Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘frontiers’ Category

How to spot a “citation cartel”

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Iztok Fister Jr

Do you know the difference between a group of researchers in the same field who cite each other’s related work, and a group of authors who purposefully cite each other in order to boost their own profiles? It’s not easy to do, say researchers in a new article about so-called “Citation cartels.” In Frontiers in Physics, Matjaz Perc and two Iztok Fisters (Senior and Junior) from the University of Maribor in Slovenia present an algorithm to help identify groups of researchers citing each other for overly collegial reasons. (For more on the phenomenon, see a recent column in STAT by our co-founders.) We spoke with first author Iztok Fister Jr.

Retraction Watch: What exactly are “citation cartels”? How do they differ from groups of researchers in the same field who tend to cite each other because their research is related in some way, without any nefarious intent? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

January 18th, 2017 at 9:30 am

“Crucial experiments” missing from retracted plant study

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A 2016 study was retracted from a Frontiers journal after editors realized the authors had omitted experiments that didn’t support the hypothesis. 

Gearóid Ó Faoleán, ethics and integrity manager at Frontiers, which publishes Frontiers in Plant Science, told us:

In accordance with our complaints protocol, the Field Chief Editor led the investigation that resulted in the decision to retract the paper.

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

Authors retract two statin papers, one with problems “too extensive to revise”

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Researchers in China have retracted two 2016 papers about the possible use of a cholesterol-lowering agent to treat bleeding on the brain.

One of the retracted papers in the Journal of Neurosurgery (JNS) had multiple problems that were “too extensive to revise,” according to the lengthy retraction notice, relating to issues with authorship, data analyses, and patient enrollment. The notice is signed by first author Hua Liu of the Nanjing Medical University in China.

Liu is also the first author of another recently retracted paper in Frontiers in Neuroscience, pulled for incorrectly categorizing patients.

The JNS retraction notice begins: Read the rest of this entry »

Journal reverses acceptance of study linking vaccines to autism

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A journal posted an abstract online suggesting a link between vaccines and autism. After a firestorm of criticism, it removed the abstract, saying it was going to be re-reviewed. Now, the journal has decided to formally reject it.

As we reported last month, Frontiers in Public Health removed the abstract after it sparked criticism on social media. After doing so, the journal released a public statement claiming that the paper was “provisionally accepted but not published,” noting that the journal had reverted it to peer review to ensure it was re-reviewed.

Now, Gearóid Ó Faoleán, ethics and integrity manager at Frontiers (the journal’s publisher), told Retraction Watch that after consultation with an external expert, the journal has rejected the paper, adding: Read the rest of this entry »

Study linking vaccines to autism pulled following heavy criticism

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Frontiers in Public HealthA study linking vaccines to autism and other neurological problems has been removed by a Frontiers journal after receiving heavy criticism since it was accepted last week. 

The abstract — published online in Frontiers in Public Health after being accepted November 21 — reported findings from anonymous online questionnaires completed by 415 mothers of home-schooled children 6-12 years old. Nearly 40 percent of children had not been vaccinated, and those that had were three times more likely to be diagnosed with neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, the study found.

After receiving criticism on Twitter, Frontiers released a public statement, noting that the study was only “provisionally accepted but not published,” and is being re-reviewed. When asked for a comment, a Frontiers spokesperson referred us to the statement. Read the rest of this entry »

Genetics study flagged for reliability issues by Frontiers journal

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frontiers-in-geneticsA genetics journal has issued an expression of concern (EOC) for a study after an investigation by its chief editors.

According to the notice in Frontiers in Genetics, the authors of the paper — based at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan — are conducting further experiments to resolve the issues raised by the journal’s investigation.

In February, the same paper received a corrigendum due to errors in the assembly of one of the figures.

Here’s the EOC, issued earlier this week: Read the rest of this entry »

Journal pulls plug on paper that predicts person’s death, against authors’ objections

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frontier-in-human-neuroscienceSome people can look at an old photograph of a person — say, of your grandmother in elementary school — and tell whether the person is today alive or dead, according to a paper published last spring.

If that sounds too weird to be true…well, it might be. The journal editors have retracted the paper for not having enough evidence to back up its claims, despite the authors’ objections.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Prediction of Mortality Based on Facial Characteristics,” published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience:

Read the rest of this entry »

Authors didn’t generate key brain images, probe finds

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Frontiers in Human NeuroscienceA neuroscience journal has issued a retraction after discovering some of the paper’s integral images didn’t originate from the authors’ labs.

The retraction notice  — for a study about a condition once known as “water on the brain” — cites an investigation by the journal’s publisher, Frontiers, which determined that the figures were not “duly attributed.” The authors say they agree with the retraction.  

Here’s the retraction notice for “Revisiting hydrocephalus as a model to study brain resilience,” published by Frontiers in Human Neuroscience: Read the rest of this entry »

Author lifts from one paper in two different articles. Why does one journal retract, while the other corrects?

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circ resAre there instances when similarities between papers should be fixed by a correction, rather than a retraction?

We’re asking ourselves that question after seeing two journals take very different approaches to a somewhat similar situation. Last year, Frontiers in Physiology retracted a paper by Anastasios Lymperopoulos at Nova Southeastern University in Florida because of an “an unacceptable level of similarity” to a 2009 review article by different authors. But more recently, after Circulation Research discovered another paper co-authored by Lymperopoulos also contained similar text from the same 2009 review, it decided to correct the passages.

The last author of the Circulation Research paper told us the overlap between the two papers was less than 5%, and the journal never suggested the authors retract the paper.

Here’s the correction notice in Circulation Research:

Read the rest of this entry »

Author loses 2nd paper on supposed dangers of chemtrails

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Frontiers in Public HealthAgainst the author’s wishes, a journal has retracted a paper about chemtrails, a long-standing conspiracy theory about the dangers of cloud trails released from jet planes.

After the paper was scrutinized on librarian Jeffrey Beall’s blog and social media last week, Frontiers in Public Health issued an expression of concern (EOC). The paper was published June 30, and retracted yesterday, in a relatively rare case of rapid action by a journal. 

Last year, we reported on another retraction of a paper about chemtrails by the same author — J. Marvin Herndon, a geophysicist and self-described “independent researcher” at the Transdyne Corporation in San Diego, California.

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

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

July 18th, 2016 at 11:30 am