Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘springer retractions’ Category

Another retraction hits high-profile food researcher under fire

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Brian Wansink

It’s been a rough year for Brian Wansink.

Last year, the prominent food researcher posted a blog praising a student for her productivity in his lab. But when Wansink described his methods, readers became concerned that the lab was using improper research techniques to generate more publications. Earlier this year, researchers posted an analysis of four papers by Wansink about pizza consumption to PeerJ, saying they discovered more than 150 inconsistencies in the data. Now, one of those four papers has been retracted.

On Friday, BMC Nutrition posted a brief notice about the 2015 paper, which examined whether people who pay different amounts for all-you-can-eat Italian buffets feel more or less guilty about how much they ate. The notice says the retraction stems from concerns about the data analysis, and the authors do not agree with the journal’s decision.

The new retraction is the second for Wansink, director of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell.

Here’s the complete retraction notice:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

September 19th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Did the author of a now-retracted article bribe a critic to silence him?

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Authors react in a variety of ways to criticism of their work. Some stonewall, some grit their teeth but make corrections, and others thank their critics. But what about bribery? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Megan Scudellari

September 7th, 2017 at 8:00 am

When a journal retracts 107 papers for fake reviews, it pays a price

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A company that indexes journals — thereby assigning them impact factors — has chosen to delist a cancer journal after it retracted 107 papers earlier this year for faked peer reviews.

Starting July 19, anything published by Tumor Biology will not be indexed in Web of Science, part of Clarivate Analytics (formerly part of Thomson Reuters). Clarivate told us the decision was based on the fake reviews that took down more than 100 papers earlier this year. The problematic papers were released while the journal was published by Springer, not its current publisher, SAGE.

Without being indexed by Web of Science, Tumor Biology will lack an impact factor — which can be the kiss of death for many journals, since researchers (and institutions) often count on such metrics when applying for grants and promotions, so many will not submit work to a journal without one.

Here’s the statement from a Clarivate spokesperson [their emphasis]:

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Written by Alison McCook

August 16th, 2017 at 11:30 am

Researchers retract a paper when they realize they had sequenced the wrong snail’s genome

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Researchers in China thought they had sequenced the genomes of two snails that help transmit diseases to other species — an important first step to stopping the spread. But their hopes were soon dashed after they realized they had misidentified one of the snails.

The researchers published their findings earlier this year in the journal Parasites & Vectors. In the paper, the authors stressed that understanding the genetic makeup of these molluscs is important because many “freshwater snails are intermediate hosts for flatworm parasites and transmit infectious diseases” to humans and other animals. They also acknowledged that identifying snail species from their appearance alone can be tricky. Read the rest of this entry »

Journal retracts paper it says authors published twice. Authors disagree.

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A journal has retracted a 2012 paper after determining that the authors had already published it elsewhere.

According to the retraction notice, the editors-in-chief of the Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology concluded that the article had  been published in another journal—In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology – Animal—the previous month. The authors, however, did not agree to the retraction.

The research, led by Ali Khavanin, who is based at Tarbiat Modares University in Tehran, Iran and is corresponding author on both papers, evaluated whether the vibrations from industrial machinery can harm hearing in rabbits (1, 2).

Here’s the retraction notice for “Assessment of the influence of whole body vibration on Cochlear function”: Read the rest of this entry »

Jumped the gun: Paper about non-finalized guidelines is retracted

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Too soon? A surgeon is retracting his overview of new hernia surgery guidelines after it was published before the guidelines were finalized.

The paper, published in German in the journal, Der Chirurg, was also retracted because — according to two co-authors of the new guidelines — the final version of the guidelines was supposed to appear first, in English, in another journal.

The author of the paper, Dirk Weyhe, explained that the journal invited him to write an overview of the new guidelines for a special issue. According to Weyhe, a surgeon based in Germany who was a co-author on the guidelines, the aim of the special issue was to follow-up on an agreement reached at an international hernia conference in 2016: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Victoria Stern

July 21st, 2017 at 8:00 am

Fake peer review, forged authors, fake funding: Everything’s wrong with brain cancer paper

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The paper had everything: Fake peer review, forged authors, even a fake funder.

In other words, it had nothing.

A 2015 paper is the latest retraction stemming from an investigation into fake peer review by Springer, which has now netted more than a hundred papers.

According to a spokesperson at Springer: Read the rest of this entry »

How much text recycling is okay?

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Are there a limited number of ways to describe the the background and methods of an experiment? Once something has been written well, and vetted by editors, is it a waste of time to rewrite it ? And if text has been reused, how should that be indicated — if at all?

These are questions we’ve asked before — and are revisiting after reviewing a pair of commentaries published earlier this year in Research Integrity and Peer Review. We’ve certainly seen our fair share of retractions due to duplication (so many we can’t cover them all) — but in one commentary, Cary Moskovitz — the Director of Writing in the Disciplines at the Thompson Writing Program at Duke University — argues that some text recycling — aka, “self-plagiarism” or duplication — is sometimes unavoidable, and, in some situations, even preferable. He told us:

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Written by Alison McCook

July 6th, 2017 at 8:00 am

Plagiarism costs author five papers in five different journals

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An engineering researcher has written about models tackling a range of complex issues — security problems in Iraq, poverty in Europe, and emergency responses to humanitarian crises. But there may be some limits to his expertise: Between 2016 and 2017, five journals have retracted five of his papers, citing plagiarism.

Some of the notices describe the plagiarism as “extensive,” “significant,” and “substantial.” One journal editor, who retracted one of Kubilay Kaptan’s papers last year, told us the paper “was simply a direct copy from an existing one.”

The editor noted that Kaptan — who lists his affiliation as the Civil Engineering Department at Beykent University in Istanbul — claimed to be “the victim of a personal smear campaign, which involved submitting plagiarised manuscripts in his name.” We reached out to Kaptan several times by phone and email to verify this claim, but did not hear back.

Here’s the most recent retraction, for a 2016 paper published in Journal of Refugee Studies  Read the rest of this entry »

Journal retracts two papers by authors who lifted others’ data

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A journal has retracted two 2014 papers after the editors discovered the authors used data from other research groups without permission.

The papers, both published in the same issue of Cell Biochemistry and Biophysics and retracted in May, suffered from similar issues—the authors published data that was not theirs. The authors are all based at different institutions in China; as far as we can tell, the papers do not have any authors in common.

When we asked the publisher whether a third party, such as a paper mill, may have been involved, a spokesperson for Springer told us: Read the rest of this entry »