Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘china retractions’ Category

Paper plagiarizes from handwritten manuscript

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semiform groupThis case of plagiarism is a little weirder than usual.

A paper has been retracted from Semigroup Forum because it includes material taken from another researcher’s manuscript — which was handwritten. In fact, the same journal had already published a paper by the plagiarized researcher, also based on the same manuscript. The journal editor told us that, although the two papers are similar, they are not word-for-word copies, and thus escaped detection.

The retraction notice for “Varieties of bands with a semilattice” gives more details about the handwritten manuscript:

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Written by Shannon Palus

May 24th, 2016 at 11:30 am

Structural biology corrections highlight best of the scientific process

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Nature_latest-coverIf you need evidence of the value of transparency in science, check out a pair of recent corrections in the structural biology literature.

This past August, researchers led by Qiu-Xing Jiang at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center corrected their study, first published in February 2014 in eLife, of prion-like protein aggregates called MAVS filaments, to which they had ascribed the incorrect “helical symmetry.” In March, Richard Blumberg of Harvard Medical School, and colleagues corrected their 2014 Nature study of a protein complex called CEACAM1/TIM-3, whose structure they had attempted to solve using x-ray crystallography.

In both cases, external researchers were able to download and reanalyze the authors’ own data from public data repositories, making it quickly apparent what had gone wrong and how it needed to be fixed — highlighting the very best of a scientific process that is supposed to be self-correcting and collaborative. Read the rest of this entry »

PLOS ONE pulls maize paper with Photoshopped images

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PLOS OnePLOS ONE has retracted a paper after editors learned that some of the images had been manipulated using Photoshop.

First author of the paper, Chuan Li, confirmed that he was responsible, and told Retraction Watch he apologizes for his “low-level mistake.”

Zhongfu Ni, last author of the paper from the China Agricultural University in Beijing, told us that all the co-authors agree with the retraction.

Here’s the retraction notice: Read the rest of this entry »

“Mixed up” images earn biologists four retractions

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525480Four different journals have pulled papers from the same authors due to alleged duplication or manipulation of images.

All four papers have two authors in common Jianting Miao and Wei Zhang, both based at The Fourth Military Medical University in Xi’an City, Shaanxi, China. Many of the other co-authors are also listed in two or three of the retracted papers.

Miao claims that the photographs got “mixed up” due to the researchers’ “great carelessness” and “insufficient knowledge.” He told us:                                                                                                                                                                      

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Data manipulation flushes paper on gut bacteria

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cell reportsData manipulation in a Cell Reports paper blew the importance of a kind of bacteria out of proportion.

Retracted this month — less than three months after it was published — the paper showed, according to a summary on the cover page:

B. subtilis is a symbiont that resides in the gut of C. elegans and generates nitric oxide that is essential for the host. Xiao et al. demonstrate that nitric oxide promotes defense against pathogenic bacteria by activating p38 MAPK, demonstrating the importance of commensal bacteria in host immunity.

But B. subtilis — a member of the Bacillaceae family — aren’t actually as plentiful as they appeared, explains the retraction notice for “Gut-Colonizing Bacteria Promote C. elegans Innate Immunity by Producing Nitric Oxide:”

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Cancer paper that doctored image from Science story earns retraction

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lungcancercoverHere’s a joke for all you middle-schoolers out there. How are doctored images like bad pennies? They keep cropping up!

Here’s the latest one we’ve picked up: Lung Cancer has retracted a 2014 paper on the genetics of tumors after concluding the authors cribbed a figure that had appeared in a 2005 feature story in Science.

The paper, “ß-elemene against human lung cancer via up-regulation of P53 protein expression to promote the release of exosome,” drew attention on PubPeer last September from a reader who noticed striking similarities between one of the images the authors used and a figure in the Science piece (subscription required). According to the PubPeer commenter: Read the rest of this entry »

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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