Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

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A paper about eye damage in astronauts got pulled for “security concerns.” Huh?

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Here’s a head-scratcher: A 2017 paper examining why long space flights can cause eye damage has been taken down, with a brief note saying NASA, which sponsored the research, asked for the retraction because of “security concerns.”

According to the first author, the paper included information that could identify some of the astronauts that took part in the study — namely, their flight information. Although the author said he removed the identifying information after the paper was online, NASA still opted to retract it. But a spokesperson at NASA told us the agency did not supply the language for the retraction notice. The journal editor confirmed the paper was retracted for “research subject confidentiality issues,” but referred a question about who supplied the language of the notice back to NASA.

Now lawyers are involved.

So we still have some questions about this one. Here’s what we do know.

Read the rest of this entry »

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) See also: Final report of investigating committee, our reporting, additional coverage
  2. Joachim Boldt (96) See also: Editors-in-chief statement, our coverage
  3. Diederik Stapel (58) See also: our coverage
  4. Adrian Maxim (48) See also: our coverage
  5. Chen-Yuan (Peter) Chen (43) See also: SAGE, our coverage
  6. Hua Zhong (41) See also: journal notice
  7. Shigeaki Kato (39) See also: our coverage
  8. James Hunton (36) See also: our coverage
  9. Hyung-In Moon (35) See also: our coverage
  10. Naoki Mori (32) See also: our coverage
  11. Jan Hendrik Schön (31) See also: our coverage
  12. Tao Liu (29) See also: our coverage
  13. Cheng-Wu Chen (28) See also: our coverage
  14. Yoshihiro Sato (25) See also: our coverage
  15. Scott Reuben (24) See also: our coverage
  16. Jun Iwamoto (23) See also: our coverage
  17. Gilson Khang (22) See also: our coverage
  18. Noel Chia (21) See also: our coverage
  19. Friedhelm Herrmann (21) See also: our coverage
  20. Dipak Das (20) See also: our coverage
  21. Khalid Zaman (20) See also: our coverage
  22. Jin Cheng (19) See also: our coverage
  23. Stanley Rapoport (19) See also: our coverage
  24. Fazlul Sarkar (19) See also: our coverage
  25. Bharat Aggarwal (18) See also: our coverage
  26. John Darsee (17) See also: our coverage
  27. Wataru Matsuyama (17) See also: our coverage
  28. Erin Potts-Kant (17) See also: our coverage
  29. Robert Slutsky (17) See also: our coverage
  30. Ulrich Lichtenthaler (16) See also: our coverage

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

Posted in