Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘springer retractions’ Category

Boldt’s retraction count upped to 94, co-author takes legal action to prevent 95th

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We’ve found two recent retractions and an expression of concern for Joachim Boldt, former prominent anesthesiologist and currently Retraction Watch leaderboard’s 2nd place titleholder. He now has 94 retractions.

One of the retracted articles contains falsified data, along with a researcher who didn’t agree to be a co-author, according to an investigation by the Justus Liebig University Giessen, where Boldt used to work. The expression of concern is regarding some questionable data. The other new retraction is actually one of 88 papers that a group of editors agreed to retract back in 2011, after they were “unable to verify” approval by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the studies.

One of those 88 papers, we’ve discovered, has still has not been retracted. According to an editor at the journal, they haven’t removed it because one of Boldt’s co-authors has threatened them with legal action. Read the rest of this entry »

Authors “did not have permission” to use pesticide data

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10661An environmental journal is retracting an article about the risks of pesticides to groundwater after determining it contained data that “the authors did not have permission (implicit or explicit) to publish.”

According to the retraction note in Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, the paper said the data came from a non-author’s PhD thesis, but it’s not there. Those mysterious data were used to validate a model for pesticide exposures, described in an excerpt from the abstractRead the rest of this entry »

“Rigging of the peer-review process” kills parasite paper

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A paper on nematode parasites appears to have been infected with a nasty strain of a publishing problem known as fake peer review. By our count, the phenomenon has felled approximately 250 papers in total.

The affected review, “The important role of matrix metalloproteinases in nematode parasites,” explores a type of enzyme secreted by the parasite. Published in Helminthologia, it’s been cited once, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Unfortunately, the retraction note doesn’t give us too many details about how the peer review process was manipulated:

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Predatory journals published 400,000 papers in 2014: Report

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BMC medicineThe number of so-called “predatory” open-access journals that allegedly sidestep publishing standards in order to make money off of article processing charges has dramatically expanded in recent years, and three-quarters of authors are based in either Asia or Africa, according to a new analysis from BMC Medicine.*

The number of articles published by predatory journals spiked from 53,000 in 2010 to around 420,000 in 2014, appearing in 8,000 active journals. By comparison, some 1.4-2 million papers are indexed in PubMed and similar vetted databases every year.

These types of papers have become a major problem, according to Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado Denver who studies the phenomenon: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

September 30th, 2015 at 8:00 pm

Should peer review be open, and rely less on author-picked reviewers? Study says…

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BMJ openAfter reviewing hundreds of peer review reports from three journals, authors representing publishers BioMed Central and Springer suggest there may be some benefits to using “open” peer review — where both authors and reviewers reveal their identity — and not relying on reviewers hand-picked by the authors themselves.

But the conclusions are nuanced — they found that reviewers recommended by authors do just as good a job as other reviewers, but are more likely to tell the journal to publish the paper. In a journal that always uses open reviews — BMC Infectious Diseases — reviews are “of higher quality” than at a journal where authors are blinded to reviewers, but when one journal made a switch from a blinded to an open system, the quality didn’t improve.

Here’s what the authors conclude in the abstract of the paper, published today in BMJ Open: Read the rest of this entry »

“Inability to reproduce” retracts inflammation paper

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InflammationA 2015 paper on how proteins work to reduce inflammation in cow cells has been retracted by the authors “because of inappropriate statistical analysis and inability to reproduce some of the results.”

The journal Inflammation posted the retraction in August, just six months after it was published in February. It has only been cited once, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Here’s the full retraction notice:

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Erratum for economics paper after authors “failed to cite some very relevant recent papers”

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Experimental EconomicsThe authors of a paper that examined the best way to inspire creativity in the workplace have issued an erratum after they “failed to cite some very relevant recent papers in experimental economics.”

The paper, “Incentives for creativity,” was published by Experimental Economics only a few months ago — in May — by two researchers from the University of California San Diego and the University of Amsterdam. Sanjiv Erat and Uri Gneezy found that incentives don’t actually improve creativity, and competitive incentives can actually reduce creativity.

The notice updates the paper with references to four studies published between 2012 and 2015:

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Cancer drug paper nulled by “statistical errors”

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12032Researchers have pulled a paper about a drug used to treat pancreatic tumors due to “statistical errors.”

The 2014 paper suggested a drug that appears to treat pancreatic tumors also works in Chinese patients. We’re not exactly sure what went wrong with “A randomized phase II study of everolimus for advanced pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors in Chinese patients,” however, because the retraction note is not particularly helpful. Here’s the whole thing, published in Medical Oncology: Read the rest of this entry »

“Whoops.” Paper cites retracted gay canvassing paper — but blame me, says journal editor

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arch sex behavBy now, most Retraction Watch readers are likely familiar with the retraction in May of a much-ballyhooed study in Science on whether gay canvassers could persuade people to agree with same-sex marriage. It turns out that before that retraction appeared, a different study that cited the Science paper made its way online.

Kenneth Zucker, the editor of Archives of Sexual Behavior, which published the study online in February, 2015, decided he had some ‘splaining to do. The article has now been published as the lead paper in the current issue of the journal, which also includes a comment from Zucker. He explains what happened: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

September 4th, 2015 at 11:30 am

NSF investigation of high-profile plant retractions ends in two debarments

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Jorge Vivanco

Jorge Vivanco

A nearly ten-year-long series of investigations into a pair of plant physiologists who received millions in funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation has resulted in debarments of less than two years for each of the researchers.

The NSF Office of Inspector General recently posted its close-out report on its decision and a review of the University’s investigation, which had recommended a total of eight retractions or corrections. Although the investigator’s names have been redacted, the text of retractions and corrections quoted in the report corresponds to papers by Read the rest of this entry »