The authors of a 2017 paper on emotional and behavioral gaps between boys and girls have retracted the article after discovering a coding error that completely undermined their conclusions.
The revelation prompted the researchers to republish their findings in the same journal, this time with a title that flips the narrative.
The PsychJournal study, first published in March, looked at self-regulation — loosely defined as the ability to get stuff done and keep a lid on it — in boys and girls in German elementary schools. Although previous studies had found girls might do better on this front, the authors, from the University of Leipzig and New York University’s Abu Dhabi campus, initially found the opposite:
Continue reading Boys will be boys: Data error prompts U-turn on study of sex differences in school
At least one disgruntled co-author has triggered the retraction of a paper presenting a novel approach to treating a rare, genetically inherited condition.
The paper concerned research on Fragile X syndrome (FXS), characterized by both intellectual and physical abnormalities, which is linked autism. A compound that passed through phase 2 clinical trials in October 2015 appeared to partially treat FXS in mice in the study, published earlier this year.
The journal’s notice says the paper was retracted over a dispute among authors about the order in which they are listed on the paper: Continue reading Dispute over author order torpedoes paper on syndrome linked to autism
Two journals have retracted papers by a biologist who was recently found guilty of misconduct by his former employer, the University of Colorado Denver, bringing the total to five.
The investigation report by UC Denver, which we obtained earlier this year via a public records request, had recommended one of the two newest retractions, which appears in the journal Hepatology. The other retraction, in the Journal of Immunology, was not flagged by the report — which found, among other conclusions, that Almut Grenz had altered multiple values in research that had already been submitted for peer review.
Here’s the notice for the Journal of Immunology paper:
Continue reading Two more retractions for former US prof who altered dozens of images
A cell biology journal has retracted a 2016 paper after an investigation revealed that the corresponding author failed to include two co-authors and acknowledge the funding source.
According to the retraction notice, the Journal of Cellular Physiology retracted the paper after the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center found that last author Jin Wang had omitted two researchers from the list of authors, and had also failed to acknowledge funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH).
But Wang tells a different story. Continue reading Former MD Anderson researcher objects to retraction of his paper
Psychiatry journals have retracted two papers evaluating a schizophrenia drug after a university in Japan flagged issues, such as a lack of written informed consent.
The papers—published in Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical & Experimental in 2012 and Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences in 2014—examined the safety and effectiveness of an antipsychotic drug in patients with schizophrenia.
According to the retraction notice in Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, the ethics committee at St. Marianna University School of Medicine in Kawasaki found that “the trial included subjects who did not satisfy inclusion criteria.” For instance, not all patients provided written informed consent. But the university found no evidence for data falsification or fabrication.
A spokesperson for Human Psychopharmacology told us: Continue reading Uni dings schizophrenia studies for problems with informed consent, other flaws
After Tina Wenz was found guilty of scientific misconduct, how long did it take for journals to retract the problematic papers? The answer: Between three and nine months.
In September 2016, the University of Cologne found that Wenz had committed scientific misconduct in six papers and requested they all be retracted. From that point on, the retraction clock was ticking.
We’ve explored how long it takes a journal to act over the years, and we’ve found that the time between identifying a problem to retracting the paper can vary — and sometimes last years.
In Wenz’s case, one of the papers—published in Cell Metabolism in 2009—had already been retracted in 2015. Three of the remaining five were retracted in December 2016—a 2008 paper in Cell Metabolism, a 2009 paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), and a 2009 paper in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
In January 2017, the journal IUBMB Life pulled a 2014 paper flagged in the investigation. And just over nine months after Wenz was found guilty of misconduct, the last paper—published in 2013 in Mitochondrion—has been retracted.
The most recent notice states that the University of Cologne requested the retractions, after determining that the data had been “inappropriately manipulated.”
Here’s the retraction notice in Mitochondrion:
Continue reading The retraction countdown: How quickly do journals pull papers?
Hearsay is not admissible as evidence in court — and it doesn’t seem to go very far in science, either.
A pair of researchers in the field of human evolution have lost a paper which contained data from “personal correspondence” that the providing party apparently did not enjoy seeing in print.
The article, “Early hominin biogeography in Island Southeast Asia,” was published in the September/October 2015 issue of Evolutionary Anthropology. The authors, Roy Larick and Russell Ciochon, are paleoanthropologists and co-founders of the Iowa-Bandung Java Project — a 20-year old collaborative effort to study the origins of early humans in Indonesia. Continue reading Inclusion of “personal correspondence” in evolution paper prompts retraction, new journal policy
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: Continue reading Plagiarism costs author five papers in five different journals
In 2005, the U.S. Office of Research Integrity found an obesity researcher had engaged in scientific misconduct.
More specifically, the ORI report revealed that Eric Poehlman, then based at the University of Vermont, had “falsified and fabricated” data in 10 papers. The 2005 report asked that the journals issue retractions or corrections to the papers. By 2006, six of those papers were retracted (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). In 2006, a judge sentenced Poehlman to one year and one day in prison for falsifying research data.
In 2015, we explored how long it takes a journal to retract a paper. We found that four of the 10 papers had still not been retracted — one appeared to be missing from Medline, another had received a correction (as the ORI report requested), and two had not been retracted or corrected (1, 2).
Until now. Continue reading 12 years after researcher found guilty of misconduct, journal retracts paper
Plant scientists have issued two retractions after noticing several images had been duplicated within and across the papers.
The papers both appeared in March 2002 in The Plant Cell and The Plant Journal.
The last author on both papers — Jonathan Jones, a professor and group leader at The Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, UK — took responsibility for the duplications. He told us:
As last author I was responsible for checking the papers but did not notice the similarities between figures in the different papers. I regret this and took action as soon as I realized there was an issue. Both papers went through peer review and the issue was not picked up at that point either.
Susana Rivas, the first author on both papers, has collaborated with beleaguered plant scientist Oliver Voinnet — and was a second author on one of his eight retractions (which we covered here).
The editor-in-chief of TPJ Christoph Benning said that, after the authors contacted them, the journals looked into the issue, confirmed the duplications and then retracted the papers: Continue reading Authors retract two plant biology papers over duplicated images