Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘springer retractions’ Category

Mystery: A bullet with no entry wound, in a paper with no spell check?

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world emergency surgeryThe Patient, a 60-years old Caucasian male found unconscious in a trailer park of gypsies…”

So begins a strange — and apparently not copyedited — new case report in the World Journal of Emergency Surgery. The paper concerns a patient — perhaps we should call him Rasputin — who showed up with a bullet in his left lung but no entry wound that would explain its presence.

Naturally, the authors draw the obvious conclusions:

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Written by Alison McCook

November 23rd, 2015 at 9:30 am

Plagiarism detected in two papers on improving detection of cancer by mammograms

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A group of computer scientists has a pair of retractions for duplicating “substantial parts” of other articles written by different authors. Both papers, published in Neural Computing and Applications, are on ways to screen for breast cancer more effectively.

According to the abstract of  “An improved data mining technique for classification and detection of breast cancer from mammograms,” computers make the process of identifying cancer in lesions detected by mammograms faster and more accurate:

Although general rules for the differentiation between benign and malignant breast lesion exist, only 15–30% of masses referred for surgical biopsy are actually malignant. Physician experience of detecting breast cancer can be assisted by using some computerized feature extraction and classification algorithms. Computer-aided classification system was used to help in diagnosing abnormalities faster than traditional screening program without the drawback attribute to human factors.

The article has been cited four times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.  The retraction note reveals where “substantial parts” of the article came from:

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A bacterium may be anti-fungal, but it’s not anti-retraction

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The authors of a paper on an anti-fungal bacterium couldn’t ward off a very common problem: plagiarism. The people credited on the paper, published in Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, apparently weren’t the original authors, according to the retraction note.

We’re not sure who the original authors are. The retraction note doesn’t elaborate much:

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Genetics paper retracted for using material “without permission and/or proper reference”

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Molecular Genetics and GenomicsA review article about a tool used to link genes to traits and behaviors has been retracted for including content “without permission and/or proper reference.”

Corresponding author Ali Masoudi-Nejad at the University of Tehran told us that the retraction occurred mostly because the paper included many figures and tables from other sources, and he didn’t realize they needed to seek permission from both the author and the copyright-holder (ie, the publisher). He added that he doubts he is the only one to make this mistake: Read the rest of this entry »

BMC retracts paper by scientist who banned use of his software by immigrant-friendly countries

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Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 12.24.42 PMA BioMed Central journal has pulled the paper of a scientist who decided to prohibit countries that are friendly to immigrants from using his software.

Recently, German scientist Gangolf Jobb declared that starting on October 1st scientists working in countries that are, in his opinion, too welcoming to immigrants — including Great Britain, France and Germany — could no longer use his Treefinder software, which creates trees showing potential evolutionary relationships between species. He’d already banned its use by U.S. scientists in February, citing the country’s “imperialism.” Last week, BMC Evolutionary Biology pulled the paper describing the software, noting it now “breaches the journal’s editorial policy on software availability.”

Many scientists have used Jobb’s software: The BMC paper that describes it, “TREEFINDER: a powerful graphical analysis environment for molecular phylogenetics,” has been cited 745 times since it was published in 2004, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Jobb told Retraction Watch that the software is still available to any scientist willing to travel to non-banned countries, and that he does not care about the retraction: Read the rest of this entry »

Authors object to duplication verdict by environmental journal

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10661An environmental journal has pulled a 2011 paper following an investigation, which revealed it contained “extensive similarities” with another paper published two years earlier by some of the same authors.

Two of the authors of the newly retracted paper — Zulfiqar Ahmad from Quaid-i-Azam University and Arshad Ashraf of the National Agricultural Research Center, both in Islamabad, Pakistan — were the sole authors of a 2008 paper about modeling groundwater flow in Indus Basin, Pakistan. The 2011 paper  — posted online in 2010 — focused on the same topic, but included two additional authors, one of whom told us he was unaware of the previous paper and agrees with the journal’s decision. Ahmad, however, has defended the 2011 paper and asked that the journal remove the retraction note.

Here’s the note, published in April by Environmental Monitoring and Assessment: Read the rest of this entry »

BMC investigating allegedly copied paper

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logoBioMed Central is investigating a recent paper about a potential biomarker for liver cancer, which shows signs it was written using another article as a template.

According to Jeffrey Beall, who exposed the similarities between the two papers on his blog Scholarly Open Access yesterday, the paper in question is “obviously bogus,” and appears to have relied on the “template plagiarism” technique of creating a new article by modifying a previous paper’s text and data.

A spokesperson for BioMed Central, which published the allegedly “junk” paper, as Beall calls it, told us they are looking into the allegations: Read the rest of this entry »

Serial plagiarist’s retractions upped to 14

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We’ve done some digging, run the numbers, and present to you a new member of our leaderbcov200hoard: orthopedic researcher Bernardino Saccomanni. Nine newly unearthed retractions of his make for a total of 14.

We first reported on Saccomanni’s work back in 2011, and identified him as a “serial plagiarist.” In the years since, he’s continued to rack up retractions for papers on the likes of ligament reconstruction and shoulder pain. On every paper, he is listed as the sole author.

Bernardino Saccomanni’s most recently listed affiliation on the papers is “Ambulatorio di Ortopedia, via della Conciliazione.” He sometimes also lists his affiliation as Gabriele D’ Annunzio University Chieti, even though, as we learned a few years ago, he hasn’t worked there for many years.

There’s a lot to cover here, so stick with us:

1) First up, “A new test for acromio-clavicolar pathology” was published in the Journal of Clinical Orthopedics and Trauma and cited zero times according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. Here’s the retraction note:

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Failure to reproduce key experiments retracts cancer study

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Medical OncologyA group of Chinese cancer researchers has retracted a paper in Medical Oncology after they discovered that “several key experiments” were not reproducible.

The paper, “Decreased Warburg effect induced by ATP citrate lyase suppression inhibits tumor growth in pancreatic cancer,” was published in March. It found that suppressing the enzyme ATP citrate lyase could be used to treat pancreatic cancer.

However, the authors decided to pull the paper when some of the findings couldn’t be reproduced. 

Here’s the notice:

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A publication loophole? Authors can make changes editors won’t always see

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SEEA few unusual acknowledgements added by authors after finalizing the manuscripts have highlighted a common element in science publishing – right before going to press, authors can make minor changes to manuscripts that editors won’t necessarily review before publication.

We were reminded of this when reading two opinion papers published in August by Science and Engineering Ethics.

For one, “Honor Killing: Where Pride Defeats Reason,” the acknowledgements read: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

October 15th, 2015 at 9:30 am