Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘behind a paywall’ Category

Highly cited cancer researcher logs 8th, 9th retractions

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Bharat Aggarwal

Bharat Aggarwal

Bharat Aggarwal, a highly cited cancer researcher who retired last year from MD Anderson, has logged two retractions following an investigation into his work, bringing his total to nine.

Aggarwal has threatened to sue us in the past, and told us that MD Anderson has been investigating his work. Earlier this year, Biochemical Pharmacology retracted seven studies of which he is the only common author, noting the “data integrity has become questionable.” Now, he’s earned two more retractions in Molecular Pharmacology, both for “inappropriate” or “unacceptable” image manipulation.

Both of the notices are paywalled (tsk, tsk). Here’s one for “Flavopiridol suppresses tumor necrosis factor-induced activation of activator protein-1, c-Jun N-terminal kinase, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), p44/p42 MAPK, and Akt, inhibits expression of antiapoptotic gene products, and enhances apoptosis through cytochrome c release and caspase activation in human myeloid cells:” Read the rest of this entry »

Philosopher earns 14th retraction for plagiarism

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978-1-4020-3001-7Today, we bring you a case of a serial plagiarizer.

Martin W. F. Stone was a philosophy professor at the University of Leuven — by one account “widely admired and highly respected” — until 2010, when an investigation at the school concluded that his work is “highly questionable in terms of scientific integrity.” Over the past several years, he has racked up retractions, earning his 14th this spring, and spot #30 on our leaderboard.

Stone’s retractions were brought to our attention by philosopher Michael Dougherty, who found a notice for “Michael Baius (1513–89) and the Debate on ‘Pure Nature’: Grace and Moral Agency in Sixteenth-Century Scholasticism,” a chapter in Springer’s Moral Philosophy on the Threshold of Modernity.

The retraction notice says that the chapter Read the rest of this entry »

The standard in transparency? Editor praises author honesty that led to retraction in anesthesia journal

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Sometimes, a junior member of the team sees things an editor-in-chief misses.

Regular readers know that we’re always delighted when we get a chance to commend researchers and journals for doing the right thing. Here’s an example that sets the standard.

Anesthesia & Analgesia (A&A) is retracting a 2015 paper which purportedly found important differences in patient outcomes based on the quality of their anesthesiologists. The trouble with the article: Read the rest of this entry »

Five more notices for Duke pulmonary pair brings retraction tally into double digits

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Two retractions and three corrections have appeared for a group of Duke researchers that already have 10+ retractions under their belts.

The reasoning behind them echoes that which we’ve seen before in notices for Michael Foster and Erin Potts-Kant: Following an inquiry from the university, the journals were informed that some of the data or results weren’t reliable, and not all of the experiments could be repeated.

A colleague aware of the case said that researchers are still working to repeat experiments from papers by Potts-Kant and Foster. It is not known how many more papers might be corrected or retracted. Duke University is fully supporting the validation of these experiments, the source told us.

Foster has retired from Duke, a spokesperson for the university confirmed. Read the rest of this entry »

Poll: Should retracted papers be made available for free?

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RW logoRecently, Robert Geller of the University of Tokyo brought an interesting issue to our attention. In following a particular paper that had been flagged with concerns on PubPeer, he saw that the journal had eventually retracted it. Even though the journal was sold under a subscription-based model, it made the retraction notice available outside the paywall– per the recommendations of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

The paper itself now included a link to the retraction notice – also recommended by COPE – but the retracted article remained behind the paywall. In other words, to read the retracted paper, non-subscribers would have to pay 3300 Yen (about $30).

Geller contacted us, concerned that the journal was continuing to profit from a retracted paper.

It’s a question we’ve never considered before: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

April 4th, 2016 at 11:30 am

Sperm paper impaired by “corporate company” analysis

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2.coverWithout a certain protein, mouse sperm have motility disorders. That’s the conclusion of a paper that has itself been stopped — by errors in the data analysis, carried out by a third-party company.

The retraction note pins the analysis, which led to faulty data, on a “corporate company.” Aside from the companies that sell the kits used for substrates, assays, and detection, there’s only one company mentioned in the paper:

Generation of the mouse model was performed by the Cyagen Company (Guangzhou, China)

However, a representative of Cyagen says it does not offer the type of analysis described by the retraction note.

Here’s the full retraction note for the 2015 paper in Biology of Reproduction (which is paywalled — tsk, tsk):
Read the rest of this entry »

Authors retract two papers for “severe conflicts of author sequences”

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A group of authors has earned two retractions for a pair of papers on which they had “severe conflicts of author sequences,” according to the retraction note.

All of the authors were involved in a recent spate of compromised peer review that hit Springer journals back in August. Among the 64 retracted papers this summer, one included all of the authors on the two recently retracted papers, including first author Yan-Zhi Chen. Besides authorship issues, the latest two retractions also contain a “striking similarity to other publications,” according to the retraction notices.

The notes for the two papers are the same, except for the title of the paper. (They are also paywalled, tsk tsk!)

Here’s what the notes say:

Read the rest of this entry »

Author’s coordination of peer review flags 13 math papers

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home_cover (3)Thirteen papers in Mathematics and Mechanics of Solids now have an expression of concern, after it came to light that an author on most of the papers coordinated the peer-review process.

David Y. Gao, a well-known and prolific mathematician at the Federation University Australia, is the author of 11 of the papers, and also the guest editor of the special issue in which they were set to appear. The papers were published online earlier this year.

A spokesperson for SAGE, which publishes the journal, confirmed that the publisher decided to re-review the papers after learning about Gao’s role in the peer-review process:

Read the rest of this entry »

“Dual submission issues” retract both copies of ovarian cancer paper

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Journal of Cellular PhysiologyAuthors of a study on a potential biomarker for ovarian cancer have been hit with two retractions after the results were published twice.

We don’t usually see both copies of a duplicated paper retracted, but this is a somewhat unusual case. In November 2011, a group of authors submitted the paper to Gynecologic OncologyBut two months’ prior, the first author had decided to also submit the paper to the Journal of Cellular Physiology, without listing three of the other researchers, including the primary author on the paper. It was published by the Journal of Cellular Physiology first, then by Gynecologic Oncology, both in July, 2012. 

Jie Chen, first author on both articles, “takes full responsibility for the dual submission” and “other co-authors should be exempted from all responsibilities,” as the retraction notice from Gynecologic Oncology explains. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Science Signaling corrects data fudged by former UCSF student

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afbb251f8bc8f71e26b313c77669d48fA paper containing data fudged by former University of California San Francisco grad student Peter Littlefield has been corrected. We knew that this was coming — last month, the Office of Research Integrity issued a report that Littlefield had admitted to misconduct, and agreed to a retraction or correction of the two affected papers.

Published in Science Signaling, “Structural analysis of the /HER3 heterodimer reveals the molecular basis for activating HER3 mutations” examined the structural details of a protein associated with cancer. It has been cited two times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

According to the correction note, the concentration of a protein presented in one figure was “miscalculated;” in another figure, the error bars were “calculated incorrectly.”

A statement from the UCSF affirmed that principle investigator Natalie Jura has “not been implicated in any research misconduct finding,” and explains that Read the rest of this entry »