Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘united states’ Category

“The sampling had been compromised:” MD Anderson researchers retract cancer study

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Erich Sturgis

Researchers from the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center have retracted a 2015 paper after they discovered their samples had been compromised.

Exactly how the samples were compromised, and how and when the researchers found out, remains unclear.

Originally published March 30, 2015, in Cancer, “Genome-wide association study identifies common genetic variants associated with salivary gland carcinoma and its subtypes” reported that at least three protein-coding gene variants were associated with rare salivary gland cancers. In the paper, the authors — all but one of whom are affiliated with MD Anderson — cautioned that they still needed to confirm the findings and figure out the mechanism by which the genes might increase the risk of cancer.

On Oct. 23, 2017, the researchers asked the journal to either correct or withdraw the paper. According to the retraction notice issued Jan. 9, the researchers had discovered: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Andrew P. Han

February 7th, 2018 at 8:00 am

Caught Our Notice: Brian Wansink issues correction that’s longer than original paper

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Title: Attractive names sustain increased vegetable intake in schools

What Caught Our Attention: One thing can be said for the corrections for Brian Wansink‘s papers — they aren’t short.  After James Heathers outlined some of his concerns about the highly cited study back in March, 2017, the journal has issued a correction, and it’s longer (1636 words) than the original, highly cited paper (1401 words). Some of the changes include explaining the children studied were preschoolers (3-5 years old), not preteens (8-11), as originally claimed. (It may be hard to imagine how the authors could make such a mistake, but they did it once before, in another retracted paper.) Even with all those words explaining the correction — we’re only including an excerpt of the entire notice below — some concerns still remain: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison Abritis

February 6th, 2018 at 8:01 am

Unusual: Author uses a reference list to accuse a paper of plagiarism

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Here’s an unusual way to allege plagiarism: Do it in the reference list.

That’s what Brian Levine, a professor in the College of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, did when he came across a paper he wanted to cite but suspected of plagiarism. When Levine published his 2017 paper, he cited the paper in question as:  

R.Rajan, “ Feasibility, Effectiveness, Performance and Potential Solutions on Distributed Content Sharing System [plagiarized],” Intl. J. Engineering and Computer Science, 5(1):15638–15649, Jan 2016 issue/v5- i1/30%20ijecs.pdf.

Levine’s paper, which explores a way of identifying perpetrators of online child pornography, provides no further details about the nature of the plagiarism or from what source the paper allegedly plagiarized. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Victoria Stern

February 5th, 2018 at 9:40 am

Study that said hate cuts 12 years off gay lives fails to replicate

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A highly cited paper has received a major correction as a result of the ongoing battle over attitudes towards gay people, when a prominent — and polarizing — critic showed it could not be replicated.  

In December 2017, researchers led by Mark Hatzenbuehler of Columbia University corrected the paper, originally published in Social Science & Medicine in February 2014, which showed that gay people who live in areas where people were highly prejudiced against them had a significantly shorter life expectancy. The corrigendum came more than a year after a researcher who has testified against same-sex marriage was unable to replicate the original study.

“Structural stigma and all-cause mortality in sexual minority populations,” has been cited 102 times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science, and attracted media coverage when it was published, from outlets such as Reuters and U.S. News & World Report.

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Journal retracts paper after discovering lead author forged co-author’s signature

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A pharmacy journal has retracted a 2017 cancer paper after determining that the lead author forged her co-author’s signature.

Alain Li Wan Po, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, told Retraction Watch that, after discovering the forgery, the journal lost confidence in “the integrity of the whole report,” and decided to retract it:

Our judgment was that if an author is willing to forge a signature, we cannot be sure of the integrity of the whole report and decided on the retraction.

According to Po, the paper’s lead author, Yan Wang, objected to the retraction because “she maintained that the data were accurate.” So the editors retracted the paper without her approval — but with the agreement of the author Jatinder Lamba, whose name was forged.

How did the journal discover the forged signature?

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Caught Our Notice: Oops, wrong species

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Title: Virulent Diuraphis noxia Aphids Over-Express Calcium Signaling Proteins to Overcome Defenses of Aphid-Resistant Wheat Plants

What Caught Our Attention: Sadly, it’s not uncommon for researchers to mistake the identity of what they’re working with — but not everyone comes clean and works to transparently correct the record. So it’s nice to see some authors among a group based in the US and India take the initiative to retract their paper after realizing they had based some of their conclusions on the wrong species of aphid. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison Abritis

January 25th, 2018 at 11:00 am

“The most terrible experience of my life:” Authorship dispute leads to lawsuit

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A journal has retracted a 2014 paper because of an authorship dispute that became the subject of litigation.

Last year, the Allegheny Health Network in Pittsburgh requested the paper be retracted to resolve the dispute. The Journal of Applied Biomaterials & Functional Materials retracted the paper in October.

According to the retraction notice, the principal investigator of a clinical trial on which some of the study is based was not included as a co-author, and claimed he had not “validated the accuracy of the data.”

The notice does not mention a lawsuit, but a letter from the authors’ research institution does.

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Fracking paper overstated size of methane leak from Marcellus Shale, earning retraction

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via Greens-EFA

Last spring, a group of environmental scientists reported an impressive finding: Hydraulic fracturing (better known as fracking) in the Marcellus Shale region of the eastern United States was leaking enough methane to power a city twice the size of Washington, D.C. (We didn’t come up with that comparison, apt though it may be.)

Turns out that wasn’t true. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by amarcus41

January 22nd, 2018 at 5:31 pm

Author retracts 2009 chemistry paper with “heavily doctored” images

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A researcher has retracted a 2009 chemistry paper after discovering that a figure had been “inappropriately edited.”

According to the journal, a reader brought the images in question in Figure 1 to the editors’ attention last September. Timothy P. Lodge, distinguished professor at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis — and editor of Macromolecules through December 2017 — told Retraction Watch:

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Written by Victoria Stern

January 22nd, 2018 at 8:00 am

Judge orders journal to identify peer reviewers: CrossFit lawyer

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A court is reportedly telling a journal to unmask a retracted paper’s peer reviewers, part of a defamation lawsuit involving the journal’s publisher and the CrossFit exercise brand.

According to an attorney representing CrossFit, yesterday Judge Joel Wohlfeil of the San Diego Superior Court decided that the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) must turn over to CrossFit the names of peer reviewers of “Crossfit-based high-intensity power training improves maximal aerobic fitness and body composition,” by Jan. 26. The names will be revealed under a protective order, the lawyer said, meaning CrossFit and the other defendants will see them but cannot disclose them to others.

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Written by Andrew P. Han

January 19th, 2018 at 2:05 pm