Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘springer retractions’ Category

How much does a retracted result pollute the field?

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Research Integrity and Peer Review

When a paper is retracted, how many other papers in the same field — which either cite the finding or cite other papers that do — are affected?

That’s the question examined by a study published in BioMed Central’s new journal, Research Integrity and Peer Review. Using the case of a paper retracted from Nature in 2014, the authors found that subsequent research that cites the retracted paper often repeats the problematic finding, thereby spreading it throughout the field. However, papers that indirectly cited the retracted result — by citing the papers that cited the Nature paper, but not the Nature paper itself — typically don’t repeat the retracted result, which limits its spread.

Here’s how the authors describe their findings in the paper: Read the rest of this entry »

Plant biologist’s paper pulled for falsification, three more questioned on PubPeer

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PMBP Cover ImagePhysiology and Molecular Biology of Plants has retracted a paper about using Darjeeling tea clones against abiotic stress for problems with one of the figures.

The specific problem: “falsification/fabrication” of data underlying the figure, which the corresponding author — Sauren Das from the Indian Statistical Institute in Calcutta, West Bengal — couldn’t resolve. Das told us he denies the allegations made by the journal.

Meanwhile, three other papers by Das have been questioned on PubPeer

Let’s take a look at the retraction note: Read the rest of this entry »

Journals retract two heart papers with “nearly identical” abstracts

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Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 4.46.17 PMJournals have retracted two papers after realizing that they contain “nearly identical” abstracts and introductions, published only months apart. 

The two retracted papers, along with a third that also contains similar text, all conclude that a certain polymorphism could signal a risk for coronary artery disease among Chinese people, though each paper presents different data. The papers do not have any authors in common; the first authors are all based at different hospitals in China. The editor in chief of one journal told us that some of the reviewers did not use institutional email addresses, which leaves open the possibility that they were fake emails, and the peer-review process was compromised.

Here’s the first retraction notice, for “Fibroblast growth factor receptor 4 polymorphisms and susceptibility to coronary artery disease,” published in DNA and Cell Biology. The notice states the paper contains:

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How did two papers on same gene with different authors, publishers, end up with identical retraction notices?

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1-s2.0-S0006291X16X00058-cov150h1Here’s an interesting case: We’ve found two retracted papers that describe the same gene, and both have nearly identical retraction notices. What’s unusual is that the two papers don’t have any authors in common, and appeared in two different journals published by two different companies.

The cause of both papers’ demise: Plagiarism, and use of unpublished data without permission “from an unnamed source,” who wishes to remain that way. The author of one of the papers confirmed to us that the unnamed source is a “3rd party service company.” Springer told us that the third party in the other paper, however, is another researcher.

It’s a puzzling case, to be sure. We think we have uncovered some of what happened, but remain slightly fuzzy on the details.

Here’s the first retraction, for “KDM3A interacted with p53K372me1 and regulated p53 binding to PUMA in gastric cancer,” originally published online September 30 by Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications:

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Chapter pulled from conference proceedings after authors didn’t attend

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One of the papers in a book of presentations from a computing conference has been pulled after the editors realized the authors never made it to the meeting.

The book was supposed to comprise papers that were presented at the 2nd International Conference on Harmony Search, an algorithm that finds a vector which optimizes a particular function, based on the way musicians harmonize. So, how did material that wasn’t actually presented at the meeting end up in the volume? A spokesperson for the publisher, Springer, explained:

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Journal retracts groundwater pollution paper for plagiarism

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ecotoxThe journal Ecotoxicology has retracted a paper that described a way to analyze nitrates in groundwater after discovering the authors had lifted a substantial amount of material from three other papers.

Here is the retraction notice for “Isotopic analysis of N and O in NO3 – by selective bacterial reduction to N2O for groundwater pollution:” Read the rest of this entry »

Study on teens with scoliosis failed to seek ethics approval, erratum notes

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Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 3.29.57 PMAfter researchers failed to seek ethics approval for a study on teens with scoliosis, a journal has issued an erratum to the paper.

The journal is not retracting the paper outright, it says, because the study was non-invasive and likely would have received ethics approval.

During the study, teenagers with and without progressive scoliosis underwent a physical examination and participated in an interview along with a parent, with the goal of trying to uncover risk factors for the condition.

Here’s the full erratum from Scoliosis and Spinal Disorders for “Physical activities of Patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS): preliminary longitudinal case–control study historical evaluation of possible risk factors:”

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Concerns about image manipulation? Sorry, the data were lost in a flood

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1 (1)Lost your data? Blame nature.

Microchimica Acta has retracted a paper about water-soluble quantum dots after the authors couldn’t provide back-up for a figure that contained signs of manipulation. The reason, the editor told us: The corresponding author said the raw data were lost in a flood in Sri Lanka.

The journal asked the authors for the data after an investigation suggested that the paper included copied pictures of the same nanoparticle. The paper is one of four by the pair of co-authors flagged on PubPeer for potential image duplication.

Here’s the retraction note for “CdS/ZnS core-shell quantum dots capped with mercaptoacetic acid as fluorescent probes for Hg(II) ions:”

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Environmental journal pulls two papers for “compromised” peer review

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EGAHEnvironmental Geochemistry and Health has retracted two papers after an investigation suggested that the peer-review process had been compromised.

In case you’re counting, we’ve now logged approximately 300 retractions stemming from likely faked or rigged peer review.

The retraction note — which is the same for both papers — explains a bit more about the situation: Read the rest of this entry »

Mistaken plagiarism? Journal retracts education paper that inadvertently included others’ work

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An education journal is pulling a 2014 paper about how US funding partnerships in Africa could alleviate local poverty, after the author admitted to mistakenly lifting sentences from work presented at a 2012 conference.

Author Christopher S. Collins at Azusa Pacific University took full responsibility for the plagiarism, and told us he suggested the journal retract the paper — but also proposed alternatives, such as adding the plagiarized author as a co-author, or publishing “an error sheet” that cites the material in the sentences in question.

If it’s hard to imagine how someone could plagiarize another researcher’s work by mistake, Collins explained what happened in a 900-word statement, in which he also told us how he is moving forward professionally and personally.

Here’s how some plagiarized sentences ended up in Can funding for university partnerships between Africa and the US contribute to social development and poverty reduction?” in Higher Education, according to Collins:

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Written by Shannon Palus

March 17th, 2016 at 11:30 am