Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘authorship issues’ Category

Neuroscientist forged co-author’s signature, submitted paper without consent

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European Journal of Neuroscience cover2The European Journal of Neuroscience has pulled a paper after learning that one author’s name had been included without his consent.

Co-editor-in-chief of the journal, Paul Bolam, told us that the Shandong University of Medicine in China (where the work was carried out) conducted an investigation and found “a serious case of academic misconduct” — one author had forged the signature of another researcher, in order to add him as a co-author on a project in which he had not participated.

Here’s the retraction notice, which tells us a bit more: Read the rest of this entry »

Dairy journal retracts paper lacking co-authors’ consent

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Dairy science and technologyA journal about dairy science has retracted a paper after learning that it was published without the consent of all its authors.

An independent inquiry found no evidence of research misconduct, but nevertheless recommended that the institution — Curtin University in Perth, Australia — request to retract the paper.

Here’s the retraction notice, published in Dairy Science and Technology: Read the rest of this entry »

After painful retraction, authors republish replicated findings five years later

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chembiochemIt was one of the most difficult posts we’ve ever written: A researcher’s eagerness to publish a paper before asking all co-authors for their permission forced him to retract the article, wasting a postdoc’s time and destroying a professional relationship in the process.

This 2011 post wasn’t difficult to write because the facts were complex; they weren’t particularly (although the science involved was intricate). Rather, the man responsible for the incident, Graham Ellis-Davies, was so clearly and sincerely distressed by the mistake he’d made, it was impossible not to feel sorry for the him.

Well, we’re delighted to report that the tale has a happy ending. Ellis-Davies and his former postdoc have recently republished their once-retracted work with a new set of co-authors — and in the same journal that previous retracted it. What’s more, they have turned what initially was a proof-of-concept study into a much more robust article with exciting implications for the field.  Read the rest of this entry »

Materials journal breaks three papers from the same author

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Metals and Materials Journal.

Metals and Materials International has retracted three papers from one author, due to suspicions of plagiarism and authorship issues.

The three papers have one thing in common — the same lead author, Reza Haghayeghi from the Islamic Azad University in Tehran, Iran.

The retraction notices — all released in March, 2016 — lead with the following:

Read the rest of this entry »

Neuroscience journal retracts expression of concern 15 years after investigation

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Here’s something we don’t get to write about often: A journal has retracted an expression of concern (EOC) more than 15 years after issuing it.

What took so long? Apparently, the European Journal of Neuroscience (EJN) just recently learned about a review carried out by the author’s previous institution, which concluded that she had not committed misconduct.

Let’s take a look at the retraction note of the expression of concern, which was published last month: Read the rest of this entry »

Author dispute retracts paper suggesting NSAIDs curb growth in rats

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jpedorthoThe corresponding author asked the Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics to retract an article that found popular pain medicines can curb growth in rats, in light of an unresolved authorship dispute.

The article, “Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Cause Inhibition of the Growth Plate in Cultured Rat Metatarsal Bones,” details preliminary results that indicate nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may reduce growth in rat bones in a dose-dependent manner, suggesting caution in treating chronic inflammatory diseases in children. The editor told us the paper was “highly rated” by reviewers and the results were “never in question,” but the senior author asked to pull the paper after failing to resolve a dispute with a researcher who asked to be added as an author.

According to the noticeRead the rest of this entry »

Chapter pulled from conference proceedings after authors didn’t attend

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978-3-662-47926-1

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:

Read the rest of this entry »

Cell Press flags two papers after author confesses to fraud

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Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 8.45.56 PMNormally, when we see disputes over fraud allegations, it’s one author accusing another — but an unusual case at Cell has recently crossed our desk.

The journal has flagged a paper after an author confessed to committing fraud himself — but the corresponding author is disputing that confession, citing concerns about the confessor’s “motives and credibility.”

Independent labs are repeating the experiments to determine if the third author on the paper did, as he so claims, manipulate experiments. In the meantime, Cell and Molecular Cell have issued expressions of concern (EOCs) for two papers on which Yao-Yun Liang was a co-author. The notices cite an inquiry at Baylor College of Medicine, where the work was done, which was inconclusive, and recommended the journals take no action about the papers.

The EOCs are pretty much the same (both journals are published by Cell Press). Here’s the EOC that appears on “PPM1A functions as a Smad phosphatase to terminate TGFbeta signaling,” published in 2006 by Cell and cited 251 times, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science:

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When it takes a village to write a paper, what does it mean to be an author?

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Spencer Klein

Spencer Klein

We have seen plenty of projects unravel due to disputes over authorship, so we know this is a crucial issue in publishing. And the more authors are involved, the more issues can arise. So what happens when there are hundreds – or even thousands of authors on a single paper? Spencer Klein, a senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a Research Physicist at the University of California, Berkeley, offers some suggestions for how mega-collaborations could think differently about authorship.

Over the past few years, Retraction Watch has hosted a number of interesting discussions about the meaning of authorship. Those discussions have, so far, missed one important issue: What should one do in mega-collaborations, with memberships the size of a large village? In my field (astro/nuclear/particle physics), papers with hundreds of authors are common, with recent papers by the ATLAS and CMS collaborations, the two large experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, having 2,870 and 2,270 authors respectively. One 2015 joint paper appears to have broken an authorship record with more than 5100 authors. (It’s also an increasing issue in other fields, such as genetics – one 2015 paper listed 1,000 authors.)

The usual techniques for assembling author lists fail here; a 2,500-person negotiation is a non-starter.   Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

April 12th, 2016 at 11:30 am

Author appeared to use phony Caltech co-authors, up to 8 retractions

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ACBEA journal has retracted three articles from a chemist in Portugal with a history of problems with co-authors and data — the exact problems cited by the new notices.

Specifically, it appears as if Rodrigo J.G. Lopes made up the affiliations of multiple co-authors from the California Institute of Technology, causing the journal to “doubt the existence of the authors.”

Lopes first came to our attention in 2013, when he lost a paper in the Chemical Engineering Journal for including data he couldn’t have produced, as the lab lacked the necessary equipment. That had followed a previous retraction, when Lopes added co-authors without their permission. We’ve since found other retractions for Lopes, bringing his total to eight, by our count. Read the rest of this entry »