A journal has followed through on its promise to retract all articles by an education researcher, after an investigation raised questions about the validity of the data in some of his work with children with special needs.
The latest notice — which includes a list of 11 papers — brings the total number of retractions for Noel Kok Hwee Chia to 21.
Last spring, The Journal of the American Academy of Special Education Professionals (JAASEP) pulled nine articles by Chia that were the subject of an investigation at the National Institute of Education in Singapore, part of Nanyang Technological University, where he worked until April. As we reported in June, editors explained in a 3,000-word notice that they planned to pull every article that Chia had published in JAASEP.
The new retraction notice quotes from the reasoning presented in the previous one, from last spring:
Unfortunately, because of the uncertainty surrounding the prior research done that warranted the aforementioned retractions, JAASEP has made the professional decision to retract all of Dr. Chia’s articles published in JAASEP in order to protect the integrity of our journal.
The new retraction notice lists the 11 papers (we’ve included links where available):
Chia, N. and Ng, A. (Summer, 2008). Effectiveness of sentence-by-sentence self-monitoring (SSSM): A strategy to improve reading comprehension of children with nonverbal learning disability (NLD). Journal of the American Academy of Special Education Professionals, 3(2).
Tin, Y., Chia, N. and Wong M.E. (Fall, 2008). Understanding dyslographia (Chinese dysgraphia) and what is known about the disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Special Education Professionals, 3(3).
Chia, N. and Wong, D. (Spring, 2009). What do brothers and sisters think? An investigation of expectations of siblings with ASD. Journal of the American Academy of Special Education Professionals, 4(2).
Chia, N. (Spring, 2009). Teaching spelling to Singaporean Chinese children with dysorthographia in English language: Lexical versus lexical phonological approach. Journal of the American Academy of Special Education Professionals, 4(2).
Chia, N., Kee, N., Watanabe, K., and Poh, P. (Fall, 2009). An investigation on the effectiveness of dolphin encounter for special children (DESC) program for children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Special Education Professionals, 4(3).
Wong M.E. and Chia, N. (Winter, 2010). The effect of impaired visual exteroception on body schema in the drawing and 3-D plasticine modelling of human figures: A case study of three preschool children with total congenital blindness due to retinopathy of prematurity. A case study. Journal of the American Academy of Special Education Professionals, 5(1).
Kee, N. and Chia, N. (Spring, 2010). Teaching arithmetic operation of division with Montessori division board set to two children with autism spectrum disorders: A case study. Journal of the American Academy of Special Education Professionals, 5(2).
Chia, N. (Spring, 2011). Teaching Singaporean children with autism spectrum disorders to understand science concepts through autistic analysis/synthesis (ALA/S). Journal of the American Academy of Special Education Professionals, 6(2).
Chia, N. (Spring, 2012). What is LD in special needs education? Journal of the American Academy of Special Education Professionals, 7(2).
Loh, C.H. and Chia, N. (Winter 2013). Effectiveness of semantic cloze procedure to improve reading comprehension of weak readers in a primary school. Journal of the American Academy of Special Education Professionals, 8(1).
Chia, N. (Winter 2014). Specific language impairment: Defining the disorder and identifying its symptoms in preschool children”. Journal of the American Academy of Special Education Professionals, 9(1).
The journal repeated its acknowledgment of a psychology researcher who assisted in the process:
As we stated previously, “JAASEP would like to personally and professionally thank Helmy Faber, Psychologist NIP, for her hard work and tireless efforts in this matter. She was clearly up against many professional roadblocks, yet she stayed true to what she believed and ultimately served the review process very well. We thank her for her professionalism and helping JAASEP maintain the integrity of our journal.”
We contacted Faber last year, who told us she raised questions about Chia’s work after reviewing it for her own project. However, Chia said he couldn’t answer all her questions, since an organization had collected the primary data, and participants’ identities were protected by a confidentiality clause.
Then, last April, Chia asked the journal to retract nine of his papers. That month, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) issued a statement saying it had conducted an investigation, and could not “authenticate the data,” nor ensure the researcher had obtained proper ethics approvals. The previous retraction notice also included a statement from NTU Research Integrity Officer Tony Mayer, saying the institution had been unable to verify the existence of the organization that Chia said had collected the data. The previous retraction notice explained the journal’s plans to retract all of Chia’s papers — “not just the ones requested for retraction.”
It seems that the papers have been removed entirely from the journal. The titles are listed on a table of contents, without any language indicating that they have been retracted, but contain no links to abstracts or PDFs. (Some of the PDFs are available via the American Academy of Special Education Professionals, without watermarks indicating their status; we found them via Google).
In their retraction guidelines, the Committee on Publication Ethics suggests that:
Retracted articles should not be removed from printed copies of the journal (e.g. in libraries) nor from electronic archives but their retracted status should be indicated as clearly as possible.
We’ve reached out to JAASEP for comment, and will update this post if we hear back. We have been unable to find current contact information for Chia.
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