Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘authorship issues’ Category

Carlo Croce, facing misconduct allegations, accuses former colleague of misconduct

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Carlo Croce

Carlo Croce, a cancer researcher who has faced numerous research misconduct allegations, recently accused a former lab member of misconduct. Although an institutional probe did not support that allegation, Croce’s efforts have led to a retraction.

In November 2015, Croce and another cancer researcher at Ohio State University (OSU), Ramiro Garzon, contacted PLOS ONE, alleging that the paper’s corresponding author, Stefan Costinean, published data without their knowledge or permission and without “accurately acknowledging their contributions to the research.” Although the PLOS ONE paper mentioned Croce’s and Garzon’s contributions in the acknowledgements section, the two were not included as co-authors. We have obtained a copy of the report describing OSU’s preliminary probe; it did not find evidence of misconduct, but recommended the paper be retracted for using data without permission. Although Costinean disagreed, the journal has since retracted the paper.

Croce has been on the other side of this process: Seven of his papers have been retracted for issues including manipulation and duplication. After a New York Times article, published in March, explored misconduct allegations against Croce, OSU said the university is “instituting an independent external review.” Croce is currently suing the New York Times, alleging that the newspaper defamed him in the story.

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An accomplished philosopher invented a pseudonym. Why?

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Amélie Rorty

In 1980, Leila Tov-Ruach published a book chapter in which she thanked the editor of the book, Amélie Oksenberg Rorty, “for the hospitality that made the writing of this paper possible.”

Normally, such an acknowledgement wouldn’t raise eyebrows. But, the trouble is, Tov-Ruach and Rorty are the same person:  Leila Tov-Ruach is a pseudonym for Rorty, an accomplished philosopher. The University of California Press (UC Press) officially outed Rorty as Leila Tov-Ruach when it issued corrections for two chapters she published decades ago under the pseudonym (1, 2).

The corrections explain the author of the chapters is Rorty, who also edited the two books in which the chapters appear. Although Rorty didn’t note in the original versions of the books that she is Tov-Ruach, she has not tried to hide her pseudonym either.  She has acknowledged she is Tov-Ruach in her CV, and at least some philosophers know about the pseudonym (1, 2).

Why would a philosopher—who has an impressive publishing record that spans 50 years and, at 85 years old, is still a lecturer at Harvard—choose to write under a fake name?

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Written by Victoria Stern

October 13th, 2017 at 8:15 am

Dispute over author order torpedoes paper on syndrome linked to autism

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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: Read the rest of this entry »

Researcher discovers paper published by co-author in another journal

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In February 2016, Albert Jambon received some puzzling news.

Several colleagues had alerted him to a paper, published online in late December 2015 in the Journal of African Earth Sciences (JAES), reporting the discovery of a rare mineral, which Jambon had been analyzing.

When Jambon read the paper, he realized it was a modified version of a paper he had been working on for almost eight years. Impatient, one of his co-authors, Ahmad Bilal, had published his own version of the manuscript and listed himself as the sole author.

Jambon, a professor at Pierre and Marie Curie University, believes that Bilal’s paper plagiarized his manuscript, but Bilal disputes this allegation. Bilal–who works at Damascus University in Syria–says he couldn’t wait any longer to publish the manuscript, so wrote “a completely new version.” Since the authors couldn’t resolve the authorship dispute, in August 2016, the journal issued a “temporary” expression of concern, alerting readers to the authorship concerns. Now, a year and a half later, a spokesperson for the publisher says it’s going to be retracted.

Eight years is a long time to work on a paper.

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Written by Victoria Stern

September 25th, 2017 at 11:05 am

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

Bone researcher is up to 17 retractions

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A bone researcher has lost three more papers for scientific misconduct.

The new retractions bring Yoshihiro Sato’s total to 17 and put him on our Leaderboard.

According to the retraction notices, Sato asked the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry to retract three of his papers “due to scientific misconduct.” In the letter, Sato—who is corresponding author on all three papers—explained he included co-authors without their consent and that none of the other authors listed worked on the study or article.

In May, the editors issued expressions of concern while they investigated (1, 2, 3), and last month, the journal retracted the three articles.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Amelioration of osteopenia and hypovitaminosis D by 1alpha-hydroxyvitamin D3 in elderly patients with Parkinson’s disease:” Read the rest of this entry »

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 »