Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘elsevier’ Category

When does animal research become unnecessary and cruel? A paper’s methods give a biologist pause

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Elies Bik

Microbiologist Elies Bik is well-known for applying a close eye to studies, and has spent years anonymously submitting reports on plagiarism and image duplication to journal editors. Last year, she published an analysis of work, with troubling results – that 1 in 25 biomedical papers contains inappropriate duplications in images. She’s never stopped reading papers closely, and recently flagged one on Twitter for concerns about its methodology. Although Bik is not against animal research, she said the treatments rats faced in the paper made her queasy – and didn’t seem justified. She explains her reasoning below.

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Written by Alison McCook

February 28th, 2017 at 11:45 am

“False” results in retracted paper by senator are inaccurate, not fraudulent, say editors

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Daniel Biss

Last week, we wrote about a somewhat remarkable retraction, of a 15-year-old paper by a current Illinois senator who used to be a mathematician. At the time, we were a bit perplexed by the language of the notice, which the senator — who helpfully took our call — couldn’t answer, since he wasn’t involved in drafting the notice.

We’ve since heard back from the journal that retracted the paper, which explained that their phrase that “most results are false” meant the findings by state senator Daniel Biss were inaccurate — not fraudulent.

Here’s more explanation from a joint statement sent to us by Jan van Mill and Jerry Vaughan, the editors in chief of Topology and its Applications:

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Written by Alison McCook

February 23rd, 2017 at 9:30 am

Journal retracts paper by state senator (and former mathematician)

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Daniel Biss

Here’s something you don’t see every day: A state senator with an academic publication record, in his former career as a mathematician. Even more unusual: A retraction of one of his 15-year-old papers, after the journal realized most of the results were incorrect.

According to the notice, some aspects of the paper by Daniel Biss — now a democratic Illinois State Senator — are also “ambiguous.”

We spoke with Senator Biss, who told us he had been contacted by an editor who told him someone had raised questions about the paper, but he didn’t have much input in the notice:

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Written by Alison McCook

February 13th, 2017 at 9:35 am

Elsevier to retract six more papers by computer scientist, citing duplication and fake reviews

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Yesterday we reported that Elsevier journals had pulled three papers by a computer scientist with an impressive publication record. The publisher has since informed us that it plans to pull six more, again citing duplication and manipulation of the peer-review process.

Shahaboddin Shamshirband at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s record will be down by a total of nine papers once the publisher issues the additional notices. We also found evidence that an additional paper was removed by a journal, but haven’t confirmed if that’s a retraction.

One of Shamshirband’s co-authors has objected to one of the retractions Elsevier has already issued for faked reviews, arguing the reviewers were PhD students without institutional email addresses. A spokesperson for Elsevier told us:

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Computer scientist loses at least three papers, two for faked reviews

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A computer scientist in Malaysia has lost two papers for faked peer reviews, and another for duplication. A fourth paper on which he is a co-author appears to have simply disappeared.

One retraction lays the blame for the fake reviewer on corresponding author Shahaboddin Shamshirband at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. According to the journal, Shamshirband — who has co-authored more than 200 papers and book chapters, despite receiving his PhD in 2014, according to his biography on Vitae — supplied a fake email for the reviewer during the submission process.

Here’s the retraction notice for that paper, issued by the journal Measurement:

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Researchers submit two similar papers 8 days apart; one is retracted

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After a research group submitted two similar papers only days apart to different journals, one journal has retracted the paper — and told the other it should do the same.

The papers, by a group of authors based in Romania, describe a new polymer to stop the formation of biofilms. After a reader flagged the papers — which were submitted within eight days of each other in September, 2015 — as being similar, a journal has retracted one, and recommended the other journal retract the second. Although the second journal told us it planned to flag the paper with a notice alerting readers to the duplication, the notice has not yet appeared online.

The journal that issued the retraction — the International Journal of Polymer Analysis and Characterization (IJPAC) — called it a “a clear case of self-plagiarism,” according to the notice:

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Journals pull two papers after blogger shares plagiarism suspicions

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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:

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Breast cancer studies by fired Pfizer employee retracted

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Last year, Pfizer fired one of its scientists following an investigation that ended with requests for retraction of five of her studies. Now, two of the five papers, which were first flagged on PubPeer, have been retracted.

One notice cites the Pfizer investigation, which found that cancer researcher Min-Jean Yin had included duplicated images in all five papers. Yin is the last author on both retracted papers.

Here’s the first notice from Clinical Cancer Research, which says most or all of the questioned images appear to be duplicates, and Pfizer — who sponsored the study and requested the retraction — can’t find the originals:
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Japan group earns 4th retraction following investigation

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Researchers in Japan have issued their fourth retraction, noting that the same figures were used to depict different experimental conditions.

The group lost two papers in 2015 for the same reason, following a misconduct investigation at Oita University in Japan. Last year, the same group notched another retraction, and pegged the responsibility for the problematic figures on first author Satoshi Hagiwara.

Now, the group has published a fourth retraction in the European Journal of Pharmacologythe latest notice doesn’t identify a culprit. All four retracted papers list Hagiwara as first author.

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

Harvard biologist retracts diabetes breakthrough in Cell

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2013 probably felt like it was going to be a great year for stem cell biologist Douglas Melton at Harvard. He had published a buzz-worthy paper in Cell about a new way to potentially boost insulin in diabetics, attracting significant media attention, and eventually gathering nearly 200 citations.

But 2016 is closing out on a less positive tone for Melton — today, he and his colleagues are retracting the paper, after multiple labs (including his own) couldn’t reproduce the findings.

Although the lab has itself already published two articles casting doubt on the original findings, Melton told Retraction Watch he chose to retract the paper to ensure there was no confusion about the original paper’s validity: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

December 27th, 2016 at 10:00 am