Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘springer retractions’ Category

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 »

Three retractions for Oregon neuroscience student investigated by ORI

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Journals have retracted three out of the four papers flagged by the Office of Research Integrity during its investigation of a University of Oregon neuroscience student, David Anderson.

Last month, when we first reported on the case, Anderson told us that he “made an error in judgment,” and took “full responsibility.” Two of the retraction notes say that Anderson “knowingly falsified data,” and cited the Office of Research Integrity case summary.

All three papers focus on memory.

The note for the first retraction, from the  Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, reveals exactly how Anderson falsified data in the paper. It’s paywalled — tsk, tsk — but printed here in full:
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“Goodbye…”?: Editor pulls farewell editorial after deeming it “inappropriate”

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3We’ve unearthed a retraction of an editorial titled “Goodbye…”, pulled from Cognition, Technology & Work by its retiring editor after he decided it was “inappropriate.”

The original text is not online. The note in its place reads, in full:

This article has been retracted due to unintended publication.

The author of the editorial is psychologist Erik Hollnagel, based at the University of Southern Denmark, who left the journal after a decade. Interestingly, his own research includes studies of “When Things Go Wrong” (per the title of one of his book chapters), ranging from financial crises to the Fukushima disaster.

The error that led to this reaction seems tiny, in comparison. Hollnagel explains:

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Thirteen-year-old mathematics paper retracted for plagiarism

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A 2002 paper that investigates a kind of equation used to describe physical systems has been “has been detected to be a case of plagiarism.”

Here’s the abstract of the Journal of Applied Mathematics and Physics (Zeitschrift für angewandte Mathematik und Physik) article, “Some blow-up results for a generalized Ginzburg-Landau equation,”

We investigate the blow-up of the solution to a complex Ginzburg-Landau like equation in coupled with a Poisson equation in ϕ defined on the whole space nn=1 or 2.

What did this paper plagiarize from?  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Shannon Palus

August 20th, 2015 at 11:30 am

“Exactly the same clinical study” published six times

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4A group of researchers conducted a clinical trial on hundreds of hypertensive patients. Then, they published the results…six times.

The “nearly identical” papers came to our attention via a retraction in Inflammation. Editor in chief Bruce Cronstein explained how he learned of the mass duplication:

The editors were contacted en masse by somebody doing a Cochrane Review on hypertension and who noticed that the content of the 6 papers was nearly identical.  Frankly, not one of us would have noticed otherwise.

Another of those papers, in the European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, has also been retracted. That note is similar to the retraction notice for the Inflammation paper, both of which have been cited twice:

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64 more papers retracted for fake reviews, this time from Springer journals

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springerThis is officially becoming a trend: Springer is pulling another 64 articles from 10 journals after finding evidence of faked peer reviews, bringing the total number of retractions from the phenomenon north of 230.

Given that there have been about 1,500 papers retracted overall since 2012, when we first reported on the phenomenon, faked reviews have been responsible for about 15% of all retractions in the past three years.

This isn’t the first time Springer has faced the issue. As owner of the BioMed Central journals, it issued 43 retractions for faked reviews earlier this year.

In a statement, the publisher explains how the latest round of retractions came to light: Read the rest of this entry »

Trouble with data proves toxic for a pair of toxicology papers

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logoA pair of papers about the risks of titanium dioxide nanoparticles that share many of the same authors has been retracted from a toxicology journal following an investigation at Soochow University in China.

Particle and Fibre Toxicology is retracting the papers for problems with the statistical methods and missing data, as well as for sharing figures.

Here’s the note for “Intragastric exposure to titanium dioxide nanoparticles induced nephrotoxicity in mice, assessed by physiological and gene expression modifications:”

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Gold nanoparticle paper crushed by “deliberate and fraudulent use of data”

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Biotechnology Letters has retracted a paper on a new gene delivery technique due to “the deliberate and fraudulent use of data in the paper that had previously appeared in other papers of these two authors.”

The journal’s Editor in Chief Colin Ratledge told us that someone tipped him off that one of the authors, University of Kalyani microbiologist Keka Sarkar, had been self-plagiarizing:

I can say that a person who was familiar with the work of Dr Sarkar got in touch with about their concerns about her publications and, in particular, her paper published in Biotechnology Letters.  They supplied a dossier of her publications showing the obvious duplications of figures and that she had been using the same figures in different papers to illustrate the results from supposedly different experiments.

He found that, indeed, multiple figures in the Biotechnology Letters had appeared in other publications of Sarkar’s, some prior to the paper’s October 2013 publication, and one after. The details are in the whole retraction note:
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BMC editors update retraction after investigation clears authors of faking peer reviews

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Editors at BioMed Central have taken the unusual step of updating a retraction notice after an investigation found the authors were not responsible for a peer review process gone awry. The paper is one of  dozens of other papers retracted in March for fake peer reviews.

That month, the paper “Clinical application of contrast enhanced ultrasound to diagnose benign prostatic hyperplasia” in Diagnostic Pathology was among the 43 papers retracted due to fake peer reviews. (Retractions for the phenomenon — more about it in our Nature feature here — are up to about 170.)

According to the update posted in July, an investigation into the paper by the Jiading Central Hospital in Shanghai, where the authors work, found that they “did not participate in influencing the peer review process.”

Here’s more from the update to the notice:

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“Unethical behavior” breaks crystallography paper

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Molecules and Cells

A 2011 paper about the crystal structure of a transcription regulator has been pulled by Molecules and Cells for “unethical behavior by the authors.”

Unfortunately, we can’t say much more than that, because the notice doesn’t, either: Read the rest of this entry »