Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘environmental retractions’ Category

A tale of two journals: Elsevier retracts paper after publishing it in the wrong journal

with 4 comments

EMIf you happen to pick up this month’s issue of Economic Modelling, there’s a little surprise on page 307—blank pages. Publisher Elsevier has retracted a paper from that space because it “inadvertently published” the paper in the journal. In fact, Elsevier meant to include the paper in the pages of its other journal, Energy Economics.

The paper, “An Approach to Computing Marginal Land-Use Change Carbon Intensities for Bioenergy in Policy Applications,” is most assuredly not about economic modeling. Rather, it describes an approach for assessing carbon emissions from the production of bioenergy crops.

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

“Copyright issues that cannot be resolved” and duplicate publication sink two groundwater papers

without comments

EnvEarthSci_ak18Springer has retracted two articles about groundwater in Algeria from its journal Environmental Earth Sciences – one was sent down the well by “copyright issues that cannot be resolved,” and the other by a duplicate publication two years prior.

The first article of the two, “Principal component, chemical, bacteriological, and isotopic analyses of Oued-Souf groundwaters,” was published in 2009 by researchers in Japan and Algeria. Its corresponding author, Hakim Saibi, is listed as an associate professor in the faculty of engineering at Kyushu University in Japan. We can’t say anything about the article’s content beyond what’s in the title, since its abstract is no longer available online. The retraction notice consists of a single, lonely sentence: Read the rest of this entry »

Snail egg article retracted for fishing for material from six other papers

with 2 comments

APJTB_ak1The first author of a review article on extracting pharmacological compounds from marine organisms, published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, has retracted it due to plagiarism.

There were also some authorship issues, according to the retraction notice for the paper, which absolves the last author, based at Pondicherry University in India, from responsibility:

This article has been retracted at the request of the Editor-in-Chief and the First Author. Both the first author and the journal’s editor confirmed that Dr. A Yogamoorthi is not responsible for the plagiarism since his/her name was added without consent.

There is one other author, R. Siva Sankar, also based at Pondicherry. Somewhere along the way, according to the retraction note, the paper scooped up wording from six papers previously published by researchers in Australia. Here’s more from the retraction note for “Antimicrobial secondary metabolites from marine gastropod egg capsules and egg masses”: Read the rest of this entry »

Citation manipulation the last straw for modified rice straw paper

with one comment

jnm_coverThe Journal of Nanomaterials has retracted a paper on modified rice straw over citation manipulation.

Rice straw, which makes up nearly half of the biomass in rice plants, is generally considered agricultural waste. However, in recent years scientists have discovered ways to modify the raw material to make it capable of absorbing heavy metal ions, making it useful to both prevent and clean up pollution from industrial processes.

The retracted paper, which analyzed the physical properties of different kinds of modified rice straw, was retracted for citation manipulation.

Here’s the short (and to the point) retraction for “Mechanical and Thermal Stability Properties of Modified Rice Straw Fiber Blend with Polycaprolactone Composite”: Read the rest of this entry »

Stats error has chilling effect on global warming paper

with 14 comments

global change biologyIt turns out a 2014 paper that found a surprising pattern of plant migration in response to global warming was not so surprising after all — it’s been retracted by the authors due to a mistake in the statistical analysis.

Most studies on migrating populations have found that species around the globe move north to escape the rising temperatures. But the authors of the 2014 paper in Global Change Biology found the opposite — according to their analysis, many plant species in Western North America had been migrating south, toward warmer climates.

The lead author Melanie Harsch told Science in 2014 that the team had been suspicious of the analysis, and so ran it twice: Read the rest of this entry »

Chinese heavy metal contamination paper purged for data theft

without comments

Environmental_Monitoring_and_AssessmentAn environmental journal has retracted a paper about pollution in China after it discovered the authors lifted the dataset from another group.

The authors of the study — which chronicled the degree of heavy metal pollution on the banks of the Pearl River Delta — didn’t have permission to use the data. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment‘s notice doesn’t suggest the data are inaccurate.

The heavy metals in the soil come from the many manufacturing plants in the area, including those that provide the West with blue jeans, phones, and other electronics. The pollutants’ effects are wide-reaching: According to the South China Morning Post, industrial outfits discharge huge volumes of toxic chemicals into the Pearl River, including arsenic, copper, cadmium, and mercury.

Read the rest of this entry »

Retracted paper on herbicide-ovarian cancer connection republished

without comments

ehpA retracted 2008 paper originally flagged by Clare Francis has been republished in Environmental Health Perspectives with updated figures and new data.

According to the editor’s note appended to the newly published paper, there was no evidence of intentional misconduct on the part of the authors. The new paper went through peer review as an entirely new submission, and comes to the same conclusion as the original:  Read the rest of this entry »

Geothermal paper undermined by borrowing data without citing

without comments

rsesAn international group of engineers lost a paper in November after the journal realized the majority of the data came from a government assessment of Australia’s energy resources without a citation.

The paper, published in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, focused on geothermal energy, while the government report was far broader in scope. However, the lack of independent research was enough to sink the review. We covered another Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews retraction recently, making us wonder if this is part of a crack-down for the journal.

Here’s the notice for “A review of geothermal energy resources in Australia: Current status and prospects”: Read the rest of this entry »

Solar paper retracted after plagiarism and duplication come to light

with 3 comments

rsesTwo solar cell researchers at the University of New South Wales have lost a paper in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews after the discovery of “substantial overlap” with work by a UNSW graduate student.

The notice cites three sources for the plagiarism. One is an unpublished manuscript by UNSW student Matthew Wright, which he shared with the authors of the retracted paper for “research collaboration only.”

The other two are papers that Wright wrote with UNSW professor Ashraf Uddin, who co-authored the retracted paper with UNSW researcher Xiaohan Yang. Yang’s name also appears on one of the plagiarized papers. All of that suggests that the “substantial overlap” includes duplication as well as plagiarism.

According to Wright’s Google Scholar profile, Uddin has been a co-author on every one of his papers, suggesting that Uddin is Wright’s thesis advisor or P.I., though neither Wright nor Uddin responded to our emailed questions.

Here’s the notice for “Effect of thermal annealing on P3HT:PCBM bulk-heterojunction organic solar cells: A critical review”: Read the rest of this entry »

Water under the bridge? Hydrology journals won’t retract plagiarized papers despite university request

with 19 comments

hydrogeology journalIn April 2014, we wrote about the case of a former hydrologist at the University of Kansas (KU), Marios Sophocleous, who had plagiarized in at least seven studies, two of which were retracted by the journal Ground Water.

At the time, we mentioned two other articles, in the Hydrogeology Journal, that appeared destined for retraction — not least because KU requested that the journal yank them. But in a rather surprising move, the journal is declining to do so, and another publication, the Journal of Hydrology, is taking the same approach.

Here’s the notice from Hydrogeology Journal editor Clifford Voss: Read the rest of this entry »