Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘breach of ethical policy’ Category

Cardiovascular researcher in Taiwan logs four retractions

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clinical-scienceA researcher has earned four retractions following an investigation at his institutions in Taiwan.

The retraction notices, which appear in Clinical Science, mention investigations into the work of Kou-Gi Shyu at the Shin-Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial Hospital and Taipei Medical University (TMU).

Shyu is listed as being affiliated with both institutions in the original papers, but a TMU official told us Shyu left his teaching role at TMU amidst the probe. Shyr-Yi Lin, professor of medicine and dean of research and development at TMU, noted: Read the rest of this entry »

Child psychiatrist flagged for misconduct loses two more papers

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Mani PavuluriA child psychiatrist has lost two papers after an institutional investigation concluded that she intentionally misrepresented children’s medication history in her research.

In November 2015, we reported on a retraction for Mani Pavuluri in the Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience following a probe at the University of Illinois at Chicago, her institution, which concluded that there was a “preponderance of evidence” that Pavuluri had committed misconduct. 

After an “unanticipated event” took place during a study, three studies by Pavuluri were halted and a letter was sent out to 350 research subjects, informing them of errors in the work. At the time, the Illinois spokesperson noted that Pavuluri — who, according to her LinkedIn page, is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry — was also asked to retract two 2013 studies in the Journal of Affective Disorders. Those papers have now been retracted, noting that Pavuluri “intentionally and knowingly” misrepresented children’s medication history.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Deficits in emotion recognition in pediatric bipolar disorder: The mediating effects of irritability:” Read the rest of this entry »

Does your work need IRB approval? Better check, says author of retracted paper

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Does an article that discusses anonymized student projects about how to catalog data count as research on human subjects?

One of the students included in the paper thought so, and complained to the journal after learning that it had published the case study of the program without the approval required for studying people. The authors admitted they didn’t get consent from participants, because they didn’t realize the work required it. The mix-up has prompted both them and the journal to reconsider their policies regarding ethics approval of studies.

In the meantime, “A Project-Based Case Study of Data Science Education” has been retracted, with this notice:

Read the rest of this entry »

Social networking site privacy breach complaint prompts retraction

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patients-like-meA journal has removed a paper after realizing it contained a verbatim quote from a patient that could reveal the patient’s identity.

The journal learned of the slip-up after receiving a complaint from a social networking site for patients called PatientsLikeMe, which enables people with similar conditions to connect with each other. The retracted paper — ironically about automatically sanitizing private information on social networking sites — included a brief quote from an HIV-positive user of the site, containing specific dates and infections the patient had experienced.

The corresponding author of the study in Expert Systems and Applications confirmed to us that the letter from PatientsLikeMe about two lines of text in the study triggered its removal.

The journal has republished an updated version of the paper without the problematic text. 

Here’s an excerpt from the complaint, sent by Paul Wicks, Principal Scientist and Vice President of Innovation at PatientsLikeMe, to the researchers and the journal in December 2015: Read the rest of this entry »

Despite apology, bagpipes study not slated for retraction

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It’s not often that a paper elicits an apology — but that’s just what happened when family members first learned a bagpipe musician died from inhaling mold and fungi from a case study reported in a journal. The hospital has since apologized; the journal, however, told us it is not planning to issue a retraction.

The University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust in Wythenshawe, UK, has apologized and launched an internal investigation into the case report after the family’s distress was extensively covered by the UK’s mainstream media, such as The BBC, The Independent, The Daily Mail, and The Telegraph.

There seem to be conflicting accounts over whether any consent was obtained to publish the report. The Thorax paper says the patient gave consent, and according to Gisli Jenkins, co-editor-in-chief of the journal and a professor of experimental medicine at Nottingham University in the UK, consent was sought from the family. But the patient’s daughter told us that neither the next of kin nor the patient were approached for consent. 

The release of the report on August 22 was “completely unethical,” said Erin Tabinor, daughter of musician Bruce Campbell and a makeup artist in Liverpool, UK. Tabinor told us that the family wasn’t aware that playing bagpipes was the cause of Campbell’s death: Read the rest of this entry »

UK doctor banned from practice after fabricating data in grant applications

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Queen Mary University of LondonA prominent cancer researcher in England has been banned from practicing medicine and has lost his funding from a UK charity after being found to have fabricated data in grant applications.

The moves against the researcher, Thorsten Hagemann, come after investigations by the General Medical Council, akin to a U.S. state medical board, and Hagemann’s former institution, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), turned up evidence of misconduct. In June, we reported on the retraction of a meeting abstract in The Journal of Pathology and the corrigendum of a Nature paper by Hagemann following the inquiry at QMUL.

A spokesperson from the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service told the Evening Standard: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

August 8th, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Journal retracts nutrition paper, citing authors’ “unethical behavior”

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A journal has retracted a paper for a somewhat unusual reason — and swapped the article with an entirely new paper by different authors.

The journal, Materia Socio-Medica, said it’s retracting a paper about diet in dialysis patients because of some of the authors “un-ethical behaviors” in previous issues of the journal. In its place, the journal has published a paper about tuberculosis, also a curious move.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Effect of Diet Education on Blood Pressure Changes and Interdialytic Weight in Hemodialysis Patients Admitted in Hajar Hospital in Shahrekord:”  Read the rest of this entry »

HIV paper pulled for lack of consent, errors

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AIDS JournalA researcher failed to obtain proper consent from HIV patients included in his study about risky sexual behavior, according to the journal that retracted his paper.

The study, based on interviews with 154 men and women living with HIV, concluded that experiencing negative life events correlated with risky sexual behavior. But although the author claimed to have complied with the journal’s standard of consent, the journal disagreed, and retracted the paper in 2014 (we think this case is interesting enough to share with you now). What’s more, according to the journal, the paper contains errors that invalidate its conclusions.

Here’s the notice:

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Engineering journal pulls two papers for “compromised” peer review

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The Open Mechanical Engineering Journal

An engineering journal has retracted two papers for faked or rigged peer review, but authors of one of the papers are objecting to the retraction. 

The first author of that paper told us he and his co-authors “absolutely disagree” with the retraction, and are prepared to use “legal means” to safeguard their “rights and interests.” He added: 

…my paper was published by normal ways, I don’t know why the peer review process was compromised and what the journal found in its investigation.

Here’s the retraction notice, which is similar for both papers: Read the rest of this entry »

Journal flags paper over allegations it used competitors’ text, plasmids

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MGGA journal has issued an expression of concern (EOC) for a paper on a common crop virus after the authors were accused of using competitors’ unpublished text and plasmids.

Investigations by the journal and the involved institutions — the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, where the paper’s authors are based, and North Carolina State University (presumably, where the accusing group is from) — were inconclusive, the notice states.

So the editor flagged “Sequences enhancing cassava mosaic disease symptoms occur in the cassava genome and are associated with South African cassava mosaic virus infection” with an EOC:

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