Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘publisher error’ Category

PLOS ONE’s correction rate is higher than average. Why?

with 17 comments


When a high-profile psychologist reviewed her newly published paper in PLOS ONE, she was dismayed to notice multiple formatting errors.

So she contacted the journal to find out what had gone wrong, especially since checking the page proofs would have spotted the problem immediately. The authors were surprised to learn that it was against the journal’s policy to provide authors page proofs. Could this partly explain PLOS ONE’s high rate of corrections?

Issuing frequent corrections isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since it can indicate that the journal is responsive to fixing published articles. But the rate of corrections at PLOS ONE is notably high. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

August 5th, 2016 at 1:05 pm

Oops — journal published same paper three times

with 6 comments

surface interface analysisOn November 25, 2014, a journal published an article on mass spectrometry. Then on December 18th they published it again — twice.

Yes: “Mass analysis by Ar-GCIB-dynamic SIMS for organic materials” was mistakenly published a total of three times.

Over a year later, the journal pulled the two redundant publications. Here’s the retraction notice for one of them:

Read the rest of this entry »

Nutrition journal accidentally publishes spice paper twice

with 2 comments

FNS2015012717103119The author of a pilot study that suggested adding spices may encourage people to eat more vegetables initially didn’t realize that her paper had been retracted from Food and Nutrition Sciences in May.

What’s more, Zhaoping Li, Chief of the Division of Clinical Nutrition at the University of California, Los Angeles and the first author on the paper, didn’t realize the reason for the retraction: The journal had mistakenly published her paper twice, and had to retract the second copy. The first remains published.

This was entirely the journal’s mistake, editor Alessandra Bordoni told us:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Shannon Palus

February 10th, 2016 at 11:30 am

Seralini paper claiming GMO toxicity disappears after journal domain expires

with 5 comments

SJASA paper claiming genetically modified corn may be toxic over long periods has disappeared one day after it was presented at a press conference, after the journal’s domain name expired.

The paper, co-authored by Gilles Seralini — who has published controversial research showing harms of GM food — appeared in the Scholarly Journal of Agricultural Sciences (SJAS). On Tuesday, the Committee for Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering (Criigen) scheduled a press conference about the findings, noting the finding presented

new scientific data on Bt toxins and a thorough study of the records show that this GMO Bt maize is most probably toxic over the long term.

But on Wednesday January 27, the journal’s domain name expired. This isn’t a retraction per se, but a disappearance. Now, any link to the study “Pathology reports on the first cows fed with Bt176 maize (1997–2002)” goes to this page, which says in the bottom right corner: Read the rest of this entry »

You’ve been dupe’d: Meet authors who like their work so much, they publish it twice

with 11 comments

fertility and sterility

When our co-founders launched the site in 2010, they wondered whether there would be enough retractions to write about on a regular basis. Five+ years and three full-time staffers later, and we simply don’t have the time to cover everything that comes across our desk.

In 2012, we covered a group of duplication retractions in a single post, simply because duplications happen so frequently (sadly) and often don’t tell an interesting story. So in the interest of bookkeeping, we’re picking up the practice again.

Here are five unrelated retractions for your perusal: all addressing duplications, in which the same – or mostly the same – authors published the same – or mostly the same – information in two different – or sometimes the same – journals.

So, on the buffet table we offer the following entrees: Read the rest of this entry »

Wiley published a biology paper in the wrong journal

without comments

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 2.47.07 PMWiley Periodicals is withdrawing a biochemistry paper after mistakenly publishing it in the wrong journal.

The mistake took a few months to sort out.  Wiley initially published “Protein Kinase C Is Involved in the Induction of ATP-Binding Cassette Transporter A1 Expression by Liver X Receptor/Retinoid X Receptor Agonist in Human Macrophages” online in Journal of Cellular Physiology in May of last year. The article was posted in the correct journal — Journal of Cellular Biochemistry — in July.

At the very end of 2015, the publisher officially withdrew the version it posted in the Journal of Cellular Physiology.

Here’s the withdrawal note (which is paywalled — tsk, tsk):

Read the rest of this entry »

Publisher error removes industry conflicts in vaccine paper

without comments

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 3.39.02 PM

An article about the use of vaccines against pertussis — also known as whooping cough — didn’t include the fact that the author has received grants and consultancy fees from three pharmaceutical companies that help make or sell the vaccines.

The correction to “Pertussis in young infants: a severe vaccine-preventable disease,” published in Autopsy and Case Reports just a few months after the paper, cites a “desktop publishing error” that led to the following problems: Read the rest of this entry »

Editors weren’t “unable to verify reviewer identities” — reviewers just weren’t qualified

with 6 comments


We can’t resist flagging some misleading language in a retraction note for a 2015 paper on the inner workings of an amoeba pathogen.

The note for “The Charms of the CHRM Receptors: Apoptotic and Amoebicidal effects of Dicyclomine on Acanthamoeba castellanii” is short, so we’re going to give it to you up front:

This accepted manuscript has been retracted because the journal is unable to verify reviewer identities.

Sounds like another case of faked emails to generate fake peer reviews, right? But that’s not what happened to this paper, according to the editor in chief of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, Louis B. Rice, a professor at Brown University:

Read the rest of this entry »

Symposium intro pulled after author refuses to revise following changes to lineup

without comments

Integrative and Comparative Biology

A biology journal has pulled the introduction to a symposium that was published online before the symposium papers had been finalized. After reviewers rejected multiple papers, the author of the introduction — and organizer of the symposium — refused to revise his portion accordingly, so the journal retracted it.

Suzanne Miller, an assistant editor at Integrative and Comparative Biologytold us that the journal ended up rejecting two out of the seven papers in the symposium. When editors asked the symposium organizer, Valentine Lance, to rewrite the introduction — which contained a brief background on each speaker — he told us that he refused to do the rewrite, and said that he “simply quit.”

Miller told us the journal is now changing its practice as a result of this incident: Read the rest of this entry »

Surgery journal publishes — then retracts — response to letter that never appeared

without comments

Annals of Surgery

How’s this for confusing: A surgery journal is retracting researchers’ response to a letter about their paper, because the letter was never actually published.

According to the managing editor of the Annals of Surgery, the letter — about a 2011 analysis of IV fluids in trauma patients — was accepted, prompting the journal to ask for a response from the authors of the 2011 paper. But the letter-writers never supplied required forms, such as conflict of interest. After spending two years trying to track them down, the journal decided not to publish the letter.

In the meantime, however, the authors’ response to the letter was “inadvertently published,” forcing the journal to retract it. Read the rest of this entry »