Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘uk retractions’ Category

Should peer review be open, and rely less on author-picked reviewers? Study says…

with 13 comments

BMJ openAfter reviewing hundreds of peer review reports from three journals, authors representing publishers BioMed Central and Springer suggest there may be some benefits to using “open” peer review — where both authors and reviewers reveal their identity — and not relying on reviewers hand-picked by the authors themselves.

But the conclusions are nuanced — they found that reviewers recommended by authors do just as good a job as other reviewers, but are more likely to tell the journal to publish the paper. In a journal that always uses open reviews — BMC Infectious Diseases — reviews are “of higher quality” than at a journal where authors are blinded to reviewers, but when one journal made a switch from a blinded to an open system, the quality didn’t improve.

Here’s what the authors conclude in the abstract of the paper, published today in BMJ Open: Read the rest of this entry »

Can you spot the signs of retraction? Just count the errors, says a new study

with 4 comments

downloadClinical studies that eventually get retracted are originally published with significantly more errors than non-retracted trials from the same journal, according to a new study in BMJ.

The authors actually called the errors “discrepancies” — for example, mathematical mistakes such as incorrect percentages of patients in a subgroup, contradictory results, or statistical errors.

The study doesn’t predict which papers will eventually be retracted, since such discrepancies occur frequently (including one in the paper itself), but the authors suggest a preponderance could serve as an “early and accessible signal of unreliability.”

According to the authors, all based at Imperial College London, you see a lot more of these in papers that are eventually retracted: Read the rest of this entry »

Correction “does not change the scientific meaning” of leukemia letter

with 3 comments


The journal Blood has issued a correction in a 2009 letter about the molecular underpinnings of chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Despite the extent of the changes to a figure, “the error does not change the scientific meaning,” according to the erratum.

The article “p73, miR106b, miR34a, and Itch in chronic lymphocytic leukemia” was written in response to a 2009 Blood paper about the role of a microRNA in CLL. But its western blots were “assembled incorrectly,” leading to duplicated panels. Another set of panels was “shifted.”

So the authors repeated the experiments, and presented them in a correction. Here’s the correction notice in full, published earlier this month, including the figures in question:

Read the rest of this entry »

Investigation of prominent geneticist Latchman finds “procedural matters,” no misconduct

with 6 comments

David Latchman, Birkbeck

An investigation by the University College London has cleared prominent geneticist David Latchman of misconduct, but concluded he has “procedural matters in his lab that required attention.”

Latchman has two retracted paperson PubPeer, there are questions about nearly four dozen more.

The results of the investigation were first reported by the Times Higher Education. We also received a short statement from a UCL spokesperson:

Read the rest of this entry »

Voinnet notches second retraction, two more corrections

with 7 comments

PNASOlivier Voinnet — a plant researcher who was recently suspended for two years from the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) after an investigation by ETH Zurich and CNRS found evidence of misconduct — has issued his second retraction and two more corrections.

PNAS posted the retraction earlier this week for a 2006 article after an inspection of the raw data revealed “errors” in study images. Authors confirmed the issues in some figures and revealed “additional mounting mistakes” in others.

Voinnet has promised to issue retractions and corrections for every study that requires them. These latest notices bring our tally up to nine corrections, two retractions and one Expression of Concern.

Read the rest of this entry »

Second correx for controversial paper on the financial benefits of climate change

with 10 comments

Journal of Economic PerspectivesThe Journal of Economic Perspectives has published a second correction for a 2009 paper that argued that some amount of global warming could lead to economic gains.

The author of “The Economic Effects of Climate Change,” Richard Tol, a professor of economics at the University of Sussex, blamed earlier problems with the paper on “gremlins.” In a notice posted last year, Tol wrote that “minus signs were dropped”; he also added a pair of “overlooked estimates” and several recently published studies.

After the first correction was published, several people contacted the JEP to point out more issues with the paper. Editors worked with Tol and outside researchers to update the paper again.

Here’s some text from the newest correction notice:

Read the rest of this entry »

JBC cancer paper felled by duplication is one author’s second retraction this month

with 8 comments

25.coverA 2002 paper in the Journal of Biological Chemistry on how lung cancer cells resist death has been retracted for duplicating figures from a 2001 paper.

The retracted paper, “Fibroblast growth factor-2 induces translational regulation of Bcl-XL and Bcl-2 via a MEK-dependent pathway: correlation with resistance to etoposide-induced apoptosis,” shares the first and last authors with the 2001 paper, in Oncogene, as well as two other co-authors.

Here’s JBC’s entire retraction note, a sub-genre with which we’ve become intimately familiar by now:

Read the rest of this entry »

Two more retractions make four for bone researcher

with 3 comments

JAnatBone anatomists have retracted two papers on primate jawbone structure from the Journal of Anatomy due to “errors in the validation protocol and data,” marking the fourth retraction for one of the authors.

Olga Panagiotopoulou retracted two other papers over the past year, all of which were due to a common methodological problem. As Panagiotopoulou — who completed the work in the UK, before joining the University of Queensland in Australia in 2013 —  explained to us in April,

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alla Katsnelson

June 29th, 2015 at 9:30 am

Nature retraction, resignation result after lung cancer cell lines “cannot be those specified”

with 9 comments

cover_natureUpon realizing they had experienced a case of mistaken cell-line identity, the authors of a 2014 Nature paper on lung cancer think “it prudent to retract pending more thorough investigation,” as they explain in a notice published Wednesday.

The problem seems to stem from more than just honest error, according to corresponding author Julian Downward, a scientist at the Francis Crick Institute in the UK.

In a 1,215 word statement, sent to us via the Director of Research Communications and Engagement at Cancer Research UK, which funds Downward’s research, Downward told us the backstory not presented in the journal’s retraction note:

Read the rest of this entry »

We’ll tell you later, says ophthalmology journal about retracted paper

with 6 comments

EurOpthRevThe European Ophthalmic Review has retracted a 2014 article about the macular degeneration drug aflibercept without any explanation.

Here’s the retraction notice, such as it is:

Read the rest of this entry »