Article retracted after critics say it has “racist ideological underpinnings”

A psychology journal has retracted a controversial article about mental ability in South African women after a petition calling on the publication to withdraw the paper generated more than 5,000 signatures.  

The paper, “Age- and education-related effects on cognitive functioning in Colored South African women,” was published in Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition in March. It quickly drew attention, and outrage, from critics who objected to what they called racist overtones in the work, from the title on down.

According to the abstract:

Continue reading Article retracted after critics say it has “racist ideological underpinnings”

Journal flags paper over allegations it used competitors’ text, plasmids

MGGA journal has issued an expression of concern (EOC) for a paper on a common crop virus after the authors were accused of using competitors’ unpublished text and plasmids.

Investigations by the journal and the involved institutions — the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, where the paper’s authors are based, and North Carolina State University (presumably, where the accusing group is from) — were inconclusive, the notice states.

So the editor flagged “Sequences enhancing cassava mosaic disease symptoms occur in the cassava genome and are associated with South African cassava mosaic virus infection” with an EOC:

Continue reading Journal flags paper over allegations it used competitors’ text, plasmids

Authors retract abstract following misconduct by diabetes biotech

1Earlier this year, authors retracted a meeting abstract about a diabetes drug, following the revelation that the biotech that funded the trial committed misconduct.

The retraction was initiated by corresponding author Itamar Raz, at Hadassah Medical Center in Israel. The journal didn’t receive a response from any co-authors who were affiliated with the biotech company, Andromeda, so they were not included in the retraction process.

A few months after Hyperion Therapeutics acquired Andromeda’s diabetes drug DiaPep277, Hyperion announced it had evidence that some employees of Andromeda had “engaged in serious misconduct,” such as using un-blinded data and manipulating the analyses. Two relevant studies on the drug, designed to block the immune response that leads to type 1 diabetes, were retracted last year.

Here’s the retraction note for the abstract “Abstracts of the 50th Annual Meeting of the EASD, Vienna 2014. ‘Evaluation of DiaPep277® treatment in type 1 diabetes by integrated analysis,’” published in the May issue of the journal:

Continue reading Authors retract abstract following misconduct by diabetes biotech

Entrepreneur ranking retracted for not being “inclusive enough”

VENTUREBURN_HIRES_logo

This is a first for us — a publication that covers start-ups in South Africa has retracted a list of 13 rising tech entrepreneurs for not being “inclusive enough.”

Lists are a staple of popular media, so much so that they’ve earned their own word: listicle. But we’ve never seen one get retracted before. We weren’t sure what metric of inclusion the retraction was referring to, but looking at an archive of the webpage, where the listicle appeared before the publication was taken down, we saw that every person on the list appears to be a man, and almost all of them white.

We asked Stuart Thomas, Senior Reporter at Memeburn — which published the list with a related publication, Ventureburn — if this was what the publication meant by not “inclusive enough:”

It was a factor, yes.

Here’s the note for “Digital All Stars 2015: 13 South African tech entrepreneurs on the rise:”  Continue reading Entrepreneur ranking retracted for not being “inclusive enough”

Defamation concerns prompt theology journal to pull paper

HTS Teologiese Studies:Theological StudiesThe editor-in-chief of a theology journal has retracted a paper on South African Christian groups because of “unsubstantiated statements with potential defamation of character.”

The article, published in 2007 in HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies, discusses “demanding Christian religious movements” where the group “isolates itself from the outside world,” and leaders influence their followers to “commit to the high demands of the group under the guise that this is the will and purpose of God,” according to the paper.

The author calls out several groups and leaders by name:

Continue reading Defamation concerns prompt theology journal to pull paper

Paper cited by New York Times for key stat gets retracted

the-new-york-times-logoA paper that had served as the key aspect of an April New York Times article about a recent surge of violence against immigrants in South Africa has since been retracted for plagiarism.

The research, which appeared in the Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, had served as the source of the newspaper’s statement that the country is “home to about five million immigrants.” That figure was later quoted in other media outlets about the issue.

However, a 2011 census put the number closer to 2.2 million immigrants, according to the non-profit fact-checking organization Africa Check. After issuing a report about the discrepancy, which also quotes experts who say the numbers are unlikely to have doubled by 2015, Africa Check contacted the Times. As Africa Check reports:

Continue reading Paper cited by New York Times for key stat gets retracted

Misidentified genetic sequence causes retraction of pathogen paper one month after publication

Genome Announcements

The author of an article mapping the genome of an infectious bacterium is pulling the paper because — well, it wasn’t the bacterium she thought it was.

Study author Celia Abolnik is retracting her paper in Genome Announcements because it didn’t actually map out the DNA of Mycoplasma meleagridis, a bacterium that typically infects turkeys but has recently been found in chickens.

The trouble was, the sequence for Mycoplasma meleagridis in the National Institute of Health’s DNA database, Genbank, was actually a different variety of bacteria — Mycoplasma gallinaceum, another scourge of poultry.

Here’s the notice for “Complete Genome Sequence of Mycoplasma meleagridis, a Possible Emerging Pathogen in Chickens:”

Continue reading Misidentified genetic sequence causes retraction of pathogen paper one month after publication

Widely covered editorial extolling importance of diet over exercise “temporarily removed”

Source: NIH
Source: NIH

The British Journal of Sports Medicine has “temporarily removed” an editorial arguing that physical activity alone will not cure the obesity epidemic, following an expression of concern.

In its place stands the following message:

This paper has been temporarily removed following an expression of concern.

First author Assem Malhotra, based at the Department of Cardiology, Frimley Park Hospital and Consultant Clinical Associate to the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, told us the paper was pulled due to a “technical issue,” and an “official explanation” would be forthcoming.

Indeed, just this morning, we received a statement from Fiona Godlee, editor of the British Medical Journal, which publishes the British Journal of Sports Medicine:

Continue reading Widely covered editorial extolling importance of diet over exercise “temporarily removed”

Retractions follow revelations of misconduct by diabetes biotech

diabetes careSeveral months after a drug company cancelled development of a potential diabetes cure because it found evidence that a biotech they had recently acquired had committed misconduct in studies of the drug, two retractions of relevant studies have appeared.

The research involves DiaPep277, which, as Josh Levy explained here in September, “would cause the immune system to stop attacking beta cells,” the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. But Hyperion Therapeutics, which had acquired DiaPep277 developer Andromeda Biotech in June, announced in September that it had

uncovered evidence that certain employees of Andromeda Biotech, Ltd., which Hyperion acquired in June 2014, engaged in serious misconduct, including collusion with a third-party biostatistics firm in Israel to improperly receive un-blinded DIA-AID 1 trial data and to use such data in order to manipulate the analyses to obtain a favorable result.

The retractions are both of papers published in Diabetes Care in May 2014. Here’s the notice for “Treatment of Recent-Onset Type 1 Diabetic Patients With DiaPep277: Results of a Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Randomized Phase 3 Trial:” Continue reading Retractions follow revelations of misconduct by diabetes biotech

Incomplete reference helps editor find duplicate paper — and retract article

botswanaPro-tip: If you’re going to try to publish your work twice, don’t give editors a reason to go searching the internet for your previous work.

Here’s case in point, a retraction notice from the Botswana Journal of Agriculture & Applied Sciences: Continue reading Incomplete reference helps editor find duplicate paper — and retract article