Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘ACS’ Category

Chemist sues University of Texas (again) to keep PhD

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Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 4.34.25 PMA chemist is suing the University of Texas a second time in an effort to keep the PhD she earned in 2008.

In 2014, school officials revoked Suvi Orr‘s degree after finding it was based, in part, on falsified data. Some of the data were also included in a paper in Organic Letters that was retracted in 2011 after some steps in the chemical synthesis the authors described were not reproducible. Orr, currently working at Pfizer, sued UT, and the school reinstated her degree.

Now, the school is trying to remove it again, according to the lawsuit, filed last week. The lawsuit says the school has scheduled a “hearing” on March 4, during which three undergraduate students and two faculty members will deliberate — “none of whom are qualified to evaluate the scientific evidence being used against S.O.,” the suit says.

Orr has requested a temporary injunction to halt the proceedings, and a hearing has been scheduled for next week, according to the Austin-American Statesman.

The suit argues the school does not have the right to strip Orr’s degree from her: Read the rest of this entry »

Data irregularities force author to retract three solar cell papers

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no spine minimum. full size. Editor: Jon JEM: Esther RTP: Bryan Nolte TOC image

An engineer has retracted three papers on a method for making nanoscale materials that are useful in solar cells.

The papers, all published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, contain irregularities in data, and one includes images “which have been published elsewhere and identified with different samples,” according to the note.

The first author on all three papers is Khalid Mahmood, who — according to the bio from a talk he gave last year on efficient solar cells — is currently a postdoc at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia. He did the work in the retracted papers while a student at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, where, according to the bio, he completed his PhD in two years.

Here’s the retraction note for the first paper (which also contains a typo in the title — “electrospay”)

Read the rest of this entry »

Authorship dispute fells membrane paper

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no spine minimum. full size. Editor: Barbara Sydow JEM: Clay RTP: Cynthia Porath jpcbfk

A membrane paper has been retracted only two months after publication in the Journal of Physical Chemistry B because of an authorship dispute.

The paper, “Magnetic Interaction of Transition Ion Salts with Spin Labeled Lipid Membranes: Interplay of Anion-Specific Adsorption, Electrostatics, and Membrane Fluidity,” has not been cited, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. (It appears to be taken down entirely, but it looks like you can read its abstract here.)

Here’s the entire — very short — note:

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Written by Shannon Palus

January 28th, 2016 at 11:30 am

Wound healing paper injured beyond repair

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no spine minimum. full size. Editor: Jon JEM: Esther RTP: Bryan Nolte TOC image

Errors in the interpretation of some of the data — the result of “procedural flaws” —  are to blame for the retraction of a paper on a way to help skin grow back after injury.

The paper explores a method involving nanofibers. According to the abstract:

In this study, tilapia skin collagen sponge and electrospun nanofibers were developed for wound dressing…the collagen nanofibers stimulated the skin regeneration rapidly and effectively in vivo.

The paper was published January 19, 2015 by ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, then retracted eight months later, in August. It has not been cited, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Here’s the retraction note:

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Authors retract chemistry letter after new data reveal problems in reaction, structure

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The authors of a letter describing the synthesis of ketonitrones have retracted it, after new data showed that they incorrectly reported the product structures and the reaction mechanism.

We’re not sure what exactly went wrong with the original data in the letter, “Transition-Metal-Catalyzed Ring Expansion of Diazocarbonylated Cyclic N-Hydroxylamines: A New Approach to Cyclic Ketonitrones,” published in Organic Letters. 

Here’s the reaction that the paper reported, from the abstract:

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And here’s the very short noteRead the rest of this entry »

Written by Shannon Palus

December 28th, 2015 at 9:30 am

NSF investigation of high-profile plant retractions ends in two debarments

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Jorge Vivanco

Jorge Vivanco

A nearly ten-year-long series of investigations into a pair of plant physiologists who received millions in funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation has resulted in debarments of less than two years for each of the researchers.

The NSF Office of Inspector General recently posted its close-out report on its decision and a review of the University’s investigation, which had recommended a total of eight retractions or corrections. Although the investigator’s names have been redacted, the text of retractions and corrections quoted in the report corresponds to papers by Read the rest of this entry »

Undisclosed industry funding prompts correction of fracking paper

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152 page minimum spine. Editor: Matt Hotze, JEM: Esther RTP:  Diane Murphy

Environmental Science & Technology has issued a correction for a March 2015 paper on methane contamination from gas wells after learning that the authors failed to disclose funding from Chesapeake Energy Corp., a major U.S. energy producer.

The paper, “Methane Concentrations in Water Wells Unrelated to Proximity to Existing Oil and Gas Wells in Northeastern Pennsylvania,” came from a group led by Donald Siegel, of Syracuse University. In the correction, Siegel acknowledges having received “funding privately” from Chesapeake for the study, which found: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by amarcus41

May 8th, 2015 at 2:34 pm

Chem paper fails to catalyze when wrong files are “inadvertently used”

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joceah_v080i008.inddThree chemists at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati in India have retracted a paper from the Journal of Organic Chemistry because the “incorrect files were inadvertently used.”

The article, “Room-Temperature Cu(II)-Catalyzed Chemo- and Regioselective Ortho-Nitration of Arenes via C–H Functionalization,” described a protocol to perform nitration — the addition of nitro groups onto an organic compound — using an inexpensive copper catalyst.

All three authors signed the one-sentence notice:

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Written by Megan Scudellari

April 29th, 2015 at 11:30 am

Reporting errors sink chem paper on liquid-liquid equilibrium

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Jced_coverA team of chemists at Hunan University and Zhejiang Shuyang Chemical Company in China have retracted a paper from the Journal of Chemical & Engineering Data after “inconsistencies with the literature” led them to discover “errors” in the way the data were reported.

According to the corresponding author Qinbo Wang, in December 2014, Robert Chirico, an associate editor at the journal, contacted Wang with concerns that the paper’s data were an anomaly.

Wang then went through the original notes with the first author, and realized that the data reported in the paper didn’t match the experimental results. The lab then conducted further experiments, and discovered that multiple corrections would be necessary. They were, as Wang told us: Read the rest of this entry »

Bielawski and Wiggins up retraction count to five with three in JACS

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Journal of the American Chemical SocietyThe Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) has retracted three articles that had earned expressions of concern by chemistry researchers who were under investigation at the University of Texas, Austin.

Kelly Wiggins and Christopher Bielawski have already received two other retractions and several EoCs.

The newly retracted articles have each been cited more than 50 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

The three papers are: Read the rest of this entry »