Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘authorship issues’ Category

Pain paper scratched for authorship issues

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ejacoverA group of pain researchers in Austria has lost their 2014 paper in the European Journal of Anaesthesiology because one of the authors wasn’t, well, one of the authors.

The article, “Intravenous nonopioid analgesic drugs in chronic low back pain patients on chronic opioid treatment: A crossover, randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study,” came from a team at the Medical University Vienna and Evangelical Hospital Vienna.

During the study, the authors tested whether intravenous infusions of nonopioid drugs (such as paracetamol, or Tylenol) helped people with chronic back pain who take opioids regularly. They found that people’s pain levels decreased in the days leading up to treatment, when they were receiving a placebo, but not after the actual infusion. The results likely stem from “expectation-related mechanisms,” they wrote. Read the rest of this entry »

Bitter herbs: Parsley paper retracted after authors omit colleague

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ljfp20.v018.i06.coverA pair of plant experts at Uludag University, in Turkey, has lost a paper on techniques for drying parsley because they evidently left a key contributor off the manuscript.

The article, “Effect of Vacuum, Microwave, and Convective Drying on Selected Parsley Quality,” was published online in June 2011 by the International Journal of Food Properties.

During the study, the authors subjected parsley (Petroselinum crispum Mill.) to the various drying techniques, then measured how much each degraded the sample.  Ascorbic acid — a particularly “important indicator of quality,” according to the authors — was lowest after convective drying, and highest after using the microwave. “At the end of the study, microwave drying at 750–850 W ensured the shortest drying time and the best overall quality of parsley; thus, it was chosen as the most appropriate technique for parsley drying.”

But as the retraction notice states: Read the rest of this entry »

Troubled article ranking business schools earns expression of concern

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jpimAn article that ranked University of Missouri-Kansas City number one in an area of business school training is set to receive an expression of concern. The move follows months of questions over the ranking’s legitimacy, following revelations such as a relationship between the authors and both the school and its top ranked researcher in the field.

In 2011, the business world got a bit of a surprise: In the field of innovation management, the study of how entrepreneurs convert good ideas into profit, the number one school – according to an article in the Journal of Product Innovation Management — was UMKC. Not Harvard, not Stanford, not any other institution that normally tops these types of rankings. UMKC’s Henry W. Bloch School of Management was also home to the number one researcher in that field, Michael Song.

The school, of course, was elated, immediately issuing a press release titled “UMKC Ranked No. 1 in the World.”

But after publication, a UMKC professor raised concerns about the paper’s methodology. An investigation by the Kansas City Star uncovered some issues:

Read the rest of this entry »

“Irreconcilable difference of opinion” divides math preprint

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arxivA fight over a paper posted on preprint server arXiv.org has divided two mathematicians.

The authors initially posted the paper, which looks at the mathematical properties of spheres, in 2013. And that’s when the trouble started.

Apparently, after submitting the paper to a journal and receiving reviewer feedback, co-authors Fabio Tal at the University of São Paulo and Ferry Kwakkel, who got a PhD at the University of Warwick, began to fight over the content of the paper, causing Kwakkel to post his own version, and Tal to withdraw the previous one. “I believe we are severely at odds now,” Tal told Retraction Watch.

In February 2015, Kwakkel, posted a second paper on arXiv.org that he said is his “version” of the 2013 paper, with which it has “substantial text overlap.” Tal requested that the first paper be withdrawn; the note that now appears on “Homogeneous transformation groups of the sphere” cites an “irreconcilable difference of opinion”:

Read the rest of this entry »

Neuro journal pulls comatose brain abstract due to “several mistakes”

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clinical neurophysiologySwiss researchers have retracted an abstract in Clinical Neurophysiology because only one of them actually knew about the paper — and what he submitted had “several mistakes.”

The abstract, about electric impulses in the brain of comatose patients, originally appeared as a poster at the June 2014 joint meeting of multiple Swiss neuroscience societies. It was submitted by first author Alexandre Simonin, who lists his affiliation as the University Hospital of Lausanne, a Swiss hospital.

The meeting proceedings ran in the October issue of Clinical Neurophysiology. Besides the issues of authorship and errors, the notice also says the abstract “potentially conflicts with another publication,” suggesting the data might have already appeared in a paper.

Here’s the notice for “P02. Predicting the outcome of post-anoxic comatose patients based on single-trial EEG analysis”: Read the rest of this entry »

More black marks against unapproved protein touted as miracle cure

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clinical immunologyA protein which is sold online as a cure for everything from autism to cancer and the focus of multiple retracted papers has earned more black marks: The UK government’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has issued a warning about its use after discovering problems in the factory, and a journal has removed the last author from a paper touting its benefits in HIV.

The protein, vitamin D-binding protein-derived macrophage activating factor (GcMAF), is supposedly a natural activator of macrophages. The website GcMAF.eu continues to hawk the results of treatment, while the Anticancer Fund has been pushing journals to correct the record on GcMAF. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

February 23rd, 2015 at 9:30 am

Forged author list blows up explosives contamination paper

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WWII poster for Ravenna Ordnance Plant, via Wikipedia

WWII poster for Ravenna Ordnance Plant, via Wikipedia

An environmental journal has retracted a paper on a technology that helps degrade explosives released into soil, because the first author never got the permission of his “co-authors” — oh, and used data that were “illegally obtained,” according to one of the slighted co-authors.

According to the EPA, more than 30 sites around the country are contaminated by decommissioned explosives, including weapons plants and army depots. A major source of the pollution was workers washing out old bombs into “evaporation lagoons” and then burning the resulting sludge.

The site used for the retracted paper was Ravenna Army Ammunition Plant, a decommissioned weapons factory that stored explosive waste in unlined landfills. According to the EPA, “open burning was also a common practice.”

The problems with the paper in Water, Air & Soil Pollution were uncovered after the head of the company, University of Georgia (UGA) professor Valentine Nzengung, found the paper on ResearchGate. He discovered that first author Chunhui Luo had used (now out-of-date) data without permission, and added Nzengung’s name to the paper without his knowledge. The other author is another UGA professor, Walter O’Niell, who told us he was also not informed about the paper.

Nzengung gave us further details via email: Read the rest of this entry »

Law student retracts paper from journal of Shariah law

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syariahA PhD candidate in the law school of University of Malaya in Malaysia retracted a paper from a journal on Islamic law in governments, because he failed to add his deceased advisor as an author.

The paper, which calls government secularism in Bangladesh “shadow rather than substance,” was published in Jurnal Syariah, which translates to Shariah Journal. It is quite critical of the idea that the country’s Constitution can name Islam as the state religion while also claiming that it cannot grant political status to any religion.

Here’s the notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

February 3rd, 2015 at 9:30 am

A ewe-turn: Researchers lose sleep, and paper, over miscounted sheep

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Suspicious sheep via John Haslam

Suspicious sheep via John Haslam

A group of Chinese cardiologists at Capital Medical University have done a quick ewe-turn, pulling a paper after mixing up both the author order and wrongly reporting how many sheep were killed in the making of this experiment.

We covered another retraction from the CMU cardiology department in September. The sheep paper was published in October.

Here’s the notice for “Mosaic tissue-engineered porcine pulmonary artery valved conduit: long-term follow-up after implantation in an ovine model”: Read the rest of this entry »

Takeda group retracts paper after realizing “novel” compound had already been synthesized…by a colleague

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BMC_CoverA group of scientists at Takeda Pharmaceutical, including vice president Yoshinori Ikeura, has lost a paper after realizing that their “novel” compound had been previously synthesized by another Takeda researcher.

The 2011 paper, published in Elsevier journal Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, was the subject of a 2012 corrigendum adding two authors to the paper. The retraction appeared online in December of this year.

Seems like they didn’t add enough authors, though. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

January 7th, 2015 at 9:30 am