Ketamine for depression? Paper retracted for error that double-counted clinical trial participants

A psychiatry journal has retracted a 2015 meta-analysis on the effectiveness of ketamine for depression after readers found that the article double-counted patients in some studies, thereby inflating the apparent benefits of the drug.

The article, “Efficacy of ketamine in bipolar depression: systematic review and meta-analysis,” was published in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice by a group from the United States and England. But a pair of researchers in Sweden noticed the duplication — and what seems to have been a rather slapdash approach to the work — and pushed to have the paper retracted.

According to the results section of the abstract: Continue reading Ketamine for depression? Paper retracted for error that double-counted clinical trial participants

Games researcher retracts one paper, corrects three others, for plagiarism

via San Jose Library

A researcher, formerly of Bath Spa University in the UK, who studies how computer games are designed, has retracted a paper and corrected three others after she said she became aware that they all contained plagiarism.

The common author of the four papers, Dana Ruggiero,

focuses on praxis in design for persuasive technology, multimedia installations, and affective knowledge, including the application of games for social issues such as higher education, homelessness, juvenile offenders, children in care, and healthcare.

The retraction notice for “Project-based learning in a virtual internship programme: A study of the interrelated roles between intern, mentor and client,” a paper which first appeared in Computers & Education in July 2017, reads: Continue reading Games researcher retracts one paper, corrects three others, for plagiarism

Dr. What? From the mixed-up files of Muftah Salem Eljamel

Muftah Salem Eljamel

A surgeon in Scotland who mistook a tear duct for a brain tumor, operated on the wrong disc in another patient and eventually gave up his right to practice medicine in the UK has corrected a 2008 paper.

The reason: More confusion, it seems. Muftah Salem Eljamel says he mistook an image in the article as being from his hospital when it belonged to another surgeon at a hospital in Cardiff, some 460 miles distant. And oh, the image wasn’t what he thought it was to begin with.  The Courier reported on the correction.

According to the notice, in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Continue reading Dr. What? From the mixed-up files of Muftah Salem Eljamel

Glasgow professor leaves post amidst multiple retractions

A professor specializing in the health of children and pregnant women has left her post at the University of Glasgow, and issued three retractions in recent months.

All three notices — issued by PLOS ONE — mention an investigation at the university, which found signs of data manipulation and falsification. Fiona Lyall, the last author on all three papers, is also the only author in common to all three papers; she did not respond to the journal’s inquiries.

According to the University of Glasgow, the affiliation listed for Lyall, she is no longer based at the university. When we asked about the circumstances of her departure, the spokesperson told us the university has a “commitment to confidentiality,” but noted:

Continue reading Glasgow professor leaves post amidst multiple retractions

UK House of Commons committee wants to make sure “university investigations into research misconduct are handled appropriately”

As Retraction Watch readers may recall, the UK’s House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has been holding an inquiry into scientific misconduct for well over a year. During that inquiry, we submitted written evidence including some statistics about how the UK’s retraction rate compared to other countries, and our Ivan Oransky gave oral testimony late last year.

Today, the committee released a report of its findings, along with several recommendations. Among them are for all UK universities to “establish a national Research Integrity Committee to provide a means of verifying that university investigations into research misconduct are handled appropriately.”

Norman Lamb, chair of the committee, said in a statement:

While most universities publish an annual report on research integrity, six years from signing a Concordat which recommends doing so it is not yet consistent across the sector. It’s not a good look for the research community to be dragging its heels on this, particularly given research fraud can quite literally become a matter of life and death.

We asked C. K. Gunsalus, who serves as director of the National Center for Professional & Research Ethics and who has studied institutional integrity for decades, for her take on the report.

C. K. Gunsalus

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s Research Integrity: Sixth Report of Session 2017-19 Report is both good news and bad news. The good news is that the report crisply lays out the importance of a number of important challenges to research integrity, not only in the UK, but for all research communities internationally: Continue reading UK House of Commons committee wants to make sure “university investigations into research misconduct are handled appropriately”

University of Liverpool reverses course, names researcher guilty of misconduct

Daniel Antoine

A few weeks ago, we received a press release that gave us pause: The University of Liverpool said it had found one of its researchers guilty of research misconduct — but did not say who, nor which papers might be involved.

Now, less than one month later, the university is naming the researcher, and identifying a paper that it has asked the journal to retract.

After we covered the opaque release, we received some tips that the scientist might be Daniel Antoine, who studies liver damage. Last week, Liverpool confirmed that Antoine is the researcher in question.

After he left Liverpool, Antoine took a position at the University of Edinburgh. However, the faculty page is now blank, and a spokesperson told Retraction Watch he is “no longer employed by the University”:

Continue reading University of Liverpool reverses course, names researcher guilty of misconduct

University of Liverpool announces it’s investigating someone for misconduct. But don’t ask who.

University of Liverpool

Transparency begins …. with a T, as Ali G once said. That seems to be extent of the University of Liverpool’s commitment to openness, at least in the handling of an ongoing misconduct investigation at the UK institution.

We know this much: The school in late 2017 launched an inquiry into one of its scientists — apparently someone involved in liver research. The investigators concluded that the employee, who has since left the institution, had indeed committed research misconduct, according to a statement from the university.  

The problem is, that’s all we know at this point. The university is refusing to name the researcher, identify any affected papers or shed any other light on the matter. The only salient facts in the statement are that the work involves:

Continue reading University of Liverpool announces it’s investigating someone for misconduct. But don’t ask who.

How much cancer stems from diabetes, obesity? Lancet journal swaps high-profile paper

Six months ago, the media was ablaze with the findings of a new paper, showing that nearly six percent of cancer cases are caused, at least in part, by obesity and diabetes. But this week, the journal retracted that paper — and replaced it with a revised version.

The new paper doesn’t change the main findings much — the share of all cancers attributable to diabetes and obesity changed from 5.6% to 5.7%, which wouldn’t change any headlines about the original paper. But soon after the paper was published, a group of researchers noticed the authors’ mistake — which was significant enough to prompt the journal to retract the paper entirely, and swap it with a new one.

According to first author Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard at Imperial College London:

Continue reading How much cancer stems from diabetes, obesity? Lancet journal swaps high-profile paper

Caught Our Notice: Why did Reuters remove a 3.5-year-old story?

Title: Oil producer Afren fires CEO, 3 other executives in scandal

What Caught Our Attention: Two days ago, the news organization Reuters mysteriously withdrew a 2014 story about the firing of four people from now-defunct oil company Afren, including its CEO. The only explanation: “it did not meet Reuters standards for accuracy.”

The executives were fired in 2014 for allegedly receiving unauthorized payments; two have subsequently faced criminal and civil charges. The news agency has retracted articles on rare occasions — but why a news story from nearly four years ago? The 2014 story appeared to report on an announcement from the company on that same day, which corroborates the facts reported in the headline (all that’s left of the original story). Other outlets also covered the same announcement.

All we know about why the 2014 story disappeared is what little a Reuters spokesperson told us:

Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Why did Reuters remove a 3.5-year-old story?

Journal retracts and replaces paper because author stole credit for group’s work

An optics journal has retracted and replaced a 2016 paper after discovering that the author took sole credit for a team project.

According to the retraction notice, a University of Leeds review determined that “the research on which the paper was based the work of a team,” not just that of Raied S. Al-Lashi, who was the sole author on the 2016 paper. Continue reading Journal retracts and replaces paper because author stole credit for group’s work