Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘immunology retractions’ Category

Cancer researcher earns 5th retraction after misconduct finding

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oncoimmunologyA cancer researcher has logged her fifth retraction following an investigation that concluded she had committed scientific misconduct.

We’ve previously reported on four retractions of papers by Stephanie Watkins, a researcher at Loyola Medicine. The previously issued notices — in The Journal of Clinical Investigation and Cancer Research — note that an investigation committee appointed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found Watkins to be solely responsible for the misconduct, with none of the co-authors aware of it.

The editor of OncoImmunology previously informed us that the journal was investigating another one of Watkins’ papers; the journal has now pulled that paper, citing “fabrication and falsification of data” in the original studies referenced in the paper.

Here’s the retraction notice, published online earlier this year: Read the rest of this entry »

Sting operation forces predatory publisher to pull paper

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Medical Archives

Sometimes, the best way to expose a problem with the publishing process is to put it to a test — perhaps by performing a Sokal-style hoax, or submitting a paper with obvious flaws.

In 2014, that’s just what a researcher in Kosovo did. Suspicious that a journal wasn’t doing a thorough job of vetting submissions, she decided to send them an article of hers that had already appeared in another journal. Her thinking was that any journal with an honest and thorough peer review process would hesitate to publish the work. But this journal didn’t — at least at first. Though they retracted the paper this summer, it took a few twists and turns to get there.

The researcher wasn’t the only one wary of the journal — it’s on Jeffrey Beall’s list of “potential, possible, or probable” predatory publishers. Appropriately, Beall recounts the story of her sting operation on his blog. Here’s how it all went down:

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You’ve been dupe’d: Results so nice, they’re published twice

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obesity surgeryWith retraction notices continuing to pour in, we like to occasionally take the opportunity to cover several at a time to keep up.

We’ve compiled a handful of retractions that were all issued to papers that were published twice by at least one of the same authors — known as duplication. (Sometimes, this can be the publisher’s fault, although that doesn’t appear to be the case in any of the following examples.)

So here are five recently retracted papers that were pulled because of duplication: Read the rest of this entry »

UK tribunal orders release of data from controversial chronic fatigue syndrome study

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court caseA tribunal in the UK has rejected an appeal by Queen Mary University of London, who sought to reverse a previous order that they release data from a controversial 2011 paper in The Lancet about chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

The decision is one in a long series of judgments about the so-called PACE trial, which reported that two treatments — known as cognitive behavioral therapy and graded exercise therapy — helped alleviate the symptoms of the condition. But ever since The Lancet article and follow-up papers have been published, patients and critics have questioned the conclusions and clamored to see the raw data.

The main criticisms: The findings may prompt some to believe chronic fatigue is a mental, not a physical, disorder, and the PACE program could actually be harmful to patients by encouraging too much exercise. These criticisms were recently bolstered by a re-analysis of the evidence by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which downgraded its original conclusions about the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy and graded exercise therapy.

In March 2014,  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

August 17th, 2016 at 11:30 am

You’ve been dupe’d: Results so nice, journals published them twice

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With so many retraction notices pouring in, from time to time we compile a handful of straight-forward retractions.

Once again, this list focuses on duplications — but unlike other duplications, these authors were not at fault. Rather, these retractions occurred because the publishers mistakenly published the same paper twice — the result of a transfer between publishers, for instance, or accidentally publishing the unedited version of the paper. We’re forced to wonder, as we have before, whether saddling researchers’ CVs with a retraction is really the most fair way to handle these cases.

So without further ado, here’s five cases where the journal mistakenly duplicated a paper, and had to retract one version: Read the rest of this entry »

Romanian journal bans author following 4 retractions

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Romanian Journal of Internal MedicineA medical journal in Romania has issued a lifetime ban for a researcher after retracting four of his papers.

Since April, the Romanian Journal of Internal Medicine (RJIM) retracted nine papers (eight for plagiarism, one for duplication); four of these were co-authored by Manole Cojocaru, a researcher at the Titu Maiorescu University (TMU) in Bucharest, Romania. Subsequently, the journal has banned Cojocaru from submitting manuscripts, and has also informed the ethics committee at his institution.

Here’s the retraction notice, which is the same for six of the papers: Read the rest of this entry »

Unwitting co-author requests retraction of melatonin paper

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Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 10.54.58 PMNine years ago, a well-known pharmacologist hosted a researcher from another university in his lab. On a Saturday night last September, he learned while surfing Google Scholar that they had published a paper together.

Marco Cosentino, who works at the University of Insubria in Italy, know that Seema Rai, a zoologist at Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya in India, had collected data during during her six months in his lab, but had warned her they were too preliminary to publish. She published the data — on melatonin’s role in immunity — anyway, last summer in the Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology, listing Cosentino as the second author.

The day after he discovered the paper, Cosentino sent an email to the editor in chief of the journal, Charles Malemud, explaining why he did not approve of the publication:

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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 »

Fraudster loses third attempt to remove 7-year debarment

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court caseA U.S. judge has denied a virology researcher’s third attempt to overturn a seven-year debarment from receiving federal funds, following a 2010 decision by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity.

The ORI banned Scott Brodie for seven years after concluding he had committed 15 acts of misconduct at the University of Washington. The deception affected grant applications, published papers, manuscripts, and presentations. Since then, Brodie has tried multiple times to reverse the ruling in court.

In the latest decision, dated June 13, United States District Judge James E. Boasberg writes: Read the rest of this entry »

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 »