Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘ferric fang’ Category

Researchers’ productivity hasn’t increased in a century, study suggests

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Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 10.50.25 AMAre individual scientists now more productive early in their careers than 100 years ago? No, according to a large analysis of publication records released by PLOS ONE today.

Despite concerns of rising “salami slicing” in research papers in line with the “publish or perish” philosophy of academic publishing, the study found that individual early career researchers’ productivity has not increased in the last century. The authors analyzed more than 760,000 papers of all disciplines published by 41,427 authors between 1900 and 2013, cataloged by Thomson Reuters Web of Science.

The authors summarize their conclusions in “Researchers’ individual publication rate has not increased in a century:”

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Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

March 9th, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Why retraction shouldn’t always be the end of the story

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rsc-logoWhen researchers raised concerns about a 2009 Science paper regarding a new way to screen for enzymatic activity, the lead author’s institution launched an investigation. The paper was ultimately retracted in 2010, citing “errors and omissions.”

It would seem from this example that the publishing process worked, and science’s ability to self-correct cleaned up the record. But not so to researchers Ferric Fang and Arturo Casadevall.

Fang, of the University of Washington, Seattle, and Casadevall, of Johns Hopkins — who have made names for themselves by studying retractions — note today in an article for Chemistry World that

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“Evidence of data duplication” infects lung inflammation paper from Harvard and Yale

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IAIA team of Harvard and Yale biologists have retracted an Infection and Immunity paper due to data duplication.

After the duplication came to light, the erroneous figures were corrected using original data, but the results affected “some of the manuscript’s conclusions.” An ethics panel subsequently recommended retraction, according to the journal, and the authors agreed.

The paper, “NOD2 Signaling Contributes to Host Defense in the Lungs against Escherichia coli Infection,” analyzed the role of the gene NOD2 in the lung inflammatory response against the bacteria Escherichia coli. It has been cited by 15 other papers, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Figure 2B of the paper was previously corrected in 2012, but the retraction is for data duplication in figures 5F and 6A. Here’s the full retraction note: Read the rest of this entry »

Pressure to publish not to blame for misconduct, says new study

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plosoneA new study suggests that much of what we think about misconduct — including the idea that it is linked to the unrelenting pressure on scientists to publish high-profile papers — is incorrect.

In a new paper out today in PLOS ONE [see update at end of post], Daniele Fanelli, Rodrigo Costas, and Vincent Larivière performed a retrospective analysis of retractions and corrections, looking at the influence of supposed risk factors, such as the “publish or perish” paradigm. The findings appeared to debunk the influence of that paradigm, among others:

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Written by Ivan Oransky

June 10th, 2015 at 2:00 pm

Another “first author has accepted responsibility” retraction from immunity journal

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IAIScientists have pulled their 2013 Infection and Immunity paper after a reader noticed duplicated data in three figures, and the first author was “unable to provide the original data used to construct the figures,” according to the journal’s editor-in-chief.

According to the retraction note, “the first author has accepted responsibility for these anomalies” — similar to another recent retraction from the same journal, also due to image duplication reported by a reader (apparently the journal has one or more careful readers).

The paper, “Pseudomonas aeruginosa Outer Membrane Vesicles Modulate Host Immune Responses by Targeting the Toll-Like Receptor 4 Signaling Pathway,” concerns the role of outer membrane vesicles excreted by the bacteria to incite an inflammatory response in mice. It was written by authors at the University of North Dakota, Sichuan University in China, and the University of Chicago, and has been cited six times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Here’s the complete retraction note:

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Poll: What to do when peer review feels inadequate?

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How should scientists think about papers that have undergone what appears to be a cursory peer review? Perhaps the papers were reviewed in a day — or less — or simply green-lighted by an editor, without an outside look. That’s a question Dorothy Bishop, an Oxford University autism researcher, asked herself when she noticed some troubling trends in four autism journals.

Recently, Bishop sparked a firestorm when she wrote several blog posts arguing that these four autism journals had a serious problem. For instance, she found that Johnny Matson, then-editor of Research in Developmental Disabilities and Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, had an unusually high rate of citing his own research – 55% of his citations are to his own papers, according to Bishop. Matson also published a lot in his own journals – 10% of the papers published in Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders since Matson took over in 2007 have been his. Matson’s prodigious self-citation in Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders was initially pointed out by autism researcher Michelle Dawson, as noted in Bishop’s original post.

Short peer reviews of a day or less were also common. Matson no longer edits the journals, both published by Elsevier.

Bishop noted similar findings at Developmental Neurorehabilitation and Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, where the editors (and Matson) frequently published in each others’ journals, and they often had short peer reviews: The median time for Matson’s papers in Developmental Neurorehabilitation between 2010 and 2014 was a day, and many were accepted the day they were submitted, says Bishop.

Although this behavior may seem suspect, it wasn’t necessarily against the journals’ editorial policies. This is the peer review policy at RIDD:

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“Not faithful” figures kill apoptosis paper

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iaicoverA paper on apoptosis in mice has been retracted by Infection and Immunity after a reader tipped them off that several figures were “not faithful representations of the original data.”

When the journal, published by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), contacted the authors at Anhui Medical University in Hefei, China, they claimed they couldn’t provide the experimental data thanks to “damage to a personal computer,” said Ferric Fang, editor of the journal and a member of the board of directors of the Center for Scientific Integrity, Retraction Watch’s parent organization. Seven figures in total were compromised, including several that were duplicated throughout the article.

Here’s the notice for “Reactive Oxygen Species-Triggered Trophoblast Apoptosis Is Initiated by Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress via Activation of Caspase-12, CHOP, and the JNK Pathway in Toxoplasma gondii Infection in Mice”: Read the rest of this entry »

Are retractions more frequent in stem cell research?

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sci eng ethicsThere are a number of fields that seem to punch above their weight on Retraction Watch: Anesthesiology, home to the world record holder (and runner-up), and psychology, home to Diederik Stapel and others. But the red-hot field of stem cell research is another that makes frequent appearances, last year’s STAP controversy being particularly prominent.

There’s an interesting (but unfortunately paywalled) recent paper in Science and Engineering Ethics, “The Acid Test for Biological Science: STAP Cells, Trust, and Replication,” by Cheryl Lancaster, a small part of which tries to answer that question.

Lancaster applies the same methods Fang, Steen, and Casadevall used to broadly measure the causes of retractions in all life science and biomedicine to the specific field of stem cell research: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

February 26th, 2015 at 9:30 am

“Research misconduct accounts for a small percentage of total funding”: Study

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elifeHow much money does scientific fraud waste?

That’s an important question, with an answer that may help determine how much attention some people pay to research misconduct. But it’s one that hasn’t been rigorously addressed.

Seeking some clarity,  Andrew Stern, Arturo Casadevall, Grant Steen, and Ferric Fang looked at cases in which the Office of Research Integrity had determined there was misconduct in particular papers. In their study, published today in eLife: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

August 14th, 2014 at 11:46 am

“Barriers to retraction may impede correction of the literature:” New study

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faseb june 2014One of the complaints we often hear about the self-correcting nature of science is that authors and editors seem very reluctant to retract papers with obvious fatal flaws. Indeed, it seems fairly clear that the number of papers retracted is smaller than the number of those that should be.

To try to get a sense of how errors are corrected in the literature, Arturo Casadevall, Grant Steen, and Ferric Fang, whose work on retractions will be familiar to our readers, in a new paper in the FASEB Journal, look at the sources of error in papers retracted for reasons other than misconduct.

Here’s the abstract (emphasis ours): Read the rest of this entry »