Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘breach of ethical policy’ Category

Animal welfare breach prompts Nature correction

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cover_nature (1)A 2011 letter to Nature from Harvard researchers received its second correction today, this time after discovering the researchers conducted experiments in which mice may have “experienced more pain and suffering than originally allowed for.”

That quote comes from an accompanying editorial in the journal, a rare move for a correction to a 2011 letter. But it’s an unusual correction, for a letter that found that a component of a pepper plant appeared to selectively kill cancer cells, leaving healthy cells relatively unscathed.

Here’s the first paragraph from the detailed correction notice, published today: Read the rest of this entry »

Authors’ pharma ties cause Cochrane to withdraw two diabetes reviews

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Cochrane_LogoThe Cochrane Library has withdrawn two reviews evaluating the effectiveness of diabetes treatments because some of the papers’ authors work with pharmaceutical companies.

Bianca Hemmingsen, first author on both reviews, told us the Cochrane Library asked the authors to remove the researchers with ties to pharma, but after one “refused to withdraw,” both papers were pulled entirely.

However, Hemmingsen insists that their employment had no impact on either paper.

This breaks the typical mold for Cochrane withdrawals, which are usually only pulled to indicate updates and show that older reviews no longer represent the best evidence.

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Researchers suspended in Japan for funding violations

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Sanae Ariga

Sanae Ariga

Hokkaido University has suspended two of its professors after an investigation found “improper receipt of research funding.”

One member of the team was awarded more than 15 million yen (roughly $120,000 USD) in research grants from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), according to the official statement (translated by One Hour Translation).

The researchers share a last name. Hiroyoshi Ariga, a professor of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Science and the head of a university lab, was given 8 million yen in 2006 and 7.5 million in 2007. It appears that Sanae Ariga also received funds for a similar study, based on the translation:

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“Unethical behavior” breaks crystallography paper

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Molecules and Cells

A 2011 paper about the crystal structure of a transcription regulator has been pulled by Molecules and Cells for “unethical behavior by the authors.”

Unfortunately, we can’t say much more than that, because the notice doesn’t, either: Read the rest of this entry »

Golden rice paper pulled after judge rules for journal

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home_coverThe American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is retracting a paper that showed genetically engineered rice serves as an effective vitamin A supplement after a Massachusetts judge denied the first author’s motion for an injunction against the publisher.

The journal announced plans to retract the paper last year following allegations that the paper contained ethical mis-steps, such as not getting informed consent from the parents of children eating the rice, and faking ethics approval documents.

Last July, first author Guangwen Tang at Tufts University filed a complaint and motion for preliminary injunction against the journal’s publisher, the American Society for Nutrition, to stop the retraction.

According to the ASN, on July 17, a Massachusetts Superior Court “cleared the way” for the publisher to retract the paper. So they have, as of July 29. Here’s more from the retraction notice:

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Retraction of monkey paper linked to problems at shuttered research institute

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Veterinary Pathology.Evidence of poorly treated lab animals has led researchers to retract a 2014 article in Veterinary Pathology that explored the neurological effects of dehydration in squirrel monkeys.

The study was pulled after Frederick Wang, the former director of the New England Primate Research Center, unveiled reports of a dozen squirrel monkeys that were found dehydrated and dead in their cages or euthanized between 1999 and 2011.

Wang told the Boston Globe in April that “human error” and “inadequate animal care” might have compromised the results of the study:

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Failure to disclose drug company sponsor among litany of reasons for cancer retraction

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tumor biologyThis one’s a real mess.

In June, a paper in Tumor Biology was retracted for at least four reasons, including bad data and hiding a trial sponsor (Merck). Some people who contributed work weren’t cited; at least one author had no idea his name would be on it. And that’s just what they tell us in the notice.

Here’s the notice for “Neutropenia and invasive fungal infection in patients with hematological malignancies treated with chemotherapy: a multicenter, prospective, non-interventional study in China:” Read the rest of this entry »

Law review paper yanked for lack of attribution despite offer of co-authorship

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Gentian Zyberi, via UiO

Gentian Zyberi, via UiO

Sometimes, retractions seem to have a juicy back story, but the explanation proves tantalizingly out of reach.

Such is the case for a law review retraction on a paper about reparations for human rights violations. After someone complained that author Gentian Zyberi “had not done sufficient justice to the substantial contribution” they made, the complainant refused both a co-author credit and a rewrite of the passages in question, insisting instead on a full retraction.

Here’s the notice for “The International Court of Justice and applied forms of reparation for international human rights and humanitarian law violations”: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

July 28th, 2014 at 9:30 am

Rice researcher in ethics scrape threatens journal with lawsuit over coming retraction

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Guangwen Tang, a rice researcher at Tufts University, landed in hot water in 2012 after her team was accused of feeding Chinese children genetically modified Golden Rice without having obtained informed consent from the parents.

Now, she’s suing both Tufts and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which reportedly is retracting a paper, “ß-carotene in Golden Rice is as good as p-carotene in oil at providing vitamin A to children,” based on the federally funded research, claiming that the retraction would constitute defamation. (That retraction hasn’t happened yet.)

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard the retraction = defamation line. Readers might remember Ariel Fernandez, who threatened to sue us for writing about an expression of concern. Maybe a course on the Streisand Effect should be mandatory for PhD students?
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Written by Cat Ferguson

July 17th, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Ulrich Lichtenthaler notches retraction 13

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acad manageUlrich Lichtenthaler, the management professor who has had a dozen papers retracted, has lost another.

Here’s the notice from the Academy of Management Journal for “Absorptive Capacity, Environmental Turbulence, and the Complementarity of Organizational Learning Processes:” Read the rest of this entry »