Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘the netherlands’ Category

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

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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 »

Dutch university ordered to pay economist after she was accused of plagiarism

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VU UniversityA court in the Netherlands has fined Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) 7,500 euros to compensate for “immaterial damage” to an economist accused of plagiarism.

Karima Kourtita researcher at VU, has been at the receiving end of anonymous complaints to her institution accusing her of plagiarism and her professor, high-profile economist Peter Nijkamp, of duplication (i.e. self-plagiarism). Kourtit is now seeking to prosecute the unnamed source of the complaint for defamation; the VU told us it will no longer accept fully anonymous complaints.

The case began when VU cancelled Kourtit’s thesis defense for plagiarism, and a report published on the VSNU, the Association of Universities, accused Nijkamp of self-plagiarism. Two of Nijkamp’s papers have been retracted as a result of the investigation; Kourtit is an author on one of the retracted papers.

A VU spokesperson told us:

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Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

May 20th, 2016 at 2:00 pm

How much does a retracted result pollute the field?

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Research Integrity and Peer Review

When a paper is retracted, how many other papers in the same field — which either cite the finding or cite other papers that do — are affected?

That’s the question examined by a study published in BioMed Central’s new journal, Research Integrity and Peer Review. Using the case of a paper retracted from Nature in 2014, the authors found that subsequent research that cites the retracted paper often repeats the problematic finding, thereby spreading it throughout the field. However, papers that indirectly cited the retracted result — by citing the papers that cited the Nature paper, but not the Nature paper itself — typically don’t repeat the retracted result, which limits its spread.

Here’s how the authors describe their findings in the paper: Read the rest of this entry »

Journal retracts bioelectronics paper for lack of credit to collaborators

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S09565663The list of co-authors on a paper about a “bioelectronic composite” was apparently too sparse.

According to its retraction note — posted at the request of the editor-in-chief and the corresponding author — the paper failed to include some of the collaborators.

The Biosensors & Bioelectronics paper looks at a protein complex that could function as part of a “bio-hybrid” device, like a sensor or a solar cell. It has been cited only by its retraction according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science.

What went wrong in allotting credit for the work pretty straightforward, according to the note for “Monolayers of pigment–protein complexes on a bare gold electrode: Orientation controlled deposition and comparison of electron transfer rate for two configurations.” Here it is in full:

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Psychologist Jens Förster earns second and third retractions as part of settlement

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Jens Förster

High-profile social psychologist Jens Förster has earned two retractions following an investigation by his former workplace. He agreed to the retractions as part of a settlement with the German Society for Psychology (DGPs).

The papers are two of eight that were found to contain “strong statistical evidence for low veracity.” According to the report from an expert panel convened at the request of the board of the University of Amsterdam, following

an extensive statistical analysis, the experts conclude that many of the experiments described in the articles show an exceptionally linear link. This linearity is not only surprising, but often also too good to be true because it is at odds with the random variation within the experiments.

One of those eight papers was retracted in 2014. In November, the American Psychology Association received an appeal to keep two of the papers, and Förster agreed to the retractions of two more:

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Anonymous complaint about Dutch economist is “unfounded”: Report

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Peter Nijkamp

Peter Nijkamp

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) has dismissed an anonymous accusation against economist Peter Nijkamp and two of his colleagues, including one of his graduate students, regarding issues related to “data acquisition and data processing.”

The announcement, released last week, determined the latest complaint was “unfounded:” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

January 19th, 2016 at 9:30 am

We have a new record: 80 years from publication to retraction

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cover_2015_51We have a new record for the longest time from publication to retraction: 80 years. It’s for a case report about a 24-year-old man who died after coughing up more than four cups of what apparently looked — and smelled — like pee.

According to the case report titled “Een geval van uroptoë” published in 1923, an autopsy revealed that the man had a kidney that was strangely located in his chest cavity. A case of pneumonia caused the kidney to leak urine into the space around his lungs, leading to the perplexing cough.

If that sounds too crazy to be true, you’re right: This man never existed. The case was retracted in 2003. (Yes, we are a little late to this one — it recently popped up in one of our Google alerts.)

A write-up by the editors of the Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde — that translates to “Dutch Journal of Medicine” — explains that the strange case was a fake (on the fifth page of this PDF, in English):

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Third retraction appears for Leiden researcher fired in 2013

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A researcher who was fired from Leiden University Medical Center in 2013 for fraud has notched a third retraction, following an investigation by her former workplace.

When Leiden fired Annemie Schuerwegh, they announced two retractions of papers that contained manipulated data. This third retraction — the last, according to a spokesperson for the center  — is for “a discrepancy between the data reported in the article and the original collected data,” per the note.

The 2011 paper, “Mast cells are the main interleukin 17-positive cells in anticitrullinated protein antibody-positive and -negative rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis synovium” published in Arthritis Research & Therapy, suggests the source of a protein involved in rheumatoid arthritis. It has been cited 51 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Here’s the retraction note:

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Do science findings feel more novel, robust? They are — at least, in language

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BMJ-Avatar-160x160

Do you think the write-up of scientific results has gotten more rosy over time? If so, you’re right — the use of positive language in science abstracts has increased by 880% since 1974, according to new findings reported in the British Medical Journal.

Researchers led by Christiaan H Vinkers at the University Medical Center Utrecht in The Netherlands found that, among PubMed abstracts: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

December 15th, 2015 at 11:30 am

Diederik Stapel now has 58 retractions

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stapel_npcSocial psychologist Diederik Stapel has notched his 58th retraction, after admitting he fabricated data in yet another article.

He’s holding onto his 4th place spot on our leaderboard.

This latest retraction is for “Correction or comparison? The effects of prime awareness on social judgments,” published in the European Journal of Social Psychology. As usual for Stapel, this paper has been retracted because he fabricated data.

Here’s the note:

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