Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

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Authors in 2014 peer review ring lose 4 more papers each for “compromised” review

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human factors and ergonomicsA journal is pulling additional papers authored by twin brothers for peer review issues.

After retracting three papers by Cheng-Wu Chen earlier this year for “compromised” peer reviewHuman Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing & Service Industries is now pulling four more by Chen for the same reason — and four others by his twin brother, Chen-Yuan Chen, who was a the center of a peer review ring that SAGE busted in 2014.

Cheng-Wu Chen lost 21 papers during that episode. He’s now up to 28; Chen-Yuan Chen, who also goes by Peter Chen, is now up to 43. Both are present on our leaderboard.

The notes, which appear in the March/April issue of the journal, are all identical, and also cite issues with citations:

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Author in 2014 peer review ring loses 3 more papers for peer review problems

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cover (1)A journal is retracting three papers — including one that is highly cited — after learning the reviewers that recommended publication had conflicts of interest.

This is a case of family values gone awry: The author common to all papers is Cheng-Wu Chen at the National Kaohsiung Marine University in Taiwan, the twin brother of one Peter Chen, who was a the center of a peer review ring that SAGE busted in 2014 (and holder of the number #3 spot on our leaderboard). Cheng-Wu Chen apparently wasn’t an innocent bystander in that episode: Of the 60 retracted papers by SAGE, Cheng-Wu Chen was a co-author on 21.

The retraction notes for all three papers — published in Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing & Service Industries — are identical:

Read the rest of this entry »

50 years later, is it time to retract a retraction by a Nobel prize-winning author?

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Georg Wittig

Georg Wittig

It’s not often that an article is retracted only to be later proven correct. But that may have happened this past summer in the chemistry literature.

In July, a group of researchers recapitulated an experiment largely similar to one that Nobelist Georg Wittig had performed – and subsequently retracted — decades earlier. Their findings suggest Wittig may actually have gotten it right the first time.

On July 27, Peter Chen of ETH Zurich and colleagues published an article online in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition that describes a new method for appending a carbon atom to an unsaturated hydrocarbon to create a three-membered ring – a useful chemical transformation known as cyclopropanation. Yet, it was not the first time researchers had reported such a process. As Chen and his colleagues note in the Israel Journal of Chemistry, Georg Wittig of the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg (who would go on to win the chemistry Nobel Prize in 1979) and Volker Franzen reported a similar reaction in 1960 in Angewandte Chemie, a German-language publication. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jeffrey Perkel

September 25th, 2015 at 11:30 am

Who has the most retractions? Introducing the Retraction Watch leaderboard

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Ever since we broke the news about the issues with the now-retracted Science paper about changing people’s minds on gay marriage, we’ve been the subject of a lot of press coverage, which has in turn led a number of people to ask us: Who has the most retractions?

Well, we’ve tried to answer that in our new Retraction Watch leaderboard.

Here is the current list (click here for more detailed information about our methodology and additional notes): Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

June 16th, 2015 at 2:00 pm

The Retraction Watch Leaderboard

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Who has the most retractions? Here’s our unofficial list (see notes on methodology), which we’ll update as more information comes to light:

  1. Yoshitaka Fujii (total retractions: 183) Sources: Final report of investigating committee, our reporting
  2. Joachim Boldt (94) Sources: Editors in chief statement, additional coverage
  3. Diederik Stapel (58) Source: Our cataloging
  4. Adrian Maxim (48) Source: IEEE database
  5. Peter Chen (Chen-Yuan Chen) (43) Source: SAGE, our cataloging
  6. Hua Zhong (41) Source: Journal
  7. Shigeaki Kato (39) Source: Our cataloging
  8. James Hunton (37) Source: Our cataloging
  9. Hendrik Schön (36) Sources: PubMed and Thomson Scientific
  10. Hyung-In Moon (35) Source: Our cataloging
  11. Naoki Mori (32) Source: PubMed, our cataloging
  12. Tao Liu: (29) Source: Journal
  13. Cheng-Wu Chen (28) Source: our cataloging
  14. Gideon Goldstein (26)
  15. Scott Reuben (25)
  16. Gilson Khang (22) Sources: WebCitation.org, WebCitation.org, journal
  17. Friedhelm Herrmann (21)
  18. Noel Chia (21)
  19. Dipak Das (20) Click here for a full list of retracted papers
  20. Khalid Zaman (20)
  21. Jin Cheng (19)
  22. Bharat Aggarwal (18)
  23. Fazlul Sarkar (18)
  24. John Darsee (17)
  25. Wataru Matsuyama (17)
  26. Alirio Melendez (17)
  27. Robert Slutsky (17)
  28. Ulrich Lichtenthaler (16)
  29. Erin Potts-Kant (16)
  30. Pattium Chiranjeevi (15)

We note that all but one of the top 30 are men, which agrees with the general findings of a 2013 paper suggesting that men are more likely to commit fraud.

Notes:

Many accounts of the John Darsee story cite 80-plus retractions, which would place him third on the list, but Web of Science only lists 17, three of which are categorized as corrections. That’s not the only discrepancy. For example, Fujii has 138 retractions listed in Web of Science, compared to 183 as recommended by a university committee, while Reuben has 25, compared to the 22 named in this paper. We know that not everything ends up in Web of Science — Chen, for example, isn’t there at all — so we’ve used our judgment based on covering these cases to arrive at the highest numbers we could verify.

Shigeaki Kato is likely to end up with 43 retractions, based on the results of a university investigation.

All of this is a good reminder why the database we’re building with the generous support of the MacArthur Foundation and Arnold Foundation will be useful.

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Written by Ivan Oransky

June 16th, 2015 at 11:09 am

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Taiwan’s education minister resigns in wake of SAGE peer review scandal

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jvcTaiwan’s education minister, Chiang Wei-ling, whose name appeared on several of 60 retracted articles by Peter Chen — apparently the architect of a peer review and citation syndicate we were first to report on last week — has resigned over the publishing scandal.

According to the University World News: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by amarcus41

July 14th, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Posted in sage,taiwan

SAGE Publications busts “peer review and citation ring,” 60 papers retracted

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This one deserves a “wjvcow.”

SAGE Publishers is retracting 60 articles from the Journal of Vibration and Control after an investigation revealed a “peer review and citation ring” involving a professor in Taiwan.

[Please see an update on this post.]

Here’s the beginning of a statement from SAGE: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

July 8th, 2014 at 11:41 am

Weekend reads: Why so much research is dodgy; why scientists should shun journals; ethical grey zones

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booksThe week at Retraction Watch featured a cancer researcher retracting 19 studies at once from a single journal, and the story of how a 7-year-old came to publish a paper. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

October 22nd, 2016 at 9:30 am

Posted in weekend reads

Weekend reads: How to create tabloid science headlines; sugar industry buys research; the citation black market

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booksThe week at Retraction Watch featured a look at whether we have an epidemic of flawed meta-analyses, and the story of a strange case involving climate research and pseudonyms. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

September 17th, 2016 at 9:52 am

Posted in weekend reads

Philosopher earns 14th retraction for plagiarism

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978-1-4020-3001-7Today, we bring you a case of a serial plagiarizer.

Martin W. F. Stone was a philosophy professor at the University of Leuven — by one account “widely admired and highly respected” — until 2010, when an investigation at the school concluded that his work is “highly questionable in terms of scientific integrity.” Over the past several years, he has racked up retractions, earning his 14th this spring, and spot #30 on our leaderboard.

Stone’s retractions were brought to our attention by philosopher Michael Dougherty, who found a notice for “Michael Baius (1513–89) and the Debate on ‘Pure Nature’: Grace and Moral Agency in Sixteenth-Century Scholasticism,” a chapter in Springer’s Moral Philosophy on the Threshold of Modernity.

The retraction notice says that the chapter Read the rest of this entry »