Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘bmj’ Category

Against authors’ wishes, journal pulls study with errors, statistical mistake

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Annals of the Rheumatic DiseasesA rheumatology journal has retracted a paper about treating knee pain after an institutional investigation found a mistake in the statistical process.

Over several months, the authors proposed a series of corrections to the 2014 study. However, the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases (ARD) decided that there were “unresolved concerns” about the reliability of the data, and decided to retract the paper entirely, despite the authors’ objections.

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

In precedent break, BMJ explains why it rejected controversial “weekend effect” paper

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After the reviewer of a rejected paper was publicly outed, the BMJ has taken the unusual step of explaining why it chose not to publish the paper.

The paper — eventually published in another journal — raised hackles for suggesting that there is no “weekend effect,” or a higher mortality rate in hospitals on Saturday and Sunday. This caught the attention of UK policy makers, who have proposed changing policies to compensate for any supposed “weekend effect.”

Amidst the heated discussion about the research, one of the reviewers was identified, along with suggestions that he may have been conflicted because he had published a study showing the opposite finding. Yesterday, the BMJ posted a blog explaining that it was the editors — and not one sole reviewer — who decided to reject the paper: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

May 17th, 2016 at 11:49 am

Biologist’s research under investigation in Sweden after being questioned on PubPeer

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Holgersson

Suchitra Sumitran-Holgersson

The University of Gothenburg in Sweden is investigating several papers co-authored by biologist Suchitra Sumitran-Holgersson after they were challenged on PubPeer.

Sumitran-Holgersson already has one retraction under her belt — of a 2005 Blood paper, after another investigation concluded the results “cannot be considered reliable.” Sumitran-Holgersson and her husband, co-author Jan Holgersson, did not sign the retraction notice. Both were based at the Karolinska Institutet (KI) at the time, but have since moved to the University of Gothenburg.

Now, the University of Gothenburg has launched its own investigation of the papers questioned on PubPeer, according to Read the rest of this entry »

Top journals give mixed response to learning published trials didn’t proceed as planned

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Ben Goldacre

Ben Goldacre

Ben Goldacre has been a busy man. In the last six weeks, the author and medical doctor’s Compare Project has evaluated 67 clinical trials published in the top five medical journals, looking for any “switched outcomes,” meaning the authors didn’t report something they said they would, or included additional outcomes in the published paper, with no explanation for the change. The vast majority – 58 – included such discrepancies. Goldacre talked to us about how journals – New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), JAMA, The Lancet, BMJ, and Annals of Internal Medicine — have responded to this feedback.

Retraction Watch: When you discover a published trial has switched outcomes, what do you do? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

February 26th, 2016 at 9:30 am

2001 Fujii papers retracted — finally. What took so long?

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BJO

Nearly four years after an analysis of more than 160 papers by Yoshitaka Fujii concluded the chances the data were authentic were infinitesimally small, the British Journal of Ophthalmology has decided to formally retract one of the papers included in that review.

The name Yoshitaka Fujii should ring a bell — an alarm bell, in fact — for our readers. He’s firmly listed in the number one spot on our leaderboard, with more than 180 retractions.

The recently retracted paper — “Ramosetron compared with granisetron for the prevention of vomiting following strabismus surgery in children” — has been included in that retraction total for years, because it was part of a seminal 2012 analysis by J.B. Carlisle that put the odds of data occurring naturally in some of Fujii’s papers at: Read the rest of this entry »

Do science findings feel more novel, robust? They are — at least, in language

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BMJ-Avatar-160x160

Do you think the write-up of scientific results has gotten more rosy over time? If so, you’re right — the use of positive language in science abstracts has increased by 880% since 1974, according to new findings reported in the British Medical Journal.

Researchers led by Christiaan H Vinkers at the University Medical Center Utrecht in The Netherlands found that, among PubMed abstracts: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

December 15th, 2015 at 11:30 am

Did a clinical trial proceed as planned? New project finds out

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Ben Goldacre

Ben Goldacre

A new project does the relatively straightforward task of comparing reported outcomes from clinical trials to what the researchers said they planned to measure before the trial began. And what they’ve found is a bit sad, albeit not entirely surprising.

As part of The Compare Project, author and medical doctor Ben Goldacre and his team have so far evaluated 36 clinical trials published by the top five medical journals (New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, The Lancet, Annals of Internal Medicine, and British Medical Journal). Many of those trials included “switched outcomes,” meaning the authors didn’t report something they said they would, or included additional outcomes in the published paper, with no explanation for the change.

Here are the latest results from the project, according to its website:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

December 4th, 2015 at 9:30 am

BMJ Case Reports pulled three dental papers for plagiarism

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BMJ Case ReportsWe’ve stumbled upon a trio of retractions published in August, 2013 from BMJ Case Reports for “redundant publication” to a group of researchers based in India.

Editors found that the reports, which were published between 2012 and 2013, had considerable “overlaps” with articles that had been published in other journals. Although one of the retracted authors was also an author on one of the overlapping articles, the rest of the authors have no obvious connection to the previous work.

The authors of the three retracted papers are based at the Modern Dental College and Research Centre in India.

One retracted paper, “A rare occurrence of peripheral ossifying fibroma in the first decade of life and its management,” described the case of a 10 year-old girl with a lesion growing on her gums. The notice reads:

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Written by Ross Keith

November 19th, 2015 at 11:30 am

After court verdict, BMJ retracts 26-year-old paper

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downloadToday, The BMJ retracted a 1989 paper about the role of breastfeeding and formula in infant eczema — 20 years after the data were called into question by a university report.

However, the report was kept secret — due, by some accounts, to alleged threats of a lawsuit. That is, until this year, when author Ranjit Kumar Chandra — who once dubbed himself the “father of nutritional immunology” — lost a $132 million libel case. That case, against the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) for airing a three-part documentary series on allegations of fraud against Chandra, pushed the report by his former employer Memorial University of Newfoundland into the public domain.

At 26 years, the BMJ retraction is a runner up for the longest amount of time a journal has taken to retract a paper. (We know of another retraction that was 27 years in the making, and a scientist who requested the retraction of some passages of a 1955 article in 2007, after the article became fodder for creationists.)

Here’s the first part of the retraction note:

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Written by Shannon Palus

October 28th, 2015 at 7:30 pm

BMJ corrects controversial critique of US dietary guidelines report

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downloadThe BMJ has published a correction to a critique of the U.S. dietary guidelines report that has received heavy criticism from nutrition experts.

The author, journalist Nina Teicholz, has also posted a response to the criticism of the article.

The BMJ investigation, released in September, asserted that the guidelines committee used “weak scientific standards” to make its recommendations. It also criticized several aspects of the new expert report for the guidelines, such as “deleting meat from the list of foods recommended as part of its healthy diets.”

Soon after the feature appeared, The Verge — who first reported the news of the correction this week — called it “bogus.” The BMJ quickly issued a “clarification” to the paper, in the “rapid response” section of the paper (the journal’s version of a comment section). It noted that the feature should have specified “lean” meats.

The new, official, correction doesn’t formally put the clarification on the record. Instead, it addresses the research behind the analysis about saturated fats. Here it is in full:

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Written by Shannon Palus

October 28th, 2015 at 2:00 pm