Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘liz wager’ Category

Unintended consequences: How authorship guidelines destroyed a relationship

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It started as a simple email exchange over authorship. But it angered one researcher so much that it ended a 20-year collaboration.

In January 2017, a chemist based in Mexico had finished writing a paper describing the structure of a molecule. Sylvain Bernès, at the Instituto de Física Luis Rivera Terrazas, asked his co-author—the head of the lab where the molecule had been synthesized 10 years ago—to review the draft and include any co-authors involved in the initial work.

The researcher added three co-authors to the paper. Bernès became concerned. He wanted to follow the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) authorship recommendations as strictly as possible. As far as Bernès could tell, none of the new authors had actually contributed to the work, potentially violating the recommendation about authorship contributions. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Victoria Stern

July 5th, 2017 at 8:00 am

How much does a retracted result pollute the field?

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Research Integrity and Peer Review

When a paper is retracted, how many other papers in the same field — which either cite the finding or cite other papers that do — are affected?

That’s the question examined by a study published in BioMed Central’s new journal, Research Integrity and Peer Review. Using the case of a paper retracted from Nature in 2014, the authors found that subsequent research that cites the retracted paper often repeats the problematic finding, thereby spreading it throughout the field. However, papers that indirectly cited the retracted result — by citing the papers that cited the Nature paper, but not the Nature paper itself — typically don’t repeat the retracted result, which limits its spread.

Here’s how the authors describe their findings in the paper: Read the rest of this entry »

Do interventions to reduce misconduct actually work? Maybe not, says new report

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Elizabeth Wager and Ana Marusic

Can we teach good behavior in the lab? That’s the premise behind a number of interventions aimed at improving research integrity, invested in by universities across the world and even private companies. Trouble is, a new review from the Cochrane Library shows that there is little good evidence to show these interventions work. We spoke with authors Elizabeth Wager (on the board of directors of our parent organization) and Ana Marusic, at the University of Split School of Medicine in Croatia.

Retraction Watch: Let’s start by talking about what you found – looking at 31 studies (including 15 randomized controlled trials) that included more than 9500 participants, you saw there was some evidence that training in research integrity had some effects on participants’ attitudes, but “minimal (or short-lived) effects on their knowledge.” Can you talk more about that, including why the interventions had little impact on knowledge? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

April 12th, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Sharing data is a good thing. But we need to consider the costs.

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Liz Wager

Last week, the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors proposed requiring authors to share deidentified patient data underlying the published results of clinical trials within six months of publication. The proposal has earned much support but also some concerns – for example that other scientists might poach the findings, acting as the New England Journal of Medicine dubbed “research parasites.” Elizabeth Wager, a member of the board of directors of our parent organization, disagrees with that concern, but raises another issue – namely, the unintended consequences of data sharing on other, more effective initiatives to make reporting more transparent.

The recent proposal from the ICMJE may appear, at first glance, a positive step towards better clinical trial reporting. However, I’m concerned that this new requirement might undermine other more effective initiatives to increase the efficiency of research, such as the publication of protocols and full study reports. Here’s why.

All actions have costs, risks, and benefits: Making partial data sharing a condition of publication is no exception. The costs are hard to quantify but undoubtedly not trivial.  Putting clinical data into a usable format and making it meaningful to other researchers requires considerable time and effort by knowledgeable people. To this must be added the costs of establishing and maintaining suitable repositories and of checking compliance.

I’m not saying that open data does not have any benefits. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Elizabeth Wager

January 28th, 2016 at 9:30 am

Boldt’s retraction count upped to 94, co-author takes legal action to prevent 95th

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Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 12.12.13 AM

We’ve found two recent retractions and an expression of concern for Joachim Boldt, former prominent anesthesiologist and currently Retraction Watch leaderboard’s 2nd place titleholder. He now has 94 retractions.

One of the retracted articles contains falsified data, along with a researcher who didn’t agree to be a co-author, according to an investigation by the Justus Liebig University Giessen, where Boldt used to work. The expression of concern is regarding some questionable data. The other new retraction is actually one of 88 papers that a group of editors agreed to retract back in 2011, after they were “unable to verify” approval by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the studies.

One of those 88 papers, we’ve discovered, has still has not been retracted. According to an editor at the journal, they haven’t removed it because one of Boldt’s co-authors has threatened them with legal action. Read the rest of this entry »

Why do — and don’t — journal editors retract articles?

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Liz Wager, the chair of the Committee on Publication Ethics, knows something about retractions. In April, she and University College London’s Peter Williams published a paper in the Journal of Medical Ethics showing that journal editors’ approaches to retractions aren’t uniform.

The pair is back with another paper, using the same dataset of retractions and published in Science and Engineering Ethics, in which they ask journal editors why they retract — or don’t. The findings — more on them below — informed COPE’s 2009 guidelines on retractions, as did those in the April paper.

From the introduction to the new paper (link added): Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

July 25th, 2011 at 9:30 am

How journal editors can detect and deter scientific misconduct, part 2, from COPE’s Liz Wager

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Last week, we shared Ivan’s presentation on how journal editors can detect and deter misconduct from the annual Council of Science Editors meeting. This week, we’re pleased to share another presentation from that panel. This one is by Liz Wager, chair of the Committee on Publication Ethics.

Wager’s name will be familiar to Retraction Watch readers. She’s appeared here a number of times, and just last month published a study of retraction notices. Just today, she testified about peer review before the UK Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee.

In her CSE presentation, she discusses what editors can and can’t do to ferret out fraud. Make sure to read through to the end, where she discusses a study of how journal editors are much more likely to think that fraudulent results are appearing in other journals. (Hint: If you’re right that it’s happening in someone else’s journal, and the editor of that journal thinks it’s happening in yours, well…)

Scroll down a bit so that the entire first slide, and navigation, are visible: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

May 11th, 2011 at 9:31 am

Posted in liz wager

Why was that paper retracted? Peer-reviewed evidence that Retraction Watch isn’t crazy

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Retraction Watch readers will no doubt have realized by now that we are often frustrated by the opacity of many of the retraction notices we cover. And some critics may wonder if we’re overstating that case.

Well, wonder no more.

In a study published online yesterday in the Journal of Medical Ethics, Liz Wager and Peter Williams looked at retractions from 1988 to 2008. Their findings: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

April 13th, 2011 at 4:48 pm