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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

MS paper second to fall following University of Queensland investigation

with 7 comments

aphasiologyTwo former University of Queensland researchers have lost another paper following an investigation into their work.

In September, the university announced that a paper in the European Journal of Neurology by Bruce Murdoch and Caroline Barwood would be retracted because

no primary data can be located, and no evidence has been found that the study described in the article was conducted.

The university continued its investigation, and announced today that:

UQ subsequently examined 92 papers published since 2007 by former staff members Bruce Murdoch and Caroline Barwood.

The examination did not reveal any other instances of research not supported by primary data or of research undertaken without ethics approval.

It did raise concerns about statistical methodology in the Aphasiology paper, and about the attribution of authorship of a small number of papers.

UQ provided details of those concerns to the editors of the journals to enable them to make informed decisions on what action, if any, they would take.

As Australia’s ABC reports:

Professor Murdoch was also on the editorial board of the journal Aphasiology for more than two decades before he stepped aside several months ago.

The ABC understands the latest retraction is not due to intentionally fabricated research data, and instead a statistical error is to blame.

Here’s the notice:

The following article has been retracted from publication in the Taylor & Francis journal Aphasiology:

Barwood, C.H.S., & Murdoch B.E. Cognitive linguistic deficits in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Aphasiology, 27: 1459–1471. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02687038.2013.808315. Version of Record published online 27 June 2013.

The article has been retracted with the authority of the University of Queensland and the journal Editor in Chief, Professor Chris Code, and Taylor & Francis.

The retraction is due to the findings of an investigation by the University of Queensland, which has established that: the manuscript claims to have a control group of 15, however only 7 control participants were documented and some control data were re-used to enlarge the control group. This lack of independence within control data is not acknowledged in the manuscript.

The paper has yet to be cited, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

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Written by Ivan Oransky

April 4, 2014 at 8:00 am

7 Responses

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  1. “The manuscript claims to have a control group of 15, however only 7 control participants were documented and some control data were re-used to enlarge the control group. This lack of independence within control data is not acknowledged in the manuscript.”

    If I’ve read that correctly, it is data fabrication. 8 data points were made up and added to the 7 real ones…

    • Agreed. Sounds like fabrication to me. What else can we expect from this pair? What was going on that allowed this to proceed?

      Pedro

      April 5, 2014 at 12:29 am

  2. “8 data points were made up and added to the 7 real ones…” this is data fabrication and it is not a simple statistical error. What’s the research standard of the QU if this fabrication as a statistical error? Why couldn’t the QU provide the investigation report to the science community and the public? Is there anything that the QU wants to be covered-up?

    Ryan

    April 5, 2014 at 2:07 am

    • Negativity! If fabrication of data has taken place then it would be been stated. Data points were reused, controls were matched to multiple patients. Not common practice, but no self respecting researcher would intentionally make this mistake. This is an error!

      Curious

      April 5, 2014 at 5:34 pm

      • Assumption! “If fabrication of data has taken place then it would be been stated.”

        The point is that WHY the UQ couldn’t provide the investigation report to the science community and the public to have the full explanations.

        The facts that stated by the journal are clear, “8 data points were made up and added to the 7 real ones…” If this were a statistical error then the journal would issue a correction.

        In fact, the UQ even have been unable to provide those facts stated by the journal to the science community and the public. Why?

        RW has reported many cases of research misconduct and fraud. The institutional investigation reports for many cases of research misconduct and fraud have been available to the science community and the public, such as, Diederik Stapel, Dipak Das, Pankaj Dhonukshe, Dirk Smeesters, Milena Penkowa, Yoshitaka Fujii, Shigeaki Kato etc.

        According to “Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research” (page 12.3) (https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/r39.pdf), “The findings of an independent, external research misconduct inquiry should be made available to the public.”

        AUSTRALIA NEEDS TO HAVE AN OFFICE OF RESEARCH INTEGRITY!

        Ryan

        April 5, 2014 at 11:09 pm


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