Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘springer retractions’ Category

An end to fake papers? New software to check for SCIgen-created manuscripts

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springerSorry, fans of papers by Maggie Simpson and I. P. Freely, your days of chortling may be coming to an end.

Springer, responding to a case last year in which it and IEEE had to eventually retract more than 120 papers created by SCIgen, is making software that detects such manuscripts freely available.

From a Springer press release: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

March 23rd, 2015 at 11:30 am

Updated: Springer journal on hold for “pattern of inappropriate and compromised peer review”

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cbbSpringer has put a cell biology journal on hold, “effective immediately,” after finding a “pattern of inappropriate and compromised peer review.”

Here’s the brief statement from the publisher: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

March 13th, 2015 at 12:46 pm

Chinese heavy metal contamination paper purged for data theft

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Environmental_Monitoring_and_AssessmentAn environmental journal has retracted a paper about pollution in China after it discovered the authors lifted the dataset from another group.

The authors of the study — which chronicled the degree of heavy metal pollution on the banks of the Pearl River Delta — didn’t have permission to use the data. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment‘s notice doesn’t suggest the data are inaccurate.

The heavy metals in the soil come from the many manufacturing plants in the area, including those that provide the West with blue jeans, phones, and other electronics. The pollutants’ effects are wide-reaching: According to the South China Morning Post, industrial outfits discharge huge volumes of toxic chemicals into the Pearl River, including arsenic, copper, cadmium, and mercury.

Read the rest of this entry »

Misconduct forces retraction of health behavior paper

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j behav medA pair of psychology researchers at West Virginia University have lost their 2013 article in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine after one of the authors was found to have cooked the data.

The paper, “Preference for immediate reinforcement over delayed reinforcement: relation between delay discounting and health behavior,” was written by Shane Melanko and Kevin Larkin. It examined whether people who place less importance on the future were also less likely to adopt healthy behaviors, which come with delayed benefits. Melanko, then a doctoral candidate under Larkin, was evidently at one time a psychology student of some promise.

That promise might go unfulfilled. According to the retraction notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Forged author list blows up explosives contamination paper

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WWII poster for Ravenna Ordnance Plant, via Wikipedia

WWII poster for Ravenna Ordnance Plant, via Wikipedia

An environmental journal has retracted a paper on a technology that helps degrade explosives released into soil, because the first author never got the permission of his “co-authors” — oh, and used data that were “illegally obtained,” according to one of the slighted co-authors.

According to the EPA, more than 30 sites around the country are contaminated by decommissioned explosives, including weapons plants and army depots. A major source of the pollution was workers washing out old bombs into “evaporation lagoons” and then burning the resulting sludge.

The site used for the retracted paper was Ravenna Army Ammunition Plant, a decommissioned weapons factory that stored explosive waste in unlined landfills. According to the EPA, “open burning was also a common practice.”

The problems with the paper in Water, Air & Soil Pollution were uncovered after the head of the company, University of Georgia (UGA) professor Valentine Nzengung, found the paper on ResearchGate. He discovered that first author Chunhui Luo had used (now out-of-date) data without permission, and added Nzengung’s name to the paper without his knowledge. The other author is another UGA professor, Walter O’Niell, who told us he was also not informed about the paper.

Nzengung gave us further details via email: Read the rest of this entry »

Cry me a retraction: Scientists pull Cry protein paper for irreproducibility

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world journal of microbialA paper on the biological insecticide Cry protein — most famously produced by genetically modified “Bt” corn — has been retracted because the authors couldn’t reproduce the findings.

The initial paper concluded that their modified gene produced a Cry protein that was significantly more toxic than the one currently spliced into food crops to make them resistant to moths, beetles, and other insects. However, when repeating the experiments, the modified proteins weren’t any more deadly than the original version.

Here is the notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Serial plagiarist loses 13 papers

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NeoheliconAccusations of plagiarism spanning at least 14 years have finally caught up with Richard Lawrence Etienne Barnett, who has had 13 papers retracted from a journal he had guest edited.

The dean of the for-profit University of Atlanta has been accused of copying his own and others’ work a number of times, as we wrote in November.

Here’s the notice from Neohelicon editor Péter Hajdu: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

January 28th, 2015 at 9:30 am

Water under the bridge? Hydrology journals won’t retract plagiarized papers despite university request

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hydrogeology journalIn April 2014, we wrote about the case of a former hydrologist at the University of Kansas (KU), Marios Sophocleous, who had plagiarized in at least seven studies, two of which were retracted by the journal Ground Water.

At the time, we mentioned two other articles, in the Hydrogeology Journal, that appeared destined for retraction — not least because KU requested that the journal yank them. But in a rather surprising move, the journal is declining to do so, and another publication, the Journal of Hydrology, is taking the same approach.

Here’s the notice from Hydrogeology Journal editor Clifford Voss: Read the rest of this entry »

Mix-and-match text topples microbiome paper

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iemA group of gastroenterology researchers in Italy has lost their 2010 paper in Internal and Emergency Medicine, the journal of the Italian Society of Internal Medicine, for plagiarizing and duplicate publication.

The article, “Gut microbiota and related diseases: clinical features,” was published as a supplement by a team from the University of Bologna. Its conclusions: Read the rest of this entry »

“Conscious fabrication” leads to retraction of diabetes study

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diabetcoverDiabetologia has retracted a 2011 meeting abstract from a group in Sweden, indicating that the second author has been found guilty of research misconduct — a charge the scientist denies.

The abstract, “Reduced syntaxin-5 in skeletal muscle of patients with type 2 diabetes is linked to increased diacylglycerol, activation of PKCtheta and impaired insulin signalling,” was presented at the annual meeting of the European Association of the Study of Diabetes. The first author was Kurt Højlund, who now is at the University of Southern Denmark. The second author was Pontus Boström, of the Karolinska Institutet.

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