Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘uk retractions’ Category

Skeleton crew’s second paper broken over methodology issues; more retractions to appear

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Olga Panagiotopoulou, via University of Queensland

Bone researcher Olga Panagiotopoulou of the University of Queensland has lost a second paper over “errors in the validation protocol and data.”

The retracted paper in the Journal of Biomechanics, about primate jaws, was subject to an expression of concern in May 2014 November 2013, one of two Panagiotopoulou’s group issued last year over methodological problems. The other paper was later retracted. According to Panagiotopoulou, there will be two more retractions forthcoming, both in the Journal of Anatomy. 

According John Hutchinson, last author of the other retracted paper, that withdrawal was the result of an investigation at his school, the Royal Veterinary College.

Panagiotopoulou emailed us with an explanation:

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Bigfoot paper corrected because it doesn’t exist — the author’s institution, that is

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Image via Joe Shlabotnik

Image via Joe Shlabotnik

A paper on the genetics of mythical creatures — yeti and bigfoot — is being corrected after the journal discovered the first author, Bryan Sykes, listed a mythical institution.

The Proceedings of the Royal Society B paper, “Genetic analysis of hair samples attributed to yeti, bigfoot and other anomalous primates,” examined 30 samples from “museum and individual collections” that had been labeled as the North American bigfoot, Tibetan yeti, Mongolian almasty, and Sumatran orang pendek. The analysis showed the samples actually came from a variety of species, such as bears, horses, and cows. Perhaps the most striking is the paper’s claim that two samples match with a prehistoric polar bear, “but not to modern examples of the species.”

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Written by Cat Ferguson

April 14th, 2015 at 9:30 am

Cancer Cell issues big correction over “incorrectly cropped” figures, other issues

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cancer cell A 2014 Cancer Cell paper became the subject of an erratum in January 2015, shortly after PubPeer members began criticizing the data. However, many issues brought up by commenters weren’t addressed in the correction notice, including a figure that might be two experiments spliced together to look like one.

The paper, led by Guido Franzoso at Imperial College London, claims that a new cancer drug called DTP3 kills myeloma cells “without causing any toxic side effects,” according to a press release from the school. Guido Franzoso is the founder of Kesios Therapeutics, a drug company which is set to begin clinical trials on DTP3.

The correction indicates that Western blots were cropped badly, which omitted several panels discussed in the text, while an “extra time point” was included accidentally. An antibody was also omitted from the description of the procedure.

PubPeer commenters have noticed additional issues, such as a criticism of figure 3D, which were not included or changed in this correction.

Here’s the correction for “Cancer-Selective Targeting of the NF-κB Survival Pathway with GADD45β/MKK7 Inhibitors”: Read the rest of this entry »

Opaque retraction notice for imaging paper

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cmmmSometimes we run across retraction notices that are vague, and others that are contorted, but we’ve just found one that gets highest marks for being completely inscrutable.

The article, “Bayes Clustering and Structural Support Vector Machines for Segmentation of Carotid Artery Plaques in Multicontrast MRI,” was written by a group from China and Cambridge University in England — so, we’re thinking language ought not to have been much of a barrier to clear English. It appeared in November 2012 in Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine, and describes a way to analyze carotid artery plaque levels in MRI images.

But according to the notice, the technique did not work as planned (or so we think):

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Prominent geneticist David Latchman’s group notches second retraction

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j cell scienceA team of researchers whose work is under investigation by University College London has retracted a second paper.

Three of the 11 authors of the 2005 Journal of Cell Science paper being retracted — David Latchman, Richard Knight, and Anastasis Stephanou — were authors of a Journal of Biological Chemistry paper retracted in January. Stephanou takes the blame for the “errors” which felled the Journal of Cell Science paper, about how a tumor suppressor responds to DNA damage.

Here’s the notice for “STAT-1 facilitates the ATM activated checkpoint pathway following DNA damage:” Read the rest of this entry »

More black marks against unapproved protein touted as miracle cure

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clinical immunologyA protein which is sold online as a cure for everything from autism to cancer and the focus of multiple retracted papers has earned more black marks: The UK government’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has issued a warning about its use after discovering problems in the factory, and a journal has removed the last author from a paper touting its benefits in HIV.

The protein, vitamin D-binding protein-derived macrophage activating factor (GcMAF), is supposedly a natural activator of macrophages. The website GcMAF.eu continues to hawk the results of treatment, while the Anticancer Fund has been pushing journals to correct the record on GcMAF. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

February 23rd, 2015 at 9:30 am

IP lawyer/plagiarist’s PhD thesis under review

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Dr Angela Adrian

Dr Angela Adrian

The Queen Mary University of London has withdrawn the PhD thesis of an intellectual property lawyer who was previously accused of plagiarism.

We first covered Angela Adrian last year, when she lost three papers on how to apply intellectual property laws and ideas in the age of the internet. (The irony did not escape Adam, who linked to Alanis Morissette’s ballad “Ironic.”) She is now the chief knowledge officer for reputation management firm Icondia, which helps the rich and famous “protect their unique and priceless individuality in the 21st century.”

It’s not clear what the investigation entails; a spokesperson for the school declined to give details “at this stage.” The thesis — about strengthening personality and property rights in the world of online gaming — is unavailable on the university website. Instead, this message is displayed when you try to access it at Queen Mary Research Online (QMRO):   Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

February 10th, 2015 at 11:30 am

Prominent geneticist nets retraction, two corrections, and a lot of questions

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David Latchman, Birkbeck

David Latchman

A team led by David Latchman, a geneticist and administrator at University College London, has notched a mysterious retraction in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, and has had 25 more papers questioned on PubPeer.

The JBC notice for “Antiapoptotic activity of the free caspase recruitment domain of procaspase-9: A novel endogenous rescue pathway in cell death” is as useless as they come, a regular occurrence for the journal: Read the rest of this entry »

Shingles-stroke connection paper earns expression of concern for “errors in data presentation”

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neurologyThe journal Neurology has issued an expression of concern for a paper linking shingles and stroke, which got press attention when it was published.

The journal’s note refers to “errors of data presentation,” which author Judith Breuer more narrowly defined as mistakes during transcription of a table. It’s unclear whether the results themselves – that herpes zoster, the virus that causes shingles, is a risk factor for stroke and other vascular problems – are being called into question.

Here’s the expression of concern for “Herpes zoster as a risk factor for stroke and TIA: A retrospective cohort study in the UK”: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

December 17th, 2014 at 9:30 am

COPD paper in JCI retracted following PubPeer critiques

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jciA 2011 paper in the Journal of Clinical Investigation whose PubPeer entry we highlighted in September has been retracted.

Here’s the notice for “Denitrosylation of HDAC2 by targeting Nrf2 restores glucocorticosteroid sensitivity in macrophages from COPD patients,” a 2011 paper by researchers at Johns Hopkins and Imperial College: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

December 5th, 2014 at 11:30 am