Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘china retractions’ Category

Confusion reigns: Are these four retractions for compromised peer review, or not?

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Open Automation Journal CoverThe Open Automation and Control Systems Journal has published five items this calendar year — and all of those are retraction notices.

That’s what we’re sure about. Now to what we’re not clear on in this story, which is one of a growing number of cases we’ve seen in which so-called “predatory” publishers are starting to retract papers, perhaps because they hope the practice suggests they are rigorous. Four of the papers have been pulled for “compromised” peer review, some of which are due to the actions of an “external agent,” according to the journal. A co-author of one of these manuscripts, however, claims the paper has been pulled for using material from another researcher’s paper without acknowledgement but the journal has retracted it for issues with peer review.

The remaining paper has been pulled for plagiarizing from another published paper.

Let’s take a look at the retraction notice for the four papers felled by rigged peer review, which are all similar. They read: Read the rest of this entry »

Journals retract two heart papers with “nearly identical” abstracts

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Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 4.46.17 PMJournals have retracted two papers after realizing that they contain “nearly identical” abstracts and introductions, published only months apart. 

The two retracted papers, along with a third that also contains similar text, all conclude that a certain polymorphism could signal a risk for coronary artery disease among Chinese people, though each paper presents different data. The papers do not have any authors in common; the first authors are all based at different hospitals in China. The editor in chief of one journal told us that some of the reviewers did not use institutional email addresses, which leaves open the possibility that they were fake emails, and the peer-review process was compromised.

Here’s the first retraction notice, for “Fibroblast growth factor receptor 4 polymorphisms and susceptibility to coronary artery disease,” published in DNA and Cell Biology. The notice states the paper contains:

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How did two papers on same gene with different authors, publishers, end up with identical retraction notices?

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1-s2.0-S0006291X16X00058-cov150h1Here’s an interesting case: We’ve found two retracted papers that describe the same gene, and both have nearly identical retraction notices. What’s unusual is that the two papers don’t have any authors in common, and appeared in two different journals published by two different companies.

The cause of both papers’ demise: Plagiarism, and use of unpublished data without permission “from an unnamed source,” who wishes to remain that way. The author of one of the papers confirmed to us that the unnamed source is a “3rd party service company.” Springer told us that the third party in the other paper, however, is another researcher.

It’s a puzzling case, to be sure. We think we have uncovered some of what happened, but remain slightly fuzzy on the details.

Here’s the first retraction, for “KDM3A interacted with p53K372me1 and regulated p53 binding to PUMA in gastric cancer,” originally published online September 30 by Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications:

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Mistakes lead to retraction, correction of cancer papers by pair

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A series of mistakes have caused a pair of cancer researchers based in China to retract one paper and correct another.

The retraction stems from a duplication of figures in a paper about the molecular underpinnings of colorectal cancer, which the editor of the journal told us he believed was caused by honest error. The other paper was corrected after the authors realized they had published the wrong versions of multiple figures, an error which the authors say does not affect the paper’s conclusions.

This isn’t the first time the pair has had to correct the record — these changes follow a mega-correction for Jie Hong, and Jing-Yuan Fang, both of the Shanghai Jiao-Tong University, where Fang is the director of the Shanghai Institute of Digestive Disease.

Here’s the retraction note for “Role of STAT3 and vitamin D receptor in EZH2-mediated invasion of human colorectal cancer,” published in the Journal of Pathology:

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Pharmacology journal pulls paper because third party “compromised” peer review

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BJCP CoverThe British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (BCP) has retracted a 2015 paper about treating heart failure after deciding its peer review process had been compromised.

This paper is one of the many we’ve noticed lately that have been felled by the actions of a “third party” — in this case, a manuscript editing company called EditPub.

The newly retracted paper, “rhBNP therapy can improve clinical outcomes and reduce in-hospital mortality compared with dobutamine in heart failure patients: a meta-analysis,” has not yet been cited, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science.

Here’s the retraction note, which tells us a bit more: Read the rest of this entry »

Seven papers flagged earlier for fake reviews now retracted by Elsevier

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elsevierElsevier has now retracted the seven papers it flagged in October as being affected by fake peer reviews.

If you’re not keeping track, we are: We have logged a total of about 300 retractions for fake peer review, in which some aspect of the peer-review process becomes compromised — for instance, in the case of the newly retracted papers, authors appear to have created fake email accounts in order to pose as reviewers and give the green light to their own papers.

The same retraction note applies to five of the recently retracted papers:

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Journal retracts groundwater pollution paper for plagiarism

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ecotoxThe journal Ecotoxicology has retracted a paper that described a way to analyze nitrates in groundwater after discovering the authors had lifted a substantial amount of material from three other papers.

Here is the retraction notice for “Isotopic analysis of N and O in NO3 – by selective bacterial reduction to N2O for groundwater pollution:” Read the rest of this entry »

Sperm paper impaired by “corporate company” analysis

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2.coverWithout a certain protein, mouse sperm have motility disorders. That’s the conclusion of a paper that has itself been stopped — by errors in the data analysis, carried out by a third-party company.

The retraction note pins the analysis, which led to faulty data, on a “corporate company.” Aside from the companies that sell the kits used for substrates, assays, and detection, there’s only one company mentioned in the paper:

Generation of the mouse model was performed by the Cyagen Company (Guangzhou, China)

However, a representative of Cyagen says it does not offer the type of analysis described by the retraction note.

Here’s the full retraction note for the 2015 paper in Biology of Reproduction (which is paywalled — tsk, tsk):
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Fake email address — for author, not reviewer — fells another paper

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Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 10.19.43 AMWe’ve seen many cases of researchers creating fake email addresses to impersonate reviewers that usher their paper to publication.

But in the latest fake email incident, a journal is retracting a paper on liver cancer after the first author created a phony address for the last and corresponding author. Both are researchers at Zhengzhou University in China.

This isn’t the first time that an author has worked around the corresponding author: there’s a case from a few years ago in which the corresponding author didn’t know that the paper was being published at all. Recently, we also wrote about a doctor who was suspended in the UK after submitting papers without her co-authors’ knowledge, including creating a fake email for one of them.

This latest paper had another problem, too: plagiarism. Here’s the retraction note for “The influence of TLR4 agonist lipopolysaccharides on hepatocellular carcinoma cells and the feasibility of its application in treating liver cancer,” published in OncoTargets and Therapy:

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Authorship, funding misstatements force retraction of satellite study

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rslRemote Sensing Letters has retracted a 2015 paper by a pair of researchers in China because the duo was in fact a solo, and the manuscript lied about its funding source.

The article, “A novel method of feature extraction and fusion and its application in satellite images classification,” purportedly was written by Da Lin and Xin Xu, of Wuhan University. But as the retraction notice makes clear, that wasn’t the case: Read the rest of this entry »