Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘china retractions’ Category

Warning: plagiarism may be hazardous to your safety paper

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12 Process Safety and Environmental Protection (once)A paper on making emergency evacuations more efficient at facilities that handle hazardous materials has been retracted for plagiarism.

According to the Process Safety and Environmental Protection retraction notice, the 2013 paper, by a group at Tsinghua University in Beijing, plagiarized part of a 2007 article by Greek researchers called “Modeling emergency evacuation for major hazard industrial sites.” (The 2007 article has been cited 46 times, according to Google Scholar.)

Here’s the notice for “Emergency Response Plans Optimization for Unexpected Environmental Pollution Incidents using an Open Space Emergency Evacuation Model” (paywalled): Read the rest of this entry »

Opaque retraction notice for imaging paper

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cmmmSometimes we run across retraction notices that are vague, and others that are contorted, but we’ve just found one that gets highest marks for being completely inscrutable.

The article, “Bayes Clustering and Structural Support Vector Machines for Segmentation of Carotid Artery Plaques in Multicontrast MRI,” was written by a group from China and Cambridge University in England — so, we’re thinking language ought not to have been much of a barrier to clear English. It appeared in November 2012 in Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine, and describes a way to analyze carotid artery plaque levels in MRI images.

But according to the notice, the technique did not work as planned (or so we think):

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Chinese heavy metal contamination paper purged for data theft

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Environmental_Monitoring_and_AssessmentAn environmental journal has retracted a paper about pollution in China after it discovered the authors lifted the dataset from another group.

The authors of the study — which chronicled the degree of heavy metal pollution on the banks of the Pearl River Delta — didn’t have permission to use the data. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment‘s notice doesn’t suggest the data are inaccurate.

The heavy metals in the soil come from the many manufacturing plants in the area, including those that provide the West with blue jeans, phones, and other electronics. The pollutants’ effects are wide-reaching: According to the South China Morning Post, industrial outfits discharge huge volumes of toxic chemicals into the Pearl River, including arsenic, copper, cadmium, and mercury.

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Sun sets on Sun Yat-sen University cell bio paper

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j cell scienceResearchers at Sun Yat-sen University in China have lost a paper in the Journal of Cell Science for “inappropriate figure manipulations,” which they blame entirely on the first author.

According to the notice, three figures were “inappropriately modified” — cells or nuclei were moved, and the edges of cell images were trimmed. The researchers place the responsibility on first author Liping Chen, claiming that “her co-authors were completely unaware.”

The modifications didn’t affect the conclusions, the note says, but after an investigation by Sun Yat-sen University, the journal decided to retract the paper. Liping Chen says she “regrets the inappropriate figure manipulations,” according to the note.

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Materials science paper yanked over data pilfering

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materials lettersMaterials Letters has withdrawn an article in press after the editor found out the first author, Yan Li, had taken all the data without permission.

According to the notice, the senior author told the journal that the data came from the lab Li used to work in at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, but the P.I. in Italy didn’t know about the paper.

From the notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Cry me a retraction: Scientists pull Cry protein paper for irreproducibility

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world journal of microbialA paper on the biological insecticide Cry protein — most famously produced by genetically modified “Bt” corn — has been retracted because the authors couldn’t reproduce the findings.

The initial paper concluded that their modified gene produced a Cry protein that was significantly more toxic than the one currently spliced into food crops to make them resistant to moths, beetles, and other insects. However, when repeating the experiments, the modified proteins weren’t any more deadly than the original version.

Here is the notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Conflict of interest, figure issues net retraction for cancer paper

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am j pathologyTwo major problems sunk this cancer paper.

For one, many of the images were copied from another paper. In addition, one of the authors did not disclose that he was the president of a related company, nor that his company provided reagents for the experiments.

It’s not clear when the paper was published, but The paper was published on October 16, 2014, and a withdrawal notice went up on January 16, 2015. Here’s the retraction for “Enhanced Detection and Phenotypic and Karyotypic in Situ Characterization of Circulating Tumor Cells”: Read the rest of this entry »

Lancet retracts and republishes cardiology paper with admirable notice

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logo_lancetOne of the papers from a massive heart disease study in China, published in the Lancet, has been retracted and republished after the authors noticed a statistical error.

The article, by authors from Peking Union Medical College in China, Yale University, and elsewhere, presented the results of the China PEACE-Retrospective Acute Myocardial Infarction Study, part of a national initiative to study and improve care for cardiac problems. After being posted online on June 24, 2014, the authors noticed that they’d incorrectly weighed one of the cities in their calculations, which threw off a number of national estimates.

After the corrections were made, the paper was peer-reviewed again, and reviewers stated that despite the mistakes, the original conclusions were sound.

Today is a banner day on Retraction Watch: This is our second excellent example of transparency in 24 hours, and therefore the second entry in our “doing the right thing” category. An editorial lays out exactly what happened, including a timeline, allowing scientists to feel confident they’re basing the next research step on solid and accurate data. (We also appreciate the hat tip to the Committee on Publication Ethics retraction guidelines, which we often send out to editors of bad notices as a gentle reminder.)

Here’s the notice for “ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction in China from 2001 to 2011 (the China PEACE-Retrospective Acute Myocardial Infarction Study): a retrospective analysis of hospital data”: Read the rest of this entry »

“The main improvements reported are invalid”: Quantum communication paper retracted

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scientificreportsA paper on quantum communication has been retracted for failing to address several important problems, making the conclusions invalid.

Quantum communication involves sending a series of photons in specific quantum states over fiberoptic cables. It’s a little like the 1s and 0s of traditional computing, but much more secure. If the photons are intercepted on their way to the intended target, the quantum states will change, and the recipients can know their information was accessed by other parties. This is especially interesting to governments with a lot of secret information to transmit: both China and the U.S. have programs to develop these networks.

The retracted paper was a discussion of how to efficiently send lots of quantum information from different sources through the same fiberoptic cables at once.

Here’s the notice for “Efficient Quantum Transmission in Multiple-Source Networks”: Read the rest of this entry »

New favorite plagiarism euphemism: “Inadvertently copied text”

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biodata miningPlagiarism earned genomics researchers an erratum, not a retraction, in BioMed Central journal BioData Mining.

We keep a list of best euphemisms for plagiarism, and this one is right up there.

Here’s the notice for “An iteration normalization and test method for differential expression analysis of RNA-seq data”: Read the rest of this entry »