Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘surgery retractions’ Category

Mystery: A bullet with no entry wound, in a paper with no spell check?

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world emergency surgeryThe Patient, a 60-years old Caucasian male found unconscious in a trailer park of gypsies…”

So begins a strange — and apparently not copyedited — new case report in the World Journal of Emergency Surgery. The paper concerns a patient — perhaps we should call him Rasputin — who showed up with a bullet in his left lung but no entry wound that would explain its presence.

Naturally, the authors draw the obvious conclusions:

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Written by Alison McCook

November 23rd, 2015 at 9:30 am

St. Jude investigation finds faked data in brain tumor paper

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S00396060An investigation at St. Jude Children’s Hospital into “irregularities” in a figure featured in a neuroblastoma paper has concluded that the image was fabricated. The paper, published in Surgery in 2012, was retracted on Friday.

Here’s the full retraction notice for “Liposome-encapsulated curcumin suppresses neuroblastoma growth through nuclear factor-kappa B inhibition:”

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Surgery journal publishes — then retracts — response to letter that never appeared

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Annals of Surgery

How’s this for confusing: A surgery journal is retracting researchers’ response to a letter about their paper, because the letter was never actually published.

According to the managing editor of the Annals of Surgery, the letter — about a 2011 analysis of IV fluids in trauma patients — was accepted, prompting the journal to ask for a response from the authors of the 2011 paper. But the letter-writers never supplied required forms, such as conflict of interest. After spending two years trying to track them down, the journal decided not to publish the letter.

In the meantime, however, the authors’ response to the letter was “inadvertently published,” forcing the journal to retract it. Read the rest of this entry »

Image issues force retraction of liver transplant papers

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ajtranspA group of researchers in Hong Kong and China have lost a pair of papers on liver transplantation after concerns were raised about the “origin of images” in the two studies.

The articles appeared in the American Journal of Transplantation in January and February of 2006, and came from the lab of S. T. Fan, of the University of Hong Kong. When the authors were asked about the images, they “were unable to satisfactorily mitigate the concerns.”

According to this bio from the journal Hepatobiliary Surgery and Nutrition, Fan: Read the rest of this entry »

Publisher bans authors for apparent plagiarism

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Three authors have been banned from journals published by IGM Publication, including the Journal of Medical Science and Clinical Research.

The ban — a relatively infrequent occurrence in publishing — comes after the publisher removed a 2014 article that seems to have merely changed the title and authors of a 2013 article  from another journal.

When a tip from a reader pointed to the possibility of duplication between the two articles, Read the rest of this entry »

Trachea surgeon Macchiarini acted “without due care,” but is not guilty of misconduct: Karolinska

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Paolo Macchiarini

Paolo Macchiarini

Following an investigation, Karolinska Institutet has found that surgeon and visiting professor Paolo Macchiarini acted in some cases “without due care,” but that his behavior “does not qualify as scientific misconduct.”

Karolinska’s Vice Chancellor has also recommended that Macchiarini submit an unspecified number of corrections “to clarify and rectify the failings that the inquiry has brought to light.”

Macchiarini is most well-known for pioneering the creation of tracheas from cadavers and patients’ own stem cells. However, the glow of his success was diminished somewhat after four Karolinska surgeons filed a complaint, alleging Macchiarini had downplayed the risks of the procedure and not obtained proper consent, among other accusations.

An external review by Bengt Gerdin of Uppsala University concluded in May that Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

August 28th, 2015 at 8:45 am

Macchiarini co-author objects to investigation’s misconduct verdict

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Paolo Macchiarini

One of Paolo Macchiarini’s co-authors on a 2011 Lancet paper describing an allegedly groundbreaking procedure to transplant an artificial trachea seeded with stem cells is objecting to a recent investigation that concluded Macchiarini had committed misconduct.

Ola Hermanson, who studies neural stem cells at Karolinska Institutet, argued in a report dated June 29 that the investigation contained “serious flaws and formal errors.”

Hermanson’s lengthy response (uploaded here except for supporting emails) is to the findings of an external review of allegations about Macchiarini’s work, conducted by Bengt Gerdin, of Uppsala University. In regards to the 2011 Lancet paper, Gerdin’s investigation found:

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Written by Alison McCook

July 1st, 2015 at 8:30 am

Retraction and republication for Lancet Resp Med tracheostomy paper

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lancetrmA paper whose expression of concern we covered in November 2014 has been retracted and republished “because of the extent of the changes necessary,” according to the Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen retraction/republications at the Lancetaccompanied by thorough breakdowns of the problem.

This study was a meta-analysis of research on how the timing of tracheostomies — placing a breathing tube directly into the windpipe — affects patients’ mortality rate. The original paper found that critically ill patients who received a tracheostomy earlier fared better than those for whom the procedure was delayed for weeks after intubation, the recommended practice.

However, when the authors calculated how many patients died, they assumed that any patient who wasn’t discharged from the intensive care unit (ICU) had died there, instead of looking for other explanations. This made their estimates unreliable.

The publisher convened a panel, which ultimately decided retraction and republication was the most appropriate course of action.

The original expression of concern contained a quote from the authors about the “data discrepancy” that would later sink the paper: Read the rest of this entry »

BioMed Central retracting 43 papers for fake peer review

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bmc logoBioMed Central is retracting 43 papers, following their investigation into 50 papers that raised suspicions of fake peer review, possibly involving third-party companies selling the service.

In November 2014 we wrote about fake peer reviews for Nature; at that point there had been about 110 retractions across several journals. The addition of 16 retractions by Elsevier for the same reason, and today’s 43 from BMC, brings retractions resulting from the phenomenon up to about 170.

BMC has also contacted institutions regarding 60 additional papers that were rejected for publication, but seem to be part of the same kind of scam. Regarding the third-party agents, BMC senior editor of scientific integrity Elizabeth Moylan writes: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

March 26th, 2015 at 12:05 pm

First cut is the deepest: paper on incisional hernia sliced for duplication

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jamcolsurgeonsThe authors of a 2014 paper in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons about incisional hernia have lost their article for being a duplicate submission.

The paper, “Impact on Quality of Life of Using an Onlay Mesh to Prevent Incisional Hernia in Midline Laparotomy: A Randomized Clinical Trial,” came from a group at the Parc Tauli University Hospital, part of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, in Spain.

By duplicating another paper, the authors (three of which appear to be listed on both papers) committed “a severe abuse of the scientific publishing system,” according to the retraction notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by amarcus41

February 12th, 2015 at 11:30 am