Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘elsevier’ Category

Cancer team loses two papers for image manipulation

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bba_2A team spread across multiple institutions in China and McGill University in Canada has retracted two cancer papers over “inaccurate and inappropriately processed Western Blots.”

Some of the figures were also reused between the two articles, both in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta General Subjects.

The articles both tested the cancer-fighting properties of a derivative of the active compound present in Boswellia serrata gum resin.

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Nature retracts epigenetics paper by author who lost two Science papers last year

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cover_natureFrank Sauer, formerly of the University of California, Riverside, has had a 2002 letter on epigenetics retracted from Nature due to “inappropriate image manipulation.”

Sauer had two papers retracted from Science last year following a university investigation. Here’s the Nature notice for “Histone methylation by the Drosophila epigenetic transcriptional regulator Ash1:” Read the rest of this entry »

Two more retractions bring lab break-in biochemist up to eleven

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bbrcKarel Bezouška, the Czech biochemist who was caught on hidden camera breaking into a lab fridge to fake results, has turned it up to eleven with two new retractions.

Both retractions appeared in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, one in October 2014 and one in January 2015.  His story began two decades ago in 1994, when he published a paper in Nature that couldn’t be reproduced, and was eventually retracted in 2013.

The best part of the story, of course, is that when his university was attempting to recreate his experiments, Bezouška broke into a lab fridge to tamper with the experiments. Unbeknownst to him, he was caught on hidden camera.  Read the rest of this entry »

Poll: What to do when peer review feels inadequate?

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How should scientists think about papers that have undergone what appears to be a cursory peer review? Perhaps the papers were reviewed in a day — or less — or simply green-lighted by an editor, without an outside look. That’s a question Dorothy Bishop, an Oxford University autism researcher, asked herself when she noticed some troubling trends in four autism journals.

Recently, Bishop sparked a firestorm when she wrote several blog posts arguing that these four autism journals had a serious problem. For instance, she found that Johnny Matson, then-editor of Research in Developmental Disabilities and Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, had an unusually high rate of citing his own research – 55% of his citations are to his own papers, according to Bishop. Matson also published a lot in his own journals – 10% of the papers published in Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders since Matson took over in 2007 have been his. Matson’s prodigious self-citation in Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders was initially pointed out by autism researcher Michelle Dawson, as noted in Bishop’s original post.

Short peer reviews of a day or less were also common. Matson no longer edits the journals, both published by Elsevier.

Bishop noted similar findings at Developmental Neurorehabilitation and Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, where the editors (and Matson) frequently published in each others’ journals, and they often had short peer reviews: The median time for Matson’s papers in Developmental Neurorehabilitation between 2010 and 2014 was a day, and many were accepted the day they were submitted, says Bishop.

Although this behavior may seem suspect, it wasn’t necessarily against the journals’ editorial policies. This is the peer review policy at RIDD:

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Wayne State neuroscientist fudged images in five papers

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Teresita L. Briones

Teresita L. Briones

Teresita Briones, a former nursing professor at Wayne State University in Detroit who studied neuroscience, manipulated images in five papers, according to the Office of Research Integrity.

Briones, who focused on neuroplasticity: Read the rest of this entry »

Cancer researcher under investigation in Italy notches eighth retraction

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ejcancerAlfredo Fusco, the researcher in Italy who is under criminal investigation and has had seven papers retracted, has lost yet another study.

The investigation, which came to light in late 2013, had focused on eight papers thought to demonstrate evidence of image manipulation.

The latest paper, in the European Journal of Cancer, studied mice with a genetic alteration associated with lipomas (benign fatty growths) in humans.

Here’s part of the notice for “Expression of a truncated Hmga1b gene induces gigantism, lipomatosis and B-cell lymphomas in mice”: Read the rest of this entry »

Other shoe drops for MIT cancer researcher Robert Weinberg as Cell retraction appears

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cell cloningRobert Weinberg, a prominent cancer scientist whose papers often notch hundreds or thousands of citations, has lost a fourth paper, this time a 2009 publication in Cell.

Journal Genes and Development pulled two of Weinberg’s papers in March, stating that they had retracted the 2009 study because data from several experiments was used in figures that seemed to represent only one. The Genes and Development papers were sunk because the “same analytical methodology was used.”

At the time, the Cell retraction was unavailable, though a spokesperson informed us it was forthcoming. The paper has been cited 482 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Now that the notice has landed, here’s why the paper is being retracted: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

April 3rd, 2015 at 11:35 am

Retraction and republication for Lancet Resp Med tracheostomy paper

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lancetrmA paper whose expression of concern we covered in November 2014 has been retracted and republished “because of the extent of the changes necessary,” according to the Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen retraction/republications at the Lancetaccompanied by thorough breakdowns of the problem.

This study was a meta-analysis of research on how the timing of tracheostomies — placing a breathing tube directly into the windpipe — affects patients’ mortality rate. The original paper found that critically ill patients who received a tracheostomy earlier fared better than those for whom the procedure was delayed for weeks after intubation, the recommended practice.

However, when the authors calculated how many patients died, they assumed that any patient who wasn’t discharged from the intensive care unit (ICU) had died there, instead of looking for other explanations. This made their estimates unreliable.

The publisher convened a panel, which ultimately decided retraction and republication was the most appropriate course of action.

The original expression of concern contained a quote from the authors about the “data discrepancy” that would later sink the paper: Read the rest of this entry »

Unkosher reuse of data forces retraction of minced pork paper

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foodmicroThe journal Food Microbiology has pulled a 2012 paper on pork processing which, as we reported earlier, contained salami-sliced data.

The article, “Bayesian inference for quantifying Listeria monocytogenes prevalence and concentration in minced pork meat from presence/absence microbiological testing,” came from a group at the Department of Food Science and Technology at the Agricultural University of Athens, in Greece.

According to the notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by amarcus41

March 25th, 2015 at 5:00 pm

Castle made of sand: Self-plagiarism washes away paper on dune particles

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sedgeolA group of geologists in China have lost their paper on the aerodynamics of sand particles because the article was mashed together from previous publications.

The article, “The influence of sand diameter and wind velocity on sand particle lift-off and incident angles in the windblown sand flux,” appeared in the May 2013 issue of Sedimentary Geology. It was written by a team from the Key Laboratory of Mechanics on Western Disaster and Environment at Lanzhou University.

Here’s the notice: Read the rest of this entry »