Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘not reproducible’ Category

Lack of reproducibility triggers retractions of Nature Materials articles

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The authors of a highly cited 2015 paper in Nature Materials have retracted it, after being unable to reproduce some of the key findings.

The move prompted the journal to also retract an associated News & Views article.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Fast and long-range triplet exciton diffusion in metal–organic frameworks for photon upconversion at ultralow excitation power:” Read the rest of this entry »

Error-laden database kills paper on extinction patterns

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An ecologist in Australia realized a database he was using to spot trends in extinction patterns was problematic, affecting two papers. One journal issued an expression of concern, which has since turned into a retraction. So far, the other journal has left the paper untouched.

The now-retracted paper concluded that medium-sized species on islands tend to go extinct more often than large or small mammalian species. But a little over a year ago, Biology Letters flagged the paper with an expression of concern (EOC), noting “concerns regarding the validity of some of the data and methods used in the analysis.”

Now, last author Marcel Cardillo at Australian National University has come to a new conclusion about extinction patterns. A retraction notice that has replaced the EOC explains:

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Yes, “power pose” study is flawed, but shouldn’t be retracted, says one author

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psychological-scienceAfter the first author of a debated study about the benefits of positioning your body in an assertive ways — the so-called “power pose” — posted her concerns about the research, she has told us she does not believe the paper should be retracted.

As reported by New York magazine, late last night, the first author of a 2010 paper in Psychological Science posted a statement saying she no longer believes the effects of the “power pose” are real.

We contacted Dana Carney, now based at the University of California, Berkeley, to ask if she thought the next step would be to retract the paper. She told us: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

September 26th, 2016 at 1:36 pm

Author asks to retract nearly 20-year old paper over figure questions, lack of data

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journal-of-biological-chemistryThe last author of a 1999 paper has asked the journal to retract it less than one month after a user raised questions about images on PubPeer.

Yesterday, last author Jim Woodgett posted a note on the site saying the author who generated the figures in question could not find the original data, and since he agreed the images appeared “suspicious,” he had contacted the journal to retract the paper.

Here’s the note from Woodgett, based at Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum
Research Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto: Read the rest of this entry »

Authors retract 2016 cancer study when data don’t align with figures

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cell-death-and-differentiationResearchers have retracted a 2016 cancer study, citing discrepancies between the data and images presented in the paper. 

Although the retraction notice itself contains relatively little information, we’ve obtained a letter from the last author — Jun-Li Luo of The Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Florida — to the editor-in-chief of Cell Death and Differentiation that says a bit more. 

According to the letter, after receiving the anonymous email, Luo conducted an investigation, contacting co-authors who contributed each of the figures in question. Although Luo writes that he has no reason to suspect fraud, the researchers were not able to provide some of the original data.

PubPeer commenters have questioned figures 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 in the study, “IKKα-mediated biogenesis of miR-196a through interaction with Drosha regulates the sensitivity of cancer cells to radiotherapy.”

In the letter, Luo tells Gerry Melino, co-editor-in-chief of the journal from the University of Leicester, UK, that figures 3D and 3E were provided by the study’s first author, Xing Fang, adding: Read the rest of this entry »

How can we improve preclinical research? Advice from a diabetes researcher

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Daniel Drucker

Daniel Drucker

By all accounts, science is facing a crisis: Too many preclinical studies aren’t reproducible, leading to wasted time and effort by researchers around the world. Today in Cell Metabolism, Daniel Drucker at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto details numerous ways to make this early research more robust. His most important advice: more transparent reporting of all results (not just the positive findings), along with quantifying, reporting, tracking, and rewarding reproducibility, for both scientists and journals and universities/research institutes.

Retraction Watch: Which of your recommendations will researchers most object to, and why? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

September 13th, 2016 at 12:05 pm

Nutrition study pulled after statistical flaws emerge

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Nutrition JournalA paper that suggested that eating flaxseed could reduce inflammation in men at risk of heart disease has been retracted, after researchers pointed out the paper’s flaws.

The retraction is part of a large initiative on the part of nutrition researcher David Allison and colleagues to clean up the literature, which we’ve previously covered. Regarding this paper, he told us:

When we looked at the study…it was very clear that the statistical methods used were not correct. These are not matters of debate or opinion, these are just…verifiably incorrect.

The Nutrition Journal published the paper in January 2015, and retracted it in June 2016, one day after publishing a letter by Allison and a colleague critiquing the paper

Here’s the retraction notice for “Impact of weight loss diet associated with flaxseed on inflammatory markers in men with cardiovascular risk factors: a clinical study:” Read the rest of this entry »

Publishing needs more science, fewer stories: Q&A with founders of ScienceMatters

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rajendran460

Lawrence Rajendran

Ever wish you could just publish an exciting result, without having to wait for the entire string of data that follows in order to tell an entire story, which then gets held up for months by peer review at traditional journals? So do a lot of other researchers, who are working on ways to sidestep those barriers. One new project: ScienceMatters, a publishing platform where scientists can submit single, robust results for relatively quick peer review. We spoke with co-founders Lawrence Rajendran and Mirko Bischofberger about how this new next-generation journal platform works, and why it’s important.

Retraction Watch: You accept “only single observations, properly conducted and robustly validated.” Why did you want to restrict your publications to something so specific, and relatively narrow? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

June 27th, 2016 at 11:30 am

Trump vs. trump: Does the candidate affect the use of trump cards in Bridge?

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Jonathan

Jonathan Falk

Andrew Gelman

Andrew Gelman

Did that headline make sense? It isn’t really supposed to – it’s a sum-up of a recent satirical paper by Columbia statistician Andrew Gelman and Jonathan Falk of NERA Economic Consulting, entitled “NO TRUMP!: A statistical exercise in priming.” The paper – which they are presenting today during the International Conference on Machine Learning in New York City – estimates the effect of the Donald Trump candidacy on the use of no wild cards (known as trump cards) in the game of bridge. But, as they told us in an interview, the paper is about more than just that.

Retraction Watch: You have a remarkable hypothesis: “Many studies have demonstrated that people can be unconsciously goaded into different behavior through subtle psychological priming. We investigate the effect of the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency on the behavior of the top level of American bridge players.” Can you briefly explain your methodology, results and conclusions?  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

June 24th, 2016 at 10:30 am

Authors pull Nature paper about DEET and flies

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Nature CoverAuthors have retracted a Nature paper which identified neurons that render flies sensitive to a potent insect repellent, after losing confidence in the findings. The first author, however, said she does not agree with the retraction, noting that she continues to believe the data are correct.

According to the notice, the remaining authors say they no longer support the claim that certain neurons in the antennae of fruit flies are repelled by DEET, the active ingredient in many insect repellents. The last author told us some of the paper’s results are not in doubt; nevertheless, he added, the paper would not have been published in Nature without the key conclusion, so he and most of his co-authors have pulled the paper in its entirety.

Alongside the retraction, the journal has also published a Brief Communications Arising article by scientists who were unable to reproduce the paper’s findings.

Here’s the retraction notice, published today:
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