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The Year of the Retraction: A look back at 2011

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Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, Madrid. Photo by Zaqarbal via Wikimedia

If Retraction Watch was actually a business, as opposed — for the moment, anyway — to a labor of love for two guys with day jobs, 2011 would have been a very good year for business.

It was a year that will probably see close to 400 retractions, including a number of high-profile ones, once the dust settles. Those high numbers caught the attention of a lot of major media outlets, from Nature to NPR to the Wall Street Journal. Science publications, including LiveScience and The Scientist, have done their own end-of-year retraction lists.

It was also a good year for us at Retraction Watch. Many news outlets featured us in their coverage, either picking up stories we’d broken or asking us for comment on big-picture issues. Three national NPR programs — Science Friday, On the Media, and All Things Considered — had us on air. We launched a column in LabTimes, and Nature asked us to write a year-end commentary. We even earned a Wikipedia entry. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

December 30th, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Second retraction by Harvard group studying cannabinoids, this one in JBC

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Last week, we reported that a group of Harvard researchers had retracted a paper in Blood for “multiple instances of duplicate (redundant) publication of data, text, and images that are nonessential to the paper.” The retraction notice referred to a paper in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC):

The redundancies are between the above-cited Blood article and the following 12 November 2010 article, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC): Jiang S, Zagozdzon R, Jorda MA, et al. Endocannabinoids are expressed in bone marrow stromal niches and play a role in interactions of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells with the bone marrow microenvironment. J Biol Chem. 2010;285(46):35471-35478.

Today, we learned that the JBC paper has also been retracted. The notice, as we’ve come to expect from the JBC, is unhelpful: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

July 6th, 2011 at 12:20 pm

“Nonessential” duplication leads to retraction of Blood cannabinoid paper

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The journal Blood has retracted a paper from a group of prestigious Harvard researchers after the article, which appeared in January 2011, was found to have multiple instances of material — text, data and other elements — that had appeared in a previous publication from several of the authors.

The article was titled “Cannabinoid receptor 2 and its agonists mediate hematopoiesis and hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell mobilization.” Its authors included Hava Avraham, a noted cancer researcher, and Jerome Groopman, known for his New Yorker articles about medicine and, scientifically, for his work on cannabinoids and cancer, among other areas.

According to the retraction notice: Read the rest of this entry »