Authors try to duplicate bad data, fail miserably

Cangaroojack via Flickr

We’ve seen plagiarizers plagiarizing plagiarizers, but here’s what seems to be a first: A journal has retracted an article that duplicated text…from a paper that had been retracted for containing dubious data.

The Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science published the recycled paper, titled “Development and in vitro-in vivo characterization of chronomodulated multi-particulate drug delivery system of terbutaline sulphate for treatment of nocturnal asthma by box–Behnken statistical design.” The authors were from several institutions in India.

As the retraction notice explains: Continue reading Authors try to duplicate bad data, fail miserably

Former Colorado “golden boy” earns three-year ban on Federal funding

The U.S. Office of Research Integrity has announced findings of misconduct against a once-promising pharmaceutical scientist at the University of Colorado.

The ORI says Rajendra Kadam fabricated data on government grants while working on his PhD at UC Denver under the supervision of Uday Kompella. As we reported in 2015 when this case first broke, Kadam was put in charge of a piece of technology that apparently he alone knew how to operate — giving him ample opportunity to cook results without fear of detection.

Under the terms of the ORI finding — which comes nearly four years after the UC inquiry wrapped up — Kadam will be barred from Federal U.S. research funding for three years, beginning November 13, 2018. Continue reading Former Colorado “golden boy” earns three-year ban on Federal funding

Majority of journal’s editorial board resigns after publisher’s handling of letter about move to open access

A leading journal in ecology and evolution is going through an evolution of its own, following the resignation of its editor in chief and more than half of its editorial board.

The mass exodus at Diversity & Distributions came after Wiley, which publishes the journal, allegedly blocked it from running a letter protesting the company’s decision to make D & D open access (the company disputes the claim, as we’ll detail in a bit). A letter about the issue, signed by scores of researchers worldwide, decried Wiley’s move: Continue reading Majority of journal’s editorial board resigns after publisher’s handling of letter about move to open access

Psychology journal to retract study claiming that people fear contagion less in the dark

As we’re fond of repeating, sunlight is the best disinfectant. Which doesn’t jibe with the findings in an eye-catching  2018 paper that found people were less fearful of catching a contagious illness if they were in a dark room or were wearing sunglasses.

Fortunately for us, although not for the researchers, we no longer have to live with the cognitive dissonance. The paper, the journal tells us, will be retracted for flaws in the data — which, thanks to the open sharing of data, quickly came to light.

The study, which appeared in May in Psychological Science, reported that: Continue reading Psychology journal to retract study claiming that people fear contagion less in the dark

Ketamine for depression? Paper retracted for error that double-counted clinical trial participants

A psychiatry journal has retracted a 2015 meta-analysis on the effectiveness of ketamine for depression after readers found that the article double-counted patients in some studies, thereby inflating the apparent benefits of the drug.

The article, “Efficacy of ketamine in bipolar depression: systematic review and meta-analysis,” was published in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice by a group from the United States and England. But a pair of researchers in Sweden noticed the duplication — and what seems to have been a rather slapdash approach to the work — and pushed to have the paper retracted.

According to the results section of the abstract: Continue reading Ketamine for depression? Paper retracted for error that double-counted clinical trial participants

In a first, U.S. CDC retracts, replaces study about suicide risk in farmers

In a first for the CDC, the agency’s premier scientific publication has retracted a 2016 article on suicide, five months after a news story pointed out serious errors in the paper.

The article, initially published as “Suicide Rates by Occupational Group — 17 States, 2012,” had purported to find that farmers were at particularly high risk of suicide. That result in particular caught the attention of a website called The New Food Economy (TNFE), which last June called out what it said were errors in the CDC’s analysis. And on June 29, the journal, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), issued a reader’s note.

As TNFE wrote, the crux of the mistake involves the misclassification of farmer suicides in a way that significantly inflated the rate of these events — errors the website said it first raised with the CDC in April 2018: Continue reading In a first, U.S. CDC retracts, replaces study about suicide risk in farmers

Data mishap forces retraction of paper on gun laws, domestic killings

The authors of a 2018 paper on the effects of gun laws on domestic violence have retracted the article after discovering errors in their analysis and replaced it with a clean version. The new study shows that some gun laws — particularly ones that keep firearms out of the hands of violent offenders, even if their offenses don’t involve domestic assaults — do seem to reduce the incidence of domestic killings.

The paper, which appeared last November in the American Journal of Epidemiology and received some press coverage, including this piece in the New York Times, looked specifically at whether laws that keep guns away from people convicted of violent crimes beyond domestic abuse reduce the number of intimate partner homicides. It also considered the effect of laws that covered dating partners and not simply spouses or former spouses. The first author is April Zeoli, of Michigan State University. Zeoli has published other papers on the topic and delivered a TEDMED talk on it as well.

According to the abstract of the article: Continue reading Data mishap forces retraction of paper on gun laws, domestic killings

Aerospace researchers in Japan up to three retractions

Rachid Amrousse

A pair of researchers in Japan has lost their third paper in a UK journal, which cites problematic images and an institutional investigation for the move.

The 2016 article, “Novel Rh-substituted hexaaluminate catalysts for N2O decomposition,” was written by Rachid Amrousse and Akimasa Tsutsumi, of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, in Sagamihara. It appeared in Catalysis Society & Technology, a publication of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and has been cited seven times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science.

According to the retraction notice: Continue reading Aerospace researchers in Japan up to three retractions

Caveat scriptor: How a journal editor unraveled the mystery of the overlapping bad data

John Loadsman

Caveat scriptor—writer beware.

That’s the moral of a recent editorial in the Saudi Journal of Anesthesia, prompted by the retraction in that journal of a 2014 paper with bum data.

The editorial was written by John Loadsman, an anesthesiologist in Sydney, Australia, and editor of the journal Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, who played a role in the retraction. Here’s how.

According to Loadsman, he was considering an article for his journal — a meta-analysis of previously published findings. On inspection, he he noticed that some of the studies cited in the meta-analysis were potentially problematic, including Continue reading Caveat scriptor: How a journal editor unraveled the mystery of the overlapping bad data

When is asparagus not asparagus? Why, when it’s ginger, of course!

Asparagus and ginger (and other ingredients) living happily together (via Beck/Flickr)

Allow us to explain that headline.

Food Science & Nutrition has retracted a 2018 article by a group of researchers in China and Pakistan for plagiarism. The article was titled “Experimentally investigated the asparagus (Asparagus officinalis L.) drying with flat-plate collector under the natural convection indirect solar dryer.”  

Per the retraction notice: Continue reading When is asparagus not asparagus? Why, when it’s ginger, of course!