Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘authorship issues’ Category

Authorship dispute fells membrane paper

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A membrane paper has been retracted only two months after publication in the Journal of Physical Chemistry B because of an authorship dispute.

The paper, “Magnetic Interaction of Transition Ion Salts with Spin Labeled Lipid Membranes: Interplay of Anion-Specific Adsorption, Electrostatics, and Membrane Fluidity,” has not been cited, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. (It appears to be taken down entirely, but it looks like you can read its abstract here.)

Here’s the entire — very short — note:

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Written by Shannon Palus

January 28th, 2016 at 11:30 am

Paper on the adhesiveness of a material doesn’t stick

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1-s2.0-S0169433215X00213-cov150hApplied Surface Science has retracted an article that looks at the structure of thin tungsten-titanium coating, because it was submitted without all of the co-authors’ consent.

According to the introduction of the paper, “Structure adhesion and corrosion resistance study of tungsten bisulfide doped with titanium deposited by DC magnetron co-sputtering,” such thin films are “widely used as a surface treatment for optimizing base material properties.”

Here’s the retraction note in full, published in the September issue of the journal:

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Authors retract two papers for “severe conflicts of author sequences”

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A group of authors has earned two retractions for a pair of papers on which they had “severe conflicts of author sequences,” according to the retraction note.

All of the authors were involved in a recent spate of compromised peer review that hit Springer journals back in August. Among the 64 retracted papers this summer, one included all of the authors on the two recently retracted papers, including first author Yan-Zhi Chen. Besides authorship issues, the latest two retractions also contain a “striking similarity to other publications,” according to the retraction notices.

The notes for the two papers are the same, except for the title of the paper. (They are also paywalled, tsk tsk!)

Here’s what the notes say:

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Data dispute forces journal to pull paper about rare bird on valuable land

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coverThe authors of a paper about the density of an endangered bird on valuable Texas lands are disputing the journal’s decision to pull the paper after other scientists objected to some of its contents.

The paper, published online in August by the Journal of Field Ornithology, compared different models for estimating the number of golden-cheeked warblers that nest in Texas. According to the Austin American-Statesman, some of that land includes highly sought-after woodlands. Developers had used estimates from recent years, which suggested that the bird population was in relatively good health, to petition to open that land for real estate development. But the new paper concluded that those estimates were too high.

After some scientists who produced the more rosy estimates claimed that the some of their data had been included in the newest paper without permission, the editor in chief decided to retract it.

That was in November. There’s no retraction note for “Density influences accuracy of model-based estimates for a forest songbird.” We contacted the editor in chief, Gary Ritchison, to ask why. He told us,

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Author added to paper after investigation at University of Helsinki

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CoverIssueAn author has been added to a biochemistry paper following an investigation by the University of Helsinki.

Karen Sabatini, currently a biochemist at the University of San Diego, was erroneously left off the author list of a paper published in 2010 in Soft Matter. She apparently left Helsinki in 2010.

The circumstances may be unclear, but one thing we do know: authorship issues often take down papers entirely. Since this just warranted a correction, the mistake could have just been an oversight, rather than pointing to a larger issue.

Here’s the note for “Formation of lipid/peptide tubules by IAPP and temporin B on supported lipid membranes:”

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Written by Shannon Palus

December 22nd, 2015 at 9:30 am

“The peer review process was compromised”: Inflammation drug paper pulled

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A paper that screened for antibodies that target TNFα, a major source of inflammation, has been retraction after an investigation revealed the peer-review process may have been compromised.

We’ve seen the peer review process “compromised” in a handful of ways — from a mathematician who oversaw the process on several of his own papers, to some 250 papers subject to outright fake peer review. The note for this paper, published in Amino Acids, doesn’t go into details, so we can only wonder what happened in this particular case.

Here’s the note for “Structure‑based development and optimization of therapy antibody drugs against TNFα:”

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Journal repels a paper on a magnetic material after authorship, funding issues

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A paper on the properties of a magnetic material is being retracted after including an author without his permission, and omitting a funding source.

According to the note, the work was done in Miao Yu‘s lab at Chongqing University in China; the authors then added Yu’s name to the paper without his authorization, and neglected to list a relevant funding source.

Here’s the retraction note for “Temperature-dependent dynamic mechanical properties of magnetorheological elastomers under magnetic field,” published in the Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials:

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Investigation finds data issues polluted air quality paper

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1-s2.0-S0013935113X0009X-cov150hAn investigation at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia has found that a paper on air pollution and human health contains a host of issues with the data and its analysis. The paper has been retracted with a very detailed note from Environmental Research.

The issues with the paper include an “incorrect analysis of the data,” and its failure to properly cite multiple papers and one researcher’s contributions. Ultimately, according to the retraction note, the investigation found that the “conclusions of the paper are flawed.”

“Submicrometer particles and their effects on the association between air temperature and mortality in Brisbane, Australia” has been cited three times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

The retraction note is very, very detailed. It outlines the problems with the paper:

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“Significant errors in the data” stop Hurricane Isaac paper

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1-s2.0-S0169809515X0010X-cov150hThis version of Hurricane Isaac — based on the force of nature that hit Louisiana in 2012 —  didn’t get very far. Atmospheric Research has retracted a paper on a simulation of the hurricane just a few months after it was published.

The paper included two features that commonly get a paper retracted: erroneous data, and a dispute over authorship.

The 2014 paper only has one author: O. Alizadeh-Choobari, a climatologist at the University of Tehran.

Here’s the retraction note, which provides a few more details on what went wrong:

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When a paper is retracted, so is its previous correction–sometimes

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1-s2.0-S0968089612X0018X-cov150hSometimes, the path to correcting the scientific record takes a few turns. In the case of a paper about a new cancer compound, authorship issues led to a correction and, ultimately, a retraction — along with a double-back to retract the earlier correction.

We reported on the first part of the story back in January: A 2011 paper that described a novel compound that could work as a drug for the side effects of chemotherapy was corrected in 2012 to add additional authors. But once the authors realized their supposedly novel compound had actually been synthesized by another author, they decided to retract the paper from Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry earlier this year, concluding “these facts made the paper inappropriate and unfaithful.”

Apparently, around the same time, the authors decided to retract the earlier correction, as well:

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