Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘the netherlands’ Category

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

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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:

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Written by Alison McCook

March 20th, 2017 at 3:00 pm

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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No academic post for fraudster Diederik Stapel, after all

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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

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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

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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”

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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: 

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Leiden requests two retractions over misconduct

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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

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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 »