Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘surgery retractions’ Category

Macchiarini paper in Nature journal earns expression of concern for data questions

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nature-communications-228x300Nature Communications has issued an expression of concern for a 2014 paper by beleaguered surgeon Paolo Macchiarini, citing concerns over whether the paper accurately reports the experiments that were carried out.

According to the notice, Macchiarini, a former rising star in the field of transplant medicine, agrees with the expression of concern. Three of his 22 co-authors have objected.

Experimental orthotopic transplantation of a tissue-engineered oesophagus in rats” describes transplanting an esophagus into rats that was seeded with their own stem cells, and notes that all animals survived the study period (14 days), and gained more weight than rats given a placebo operation. It’s a topic Macchiarini has made famous, as the first surgeon to perform a similar procedure with a human tracheal transplant. But he’s faced charges of misconduct in the last few years, resulting in his dismissal from Karolinska Institutet (KI).

Here’s the text of the notice, scheduled to go live at 10 a.m. UK time today: Read the rest of this entry »

Reviewers may rate papers differently when blinded to authors’ identities, new study says

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Kanu Okike

Kanu Okike

Although previous research has suggested peer reviewers are not influenced by knowing the authors’ identity and affiliation, a new Research Letter published today in JAMA suggests otherwise. In “Single-blind vs Double-blind Peer Review in the Setting of Author Prestige,” Kanu Okike at Kaiser Moanalua Medical Center in Hawaii and his colleagues created a fake manuscript submitted to Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research (CORR), which described a prospective study about communication and safety during surgery, and included five “subtle errors.” Sixty-two experts reviewed the paper under the typical “single-blind” system, where they are told the authors’ identities and affiliations, but remain anonymous to the authors. Fifty-seven reviewers vetted the same paper under the “double-blind” system, in which they did not know who co-authored the research. We spoke with Okike about some of his unexpected results.

Retraction Watch: You found that reviewers were more likely to accept papers when they could see they were written by well-known scientists at prestigious institutions. But the difference was relatively small. Did anything about this surprise you? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

September 27th, 2016 at 11:00 am

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 »

Journal retracts paper for using figures without permission

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A plastic surgery journal has retracted a paper after a researcher claimed it contained three figures without his permission.

According to Aesthetic Surgery Journal’s retraction notice (which is paywalled, tsk tsk), the figures were reproduced from a paper published in a Chinese journal without the original authors’ knowledge or permission: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Michael Koziol

July 27th, 2016 at 2:30 pm

Is China using organs from executed prisoners? Researchers debate issue in the literature

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Journal of Medical EthicsA researcher is calling for the retraction of a paper about a recent ban in the use of organs from executed prisoners in China, accusing the authors of misrepresenting the state of the practice.

In April 2015, a paper in the Journal of Medical Ethics welcomed the ban by the Chinese government as “a step in the right direction,” but noted that China remains plagued by a crucial shortage in available organs.

Some academics disagreed with the authors’ take on the issue, noting that the paper fails to note that many organs may continue to be harvested from Chinese prisoners of conscience; ultimately, the journal received a letter asking to retract the paper. The journal decided not to, and instead asked the authors to issue a lengthy correction, for instance changing the language about the government decision (“law” became“guideline”), and allowed critics to publish a rebuttal to the paper in May 2016.  Read the rest of this entry »

You’ve been dupe’d: Nice data — let’s see them again

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As we’ve said before, with hundreds of retractions per year, there are simply too many for us to cover individually.

So from time to time we’ll compile a list of retractions that appeared relatively straightforward, just for record-keeping purposes.

Often, these seemingly straightforward retractions involve duplications, in which authors — accidentally or on purpose — republish their own work elsewhere.

Sometimes journals and authors blame this event on “poor communication,” our first example notes:

Read the rest of this entry »

JAMA: No plan to retract article on fetal pain, despite outcry from anti-abortion activists

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JAMAJAMA has announced it does not intend to retract a 2005 review article about fetal pain, despite requests from anti-abortion activists who claim it has been misused in debates about the procedure.

Earlier this month, JAMA told one anti-abortion critic that it would take a look at the paper, which suggested that fetuses can’t feel pain before the third trimester. Critics have argued that newer findings have shown pain sensation appears earlier in gestation, yet the 2005 data continue to be cited in the discussion around abortion. What’s more, critics have lamented that some of the authors failed to mention their ties to the abortion industry.

But in a letter sent yesterday to James Agresti, Howard Bauchner, Editor in Chief at JAMA and The JAMA Network, writes: Read the rest of this entry »

Authors retract surgery study that claimed to be randomized but wasn’t

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spine-coverThe authors of a study about spinal fusion surgery have retracted it after realizing the cohort study was described as a prospective, randomized trial

The last author told us he believed the incorrect wording was added to the paper — and the title — by accident. Even though he said the journal Spine suggested correcting it, the authors chose to retract the paper entirely.

The abstract of the study describes the design as a:

Prospective, randomized, controlled trial.

But according to the retraction notice for “Prospective, randomized, controlled trial of silicate-substituted calcium phosphate versus rhBMP-2 in a minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion,” the abstract was not accurate:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Shannon Palus

June 14th, 2016 at 9:30 am

Pro-lifers call for JAMA to retract 2005 paper about fetal pain

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JAMAPro-life activists have asked JAMA to retract a 2005 paper that suggested fetuses can’t feel pain before the third trimester.

Critics are arguing that newer findings have shown pain sensation appears earlier in gestation, yet the 2005 data continue to be cited in the discussion around abortion. What’s more, they note, some of the authors failed to mention their ties to the abortion industry.

The 2005 paper has been cited 191 times, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science. We spoke with Howard Bauchner, Editor in Chief at JAMA and The JAMA Network, who told us something similar to what he said last week, when PETA asked to retract a paper they claim could be harmful to elephants: Read the rest of this entry »

Biologist under investigation asks journal to swap image, journal retracts the paper

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Suchitra Sumitran-Holgersson, via the University of Gothenburg

Suchitra Sumitran-Holgersson, via the University of Gothenburg

When a researcher discovered one of the images in her papers was a duplication, she asked the journal to fix it — but the journal decided to retract the paper entirely.

The researcher, Suchitra Sumitran-Holgersson, is currently being investigated by the University of Gothenburg in Sweden after a number of her papers were questioned on PubPeer. She told us the duplication was the result of ‘‘genuine human error.’’ Tissue Engineering Part A, however, decided the request to swap the image was a ‘‘cause for concern,’’ and chose to retract the paper. 

Here’s the retraction notice:

Read the rest of this entry »