Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘behind a paywall’ Category

Journal adds concern notice to paper by psychologist Jens Förster

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A social psychology journal has added an expression of concern to a paper by prominent social psychologist Jens Förster, whose work has been subject to much scrutiny.

This is the latest in a long-running saga involving Förster. The 2012 paper in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology had been flagged by a 2015 report describing an investigation into Förster’s work, which had concluded the paper likely contained unreliable data. Several other papers that received similar designations in that report have either been retracted or received expressions of concern (EoC).

The (paywalled) notice provides a lengthy explanation for why the journal chose to add an EoC, rather than retract the paper, as the University of Amsterdam had recommended. Here is an excerpt:

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Two more retractions for former US prof who altered dozens of images

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Two journals have retracted papers by a biologist who was recently found guilty of misconduct by his former employer, the University of Colorado Denver, bringing the total to five.

The investigation report by UC Denver, which we obtained earlier this year via a public records request, had recommended one of the two newest retractions, which appears in the journal Hepatology. The other retraction, in the Journal of Immunology, was not flagged by the report — which found, among other conclusions, that Almut Grenz had altered multiple values in research that had already been submitted for peer review.

Here’s the notice for the Journal of Immunology paper:

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More notices appear for embattled Cornell food researcher

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Journals have posted two corrections alongside papers by Brian Wansink, a food researcher whose work has lately come under fire.

One of the corrected papers was among the initial batch that raised eyebrows last year; after Wansink praised the productivity of one of his researchers, critics suggested four papers contained critical flaws. The questions about his work soon extended to other papers, one of which was retracted in April. That month, an internal review by Cornell University announced that Wansink made numerous mistakes, but did not commit misconduct. Wansink has pledged to reanalyze multiple papers.

One paper that was among those initially criticized has received a formal correction notice from the Journal of Product & Brand Management. The notice, which appears behind a paywall, has drawn fire from a regular critic of Wansink’s work, Jordan Anaya, who argues “this correction actually needs a correction, actually several.”

Here’s the notice for “Peak-end pizza: prices delay evaluations of quality:”

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Are there foxes in Tasmania? Follow the poop

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Stephen Sarre, based at the University of Canberra in Australia, has made a career out of collecting and analyzing poop.

It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. Part of his work is designed to answer a multi-million dollar question: Is Tasmania home to foxes, a pest that carries rabies and other diseases and can ravage local wildlife? According to the Australian news outlet ABCthe Tasmanian and Australian governments have spent $50 million (AUD) on hunting foxes on the island since 2001 — even though many have debated whether they are even there.

In 2012, after analyzing thousands of fecal samples, Sarre published a paper in the Journal of Applied Ecology which boldly claimed that “Foxes are now widespread in Tasmania.” But many outside researchers didn’t buy it, and quickly voiced their criticisms of the paper, namely that there may be problems with false positives and the methodology used to analyze the samples. Recently, the journal issued an expression of concern for the paper, citing an ongoing investigation into the allegations.

Here’s the expression of concern (paywalled, tsk tsk):

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How upset should we get when articles are paywalled by mistake?

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Mistakes happen. Including, sometimes, putting articles that should be freely available behind a paywall. This occasionally happens — though likely not with alarming frequency, according to publishing expert Charles Oppenheim, who recently wrote about the issue in Scholarly Kitchen. Still, the costs can literally be high, both for the authors who paid to make their articles free and the readers who must pay unnecessarily. Plus, there are indications that not everyone in the publishing community takes the problem seriously. We spoke with patient advocate and open-access advocate Graham Steel, the editor of a new site that tracks such mistakes, Paywall Watch (also recently profiled by The Scientist).

Retraction Watch: What inspired you to develop this website (not to be confused with another Paywall Watch blog, which tracks subscriptions to media sites)? Did any personal experience with a paywall or some other publishing problem prompt you or any of your co-founders to create the site? What’s the ultimate goal?

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Written by Alison McCook

May 31st, 2017 at 8:00 am

Posted in behind a paywall

Journal flags another paper by diabetes researcher who sued to stop retractions

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It would seem that resorting to legal means to avoid editorial notices doesn’t always work.

We’re coming to that conclusion after seeing yet another notice for Mario Saad, based at the University of Campinas in São Paulo, Brazil. In this case, it’s an expression of concern from the Journal of Endocrinology, on a 2005 paper that lists Saad as the second-to-last author. According to the notice, the journal is concerned the paper contains spliced and duplicated images; although the authors offered to repeat the experiments, the journal considered that potential delay “unacceptable.”

Despite Saad’s legal efforts, he is now up to 11 retractions, along with multiple expressions of concern.

Here’s the full text of the notice (which is paywalled, tsk tsk):

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Cancer researcher in Germany loses multiple papers after misconduct finding

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A pathology journal is retracting two papers after an investigation at the last author’s institution in Germany found evidence of scientific misconduct.

The notice for both papers cites an investigation involving Regine Schneider-Stock, who studies cancer biology at the Friedrich Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU). Meanwhile, another 2005 paper that lists Schneider-Stock as the first author was retracted in October, noting evidence of image manipulation.

The most recent retractions, from the American Journal of Pathology, note that FAU declined to provide the journal with details of its investigation beyond a prepared statement:

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UCLA lab pulls two papers — one by author who admitted to misconduct

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A lab at the University of California, Los Angeles has retracted two papers for duplicated images.

These retractions — in the Journal of Immunology — represent the second and third retractions for the lab head; he lost another paper after one of his former students confessed to manipulating images.

Although Eriko Suzuki admitted to her actions on PubPeer in 2014, the 2007 Oncogene paper wasn’t retracted until June, 2016, when the journal issued a notice citing “data irregularities.”

Unfortunately, Suzuki’s admission in 2014 wasn’t the end of the troubles for lab head Benjamin Bonavida, who recently issued two additional retractions in the Journal of Immunology, only one of which includes Suzuki as a co-author.

Bonavida told us the university received allegations (he’s not sure from who) that some of the control gels were duplicated; he didn’t agree, but couldn’t produce the original gels to disprove it. We asked if any more retractions were coming from Bonavida, who has since retired from running a lab:

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Leading diabetes researcher acted negligently, probe concludes

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Kathrin Maelder

Kathrin Maedler

Several duplications in the work of a prominent diabetes researcher were the result of negligence, but there is not enough evidence to support charges of misconduct, according to an investigation at her university in Germany.

Recently, we’ve reported on several notices for papers co-authored by Kathrin Maedler, a researcher at the University of Bremen. So far, Maedler has one retraction, multiple corrections, and two expressions of concern to her name, after several of her papers were questioned on PubPeer. Previously, the University of Zurich in Switzerland — where Maedler completed her PhD in 2002 — determined there was a lack of evidence to support allegations of misconduct in papers that were part of her doctoral thesis. 

Last week, the University of Bremen released its own investigation report (in German), which we translated using One Hour Translation. It concludes that Maedler Read the rest of this entry »

Who wrote this chem paper? Author claims her name was removed without consent

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Spectrochimica ActaA researcher is claiming that her former PhD students impersonated her to remove her name as a co-author on a 2015 study.   

According to an editor’s note, published in Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy, the journal received confirmation from all three authors that the aforementioned researcher should be removed from the author list during proofing stage. However, the researcher whose name was omitted — Nahid Nishat of the Jamia Millia Islamia in Jamia Nagar, New Delhi, India — later contacted the journal claiming that she didn’t okay this move.  

Nishat told Retraction Watch that she believes the two listed authors on the paper wrote to the journal on her behalf to remove her name:  Read the rest of this entry »