Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘breach of ethical policy’ Category

Premature adaptation leads to withdrawal of sexual function paper

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jsexmartherAhem.

The Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy has retracted a 2012 paper by a pair of authors in Spain who failed to obtain approval to adapt the model of sexual function they used in their study.

The article indicates that the work was based on previous research. But that declaration wasn’t enough to satisfy the creators of the model involved.

As the retraction notice states: Read the rest of this entry »

Chapter pulled from conference proceedings after authors didn’t attend

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One of the papers in a book of presentations from a computing conference has been pulled after the editors realized the authors never made it to the meeting.

The book was supposed to comprise papers that were presented at the 2nd International Conference on Harmony Search, an algorithm that finds a vector which optimizes a particular function, based on the way musicians harmonize. So, how did material that wasn’t actually presented at the meeting end up in the volume? A spokesperson for the publisher, Springer, explained:

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Study on teens with scoliosis failed to seek ethics approval, erratum notes

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Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 3.29.57 PMAfter researchers failed to seek ethics approval for a study on teens with scoliosis, a journal has issued an erratum to the paper.

The journal is not retracting the paper outright, it says, because the study was non-invasive and likely would have received ethics approval.

During the study, teenagers with and without progressive scoliosis underwent a physical examination and participated in an interview along with a parent, with the goal of trying to uncover risk factors for the condition.

Here’s the full erratum from Scoliosis and Spinal Disorders for “Physical activities of Patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS): preliminary longitudinal case–control study historical evaluation of possible risk factors:”

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Ethics committee asks journal to retract paper about controversial growth-stunting treatment

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A journal has retracted a paper on a controversial course of treatment used to stunt the growth of disabled children, at the request of the human research ethics committee at the University of Waikato in New Zealand.

The paper described the so-called Ashley Treatment — explored last week in the New York Times — in which disabled children receive hormones and procedures to keep them small and diminish the effects of puberty, making it easier for them to be cared for. The retracted paper analyzed the use of the treatment in a girl named Charley who was born in New Zealand with a brain injury, whose case has attracted the attention of The Washington Post and People magazine, among other outlets.

The paper analyzed Charley’s case, and did not involve any clinical subjects. But the retraction note suggests that the ethics of publishing this paper weren’t fully worked out:

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Surgery studies lacked ethics committee approval

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3Surgery Today has pulled a pair of papers that share many authors because the studies they describe were not approved by an institutional ethics committee.

One describes a case in which the researchers removed a mass from a 64-year-old woman’s small intestine; the other describes how the authors removed a growth from a patient’s pancreas. They conclude that the surgery techniques used — like a laparoscopic pancreaticoduodenectomy, a take on the “Whipple Procedure” — can be “feasible, safe, and effective” in certain patients.

The papers share several authors, including a first author, Akihiro Cho, who’s affiliation on the papers is Chiba Cancer Center Hospital in Japan. They also share a retraction note, which explains how the journal learned of the issue:

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2001 sepsis paper “deviates from the ethical standard of authorship,” says journal

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Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 1.50.33 PMWe don’t have a lot of information on a recent retraction of a 2001 paper published in a Japanese journal — just a brief and strongly worded note explaining that it follows “a strict, extensive, and judicious review.”

The paper, retracted 14 years after it was published, describes patients in Okinawa, Japan who developed severe symptoms following infection by bacteria belonging to the Aeromonas genus. One example:

The one patient was a 15-year-old high school girl student, who had been healthy in her school life, was admitted to the hospital with a sudden onset of left thigh muscle pain and swelling. She subsequently went into septic shock and died one day after admission. Pathological examination on autopsy revealed massive gas formation, skin bullas and ulcers, and extensive severe soft tissue damage throughout the body.

Aeromonas species infection with severe clinical manifestation in Okinawa, Japan-association with gas gangrene” has been cited three times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. It was published in a Japanese journal, Rinsho Biseibutshu Jinsoku Shindan Kenkyukai Shi — which translates to the Journal of the Association for Rapid Method and Automation in Microbiology.

The retraction note suggests that there are major flaws:  Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t perform heart surgery described in retracted paper, says editor

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Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 10.53.50 PMA journal is retracting a paper about a heart surgery technique after discovering the researchers did not have ethics approval to perform a the procedure on 130 patients. What’s more, the local cardiac surgical society had asked the first author to stop using the method in 2004, six years before the study was complete.

The patients in the study had atrial septal defects — a congenital hole in their hearts that allows blood to leak between chambers. The retraction note concludes with the editor in chief advising other surgeons to not use the method to close the hole described in the retracted article, “Long-term assay of off-pump atrial septal defect closure using vena caval inflow occlusion and minimally invasive approaches in 130 cases.

A concern from a reader unraveled the paper. The retraction note explains how:

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After hesitating, Science retracts chemistry paper against authors’ wishes

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F1.mediumToday, Science has retracted a 2004 paper that’s been under scrutiny for years, despite the authors’ objections.

This paper has a long backstory: Recently, a report from the National Science Foundation’s Office of Inspector General surfaced that announced the agency had cut off the authors from funding. Last month, editor Marcia McNutt told us that the journal planned to retract the paper as soon as possible. Then, on January 21st, “just as we were going to press with the retraction,” said McNutt, the authors submitted a correction, which Science wanted to take some time to consider.

Now, the paper has a retraction note, against the wishes of authors Bruce Eaton and Dan Feldheim, currently at the University of Colorado.

Here it is the retraction note:

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Can a journal retract its plan to retract? Science may

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Science is reconsidering its plan to retract a paper about using RNA to make palladium nanoparticles after one of the authors submitted a last-minute correction.

Editor in chief Marcia McNutt told us that the journal will make a decision about whether to retract or correct the paper by February 5th.

We are not certain that what he submitted changes anything, but we wanted to consider this new information before acting.

In the meantime, today the journal issued an Expression of Concern for the paper.

The journal’s initial decision to retract the paper stemmed from an investigation at the National Science Foundation, which concluded that co-authors Bruce Eaton and Dan Feldheim — currently at the University of Colorado at Boulder — engaged in “a significant departure from standard research practices,” and cut them off from NSF funding unless they took specific actions. When the report on the investigation came to light earlier this month, Science editor in chief Marcia McNutt told us that she planned to issue a retraction:

We are checking to see how soon we can get it published.

McNutt explained what changed:  Read the rest of this entry »

Former UCSD prof’s company admits to grant fraud

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court caseA company headed by a former astrophysicist at the University of California, San Diego, has agreed to forfeit $180,000 after admitting to defrauding the government.

If SciberQuest, Inc. is unable to pay back the money — the result of fraudulently obtaining government grants and contracts — then its CEO Homayoun Karimabadi will be personally liable, the lawyer for SciberQuest and Karimabadi told Retraction Watch.

We asked if the company was going to be able to repay the $180,000; in response, Robert Rose of firm Sheppard Mullin told us: Read the rest of this entry »