Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘economics’ Category

“I placed too much faith in underpowered studies:” Nobel Prize winner admits mistakes

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Daniel Kahneman

Although it’s the right thing to do, it’s never easy to admit error — particularly when you’re an extremely high-profile scientist whose work is being dissected publicly. So while it’s not a retraction, we thought this was worth noting: A Nobel Prize-winning researcher has admitted on a blog that he relied on weak studies in a chapter of his bestselling book.

The blog — by Ulrich Schimmack, Moritz Heene, and Kamini Kesavan — critiqued the citations included in a book by Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist whose research has illuminated our understanding of how humans form judgments and make decisions and earned him half of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics.

According to the Schimmack et al blog, Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

February 20th, 2017 at 12:35 pm

Even top economists publish in predatory journals, study finds

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Top-ranking economists sometimes publish papers in open access journals deemed potentially “predatory,” according to a new analysis.

The findings contradict previous results that show that researchers who publish papers in “potential, possible, or probable” predatory journals (as defined by librarian Jeffrey Beall) are largely inexperienced.

According to the study, 27 of the most eminent economists (within the top 5% of their field) have published nearly 5% of their papers in predatory journals. These researchers published 31 papers in predatory journals in 2015 alone.

The finding — which is not yet peer reviewed — comes as a “big surprise,” co-author Frederick Wallace of the Gulf University for Science and Technology in West Mishref, Kuwait, told Retraction Watch. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

October 27th, 2016 at 1:20 pm

Journal pulls abstract author didn’t submit

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A journal has retracted an abstract after discovering the author didn’t submit it — and also because it appears “highly similar” to a previous publication in Chinese.

The abstract was presented at the 2nd International Conference on Biomedicine and Pharmaceutics in 2014, and lists Qing Guo as the sole author, based Wuhan, China at the China University of Geosciences.

According to the retraction notice, published in the Journal of Investigative Medicine last December, the organizer of the conference discovered Guo hadn’t consented to publish the abstract — moreover, it appeared to overlap with another article in Chinese, written by different authors: Read the rest of this entry »

Economists go wild over overlooked citations in preprint on prenatal stress

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The_American_Economic_Review_(cover)Citation omissions in an economics preprint have set off a wave of recrimination and speculation on a widely read economics discussion board.

Commenters accuse the authors of purposely omitting citations that would have undermined the paper’s claims to novelty and contributions to the field, leveling acrimony and personal attacks. Economists Petra Persson at Stanford and Maya Rossin-Slater at the University of California, Santa Barbara told us they hadn’t been familiar with the omitted papers at the time they first posted their preprint, but their work remains distinct from these previous studies. Nevertheless, the two quickly updated the preprint of their paper – accepted by the top-tier economics journal American Economic Review – to include additional citations. An editor at the journal said it’s not unusual for authors to request such changes before publication, and dismissed the accusations made on the discussion board, calling the site “not a legitimate source of information.”

The study, “Family Ruptures, Stress, and the Mental Health of the Next Generation,” used data from Swedish national databases to compare mental health outcomes of people born to women who lost a relative while pregnant and women who lost a relative in the first year after giving birth. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Emily Willingham

May 26th, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Dutch university ordered to pay economist after she was accused of plagiarism

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VU UniversityA court in the Netherlands has fined Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) 7,500 euros to compensate for “immaterial damage” to an economist accused of plagiarism.

Karima Kourtita researcher at VU, has been at the receiving end of anonymous complaints to her institution accusing her of plagiarism and her professor, high-profile economist Peter Nijkamp, of duplication (i.e. self-plagiarism). Kourtit is now seeking to prosecute the unnamed source of the complaint for defamation; the VU told us it will no longer accept fully anonymous complaints.

The case began when VU cancelled Kourtit’s thesis defense for plagiarism, and a report published on the VSNU, the Association of Universities, accused Nijkamp of self-plagiarism. Two of Nijkamp’s papers have been retracted as a result of the investigation; Kourtit is an author on one of the retracted papers.

A VU spokesperson told us:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

May 20th, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Ever been asked to review your own paper? This economist was

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Serdar Sayan

Serdar Sayan

“Eerily familiar”: That’s how Serdar Sayan of TOBB University of Economics and Technology in Turkey says it felt to read a submission to the Scandinavian Journal of Economics, after the journal asked him to review the manuscript. It turns out, it was Sayan’s paper, word for word, equation for equation, down to the last punctuation mark. But this wasn’t a case of authors faking email addresses for reviewers to rubber stamp their own work – instead, the author had plagiarized from a paper Sayan had published a few years earlier. Sayan describes the surreal experience in the Review of Social Economy (vol. 74, no. 1, 2016), in a paper titled: “Serving as a referee for your own paper: A dream come true or…?

“I have been asked by a journal to serve as a referee for my own paper. Obviously, this sounds just as unlikely, and probably almost as intriguing, as saying ‘I have attended my own funeral.’” — Serdar Sayan, Review of Social Economy (vol. 74, no. 1, 2016)

Retraction Watch: When you looked at the paper, how long did it take you to figure out what had happened? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

May 12th, 2016 at 9:30 am

Peer review scam leader now up to 20 retractions

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Khalid Zaman

Khalid Zaman

We’ve unearthed four more retractions for Khalid Zaman, an economist who lost 16 papers in 2014 for orchestrating fake peer review.

That brings Zaman’s total to 20, and ties him at the #18 spot on our leaderboard.

One of the more recently discovered retractions is for fake peer review, attributed to Zaman; one is for plagiarism, and two other papers were withdrawn while in press, for reasons that are unclear. (Note bene: These retractions are all at least one year old.)

First, the retraction notice for peer review issues, published in April 2015 for “Environmental Indicators and Energy Outcomes: Evidence from World Bank’s Classification Countries:”

Read the rest of this entry »

Economics paper retracted due to “extensive changes”

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727710An article has been retracted from a proceedings of an economics conference after the publisher identified errors in several parts of the study.

The retraction follows criticism from a Romanian blogger, who contacted the journal about several issues, and posted communications she received about the paper, “Sustainability of Social Enterprises: A Discourse Analysis.” It was part of a volume of Procedia Economics and Finance from a 2014 conference, “Economic Scientific Research – Theoretical, Empirical and Practical Approaches,” also known as ESPERA 2014.

According to the paper, peer review was

under responsibility of the Scientific Committee of ESPERA 2014.

Apparently, the peer review process missed a few errors. The retraction note explains:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Shannon Palus

April 25th, 2016 at 11:30 am

Mistaken plagiarism? Journal retracts education paper that inadvertently included others’ work

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An education journal is pulling a 2014 paper about how US funding partnerships in Africa could alleviate local poverty, after the author admitted to mistakenly lifting sentences from work presented at a 2012 conference.

Author Christopher S. Collins at Azusa Pacific University took full responsibility for the plagiarism, and told us he suggested the journal retract the paper — but also proposed alternatives, such as adding the plagiarized author as a co-author, or publishing “an error sheet” that cites the material in the sentences in question.

If it’s hard to imagine how someone could plagiarize another researcher’s work by mistake, Collins explained what happened in a 900-word statement, in which he also told us how he is moving forward professionally and personally.

Here’s how some plagiarized sentences ended up in Can funding for university partnerships between Africa and the US contribute to social development and poverty reduction?” in Higher Education, according to Collins:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Shannon Palus

March 17th, 2016 at 11:30 am

More than half of top-tier economics papers are replicable, study finds

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scienceApproximately six out of 10 economics studies published in the field’s most reputable journals American Economic Review and the Quarterly Journal of Economics are replicable, according to a study published today in Science.

The authors repeated the results of 18 papers published between 2011 and 2014 and found 11 approximately 61% lived up to their claims. But the study found the replicated effect to be on average only 66% of that reported in the earlier studies, which suggests that authors of the original papers may have exaggerated the trends they reported.

Colin Camerer, a behavioral economist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, who co-authored the study, “Evaluating replicability of laboratory experiments in economics,” told us: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

March 3rd, 2016 at 2:00 pm