It was bound to happen. After more than 4,700 posts, Retraction Watch has a retraction of its own.
Earlier this month, we wrote about the opaque retraction of a paper from an open-access spine journal whose editor told us that the researchers yanked their article so that they could republish it in a more prestigious outlet.
Journals have retracted two papers after they were flagged by a pseudonymous blogger, who suspected all had copied text from other sources.
What’s more, a third paper seems to have simply disappeared from the journal’s website, after the blogger, Neuroskeptic, alerted the journal to the text overlap.
Neuroskeptic became suspicious about the three unrelated papers – about food chemistry, heart disease, and the immune system and cancer – after scanning them with plagiarism software. After alerting the journals, two issued formal retractions for the papers – but neither specifies plagiarism as the reason.
The retractions were the result of a larger project, Neuroskeptic told us:
The article “Application status of MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry in the identification and drug resistance of Mycobacterium tuberculosis” (doi: 10.3978/j.issn.2072-1439.2014.02.19) that appeared on page 512-516 of the May 2014 issue of the Journal of Thoracic Disease needs to be withdrawn due to some misconduct in the manuscript. We are sorry for the inconvenience caused.
Since that’s pretty vague and unhelpful, we reached out to corresponding author Jiayun Liu, who gave us a thorough rundown: