Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘environmental retractions’ Category

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Retracted paper on herbicide-ovarian cancer connection republished

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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

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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

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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

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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 »

Non-renewable resource: Fuel yanks paper for duplication

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fuel30420Fuel, an Elsevier title, has pulled an article on coal pollution because the authors took much of the work from an earlier paper of theirs in another journal.

The article, “Co-firing of coal and biomass: Development of a conceptual model for ash formation prediction,” was published in September by a group from Australia and The Netherlands.

According to the notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Want to make sure your paper gets published? Just do your own peer review like this researcher did

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env managementWe’ve reported on some pretty impressive cases of researchers doing their own peer review, one of which led to 28 retractions. We have another.

Yongdeng Lei, of the School of Geography and Remote Sensing Science at Beijing Normal University, pulled the wool over the eyes of two Springer journals. Here’s the notice from Environmental Management for “Typhoon Disasters and Adaptive Governance in Guangdong, China:” Read the rest of this entry »

Plagiarism makes renewable energy paper unsustainable

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rserHere’s a lesson for would-be authors of papers on power supplies:

Energy = Renewable; Journal articles = Not renewable

Too late for a group of engineers in Iran who borrowed too liberally from previously published work in their 2013 article in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.

The paper, “A review of energy storage systems in microgrids with wind turbines,” reported that: Read the rest of this entry »

Herbicide-ovarian cancer study to be retracted

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ehpThe authors of a 2008 study purporting to explain how the herbicide atrazine acts on cancer cells have asked the journal that published it to retract it for “inadvertent errors,” Retraction Watch has learned.

The notice for “G-Protein-Coupled Receptor 30 and Estrogen Receptor-a are Involved in the Proliferative Effects Induced by Atrazine in Ovarian Cancer Cells,” published in Environmental Health Perspectives, will read: Read the rest of this entry »

Pesticide paper retracted for “major errors”

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foods-logoThe authors of a 2013 paper in the journal Foods which sounded alarms about the concentrations of pesticides in vegetables and other commercial crops have pulled the article, citing an insurmountable mistake.  To wit: the levels of pesticides they reported were, in fact, not what the data really showed.

The article, titled “Health risk assessment of pesticide residues via dietary intake of market vegetables from Dhaka, Bangladesh,” came from a group from that country and Australia.  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by amarcus41

August 21st, 2013 at 11:30 am