Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘authorship issues’ Category

Authorship for sale: Some journals willing to add authors to papers they didn’t write

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Got $300? Then you can be added as an author to a paper — even if you had no role in the research.

That’s right — some journals are willing to add authors to papers they didn’t write, often for a fee. This realization comes from one of the many sting experiments we’ve witnessed over the years, designed to expose the perils of the publishing industry, in which some journals will claim to peer review and publish any manuscript for a fee — no matter how nonsensical the content. Pravin Bolshete, a medical writer and researcher from India, wanted to explore a different side of predatory publishing — would journals agree to add a fictional author to a manuscript he/she didn’t write?

Presenting his findings at the Eighth Peer Review Congress this week in Chicago, Bolshete reported that, after sending hundreds of emails to publishers considered predatory according to the now-defunct (and controversial) list compiled by librarian Jeffrey Beall, 16% agreed to add an author to a paper.

Bolshete told us:

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Written by Alison McCook

September 13th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Former MD Anderson researcher objects to retraction of his paper

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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. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Victoria Stern

August 23rd, 2017 at 11:00 am

Hey, that’s my case study: Another retraction after doctors claim rights to case write-up

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A group of researchers have retracted their 2016 case report about a rare dermatologic disorder in the wake of disputes about authorship and institutional approval.

The paper describes a young boy with Job’s Syndrome, in which patients experience painful, itchy and frequently disfiguring skin lesions, along with a constellation of other possible symptoms. The condition is extremely rare, occurring in less than one in 1 million births.

This isn’t the first time a journal has retracted a case study after another group of authors claimed ownership of the case. Earlier this year, we covered a retraction from a neuro-ophthalmology journal after the doctors who treated a patient suffering from a gruesome eye trauma took issue with the fact that radiologists had already published their diagnostic images as a case study.

According to the notice for this latest retraction:

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Written by Alison McCook

August 22nd, 2017 at 10:30 am

After 35 years, philosophy journal corrects article…by a cat

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A cat philosopher, via Pixabay

In 1982, Bruce Le Catt wrote a response to a paper in the Australasian Journal of Philosophy critiquing an earlier article about prosthetic vision.

But Le Catt was no ordinary author. No, he was a cat, the beloved pet of David Lewis, a world-class philosopher who just happened to be the author of the article about which Bruce Le Catt was commenting.

Lewis’ inside joke wasn’t lost on those who knew him, and the benign deception seems to have been common knowledge in the field since the Le Catt paper appeared in 1982 (which also happens to be the year Cats began its run on Broadway). The paper has been cited four times since it was published, according to Clarivate Analytics. But 25 years later, the journal has finally decided to put an end to the gag.

The joyless notice states plainly: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by amarcus41

August 1st, 2017 at 2:42 pm

Fake peer review, forged authors, fake funding: Everything’s wrong with brain cancer paper

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The paper had everything: Fake peer review, forged authors, even a fake funder.

In other words, it had nothing.

A 2015 paper is the latest retraction stemming from an investigation into fake peer review by Springer, which has now netted more than a hundred papers.

According to a spokesperson at Springer: Read the rest of this entry »

Unintended consequences: How authorship guidelines destroyed a relationship

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It started as a simple email exchange over authorship. But it angered one researcher so much that it ended a 20-year collaboration.

In January 2017, a chemist based in Mexico had finished writing a paper describing the structure of a molecule. Sylvain Bernès, at the Instituto de Física Luis Rivera Terrazas, asked his co-author—the head of the lab where the molecule had been synthesized 10 years ago—to review the draft and include any co-authors involved in the initial work.

The researcher added three co-authors to the paper. Bernès became concerned. He wanted to follow the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) authorship recommendations as strictly as possible. As far as Bernès could tell, none of the new authors had actually contributed to the work, potentially violating the recommendation about authorship contributions. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Victoria Stern

July 5th, 2017 at 8:00 am

Journal retracts two papers by authors who lifted others’ data

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A journal has retracted two 2014 papers after the editors discovered the authors used data from other research groups without permission.

The papers, both published in the same issue of Cell Biochemistry and Biophysics and retracted in May, suffered from similar issues—the authors published data that was not theirs. The authors are all based at different institutions in China; as far as we can tell, the papers do not have any authors in common.

When we asked the publisher whether a third party, such as a paper mill, may have been involved, a spokesperson for Springer told us: Read the rest of this entry »

Springer purge of fake reviews takes down 10+ more neuroscience papers

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Back in April, Springer retracted a record number 107 papers from Tumor Biology after uncovering evidence they were subject to fake peer reviews. But it appears that the Tumor Biology sweep was only part of the story.

During the Tumor Biology investigation, Springer found evidence that the “peer review process was compromised” in a dozen papers on brain cancer published in another journal. The 12 Molecular Neurobiology retractions have trickled in over the past year or so, published before and after the Tumor Biology sweep.

A spokesperson at Springer confirmed that the 12 retracted papers in Molecular Neurobiology were related to the Tumor Biology retractions for fake peer review: Read the rest of this entry »

When a tractor stabs a man in the eye, who gets to write up the case report?

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A journal has retracted a paper after the university notified the editors that the authors presented the gruesome details of a patient who they didn’t directly treat.

But the paper’s corresponding author disputes that claim, arguing that the first author — a radiologist, who has since passed away, provided a crucial diagnosis in this case. We’ve tried to track down the doctors who lodged a complaint about the paper, alleging they were “actually involved in the original patient treatment,” but have so far been unsuccessful.

The paper describes an unfortunate accident during which a man fell from his tractor and stabbed himself in the eye on part of the machine. Initially, doctors could not locate the eye and “believed it to have been completely destroyed,” and discharged the patient after seven days. One week later he was back, complaining of headaches — and doctors found the eye embedded deep inside the skull, intact.

According to the retraction notice, issued by the Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology, an investigation by a university in Iran determined the doctors who initially described the case didn’t have the right to do so: Read the rest of this entry »

Author of retracted gene editing paper alleges “bullying” by former PI

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In the fall of 2015, out-of-work stem cell biologist Mavi Camarasa decided she had waited long enough. It had been three years since she and a colleague were, best they could tell, the first to successfully correct the most common cystic fibrosis mutation in stem cells derived from a patient.

But her former lab director, Daniel Bachiller, had blocked her from writing even a short report, she told Retraction Watch:

He said we are not submitting at this time, wait until [the project is] complete. “Wait, wait,” is the only answer I’d had from him ever.

Though she’d left the Spanish regenerative medicine lab in 2013 to take care of an ailing parent and had mostly been scooped by another group in April of that year, Camarasa thought she still might be able to get something out of the project. She hatched a plan to make him an offer he couldn’t refuse — an already accepted manuscript where all he would have to do is attach his name at the last minute.

But this story didn’t turn out exactly how she’d hoped — and illustrates how the pressure to publish can affect researchers at different levels in the lab.

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