Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘Molecular Biology Reports’ Category

A retraction cluster? Two papers retracted for overlap with other retractions

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molecular biology reportA cluster of papers by different authors has been retracted for sharing text, even though some papers were submitted at the same time.

How is that possible? A spokesperson for Springer told us that they have reason to believe a third-party company may have helped prepare the papers for publication, and in the process might have spread the material around to multiple manuscripts.

The details of the cluster are a bit perplexing, so bear with us. Two of the papers — that were published only months apart — have already been retracted, as we reported in April. Now, two other papers have been retracted from Molecular Biology Reports — and both notices cite the previously retracted papers. The new notices also say that there’s reason to believe that the peer-review process was compromised.

All papers conclude that a certain polymorphism could signal a risk for coronary artery disease among Chinese people.

We’ll start with the retraction notice for “Fibroblast growth factor receptor 4 polymorphisms and coronary artery disease: a case control study,” which cites the two papers that were retracted previously:

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Author, among others, loses four papers for “compromised” peer review

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Annals of human geneticsJournals have retracted four papers from an author after uncovering evidence the peer review process had been compromised. Three papers have all common authors. 

In one notice, issued last month, Annals of Human Genetics said it had reason to believe the paper had been reviewed by unqualified reviewers. Last year, another journal, Molecular Biology Reports, pulled two papers by the same group — all based at the China Medical University in Shenyang — all for peer-review issues. Additionally, Molecular Biology Reports also retracted another paper co-authored by Peng Liu last year, which did not include her other colleagues on the three other papers. All papers describe the epigenetic changes — modifications in expressions of genes — that may underlie cancer.

Here’s the retraction notice in the Annals of Human Genetics, published June 27: Read the rest of this entry »

Journals retract two heart papers with “nearly identical” abstracts

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Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 4.46.17 PMJournals have retracted two papers after realizing that they contain “nearly identical” abstracts and introductions, published only months apart. 

The two retracted papers, along with a third that also contains similar text, all conclude that a certain polymorphism could signal a risk for coronary artery disease among Chinese people, though each paper presents different data. The papers do not have any authors in common; the first authors are all based at different hospitals in China. The editor in chief of one journal told us that some of the reviewers did not use institutional email addresses, which leaves open the possibility that they were fake emails, and the peer-review process was compromised.

Here’s the first retraction notice, for “Fibroblast growth factor receptor 4 polymorphisms and susceptibility to coronary artery disease,” published in DNA and Cell Biology. The notice states the paper contains:

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64 more papers retracted for fake reviews, this time from Springer journals

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springerThis is officially becoming a trend: Springer is pulling another 64 articles from 10 journals after finding evidence of faked peer reviews, bringing the total number of retractions from the phenomenon north of 230.

Given that there have been about 1,500 papers retracted overall since 2012, when we first reported on the phenomenon, faked reviews have been responsible for about 15% of all retractions in the past three years.

This isn’t the first time Springer has faced the issue. As owner of the BioMed Central journals, it issued 43 retractions for faked reviews earlier this year.

In a statement, the publisher explains how the latest round of retractions came to light: Read the rest of this entry »

Drunk rats paper wasted by “significant statistical errors”, among other issues

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MolBiolRep_ak5Authors from Xinxiang Medical University in Weihui, China, are retracting a 2014 paper in Molecular Biology Reports because… well, because lots of things.

The researchers exposed nine rats to acute levels of alcohol then compared them to unexposed mice rats, noting differences in gene expression and molecular pathways.

But no one is toasting these findings anymore. Here are the details behind the retraction, courtesy of the notice:

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