Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘china retractions’ Category

Eight retractions for fake reviews lead journal to suspend author nominations

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An investigation has uncovered fake reviews on 21 papers submitted to the Journal of the Renin-Angiotensin Aldosterone System.

After taking a second look at accepted papers with an author-nominated reviewer, the journal discovered that the listed reviewers on the 21 papers, though real people, had never submitted a report.

Eight of the papers have been retracted by JRAAS. The rest had not yet been published, and have now been rejected, explains a commentary by the journal editors. The journal has also stopped allowing authors to nominate reviewers.

The retraction note — the same on all eight papers — explains how the authors “seriously compromised” the review process:

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Authors retract antioxidant paper after more work reverses their conclusion

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The authors of a paper about the benefits of an antioxidant found in blueberries known as pterostilbene have retracted it after their subsequent research suggested the antioxidant might actually be harmful.

The paper presented evidence that the antioxidant might help rats after heart attack, in part by inhibiting cell death (apoptosis). But according to the retraction note, more work

found that pterostilbene might induce apoptosis in the heart and can be harmful, and we are now focusing on the phenomenon.

The rest of the retraction note for “Pterostilbene attenuates inflammation in rat heart subjected to ischemia-reperfusion: role of TLR4/NF-κB signaling pathway,” published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, suggests that the authors would consider republishing their findings if they became more confident in the data:

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“Compromised” peer review hits three papers from Nature Publishing Group

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Nature Publishing Group is retracting three papers today, after an investigation found evidence the peer-review process had been compromised.

The publisher issued a statement saying they had notified corresponding authors and institutions associated with the three papers, which were all published last year in the journals Cancer Gene Therapy and Spinal Cord. 

Here’s the note that’s going on each of the papers, (they’re the same, except for the publication date):

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“The peer review process was compromised”: Inflammation drug paper pulled

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A paper that screened for antibodies that target TNFα, a major source of inflammation, has been retraction after an investigation revealed the peer-review process may have been compromised.

We’ve seen the peer review process “compromised” in a handful of ways — from a mathematician who oversaw the process on several of his own papers, to some 250 papers subject to outright fake peer review. The note for this paper, published in Amino Acids, doesn’t go into details, so we can only wonder what happened in this particular case.

Here’s the note for “Structure‑based development and optimization of therapy antibody drugs against TNFα:”

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Plagiarized figure hurts arthritis paper

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A paper on a way to inhibit arthritis has been retracted following an investigation confirming that it plagiarizes a figure from another paper on the same topic.

The paper, “Blockade of 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 enzyme inhibits experimental collagenase-induced osteoarthritis,” was published in Molecular Medicine Reports. A figure claims to show cartilage treated with a specific inhibitor:

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The retraction note tells us that the authors reproduced the figure from another paper in Inflammation — which describes a different inhibitor:

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Written by Shannon Palus

December 8th, 2015 at 11:30 am

Journal repels a paper on a magnetic material after authorship, funding issues

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A paper on the properties of a magnetic material is being retracted after including an author without his permission, and omitting a funding source.

According to the note, the work was done in Miao Yu‘s lab at Chongqing University in China; the authors then added Yu’s name to the paper without his authorization, and neglected to list a relevant funding source.

Here’s the retraction note for “Temperature-dependent dynamic mechanical properties of magnetorheological elastomers under magnetic field,” published in the Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials:

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Management researcher with 7 retractions issues “clarifications” to 2013 paper

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The authors of a paper on supportive supervisors just want readers to “better understand the reported findings,” and so have issued multiple “clarifications” in a corrigendum note.

Some of the issues addressed in the note have been raised on PubPeer.

The paper’s author list includes one Fred Walumbwa, formerly an Arizona State University management researcher, some of whose work has succumbed to scrutiny in the the past two years. His current list: seven retractions, a megacorrection, an expression of concern, and now this.

Unraveling the relationship between family-supportive supervisor and employee performance,” published in Group & Organization Management, has been cited twice, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Here’s the note in full:

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Chemists pull non-reproducible paper on method to make opal films

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When two chemists based in China couldn’t reproduce experiments in their paper on opal films, they retracted it.

As the retraction note explains:

In this article we report a method to fabricate 2D TiO2–WO3 composite inverse opal films via a mechanical co-assembly route with a template of polystyrene spheres. Upon repeating the experiments described, we found that this was not an effective method for forming the films; often the film was broken or did not form at all.

The note also explains why the experiment didn’t work:

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Duplication shatters two photonic crystal papers

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Two journals published by Elsevier are retracting a pair of material science papers that appear to share figures.

The papers  — in Materials Letters and Optics Communications — discuss photonic crystals, a kind of material used to manipulate light. They share the same first author, Zheng-qi Liu at Jiangxi Normal University and  Nanjing University in China, as well as six other authors. Each paper presents one of the duplicated figures as a slightly different material.

One of the duplicated figures is a a picture of a photonic crystal taken with a scanning electron microscope that gives detail at the level of a few micrometers (it looks like a honeycomb, but it’s composed of tiny spheres). It’s Figure 1a in both papers:

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Investigation finds data issues polluted air quality paper

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1-s2.0-S0013935113X0009X-cov150hAn investigation at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia has found that a paper on air pollution and human health contains a host of issues with the data and its analysis. The paper has been retracted with a very detailed note from Environmental Research.

The issues with the paper include an “incorrect analysis of the data,” and its failure to properly cite multiple papers and one researcher’s contributions. Ultimately, according to the retraction note, the investigation found that the “conclusions of the paper are flawed.”

“Submicrometer particles and their effects on the association between air temperature and mortality in Brisbane, Australia” has been cited three times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

The retraction note is very, very detailed. It outlines the problems with the paper:

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