Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘the netherlands’ Category

It’s not just whistleblowers who deserve protection during misconduct investigations, say researchers

with 16 comments

Sven Hendrix

Lex Bouter

In 2010, the former PhD supervisor of Sven Hendrix, a neuroanatomist at Hasselt University in Belgium, was accused of misconduct. Although the allegations were eventually dropped, the experience was emotionally and professionally draining – and Hendrix wanted the research community to know about it. In 2015, he shared his story at a conference in Rotterdam; in the audience was Lex Bouter at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, who works on research integrity (and is co-chair of this year’s World Conference on Research Integrity [WCRI], happening now). Bouter invited Hendrix to write a paper with him. This month, Accountability in Research published “Both Whistle Blowers and the Scientists They Accuse are Vulnerable and Deserve Protection,” an abstract of which is being presented today at the WCRI. We spoke with Hendrix and Bouter about their paper.

Retraction Watch: The title of your paper kind of says it all. Can you say more about what prompted you to write it?

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

May 29th, 2017 at 8:00 am

“Think of the unthinkable:” JAMA retraction prompts author to urge others to share data

with 4 comments

A few months ago, a researcher told Evelien Oostdijk there might be a problem with a 2014 JAMA study she had co-authored.

The study had compared two methods of preventing infection in the intensive care unit (ICU). But a separate analysis had produced different results.

Oostdijk, from the University Medical Center Utrecht in The Netherlands, immediately got to work to try to figure out what was going on. And she soon discovered the problem: The coding for the two interventions had been reversed at one of the 16 ICUs. This switch had “a major impact on the study outcome,” last author Marc Bonten, also from the University Medical Center Utrecht, wrote in a blog post about the experience yesterday, because it occurred at “one of the largest participating ICUs.”

When Oostdijk and a researcher not involved in the study analyzed the data again, they discovered a notable difference between the revised and original findings: The new analysis revealed that one of the interventions had a small but significant survival benefit over the other.

Oostdijk and Bonten, who supervised the re-analysis, notified their colleagues of the revised study outcomes and contacted the journal requesting a retraction and replacement, which was published yesterday in JAMA.

According to the notice of retraction and replacement:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Victoria Stern

April 19th, 2017 at 12:45 pm

What leads to bias in the scientific literature? New study tries to answer

with 4 comments

By now, most of our readers are aware that some fields of science have a reproducibility problem. Part of the problem, some argue, is the publishing community’s bias toward dramatic findings — namely, studies that show something has an effect on something else are more likely to be published than studies that don’t.

Many have argued that scientists publish such data because that’s what is rewarded — by journals and, indirectly, by funders and employers, who judge a scientist based on his or her publication record. But a new meta-analysis in PNAS is saying it’s a bit more complicated than that.

In a paper released today, researchers led by Daniele Fanelli and John Ioannidis — both at Stanford University — suggest that the so-called “pressure-to-publish” does not appear to bias studies toward larger so-called “effect sizes.” Instead, the researchers argue that other factors were a bigger source of bias than the pressure-to-publish, namely the use of small sample sizes (which could contain a skewed sample that shows stronger effects), and relegating studies with smaller effects to the “gray literature,” such as conference proceedings, PhD theses, and other less publicized formats.

However, Ferric Fang of the University of Washington — who did not participate in the study — approached the findings with some caution:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

March 20th, 2017 at 3:00 pm

Journals flag two papers by psychologist Jens Förster

without comments

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:
Read the rest of this entry »

No academic post for fraudster Diederik Stapel, after all

with 13 comments

stapel_npc

Diederik Stapel

Recently, we reported that social psychologist and renowned data faker Diederik Stapel had found himself a new gig supporting research at a vocational university in the Netherlands — but it appears that was short-lived.

According to multiple news reports, NHTV Breda will not be employing Stapel, after all.

Here’s our Google translate of a portion from De Telegraaf: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

September 13th, 2016 at 1:38 pm

He’s back: Data faker Diederik Stapel will support research at vocational university

with 17 comments

Diederik Stapel

Diederik Stapel

Diederik Stapel, the social psychology researcher who has had 58 papers retracted after admitting that he made up the data, has a new job: helping other researchers.

Stapel, according to BN DeStem (via Google Translate), Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

September 6th, 2016 at 8:30 am

Here’s why more than 50,000 psychology studies are about to have PubPeer entries

with 16 comments

pubpeerPubPeer will see a surge of more than 50,000 entries for psychology studies in the next few weeks as part of an initiative that aims to identify statistical mistakes in academic literature.

The detection process uses the algorithm “statcheck” — which we’ve covered previously in a guest post by one of its co-developers — to scan just under 700,000 results from the large sample of psychology studies. Although the trends in Hartgerink’s present data are yet to be explored, his previous research suggests that around half of psychology papers have at least one statistical error, and one in eight have mistakes that affect their statistical conclusions. In the current effort, regardless of whether any mistakes are found, the results from the checks are then posted to PubPeer, and authors are alerted through an email.

Till now, the initiative is one of the biggest large-scale post-publication peer review efforts of its kind. Some researchers are, however, concerned about its current process of detecting potential mistakes, particularly the fact that potentially stigmatizing entries are created even if no errors are found. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

September 2nd, 2016 at 11:35 am

Dental paper pulled for “wrong content with serious consequences”

without comments

Clinical Oral InvestigationsAn article on how missing teeth affect chewing was — well, pulled — when someone noticed a few errors. The journal later published a corrected version.

The retraction for “Chewing ability in an adult Chinese population” appeared in Clinical Oral Investigations in 2012, but we’re sharing it with you now because the notice contains some remarkable language:

This article has been withdrawn due to wrong content with serious consequences such as danger to people’s health.

Last author Nico H.J. Creugers, who works at Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands, told us: 

Read the rest of this entry »

Leiden requests two retractions over misconduct

with 5 comments

logo-lumc-engThe Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) has asked a journal to retract two papers after revealing a former employee manipulated data.

The report does not name the individual nor the journal, but notes that they work in a molecular field, and are currently employed by a university outside The Netherlands.

According to a news release about the report: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

June 16th, 2016 at 2:33 pm

Editors say they missed “fairly obvious clues” of third party tampering, publish fake peer reviews

with 14 comments

BJCP Cover

The editors of a journal that recently retracted a paper after the peer-review process was “compromised” have published the fake reviews, along with additional details about the case.

In the editorial titled “Organised crime against the academic peer review system,” Adam Cohen and other editors at the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology say they missed “several fairly obvious clues that should have set alarm bells ringing.” For instance, the glowing reviews from supposed high-profile researchers at Ivy League institutions were returned within a few days, were riddled with grammar problems, and the authors had no previous publications. 

The case is one of many we’ve recently seen in which papers are pulled due to actions of a third party

The paper was submitted on August 5, 2015. From the beginning, the timing was suspect, Cohen — the director for the Centre for Human Drug Research in The Netherlands — and his colleagues note: Read the rest of this entry »