Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

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First retraction appears for embattled food researcher Brian Wansink

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Brian Wansink

Earlier this month, a high-profile food researcher who’s recently come under fire announced a journal was retracting one of his papers for duplication. Today, a retraction appeared — for a 2002 study which contained “major overlap,” according to the journal.

The Journal of Sensory Studies has retracted a paper by Cornell’s Brian Wansink about how labeling of foods can affect how they taste, after determining it borrowed too heavily from a 2000 paper. Wansink is the first author on both studies.

Here’s more from the retraction notice:

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Written by Alison McCook

April 10th, 2017 at 2:50 pm

More notices appear for embattled Cornell food researcher

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Journals have posted two corrections alongside papers by Brian Wansink, a food researcher whose work has lately come under fire.

One of the corrected papers was among the initial batch that raised eyebrows last year; after Wansink praised the productivity of one of his researchers, critics suggested four papers contained critical flaws. The questions about his work soon extended to other papers, one of which was retracted in April. That month, an internal review by Cornell University announced that Wansink made numerous mistakes, but did not commit misconduct. Wansink has pledged to reanalyze multiple papers.

One paper that was among those initially criticized has received a formal correction notice from the Journal of Product & Brand Management. The notice, which appears behind a paywall, has drawn fire from a regular critic of Wansink’s work, Jordan Anaya, who argues “this correction actually needs a correction, actually several.”

Here’s the notice for “Peak-end pizza: prices delay evaluations of quality:”

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“The correct values are impossible to establish:” Embattled nutrition researcher adds long fix to 2005 paper

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A Cornell food researcher who has pledged to re-analyze his papers following heavy criticism of his work has issued a major correction to a 2005 paper.

The correction tweaks two tables, a figure, and the description of the methodology — and notes in two instances the correct findings are unknown, since the original data are unavailable. Andrew Gelman, a statistician at Columbia University and critic of Brian Wansink’s work, has dubbed the notice the “best correction ever.”

The paper, about whether changing the name of food influences its taste, was not among the batch of papers initially flagged by critics last year. Since then, researchers have raised additional questions about Wansink’s work; one of his papers was retracted in April. That same month, an internal review by Cornell University concluded that Wansink made numerous mistakes, but did not commit misconduct.

When we contacted Wansink about the correction, we received this statement from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, which Wansink directs:

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Written by Alison McCook

July 4th, 2017 at 8:00 am

Weekend reads: Death penalty for scientific fraud?; Why criticism is good; Cash for publishing

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The week at Retraction Watch featured revelations about a case of misconduct at the University of Colorado Denver, and the case of a do-over that led to a retraction. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:

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Written by Ivan Oransky

June 24th, 2017 at 9:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Weekend reads: New calls for retraction; more on fake peer review; how long does peer review take?

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The week at Retraction Watch featured a look at how long journals take to respond to retraction requests, and news of a $10 million settlement for research misconduct allegations. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

April 29th, 2017 at 10:57 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Cornell finds mistakes — not misconduct — in papers by high-profile nutrition researcher

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Brian Wansink

An internal review by Cornell University has concluded that a high-profile researcher whose work has been under fire made numerous mistakes in his work, but did not commit misconduct.

In response, the researcher — Brian Wansinkannounced that he has submitted four errata to the journals that published the work in question. Since the initial allegations about the four papers, other researchers have raised numerous questions about additional papers that appear to contain duplicated material. Wansink noted that he has contacted the six journals that published that work, and was told one paper is being retracted.

Here’s the statement from Cornell about its initial probe:

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Written by Alison McCook

April 6th, 2017 at 3:23 pm

Weekend reads: Investigations need sunlight; should we name fraudster names?; how to kill predatory journals

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The week at Retraction Watch featured a lawsuit threat following criticism of a popular education program, and the new editor of PLOS ONE’s explanation of why submissions are down. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

March 18th, 2017 at 9:30 am

Posted in weekend reads

Weekend reads: A publisher sends the wrong message on data sharing; jail for scientific fraud; pigs fly

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The week at Retraction Watch featured three new ways companies are trying to scam authors, and a look at why one journal is publishing a running tally of their retractions. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

March 11th, 2017 at 9:31 am

Posted in weekend reads

Weekend reads: How to speed up peer review; the whipsaw of science news headlines; data-sharing stance sparks resignation request

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The week at Retraction Watch featured more fallout from a citation-boosting episode, and a look at when animal research becomes unnecessary and cruel. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

March 4th, 2017 at 9:30 am

Posted in weekend reads

“Social science isn’t definitive like chemistry:” Embattled food researcher defends his work

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Brian Wansink

It’s been a busy few months for Brian Wansink, a prominent food researcher at Cornell University. A blog post he wrote in November prompted a huge backlash from readers who accused him of using problematic research methods to produce questionable data, and a group of researchers suggested four of his papers contained 150 inconsistencies. The scientist has since announced he’s asked a non-author to reanalyze the data — a researcher in his own lab. Meanwhile, criticisms continue to mount. We spoke with Wansink about the backlash, and how he hopes to answer his critics’ questions.

Retraction Watch: Why not engage someone outside your lab to revalidate the analysis of the four papers under question? 

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Written by Alison McCook

February 16th, 2017 at 10:15 am