Archive for the ‘erroneous data’ Category
When an ecologist realized he’d made a fatal error in a 2009 paper, he did the right thing: He immediately contacted the journal (Evolutionary Ecology Research) to ask for a retraction. But he didn’t stop there: He wrote a detailed blog post outlining how he learned — in October 2016, after a colleague couldn’t recreate his data — he had misused a statistical tool (using R programing), which ended up negating his findings entirely. We spoke to Daniel Bolnick at the University of Texas at Austin (and an early career scientist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute) about what went wrong with his paper “Diet similarity declines with morphological distance between conspecific individuals,” and why he chose to be so forthright about it.
Retraction Watch: You raise a good point in your explanation of what went wrong with the statistical analysis: Eyeballing the data, they didn’t look significant. But when you plugged in the numbers (it turns out, incorrectly), they were significant – albeit weakly. So you reported the result. Did this teach you the importance of trusting your gut, and the so-called “eye-test” when looking at data? Read the rest of this entry »
If you think something is amiss with your data, running an experiment again to figure out what’s going on is a good move. But it’s not always possible.
A team of researchers in Seoul recently found themselves in a bind when they needed to check their work, but were out of a key substance: breast milk.
The shortage led them to the retract their 2016 paper on a micronutrient found in breast milk that helps protect infants’ retinas. “Association between lutein intake and lutein concentrations in human milk samples from lactating mothers in South Korea,” was published online last spring in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Here’s the retraction notice:
For starters, the first author — Maria Riccardi of the National Research Council of Italy-Institute for Agricultural and Forest Systems in the Mediterranean (CNR-ISAFOM) in Ercolano, Naples, Italy — apparently submitted the paper without consulting the study’s four other listed co-authors. What’s more, according to the retraction notice in Scientia Horticulturae, the paper’s description of the experiment “does not reflect the real conditions under which the data was collected,” rendering the findings invalid.
According to the notice, when the authors continued their research on the same topic, some of the new data raised concerns about what was reported in the 2010 paper. That set off a “number of disputes between authors,” which led them to retract the paper.
This account was supported by the study’s first and corresponding author, Naitik Trivedi, from the A.R. College of Pharmacy & G.H. Patel Institute of Pharmacy in Anand, Gujarat, India. Trivedi told us he believes the previous study didn’t include some relevant parameters, which affected the results.
Trivedi noted that all the authors agree to the retraction, adding: Read the rest of this entry »
Researchers have retracted a systematic review that suggested that antipsychotic drugs are effective and safe for patients with symptoms of dementia — but claim their re-analysis of the updated data still comes to the same conclusions.
According to the retraction notice in Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy, some participants were incorrectly included twice in the meta-analysis.
The corresponding authors recently lost another paper for an entirely different reason — earlier this year, we reported on a retraction in Annals of Neurology for Jin-Tai Yu and Lan Tan, affiliated with the Ocean University of China, Qingdao University, and Nanjing Medical University in China. The authors pulled that paper after appearing to pass off others’ data as their own.
Researchers have retracted and replaced a 2014 paper in JAMA Internal Medicine after realizing a number of errors had affected the findings.
The authors note the mistakes do not have a significant impact on the overall proportion of heart patients who participated in cardiac rehab. However, a number of findings were affected, such as the difference in participation in cardiac rehab defined by race, and how the overall participation has changed throughout the years.
Therefore, JAMA Internal Medicine has published a lengthy notice of retraction and replacement, which explains the errors made in the original paper, and updated the first paper with a new version of the study.
A few months ago, an author alerted us to two retractions — including one in PNAS — after realizing his team had been using plants affected by inadvertent genotyping errors for an entire year. He initially told us these were the only two papers affected, but more recently reached out to say he had to pull a follow-up article, as well.
Recently, Steven C. Huber contacted us about the newest retraction, noting he was submitting a notice to the editor of Plant Signaling and Behavior:
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.
Oh, well — “love hormone” doesn’t reduce psychiatric symptoms, say researchers in request to retract
It turns out, snorting the so-called “love hormone” may not help reduce psychiatric symptoms such as depression and anxiety.
At least, that’s the conclusion the authors of a 2015 meta-analysis, which initially found intranasal doses of oxytocin could reduce psychiatric symptoms, have now reached. After a pair of graduate students pointed out flaws in the paper, the authors realized they’d made some significant errors, and oxytocin shows no more benefit than placebo.
They’re now retracting the paper, from Molecular Medicine Reports, because it originally reported that higher concentrations of retinoic acid (RA) were more effective in curbing the proliferation of brain tumor cells. But it seems that the RA dose made less of a difference than they originally believed, according to the retraction notice: