Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘elsevier’ Category

Investigation finds data issues polluted air quality paper

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1-s2.0-S0013935113X0009X-cov150hAn investigation at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia has found that a paper on air pollution and human health contains a host of issues with the data and its analysis. The paper has been retracted with a very detailed note from Environmental Research.

The issues with the paper include an “incorrect analysis of the data,” and its failure to properly cite multiple papers and one researcher’s contributions. Ultimately, according to the retraction note, the investigation found that the “conclusions of the paper are flawed.”

“Submicrometer particles and their effects on the association between air temperature and mortality in Brisbane, Australia” has been cited three times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

The retraction note is very, very detailed. It outlines the problems with the paper:

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Honest errors take down math paper

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1-s2.0-S0022247X15X00217-cov150hAn incorrect proof has felled a math paper. There’s not too much to say in a straightforward situation like this one, which we’ve seen before — the result of honest errors, not any malfeasance.

Here’s the abstract for “Spectral mapping theorem for generalized Kato spectrum:”

In this paper, we give an affirmative answer to Mbekhta’s conjecture (Mbekhta, 1990) about the pseudo Fredholm operators in Hilbert space. As a consequence, we characterize pseudo Fredholm operators and we prove that the generalized Kato spectrum satisfies the spectral mapping theorem in the Hilbert spaces setting.

The paper — published in the Journal of Mathematical Analysis and Applications — has been cited twice, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Here’s the retraction note:

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Written by Shannon Palus

November 26th, 2015 at 9:30 am

“Significant errors in the data” stop Hurricane Isaac paper

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1-s2.0-S0169809515X0010X-cov150hThis version of Hurricane Isaac — based on the force of nature that hit Louisiana in 2012 —  didn’t get very far. Atmospheric Research has retracted a paper on a simulation of the hurricane just a few months after it was published.

The paper included two features that commonly get a paper retracted: erroneous data, and a dispute over authorship.

The 2014 paper only has one author: O. Alizadeh-Choobari, a climatologist at the University of Tehran.

Here’s the retraction note, which provides a few more details on what went wrong:

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Heart researcher gets 3rd retraction for copying images of rat hearts

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1-s2.0-S0014299914X00233-cov150hWhen two papers include the same images of rat hearts, one of those papers gets retracted.

The papers share a corresponding author, Zhi-Qing Zhao of Mercer University School of Medicine in Savannah, Georgia. This marks his third retraction; we reported on two others earlier this year.

The papers examine the effect of curcumin, which has antinflammatory properties (in addition to giving the spice turmeric its yellow color). The retracted paper, “Dual ACE-inhibition and angiotensin II AT1 receptor antagonism with curcumin attenuate maladaptive cardiac repair and improve ventricular systolic function after myocardial infarctionin rat heart,” was published in the January 5, 2015 issue of the European Journal of Pharmacology, and has zero citations, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. It shares multiple figures with another 2012 paper, “Curcumin promotes cardiac repair and ameliorates cardiac dysfunction following myocardial infarction,” published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, which has not been retracted. The BJP paper has been cited 18 times.

Here’s the retraction note for the EJP paper:

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Psychologist Jens Forster settles case by agreeing to 2 retractions

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Jens Förster

Following questions about the veracity of multiple papers by his former employer, high-profile social psychologist Jens Förster has agreed to retract two papers as part of a deal with the German Society for Psychology (DGPs).

Last year, Förster had a paper retracted at the request of his former employer, the University of Amsterdam (UvA). In May, an investigation commissioned by UvA found that many of his experiments looked “too good to be true,” and eight papers showed strong signs of “low veracity.”

Just two of those papers are acknowledged in the settlement of a case by the DGPs against Förster, who currently works at Ruhr University Bochum. Here’s a translation of a notice from the DGPs from One Hour Translation:

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When a paper is retracted, so is its previous correction–sometimes

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1-s2.0-S0968089612X0018X-cov150hSometimes, the path to correcting the scientific record takes a few turns. In the case of a paper about a new cancer compound, authorship issues led to a correction and, ultimately, a retraction — along with a double-back to retract the earlier correction.

We reported on the first part of the story back in January: A 2011 paper that described a novel compound that could work as a drug for the side effects of chemotherapy was corrected in 2012 to add additional authors. But once the authors realized their supposedly novel compound had actually been synthesized by another author, they decided to retract the paper from Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry earlier this year, concluding “these facts made the paper inappropriate and unfaithful.”

Apparently, around the same time, the authors decided to retract the earlier correction, as well:

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St. Jude investigation finds faked data in brain tumor paper

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S00396060An investigation at St. Jude Children’s Hospital into “irregularities” in a figure featured in a neuroblastoma paper has concluded that the image was fabricated. The paper, published in Surgery in 2012, was retracted on Friday.

Here’s the full retraction notice for “Liposome-encapsulated curcumin suppresses neuroblastoma growth through nuclear factor-kappa B inhibition:”

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More retractions, errata discovered for nursing researcher

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Journal of Clinical Nursing

Since our recent coverage about a university investigation that led to multiple retractions for nursing researcher Moon-fai Chan, we’ve been alerted to a few more retractions and errata. His total is now at six retractions and four errata.

Some of our finds were published this year, and some are a few years old. Most are due to duplication; one is due to “use of a dataset without ethical approval.” Chan — now the Associate Master and Chief of Students at the University of Macau — is the first author on all but one of the papers.

We’ll start with the most recent errata. Three of Chan’s articles in the Journal of Clinical Nursing have errata notes published online in July of this year, all noting that the authors used elements of some of Chan’s other articles. Here’s the erratum note for “Exploring risk factors for depression among older men residing in Macau:” 

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University finds “preponderance of evidence” of misconduct by child psychiatrist

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JPN39_2_CoverAn investigation at the University of Illinois at Chicago has found “a preponderance of evidence” that a psychiatrist who has received millions of dollars in federal funding has committed misconduct.

One paper co-authored by Mani Pavuluri, the director of the Pediatric Mood Disorders Program, has been officially retracted so far, from the Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience. UIC has requested that two others be retracted as well. None of the child participants in the three papers received medication as part of the research, but the Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience paper was pulled after the investigation found that Pavuluri had misrepresented how much medication some children had taken outside of the study.

On Tuesday, after we’d learned of the first retraction, Pavuluri told Retraction Watch that she didn’t “want mountains made out of molehills,” but admitted to “a bit of an [Institutional Review Board] infraction.”

The retraction note from the Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience lays the blame squarely on Pavuluri’s shoulders:

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“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. 

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