Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘springer retractions’ Category

“The peer review process was compromised”: Inflammation drug paper pulled

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A paper that screened for antibodies that target TNFα, a major source of inflammation, has been retraction after an investigation revealed the peer-review process may have been compromised.

We’ve seen the peer review process “compromised” in a handful of ways — from a mathematician who oversaw the process on several of his own papers, to some 250 papers subject to outright fake peer review. The note for this paper, published in Amino Acids, doesn’t go into details, so we can only wonder what happened in this particular case.

Here’s the note for “Structure‑based development and optimization of therapy antibody drugs against TNFα:”

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Authors retract abstract following misconduct by diabetes biotech

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1Earlier this year, authors retracted a meeting abstract about a diabetes drug, following the revelation that the biotech that funded the trial committed misconduct.

The retraction was initiated by corresponding author Itamar Raz, at Hadassah Medical Center in Israel. The journal didn’t receive a response from any co-authors who were affiliated with the biotech company, Andromeda, so they were not included in the retraction process.

A few months after Hyperion Therapeutics acquired Andromeda’s diabetes drug DiaPep277, Hyperion announced it had evidence that some employees of Andromeda had “engaged in serious misconduct,” such as using un-blinded data and manipulating the analyses. Two relevant studies on the drug, designed to block the immune response that leads to type 1 diabetes, were retracted last year.

Here’s the retraction note for the abstract “Abstracts of the 50th Annual Meeting of the EASD, Vienna 2014. ‘Evaluation of DiaPep277® treatment in type 1 diabetes by integrated analysis,’” published in the May issue of the journal:

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Is an increase in retractions good news? Maybe, suggests new study

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SEEIn Latin America, retractions for plagiarism and other issues have increased markedly — which may be a positive sign that editors and authors are paying closer attention to publishing ethics, according to a small study published in Science and Engineering Ethics.

The authors examined two major Latin American/Caribbean databases, which mostly include journals from Brazil, and have been indexing articles for more than 15 years. They found only 31 retractions, all of which appeared in 2008 or later. (Roughly half of the retractions were from journals indexed in the Thomas Reuters’  Journal of Citations Report®  (JCR).)

This was a notable result, the authors write: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison Abritis

December 11th, 2015 at 11:30 am

Paper claiming extra CO2 doesn’t always lower plant nutrients pulled for errors

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11Authors have retracted a large meta-analysis claiming that rising levels of carbon dioxide don’t always reduce nutrients in plants.

After commenters on PubPeer raised concerns, the authors say they found several unintentional errors in their data that could “significantly change conclusions” of the paper in Plant Ecology, according to the retraction note.

The paper found that the impact of rising CO2 depends on many factors — in some cases, extra amounts of this greenhouse gas could actually increase plant nutrients. Trouble is, some of the papers that cited the now-retracted article came to the opposite conclusion: Increased carbon dioxide levels do decrease plant nutrients.

The retraction note for “CO2 effects on plant nutrient concentration depend on plant functional group and available nitrogen: a meta-analysis” explains some of the specifics of the errors, and says that there was “no evidence of bias:”

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3-D printing paper accidentally includes secrets

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A paper on 3-D printing has been pulled because it “inadvertently” included some sensitive material.

We’re not sure which parts of the paper were the specific problem. But the sensitive material may have something with how to improve the surfaces of 3-D printed products, which is the subject of “Feasibility of using Copper(II)Oxide for additive manufacturing.”

Here’s what the paper, published in the International Journal of Precision Engineering and Manufacturing contains, according to the abstract:

Additive manufacturing, in spite of its ever wider application range, is still plagued by issues ranging from accuracy to surface finish. In this study, to address the latter issue, the feasibility of using Copper(II)Oxide powder with a polymer binder deposited through a Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D printing technique is explored.

Here’s the retraction note:

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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 »