Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘environmental science’ Category

Seralini paper claiming GMO toxicity disappears after journal domain expires

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SJASA paper claiming genetically modified corn may be toxic over long periods has disappeared one day after it was presented at a press conference, after the journal’s domain name expired.

The paper, co-authored by Gilles Seralini — who has published controversial research showing harms of GM food — appeared in the Scholarly Journal of Agricultural Sciences (SJAS). On Tuesday, the Committee for Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering (Criigen) scheduled a press conference about the findings, noting the finding presented

new scientific data on Bt toxins and a thorough study of the records show that this GMO Bt maize is most probably toxic over the long term.

But on Wednesday January 27, the journal’s domain name expired. This isn’t a retraction per se, but a disappearance. Now, any link to the study “Pathology reports on the first cows fed with Bt176 maize (1997–2002)” goes to this page, which says in the bottom right corner: Read the rest of this entry »

Paper on pine tree genetics chopped for duplication

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naslovna_vol6_no2A paper on genetic variability in Austrian pine trees apparently didn’t vary enough from other work.

The journal is now retracting the 2012 paper for having significant overlap with another paper published in 2008. Another researcher pointed out the duplication — which was unintentional, according to the note, the result of

an apparent failure in communication between the co-authors on both papers which caused the papers to be overlapped.

The overlapping papers share a first author, Aleksandar Lucic, who works at the Institute of Forestry in Serbia. The other author on both papers is Vasilije Isajev, at the Faculty of Forestry in Belgrade.

Analysis of Genetic Variability of Austrian Pine (Pinus nigra Arnold) in Serbia Using Protein Markers” was published in South-East European Forestry. The journal is not indexed on Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Here’s the retraction note:

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Paper claiming GMO dangers retracted amid allegations of data manipulation

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FNS2015012717103119A nutrition journal is retracting a paper about potential dangers of eating food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for duplicating a figure, as news stories from Italy are reporting accusations that the last author falsified some of his research.

In the paper, Federico Infascelli, an animal nutrition researcher at the University of Naples, and his colleagues showed modified genes could wind up in the blood and organs of baby goats whose mothers ate GM soybeans. According our Google Translate version of an article by Italian newspaper La Repubblicaan investigation suggests that Infascelli has manipulated images to suggest GMOs are harmful. He could face fines and be suspended from the university.

La Repubblica reports that a committee appointed by the rector of the university, Gaetano Manfredi, found errors in Infascelli’s data that suggested he had manipulated the results to show GMOs were harmful.

One paper by Infascelli has been retracted from Food and Nutrition Science, Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase Activity in Kids Born from Goats Fed Genetically Modified Soybean.” The retraction note says the paper was pulled for duplication:

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Data dispute forces journal to pull paper about rare bird on valuable land

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coverThe authors of a paper about the density of an endangered bird on valuable Texas lands are disputing the journal’s decision to pull the paper after other scientists objected to some of its contents.

The paper, published online in August by the Journal of Field Ornithology, compared different models for estimating the number of golden-cheeked warblers that nest in Texas. According to the Austin American-Statesman, some of that land includes highly sought-after woodlands. Developers had used estimates from recent years, which suggested that the bird population was in relatively good health, to petition to open that land for real estate development. But the new paper concluded that those estimates were too high.

After some scientists who produced the more rosy estimates claimed that the some of their data had been included in the newest paper without permission, the editor in chief decided to retract it.

That was in November. There’s no retraction note for “Density influences accuracy of model-based estimates for a forest songbird.” We contacted the editor in chief, Gary Ritchison, to ask why. He told us,

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Renewable energy researcher recycled material, agrees to withdraw 10 papers

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S13640321Investigations at two institutions at Taiwan determined in 2013 that a renewable energy researcher duplicated his own work; the researcher agreed to pull 10 papers. A total of six have been withdrawn or retracted, two in November, 2015.

Shyi-Min Lu is the corresponding author on the two newly retracted papers, from Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. The retractions follow investigations at the Industrial Technology Research Institute, where Lu used to work, and National Taiwan University, his former employer. Lu admitted to committing offenses in 10 papers. He was fired from NTU, where he was a research assistant at the university’s Energy Research Center.

First author Falin Chen — also a co-author on the paper duplicated by the retractions — was not aware that the papers bearing his name had been submitted. He told us how he found out:  Read the rest of this entry »

Inventors have a dust up over air sampling device

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graphic_amt_cover_homepageTo climate scientist Pieter Tans, a “novel” air sampling device in a recent paper looked a little too familiar. Specifically, like a device that he had invented — the AirCore, which he calls a “tape recorder” for air.

The journal editors came up with a unique solution to the disagreement that followed, which the editor in chief called “rather unclear:” The journal ran an editorial in which both Tans and the authors of the paper contend that their device is unique.

The paper in question, “A novel Whole Air Sample Profiler (WASP) for the quantification of volatile organic compounds in the boundary layer,” was published in Atmospheric Measurement Techniques. It has not been cited, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

It now bears a note, in bold and red: “Please read the Editorial Note before accessing the paper.” 

Here’s how the editorial laid out the case:

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New developments cause authors to pull paper on drugs’ environmental impact

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integrated envThe authors of an article about the effects of pharmaceutical drugs on the environment have retracted it before publishing the final version due to new developments in the field, which would have required a major revision.

The authors pulled the paper from Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management before it went through the final publication process – such as copyediting and proofreading – after they learned about new findings related to assessing to the risks of human exposures to pharmaceuticals in the environment.

We’d try to figure out which portions of the paper might need updating, but publisher Wiley recently pulled the original article and abstract, against the journal editor’s wishes.

Here’s the retraction note: Read the rest of this entry »

A bullshit excuse? My lab notebook “was blown into a manure pit”

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CleanA researcher who studies how to turn dairy cattle manure into natural gas falsified and fabricated data in a journal article and failed to declare a commercial conflict of interest, a Washington State University investigation has found.

The study “Evaluation of Co-Digestion at a Commercial Dairy Anaerobic Digester” was published in 2011 in the journal CLEAN: Soil, Air, Water. First author Craig Frear was a Ph.D. student at WSU Pullman when the study was carried out and an assistant professor at the time of the investigation. The editor-in-chief of CLEAN, Prisca Henheik, told us that the retraction is a done deal even though it has not been posted online: Read the rest of this entry »

Paper claiming extra CO2 doesn’t always lower plant nutrients pulled for errors

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11Authors have retracted a large meta-analysis claiming that rising levels of carbon dioxide don’t always reduce nutrients in plants.

After commenters on PubPeer raised concerns, the authors say they found several unintentional errors in their data that could “significantly change conclusions” of the paper in Plant Ecology, according to the retraction note.

The paper found that the impact of rising CO2 depends on many factors — in some cases, extra amounts of this greenhouse gas could actually increase plant nutrients. Trouble is, some of the papers that cited the now-retracted article came to the opposite conclusion: Increased carbon dioxide levels do decrease plant nutrients.

The retraction note for “CO2 effects on plant nutrient concentration depend on plant functional group and available nitrogen: a meta-analysis” explains some of the specifics of the errors, and says that there was “no evidence of bias:”

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Investigation finds data issues polluted air quality paper

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1-s2.0-S0013935113X0009X-cov150hAn investigation at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia has found that a paper on air pollution and human health contains a host of issues with the data and its analysis. The paper has been retracted with a very detailed note from Environmental Research.

The issues with the paper include an “incorrect analysis of the data,” and its failure to properly cite multiple papers and one researcher’s contributions. Ultimately, according to the retraction note, the investigation found that the “conclusions of the paper are flawed.”

“Submicrometer particles and their effects on the association between air temperature and mortality in Brisbane, Australia” has been cited three times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

The retraction note is very, very detailed. It outlines the problems with the paper:

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