Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘unreliable findings’ Category

Journal flags two papers by prominent diabetes researcher, more questioned on PubPeer

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DiabetesDiabetes has issued two expressions of concern (EOCs) for papers co-authored by leading diabetes researcher Kathrin Maedler, adding to her previous count of one retraction and three corrections.

Both papers were questioned on PubPeer, alongside several others co-authored by Maedler, who is based at the University of Bremen in Germany. As we previously reported, PubPeer comments have led to one retraction for Maedler in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC), and corrections in various other journals.

One of those corrections has now earned an EOC from Diabetes, which also extends to the original paper. Here are the notices, which asks the University of Bremen to investigate further:  Read the rest of this entry »

Beg pardon? Researchers pull cancer paper because, well, um, you see …

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dovepressWe’ve been writing about retractions for six years, and things tend to fall into easily recognizable categories — plagiarism, fabricated data, rigged peer review, etc.

So it’s always interesting to come across a notice sui generis, such as one that appeared in July in OncoTargets and Therapy, a Dove title, about a new way to detect tumor markers.

According to the retraction notice:

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Researcher denied PhD after “recklessly” committing misconduct

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Molecular PharmacologyA doctoral student at the University of Houston in Texas will not receive his PhD, following an institutional investigation into his work.

Mousa Abkhezr, the researcher in question, is no longer enrolled at the University of Houston, his former supervisor told us.

In June, the probe into papers co-authored by Abkhezr resulted in the retraction of a study in the American Journal of Physiology – Renal Physiology (AJP). Now, his ex-supervisor, Stuart Dryer, has pulled two more papers co-authored by the pair in Molecular Pharmacology.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Angiotensin II and Canonical Transient Receptor Potential-6 Activation Stimulate Release of a Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3–Activating Factor from Mouse Podocytes:” Read the rest of this entry »

Institute director loses third paper following investigation

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An autism researcher is retracting a paper she shared with the director of a New York institute, following a misconduct investigation.

In 2011, suspicions raised by peer reviewers triggered the investigation into several papers by Xiaohong Li at the Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities (IBR) in New York. The probe concluded in 2013 that there was no evidence of misconduct, but the committee recommended the institute review all relevant papers. This additional review led to the latest retraction, the result of problems with figures which “underpin the conclusions of the study.”

This is Li’s third retraction, all of which she shares with W. Ted Brown, the director of  IBR. The pair lost two articles in 2013.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Alteration of astrocytes and Wnt/beta-catenin signaling in the frontalcortex of autistic subjects,” published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation: 

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Investigation raises questions about top cancer researcher’s work

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Journal of Pathology

A prominent pancreatic cancer researcher has lost a meeting abstract and corrected a Nature paper following an institutional investigation.

Queen Mary University of London determined that, in an abstract by Thorsten Hagemann, “elements of the study summarised by this abstract are not reliable.” Hagemann has recently issued a correction to a 2014 Nature paper he co-authored, which also cited the Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) investigation, noting there was reason to question the provenance of the data.

Hagemann is currently the medical director of Immodulon Therapeutics, and has long been recognized for his work in the field, including a three-year grant of £180,000 from the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund in 2013.

Here’s the retraction notice from the The Journal of Pathology, regarding an abstract from the 7th Joint Meeting of the British Division of the International Academy of Pathology and the Pathological Society of Great Britain & Ireland: Read the rest of this entry »

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

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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 retract PNAS paper suggesting silk stabilizes vaccines

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PNASA PNAS paper that caught the media’s attention for suggesting that adding silk could stabilize vaccines and antibiotics has been pulled after the authors realized there were significant errors in the data analysis. 

According to the notice, the authors agreed to retract the 2012 paper; however, the corresponding author told us the authors did not think a retraction was required as, according to him, the conclusions remained valid.

The paper presented a solution to the long-standing problem that sensitive biological compounds such as vaccines and antibiotics begin to lose their effectiveness outside the recommended temperature range, and naturally biodegrade over time. The degradation process cannot be reversed, and may even speed up during transport or storage under less ideal temperatures.

Here’s the retraction notice: Read the rest of this entry »

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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Coptic cop-out? Religion journal won’t pull paper based on bogus ‘gospel’

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HTR107_02What the Harvard Theological Review giveth, it evidently will not taketh away.

The venerable publication about religious matters is refusing to retract a 2014 article by a noted scholar of early Christianity despite evidence that the article — about Jesus’s wife — was based on a forgery.

The paper, by Harvard theologian Karen King, described a Coptic papyrus called “The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife,” which, among other things, includes language that suggests Christ was married: Read the rest of this entry »

Pharmacology journal pulls paper for “insufficient scientific quality;” authors disagree

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Frontiers in PharmacologyAgainst the authors’ wishes, a pharmacology journal has retracted a paper after receiving two messages questioning the “soundness of the experimental results.”

The editors of the journal, Frontiers in Pharmacology, issued an expression of concern about the paper in April 2016, and investigated it following the allegations. According to the retraction notice, the authors disagree with the retraction.

Here’s the retraction notice for the paper: Read the rest of this entry »