Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘uk retractions’ Category

Makeup use linked to testosterone levels? Not so fast, says retraction

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Psych SciA psychology journal is retracting a 2015 paper that attracted press coverage by suggesting women’s hormone levels drive their desire to be attractive, after a colleague alerted the last author to flaws in the statistical analysis.

The paper, published online in November, found women prefer to wear makeup when there is more testosterone present in their saliva. The findings were picked up by various media including Psychology Today (“Feeling hormonal? Slap on the makeup”), and even made it onto reddit.com.

However, upon discovering a problem in the analysis of the data, the authors realized that central finding didn’t hold up, according to Psychological Science‘s interim editor, Stephen Lindsay: Read the rest of this entry »

You’ve been dupe’d: Meet authors who like their work so much, they publish it twice

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fertility and sterility

When our co-founders launched the site in 2010, they wondered whether there would be enough retractions to write about on a regular basis. Five+ years and three full-time staffers later, and we simply don’t have the time to cover everything that comes across our desk.

In 2012, we covered a group of duplication retractions in a single post, simply because duplications happen so frequently (sadly) and often don’t tell an interesting story. So in the interest of bookkeeping, we’re picking up the practice again.

Here are five unrelated retractions for your perusal: all addressing duplications, in which the same – or mostly the same – authors published the same – or mostly the same – information in two different – or sometimes the same – journals.

So, on the buffet table we offer the following entrees: Read the rest of this entry »

New developments cause authors to pull paper on drugs’ environmental impact

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integrated envThe authors of an article about the effects of pharmaceutical drugs on the environment have retracted it before publishing the final version due to new developments in the field, which would have required a major revision.

The authors pulled the paper from Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management before it went through the final publication process – such as copyediting and proofreading – after they learned about new findings related to assessing to the risks of human exposures to pharmaceuticals in the environment.

We’d try to figure out which portions of the paper might need updating, but publisher Wiley recently pulled the original article and abstract, against the journal editor’s wishes.

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

Cancer study pulled when published without supervisor’s consent

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turkish jThe Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences has retracted a paper after concerns surfaced from a researcher who claims to have supervised the research but was not listed as a co-author.

The first author completed the research — which explored the use of epigenetic alterations as potential early signs of cancer — as part of her master’s degree, under the supervision of Muy-Teck Teh at the Barts & The London School of Medicine & Dentistry. When Teh contacted the journal to say he had not consented to the publication, Ayesha Umair claimed she had paid for the research herself.

Here’s the retraction note for “Quantitative study of epigenetic signature in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma,” which tells us more about the dispute: Read the rest of this entry »

Science flags immune-boosting paper under investigation

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F1.mediumScience magazine has issued an expression of concern for a paper on the discovery of a new immune-boosting protein. The paper’s findings, which received some press coverage when they came out last spring, are now under investigation by Imperial College London.

The expression of concern follows a correction noting a Western blot mix-up. Science Editor in Chief Marcia McNutt told us last month that the mistake resulted from “carelessness” on the part of the authors. But now, an investigation at Imperial College London — where Philip Ashton-Rickardt led the research — is formally looking into the findings.

That investigation is ongoing, according to the expression of concern (signed by McNutt):

Read the rest of this entry »

Having non-replicable data may not hurt your rep, says study

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plosoneAlthough many scientists fear putting their data to the test of replication efforts, due to the embarrassment they’d feel if their findings couldn’t be repeated, a new study suggests those fears are unfounded.

The paper, published last week in PLOS ONE, found that scientists overestimate how much having non-replicable data will hurt their careers, and the community values those who are honest about what went wrong.

Specifically, as the authors note:

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Written by Alison McCook

December 14th, 2015 at 9:30 am

My life as a whistleblower: Q&A with Peter Wilmshurst

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We’re presenting a Q&A session with Peter Wilmshurst, now a part-time consultant cardiologist who has spent decades embroiled in misconduct investigations as a whistleblower.

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Peter Wilmshurst

Retraction Watch: A UK judge recently upheld two findings of dishonesty by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service against Andrew Dowson, director of headache services at King’s College Hospital and your former co-investigator. Were you pleased with the verdict? (Last week, Dowson also began a four-month suspension from practicing medicine in the UK.) 

Peter Wilmshurst: In part, because I was pleased that he was shown to be dishonest, because I knew that he was, which was why I reported him. But I wasn’t pleased in the sense that I don’t think the investigation dealt with all the issues involved in the Migraine Intervention with STARflex Technology (MIST) Trial.

RW: What additional issues did you hope to see addressed? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

December 7th, 2015 at 11:34 am

“Carelessness” forces Science to correct paper about immune booster

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F1.medium (1)

Science is fixing images in a paper published online in April that discovered an immune-boosting protein, after the authors mistakenly mixed up similar-looking Western blots.

The paper, which received some press coverage, identified a protein that helped the immune system fight off cancers and infections. Philip Ashton-Rickardt, a scientist at Imperial College London who led the study, told the The Telegraph:

This is exciting because we have found a completely different way to use the immune system to fight cancer.

The editor in chief of Science, Marcia McNutt, told us that the journal contacted the authors once it learned of “irregularities” in some of the figures, which did not affect the conclusions of the paper:

Cochrane withdraws criticized alcohol misuse report for “major errors”

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Cochrane_LogoThe Cochrane Library has withdrawn a criticized 2014 meta-analysis about a technique to help young people avoid alcohol abuse, because of “major errors.” 

The review found that motivational interviewing, a form of counseling to help people change behaviors, showed some effects but had “no substantive, meaningful benefits” in preventing alcohol abuse among people 25 and younger. However, other researchers in the field, including some whose studies were included in the analysis, soon raised concerns about the review’s methods and data calculation, and the authors withdrew it. 

Here’s the brief notice for “Motivational interviewing for alcohol misuse in young adults:”

Read the rest of this entry »

Retraction strikes power grid paper with “almost identical” content to previous study

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EnergiesAn electrical engineering paper published in April has been retracted because of similarities to a 2012 paper from different authors, including “almost identical” data in two of the papers’ tables.

The authors were unable to provide the original numbers for the suspect tables, along with a pair of “similar” figures, which bore a striking resemblance to ones presented in the same 2012 paper. Corresponding author Tao Jin at Fuzhou University in China requested the withdrawal “in order to repeat the experiments and obtain new data.”

Energies posted the retraction October 1.

Here’s it is, in full:

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Written by Ross Keith

October 22nd, 2015 at 11:30 am