Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘wiley retractions’ Category

Does a paywall protect patient privacy?

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A psychoanalyst has retracted an award-winning 2016 paper over concerns that it contained “sensitive” patient information.

On July 15, Judith L. Mitrani, a psychoanalyst based in California, published an article that included “sensitive clinical material” about a patient. Although we do not know what prompted the concerns, on November 21, Mitrani, in agreement with the journal’s editor-in-chief and publisher, retracted the article. The author and editor told us the retraction was meant to prevent non-experts from accessing the paper and to stop other non-Wiley sites from posting it.

The article was published after it had won the journal’s essay contest in 2015.

Here’s the retraction notice for “On Separating One from the Other: Images of a Developing Self,” published in the British Journal of Psychotherapy (BJP):

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Dangerous chemo mistake retracted by journal after two years

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An oncology journal has retracted a 2014 paper that contained a potentially fatal mistake.

Specifically, the paper suggested that a chemotherapy drug be injected intrathecally — i.e., in the spine. But according to the retraction notice, the medical literature has unequivocally shown that that form of treatment is “uniformly fatal.”

The retraction comes approximately 18 months after the journal published a letter to the editor alerting readers to the risky wording in the 2014 paper.

Here’s the notice, issued by Hematological Oncology:

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What turned a cancer researcher into a literature watchdog?

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Jennifer Byrne

Sometime in the middle of 2015, Jennifer Byrne, professor of molecular oncology at the University of Sydney, began her journey from cancer researcher to a scientific literature sleuth, seeking out potentially problematic papers.

The first step was when she noticed several papers that contained a mistake in a DNA construct which, she believed, meant the papers were not testing the gene in question, associated with multiple cancer types.  She started a writing campaign to the journal editors and researchers, with mixed success. But less than two years later, two of the five papers she flagged have already been retracted.

When asked why she spent time away from bench research to examine this issue, Byrne told us:  Read the rest of this entry »

Authors retract tanning-UV radiation study for lacking approval

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Researchers have agreed to pull a 2015 study exploring whether a plant extract can safeguard tanners from ultraviolet exposure after not obtaining formal approval from an ethics committee.

According to the first author, the problem lay in a misunderstanding – when they originally applied for approval six years ago, the researchers believed they didn’t need to go through a formal approval process, since the compound was commercially available without a prescription. Once they realized their mistake, they chose to retract the paper.

Here’s the retraction note for “Oral Polypodium leucomotos increases the anti-inflammatory and melanogenic responses of the skin to different modalities of sun exposures: a pilot study,” published in Photodermatology Photoimmunology & PhotomedicineRead the rest of this entry »

A first for us: Journal retracts obituary (but not for the reasons you think)

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journalofdigestivediseasesOn December 31st 2014, a pioneer in the study of inflammatory bowel disease passed away. An obituary published in the Journal of Digestive Diseases shortly thereafter is typical enough: It describes his achievements, importance to his patients, and battle with pancreatic cancer.

But “Loss in the Last Day of 2014: a Eulogy for Prof. Bing Xia” has now been retracted.

This is the first time we’ve seen an obituary pulled from a journal. Unfortunately, this was not a case of a premature obituary (which happens more often than you’d think)– the researcher did actually die, but it appears the journal published the obituary in the wrong place.

The retraction notice, published earlier this year, explains:

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Written by Shannon Palus

December 5th, 2016 at 9:30 am

Materials researcher falsified data in two studies, probe reveals

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advanced-materialsA materials journal has retracted two 2013 papers, citing an investigation at Pennsylvania State University that concluded the first author falsified data.

According to the retraction notice in Advanced Materials, Mehdi Ghaffari — formerly based at Penn State — was solely responsible for the misconduct. Ghaffari’s LinkedIn page says he finished his PhD at Penn State in 2014, and now works as an independent consultant in New York, after a stint as a postdoc at Procter and Gamble.

A Penn State spokesperson sent us this statement:  Read the rest of this entry »

Two more retractions bring bone researcher’s total to 12

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jbmrA bone researcher based in Japan with 10 retractions under his belt has retracted two more papers for similar reasons — problems with the underlying data, and including co-authors who didn’t participate in the project.

In both notices, Yoshihiro Sato is pegged as responsible for the content of the papers. The newly retracted research covers a long timespan — one paper was published in 2000, the other in 2013.

Here’s the first notice, issued by the Journal of Bone and Mineral ResearchRead the rest of this entry »

Five more retractions for researcher who sued PubPeer commenters brings tally to 18

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Fazlul Sarkar

Fazlul Sarkar

A cancer researcher who tried to sue PubPeer commenters for criticizing his work has earned five more retractions, bringing his total to 18. 

All of the new retractions for Fazlul Sarkar, formerly based at Wayne State University in Michigan, appear in the International Journal of Cancer. All cite an institutional investigation, and relate to issues with images.

With 18 retractions, Sarkar has now earned a spot on our leaderboard.

We first encountered Sarkar when he subpoenaed PubPeer to reveal the names of anonymous commenters that potentially cost him a job at the University of Mississippi. Earlier this month, a Wayne State spokesperson confirmed to us that Sarkar has now retired from the university. (To get up to speed, check out our timeline on the major events in this case.)

Here’s the first of the retraction notices, issued today: Read the rest of this entry »

You’ve been dupe’d: Results so nice, journals published them twice

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With so many retraction notices pouring in, from time to time we compile a handful of straight-forward retractions.

Once again, this list focuses on duplications — but unlike other duplications, these authors were not at fault. Rather, these retractions occurred because the publishers mistakenly published the same paper twice — the result of a transfer between publishers, for instance, or accidentally publishing the unedited version of the paper. We’re forced to wonder, as we have before, whether saddling researchers’ CVs with a retraction is really the most fair way to handle these cases.

So without further ado, here’s five cases where the journal mistakenly duplicated a paper, and had to retract one version: Read the rest of this entry »

Saudi institution didn’t clear genotyping study

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Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology

A journal is retracting a paper that sought to validate genotyping techniques after learning the authors skipped a key step.

The authors scanned blood samples from 500 people who visited “the Blood Bank of our institution,” as they note in the abstract, to validate the use of genotyping techniques in the Saudi population. But the authors didn’t obtain the proper clearance from their institution, King Faisal Specialist Hospital, to publish the work.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Genotyping of CYP2C19 polymorphisms and its clinical validation in the ethnic Arab population:”

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Written by Shannon Palus

July 28th, 2016 at 11:30 am