Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

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Weekend reads: Systemic fraud in China; science without journals; authorship rules decay

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The week at Retraction Watch featured the retraction of a paper that had been called “anti-vaccine pseudoscience,” a retraction following threats of violence against an editor, and an editorial board member’s resignation over how a journal handled a case of plagiarism. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

October 14th, 2017 at 10:24 am

Posted in weekend reads

Authorship for sale: Some journals willing to add authors to papers they didn’t write

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Got $300? Then you can be added as an author to a paper — even if you had no role in the research.

That’s right — some journals are willing to add authors to papers they didn’t write, often for a fee. This realization comes from one of the many sting experiments we’ve witnessed over the years, designed to expose the perils of the publishing industry, in which some journals will claim to peer review and publish any manuscript for a fee — no matter how nonsensical the content. Pravin Bolshete, a medical writer and researcher from India, wanted to explore a different side of predatory publishing — would journals agree to add a fictional author to a manuscript he/she didn’t write?

Presenting his findings at the Eighth Peer Review Congress this week in Chicago, Bolshete reported that, after sending hundreds of emails to publishers considered predatory according to the now-defunct (and controversial) list compiled by librarian Jeffrey Beall, 16% agreed to add an author to a paper.

Bolshete told us:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

September 13th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Weekend reads: An NIH grant scam; are calls for retraction useful?; how to end honorary authorship

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The week at Retraction Watch featured the revocation of a PhD, a questionable way to boost university rankings, and a look at what editors should do when a researcher known to have committed misconduct submits a new manuscript. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

August 26th, 2017 at 9:50 am

Posted in weekend reads

Unintended consequences: How authorship guidelines destroyed a relationship

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It started as a simple email exchange over authorship. But it angered one researcher so much that it ended a 20-year collaboration.

In January 2017, a chemist based in Mexico had finished writing a paper describing the structure of a molecule. Sylvain Bernès, at the Instituto de Física Luis Rivera Terrazas, asked his co-author—the head of the lab where the molecule had been synthesized 10 years ago—to review the draft and include any co-authors involved in the initial work.

The researcher added three co-authors to the paper. Bernès became concerned. He wanted to follow the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) authorship recommendations as strictly as possible. As far as Bernès could tell, none of the new authors had actually contributed to the work, potentially violating the recommendation about authorship contributions. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Victoria Stern

July 5th, 2017 at 8:00 am

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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sol

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 »