Bowing to outraged scientists, the American Physical Society (APS) has retracted a press release (archived here) it issued yesterday that urged President-elect Donald Trump to “Make America Great Again” by strengthening “scientific leadership.”
The statement, attributed to Tawanda Johnson, in the APS’ Washington, D.C. office, congratulated Trump on his victory over Hillary Clinton and said the nation must “reclaim its scientific leadership, which it has lost during the past decade. APS believes that such policies” — which it did not specify — “will help the Trump administration achieve its goal captured by its slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
The release goes on to claim that the United States ranks 10th worldwide in “overall innovation,” thanks in part to less-than-adequate funding for scientific research.
Social media went predictably bonkers as the release made the rounds. From Twitter: Read the rest of this entry »
The Texas institute that participated in the groundbreaking gravitational waves discovery had to repay nearly $5 million in funding after misusing and misreporting benefits, according to audits obtained by The Monitor.
The infractions occurred at The University of Texas Brownsville, which has since become part of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV). Once the issues were discovered, UTRGV had to make the reimbursements.
An Elsevier journal has angered an author by removing his study without telling him.
After spending months asking the journal why it removed the paper — about a heavily debated theorem in physics — and getting no response, the author threatened to seek damages from the journal and publisher for “permanently stigmatizing” his work. Yesterday, an Elsevier representative told the author what happened: Experts told the journal the paper had a major mistake, so the journal decided to withdraw the study, but failed to tell the author due to an “internal error.”
That explanation didn’t satisfy study author Joy Christian, scientific director of the Einstein Centre for Local-Realistic Physics in Oxford, UK, who has demanded the journal either republish the article or remove it and return the copyright to him, or he will pursue legal action.
Here’s the cryptic publisher’s note for “Local causality in a Friedmann–Robertson–Walker spacetime:” Read the rest of this entry »
The papers present a method for imaging very small things — like biological processes on a molecular scale — that could be an alternative to electron microscopy, as the authors explain in a video. But after the papers were published in the New Journal of Physics, last author Ulf Leonhardt, now based at the Weizmann Institute of Science, found out that some of the data
were pixel-by-pixel mirror-symmetric, which is impossible for genuine experimental data.
One of the researchers co-authored a subsequent paper that acknowledges one of the papers incorrectly assumed the data were symmetrical, and could therefore be extrapolated from one side to the other. A representative of the publisher told us they have not seen any signs of misconduct, and the problem seemed to result from a “series of apparent miscommunications between the authors.”
Science has retracted an August paper on an interesting electric current researchers observed in a kind of material called a topological insulator. Well, a current the researchers — based at Stanford and MIT — thought they had observed.
A magnetic field with particular attributes reported in the paper seemed to provide evidence of the current. But the researchers soon discovered that the field might have been, in part, an artifact of the very device they used to detect it. The authors, along with a few other researchers, have published that subsequent finding on the physics preprint server, arXiv.
This week, PubPeer filed a motion to quash a subpoena demanding that they reveal the names of some of their commenters. Here’s another installment of PubPeer Selections: Read the rest of this entry »
A paper in Physical Review Letters has been retracted for “overlap” with two other previously published papers.
The notice isn’t available online yet, so we got in touch with American Physical Society (APS) editorial director Dan Kulp for more information. Here’s what he told us about “Anomalous melting scenario of the two-dimensional core-softened system”: Read the rest of this entry »
The notice is also paywalled, which the editorial director has assured us is a mistake that is being corrected.
We sent the COPE guidelines on retraction to the American Physical Society, which publishes Physical Review Letters. Editorial director Dan Kulp told us the paywall was the unintentional consequence of a web redesign, and that they are in the process of restoring public access to “all Errata-types, including Retractions.”
Here’s the rest of his statement: Read the rest of this entry »
On October 2, a 2008 physics paper, “Generation of a superposition of coherent states in a resonant cavity and its nonclassicality and decoherence,” was retracted for “several scientific errors,” pointed out by a comment published in the same journal. The original authors rewrote the paper, but it was not up to the standards of Canadian Journal of Physics, so it was rejected, and the original was retracted.
A missed withdrawal request has led to doubled up publication and a later retraction for Brazilian physicists, through no fault of their own.
“Atmospheric Plasma Treatment of Carbon Fibers for Enhancement of Their Adhesion Properties” was presented at an Institute of Physics (IOP) conference in 2010. The proceedings weren’t published until May 2014.
In the meantime, the plasma scientists withdrew their paper from consideration and submitted it to IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, where it was published in February 2013. Unfortunately, in the four year delay between the conference and the Institute of Physics publication, the withdrawal request got lost.