Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

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Weekend reads: Citation cartels; less authorship credit for women; theft by peer reviewers

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The week at Retraction Watch featured a discussion of whether peer reviewers should replicate experiments, and a look at whether social psychology really has a retraction problem. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

January 14th, 2017 at 9:30 am

Posted in weekend reads

A new way to fake authorship: Submit under a prominent name, then say it was a mistake

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4orcoverRecently, the editors of a journal about management science received a submission from a prominent Dutch economist. But something didn’t feel right about it.

For one, the author submitted the paper using a Yahoo email address. So the editors contacted the author via his institutional email; immediately, the researcher denied having submitted the paper — and said it had happened before. And then things got really interesting.

The editors — Yves Crama, Michel Grabisch, and Silvano Martello — decided to run a “sting” operation, pretending to consider the paper, and even submitted their own fake reviews, posing as referees. They accepted the paper via the electronic submissions system, then lo and behold:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

November 28th, 2016 at 9:30 am

Post you may have missed: Tomato study squashed by authorship, data problems

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A technical glitch prevented a story from reaching our email subscribers earlier today, so in case you missed it:

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Written by Alison McCook

November 18th, 2016 at 3:30 pm

Posted in RW announcements

Medical journal retracts study over fake review, authorship concerns

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european-journal-of-medical-researchA journal has retracted a 2015 study about lung cancer after learning the peer-review process had been compromised.

The paper was published in March, 2015 — the same month publisher BioMed Central (BMC) pulled 43 papers for fake reviews.

According to the retraction notice in the European Journal of Medical Research, the authors’ institution in China informed the publisher that the authors had used a third party to help with copyediting and submission to the journal, raising concerns about the authorship of the paper.

Here’s the retraction notice, published in August: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

November 2nd, 2016 at 9:30 am

7 signs a scientific paper’s authorship was bought

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Maria Sol Bernardez Sarria

Peggy Mason

Peggy Mason

Did you know there is a black market for scientific papers? Unfortunately, there is a growing trend of authors purchasing a spot on the author list of papers-for-sale – and the better the journal, the higher the price. This worrisome trend has been on the minds of Peggy Mason at the University of Chicago and Maria Sol Bernardez Sarria of Yale University, formerly associated with the Ethics Committee of the Society for Neuroscience, which publishes the Journal of Neuroscience (Mason as Chair from 2013 to 2015, and Bernardez Sarria as assistant). In this capacity, they regularly scanned several websites and journals for ethics-related information, and developed an approach that might give away sold authorship. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

October 24th, 2016 at 9:30 am

Journal flags paper at center of authorship dispute

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carbohydrate-polymersA journal has issued an expression of concern (EOC) for a nanofilm paper after a researcher protested being left off the author list. 

According to the notice in Carbohydrate Polymers, the University of Calcutta in West Bengal, India, where the research was carried out, has “failed to provide evidence of a thorough, fair, and proper investigation of this claim,” despite being presented with evidence from both sides.

The study’s last and corresponding author told us that his former student, who had previously co-authored some abstracts, got in touch with journal, alleging to be an author of the present paper. 

Here’s the EOC for “Cationic guar gum orchestrated environmental synthesis for silver nano-bio-composite films:” Read the rest of this entry »

Authorship, funding misstatements force retraction of satellite study

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rslRemote Sensing Letters has retracted a 2015 paper by a pair of researchers in China because the duo was in fact a solo, and the manuscript lied about its funding source.

The article, “A novel method of feature extraction and fusion and its application in satellite images classification,” purportedly was written by Da Lin and Xin Xu, of Wuhan University. But as the retraction notice makes clear, that wasn’t the case: Read the rest of this entry »

2001 sepsis paper “deviates from the ethical standard of authorship,” says journal

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Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 1.50.33 PMWe don’t have a lot of information on a recent retraction of a 2001 paper published in a Japanese journal — just a brief and strongly worded note explaining that it follows “a strict, extensive, and judicious review.”

The paper, retracted 14 years after it was published, describes patients in Okinawa, Japan who developed severe symptoms following infection by bacteria belonging to the Aeromonas genus. One example:

The one patient was a 15-year-old high school girl student, who had been healthy in her school life, was admitted to the hospital with a sudden onset of left thigh muscle pain and swelling. She subsequently went into septic shock and died one day after admission. Pathological examination on autopsy revealed massive gas formation, skin bullas and ulcers, and extensive severe soft tissue damage throughout the body.

Aeromonas species infection with severe clinical manifestation in Okinawa, Japan-association with gas gangrene” has been cited three times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. It was published in a Japanese journal, Rinsho Biseibutshu Jinsoku Shindan Kenkyukai Shi — which translates to the Journal of the Association for Rapid Method and Automation in Microbiology.

The retraction note suggests that there are major flaws:  Read the rest of this entry »

Authorship dispute fells membrane paper

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no spine minimum. full size. Editor: Barbara Sydow JEM: Clay RTP: Cynthia Porath jpcbfk

A membrane paper has been retracted only two months after publication in the Journal of Physical Chemistry B because of an authorship dispute.

The paper, “Magnetic Interaction of Transition Ion Salts with Spin Labeled Lipid Membranes: Interplay of Anion-Specific Adsorption, Electrostatics, and Membrane Fluidity,” has not been cited, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. (It appears to be taken down entirely, but it looks like you can read its abstract here.)

Here’s the entire — very short — note:

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Written by Shannon Palus

January 28th, 2016 at 11:30 am

Journal repels a paper on a magnetic material after authorship, funding issues

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A paper on the properties of a magnetic material is being retracted after including an author without his permission, and omitting a funding source.

According to the note, the work was done in Miao Yu‘s lab at Chongqing University in China; the authors then added Yu’s name to the paper without his authorization, and neglected to list a relevant funding source.

Here’s the retraction note for “Temperature-dependent dynamic mechanical properties of magnetorheological elastomers under magnetic field,” published in the Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials:

Read the rest of this entry »