Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘germany retractions’ Category

Nature paper with massive correction can’t be reproduced, says independent group

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In 2011, authors of a Nature letter caught some flak for issuing a lengthy correction to a neuroscience paper that had raised eyebrows within days of publication — including some suggestions it should be retracted.

The correction notice, published months after the original letter, cited errors in image choice and labeling, but asserted the conclusions remained valid.

Now, those conclusions appear up for debate. In a recent Nature Brief Communications Arising (BCA) article, a team that raised concerns about the paper five years ago says they are unable to reproduce the results. But the authors of the original paper aren’t convinced: They argue that the BCA fails to cite important evidence, has a “complete absence or low quality of analysis,” and the scientists disregard some of their data.

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Researcher loses 4th paper flagged by misconduct probe

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A researcher in Germany has logged her fourth retraction following an investigation by her former employer that found evidence of scientific misconduct.

The latest retraction for Tina Wenz in the Journal of Applied Physiology mentions the probe at the University of Cologne in Germany, which recommended retracting six of her papers. One had already been retracted by the time the report was released; last month, we reported that two others had been pulled. Now, we’ve come across a fourth.

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

Cancer researcher in Germany loses multiple papers after misconduct finding

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A pathology journal is retracting two papers after an investigation at the last author’s institution in Germany found evidence of scientific misconduct.

The notice for both papers cites an investigation involving Regine Schneider-Stock, who studies cancer biology at the Friedrich Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU). Meanwhile, another 2005 paper that lists Schneider-Stock as the first author was retracted in October, noting evidence of image manipulation.

The most recent retractions, from the American Journal of Pathology, note that FAU declined to provide the journal with details of its investigation beyond a prepared statement:

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Researchers retract two well-cited papers for misconduct

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A scientist in Germany has lost two papers that were collectively cited more than 500 times, after an investigation at her former university found her guilty of scientific misconduct.

The probe into Tina Wenz by the University of Cologne in Germany, her former employer, recommended that six of her papers — which have induced some chatter on PubPeer — should be retracted. One of these papers was pulled by Cell Metabolism last year. Now, Cell Metabolism has pulled another of Wenz’s papers, and she has also lost another study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), which was previously corrected. 

First, here’s the PNAS retraction notice, issued today: Read the rest of this entry »

Diabetes researcher loses prestigious professorship

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The German Research Foundation (DFG) has announced today that it is withdrawing a professorship it awarded leading diabetes researcher Kathrin Maedler in 2014.

In recent years, Maedler — based at the University of Bremen in Germany — has faced questions about her work, including allegations of duplication and image manipulation. So far, she has issued one retraction, two expressions of concern, and multiple corrections. After an investigation, the University of Bremen concluded last month that Maedler’s work contained several duplications that were the result of negligence, noting there is not enough evidence to support charges of scientific misconduct.

But this hasn’t stopped the DFG from revoking the prestigious Heisenberg professorship it awarded Maedler in 2014. A Google-translated version of statement released by the DFG (in German) today concludes that Maedler did, in fact, commit misconduct, as she

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Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

December 9th, 2016 at 11:30 am

Sleuthing out scientific fraud, pixel by pixel

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lars-koppers

Lars Koppers

When it comes to detecting image manipulation, the more tools you have at your disposal, the better. In a recent issue of Science and Engineering Ethics, Lars Koppers at TU Dortmund University in Germany and his colleagues present a new way to scan images. Specifically, they created an open-source software that compares pixels within or between images, looking for similarities, which can signify portions of an image has been duplicated or deleted. Koppers spoke with us about the program described in “Towards a Systematic Screening Tool for Quality Assurance and Semiautomatic Fraud Detection for Images in the Life Sciences,” and how it can be used by others to sleuth out fraud.

Retraction Watch: Can you briefly describe how your screening system works?

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Written by Alison McCook

December 6th, 2016 at 9:30 am

Oops — Springer journals retract three articles published by accident

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springerJournals published by Springer have retracted three articles in different disciplines, noting in all instances the articles were published by mistake.

A Springer spokesperson told us all three papers were pulled as a result of “human error.” In two instances, the notices say the editors-in-chief never meant to accept the papers, since the recommendation was to reject. 

We’ll start with the retraction that has the most interesting explanation. Here’s the notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Leading diabetes researcher acted negligently, probe concludes

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Kathrin Maelder

Kathrin Maedler

Several duplications in the work of a prominent diabetes researcher were the result of negligence, but there is not enough evidence to support charges of misconduct, according to an investigation at her university in Germany.

Recently, we’ve reported on several notices for papers co-authored by Kathrin Maedler, a researcher at the University of Bremen. So far, Maedler has one retraction, multiple corrections, and two expressions of concern to her name, after several of her papers were questioned on PubPeer. Previously, the University of Zurich in Switzerland — where Maedler completed her PhD in 2002 — determined there was a lack of evidence to support allegations of misconduct in papers that were part of her doctoral thesis. 

Last week, the University of Bremen released its own investigation report (in German), which we translated using One Hour Translation. It concludes that Maedler Read the rest of this entry »

Journals flag two papers by psychologist Jens Förster

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forster-j-a1Journals have flagged two papers by prominent social psychologist Jens Förster — whose work has been subject to much scrutiny — over concerns regarding the validity of the data. 

Förster already has three retractions, following an investigation by his former employer, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) in the Netherlands. In 2014, we reported on the first retraction for Förster for one of three studies with odd patterns that were flagged by the UvA investigation, a 2012 paper in Social Psychological and Personality Science; subsequently, the Netherlands Board on Research Integrity concluded that data had been manipulatedThree statistical experts from the UvA then carried out a more in-depth analysis of 24 publications by Förster, and found eight to have “strong evidence for low scientific veracity.”

Last year, Förster agreed to retract two more papers as part of a deal with the German Society for Psychology (DGPs); those retractions appeared earlier this year. All three papers that Förster has lost until now are from the “strong evidence for low scientific veracity” category. Recently, two more of Förster’s papers from the same category were flagged with notices, but not retracted.

One “statement of institutional concern,” issued by Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, reads:
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German university recommends that six papers be retracted following probe

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200px-siegel_uni-koeln_grau-svgThe University of Cologne has conducted an investigation into the research of Tina Wenz, and determined that six papers should be pulled due to scientific misconduct.

In a release issued last week (as first reported by Leonid Schneider), the university lists six papers that “present scientific misconduct,” according to our Google Translate.

One of the six papers was already retracted last year by Cell Metabolism, which cited reused northern and western blot band images in two figures.

The other six papers are: Read the rest of this entry »