Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘environmental retractions’ Category

NSF investigation of high-profile plant retractions ends in two debarments

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Jorge Vivanco

Jorge Vivanco

A nearly ten-year-long series of investigations into a pair of plant physiologists who received millions in funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation has resulted in debarments of less than two years for each of the researchers.

The NSF Office of Inspector General recently posted its close-out report on its decision and a review of the University’s investigation, which had recommended a total of eight retractions or corrections. Although the investigator’s names have been redacted, the text of retractions and corrections quoted in the report corresponds to papers by Read the rest of this entry »

“We copied verbatim”: Authors insist on retraction for their own spider paper

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Journal of ArachnologyThe authors of a 2015 paper about non-native spider populations in Chile are retracting it from the Journal of Arachnology because they copied the introduction of a 2011 paper verbatim.

The retraction was triggered by the first author, who “insisted on a full retraction in lieu of milder remedies,” according to the journal’s editor-in-chief.

The paper, “Alien spiders in Chile: evaluating Darwin’s naturalization hypothesis,” tested Darwin’s hypothesis that introduced species that are phylogenetically distant from native animals are more likely to thrive. It was published in April. Authors Andrés Taucare-Ríos and Ramiro O. Bustamante are both based at the University of Chile in Santiago.

The notice reads:

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Author disputes retraction of pine needle paper published “without the knowledge” of all authors

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The properties of pine needles in northwestern China differ — both inside and out — depending on where on the slope of a mountain they are situated. The properties of a recent paper on this phenomenon have recently changed from “published” to “retracted.”

It appears that some of the authors didn’t realize it had been submitted to The Scientific World Journal. The paper has not been cited, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Here’s the notice:
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Editors retract algae study, citing “issues with the data”

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International Journal of PhytoremediationThe International Journal of Phytoremediation  has issued a retraction for a 2013 article suggesting algae could shield against gamma radiation better than lead.

Sadly, such an innovation was not to be — the editors have pulled the paper, saying:

We are now cognizant that there are issues with the data and determinations made within the manuscript that cannot be corrected through a corrigendum.

The paper is now covered by a dizzying watermark. (The first page can be seen here.)

Here’s more from the retraction for “Shielding Property of Natural Biomass Against Gamma Rays”, authored by a group of professors at Amasya University, Aksaray University, and Suleyman Demirel University in Turkey:

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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