, issued on March 31, 2016, came following an investigation by his former employer, the University of Queensland (UQ) in Australia, into 92 papers. Murdoch entered guilty pleas for 17 fraud-related charges, which resulted in the retraction of three papers co-authored by Murdoch and Caroline Barwood, another former UQ Parkinson’s researcher who faced fraud charges (and was granted bail in 2014).

Now, a fourth retraction has appeared for Murdoch in Brain Injury, this time for duplication and failing to obtain consent from his co-authors.

Here’s the retraction notice, issued on July 11: Read the rest of this entry »

Against authors’ wishes, journal pulls study with errors, statistical mistake

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Annals of the Rheumatic DiseasesA rheumatology journal has retracted a paper about treating knee pain after an institutional investigation found a mistake in the statistical process.

Over several months, the authors proposed a series of corrections to the 2014 study. However, the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases (ARD) decided that there were “unresolved concerns” about the reliability of the data, and decided to retract the paper entirely, despite the authors’ objections.

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

Ex-Mount Sinai postdoc who falsified 50+ images earns 5-year funding ban

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ori-logoA former postdoctoral researcher at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York has received a five-year funding ban after an investigation concluded that they had falsified data underlying more than 50 images.

According to a report released today by the Office of Research Integrity (ORI), Zhiyu Li falsified Read the rest of this entry »