Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘unreliable findings’ Category

Researcher who sued to stop retractions gets his sixth

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Mario Saad

Mario Saad

A sixth retraction has appeared for a diabetes researcher who previously sued a publisher to try to stop his papers from being retracted.

Mario Saad‘s latest retraction, in PLOS Biology, stems from inadvertent duplications, according to the authors.  Though an investigation at Saad’s institution — the University of Campinas in Brazil — found no evidence of misconduct, a critic of the paper told The Scientist he does not believe that the issues with blots were inadvertent.

Previously, Saad sued the American Diabetes Association to remove four expressions of concern from his papers; they were later retracted, even though Unicamp recommended keeping three of them published.

Here’s the new retraction notice, for “Gut Microbiota Is a Key Modulator of Insulin Resistance in TLR 2 Knockout Mice:” Read the rest of this entry »

“I shared:” Can tagging papers that share data boost the practice?

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Psychological Science

After a journal began tagging papers that adopted open science practices — such as sharing data and materials — a few other scientists may have been nudged into doing the same.

In January 2014, Psychological Science began rewarding digital badges to authors who committed to open science practices such as sharing the data and materials. A study published today in PLOS Biology looks at whether publicizing such behavior helps encourage others to follow their leads. 

The authors summarize their main findings in the paper:
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Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

May 12th, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Duke researcher adds another retraction in JCI, bringing count to 15

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JCIWe’ve found another retraction for Erin Potts-Kant, a former researcher at Duke, bringing her total to 15.

Yesterday we reported on two new retractions for Potts-Kant in PLoS ONE, which earned her a spot in the top 30 on our leaderboard. As with the others, the latest paper, in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, is marred by “unreliable” data.

Here’s the retraction notice for “In utero supplementation with methyl donors enhances allergic airway disease in mice“:

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Duke pulmonary researcher up to 14 retractions, putting her on our leaderboard

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PLOS OneA pair of Duke researchers who each have more than 10 retractions have earned some more.

Both of the newly retracted papers — originally published in 2012 by PLOS ONE — list Erin Potts-Kant as a co-author; one includes her former supervisor, Michael Foster, as lead author. The pair has since left Duke (Potts-Kant was arrested for using school credit cards to shop at the likes of Target, and Foster retired). The reason provided for these retractions will be familiar to anyone who’s been following their case — there were “concerns about the reliability” of the data.

By our count, Potts-Kant now has 14 retractions, making her one of the few women to hold a position on our leaderboard.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Iron Supplementation Decreases Severity of Allergic Inflammation in Murine Lung,” a paper that lists both Foster and Potts-Kant as authors:

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Cancer researcher earns 3 more retractions following NIH misconduct investigation

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A researcher formerly based at the National Cancer Institute has earned three new retractions following an investigation that found she committed misconduct.

In May of last year, Stephanie Watkins, who now works at Loyola Medicineearned two retractions, which mention a review by an investigation committee at the National Institutes of Health. Two of the new notes, published in Cancer Research, mention the review as well, and cite data falsification in a figure as the reason for retraction. Watkins is the only author that did not agree to those retractions.

There may be more changes to the literature — an editor at another cancer journal told us the journal is awaiting a decision from the Office of Research Integrity before deciding what to do with a paper by Watkins, given that she does not agree with the misconduct charges.

We’ll start with a retraction note from Cancer Research:

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Five more notices for Duke pulmonary pair brings retraction tally into double digits

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Two retractions and three corrections have appeared for a group of Duke researchers that already have 10+ retractions under their belts.

The reasoning behind them echoes that which we’ve seen before in notices for Michael Foster and Erin Potts-Kant: Following an inquiry from the university, the journals were informed that some of the data or results weren’t reliable, and not all of the experiments could be repeated.

A colleague aware of the case said that researchers are still working to repeat experiments from papers by Potts-Kant and Foster. It is not known how many more papers might be corrected or retracted. Duke University is fully supporting the validation of these experiments, the source told us.

Foster has retired from Duke, a spokesperson for the university confirmed. Read the rest of this entry »

Concerns attached to three more papers by retraction-laden management researcher

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Fred Walumbwa

Fred Walumbwa

Fred Walumbwa, a management researcher with eight seven retractions, has received three expressions of concern from two journals after he failed to provide raw data following an investigation into potential errors.

In the past, Walumbwa has said he only keeps data until his papers are published, but a lack of raw data has become a common theme in his notices, which now also include four corrections, and one other EOC (making a new total of four). There are no standard rules about how long to store raw data, but one journal that issued two of the new EOCs has since updated its submission policy to require that authors keep data for at least five years.

Walumbwa currently works at Florida International University. When concerns about the statistics were raised about five of his papers in Personnel Psychology, the journal conducted an investigation that led to flagging two of those articles, the expression of concern explains:

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Poop paper flushed due to possible sample contamination

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cover (3)The authors of a paper on a new probiotic strain of bacteria found in pig feces have retracted it from Animal Science Journal after discovering some of the bacteria might have been contaminated.

Readers likely know by now how easy it is for this to happen, as we frequently report on retractions due to similar reasons. Like other instances of mistaken cell identity, the authors of this 2013 paper realized the mistake following further tests of the bacteria used in the experiment.

The retraction for “Isolation, characterization, and effect of administration in vivo, a novel probiotic strain from pig feces

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Son sees dead father in case report, requests retraction

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ijscrAuthors have retracted a case report describing a surgery to remove gallstones in a patient with Crohn’s disease after learning they’d mixed up two cases, and instead reported on a patient who had died 21 days after the procedure.

We were alerted to this story by La Repubblica, and contacted by the son of the patient (who asked not to be named, for privacy reasons). He told us he found the study and asked the journal to retract it:

…I can say that it was absolutely devastating to realise that the pictures I was looking at were from the surgery that led to the death of my father. It is something that gives me a lot of sorrow thinking that the man in that picture with the open belly was him, when he was fighting for his life. I asked the rest of my family not to see them to avoid them the same shock.

Even before the retraction appeared, we received confirmation it was coming from Giuseppe Paolisso, the Principal of the School of Medicine at the Second University of Naples, where the authors are based: Read the rest of this entry »

Neuroscience journal retracts paper for lack of “scientific soundness”

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Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 9.21.12 AMAn unusual article that considered the concept of change from a systems perspective — including change in medicine, economics, and decision-making, for instance — has, well, changed from “published” to “retracted.”

After commenters on PubPeer called the 2014 paper “gibberish” and even suggested it might be computer-generated, Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience retracted it, noting it “does not meet the standards of editorial and scientific soundness” for the journal, according to the retraction notice. The paper’s editor and author maintain there was nothing wrong with the science in the paper.

Here’s the full note for “Sensing risk, fearing uncertainty: systems science approach to change:” Read the rest of this entry »