Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘environmental science’ Category

Marine mammal injury study retracted for using restricted gov’t data

with one comment

Integrative ZoologyA 2012 paper that analyzed injuries to aquatic mammals in China has been retracted “due to the usage of restricted data from the Ministry of Agriculture of China.”

The authors — from Shandong University in China, The University of Hong Kong and the Peruvian Centre for Cetacean Research — “organized the collection of official documents related to strandings, bycatches and injuries of aquatic mammals in the waters of mainland China from provincial fishery administrations for the years 2000 to 2006,” according to the abstract. However, they may not have been supposed to do that.

Here’s the retraction notice from Integrative Zoology (which is paywalled, tsk, tsk):

Read the rest of this entry »

Lizards aren’t getting hotter faster than the planet after all, says retraction

with 5 comments

EcographyA paper that raised alarms by suggesting lizards were warming even faster than the planet has been retracted after the authors employed the wrong method to measure temperatures.

Some scientists thought that, because of the way lizards retain heat to regulate their cold-blooded bodies, they might be more sensitive to temperature changes. Well, not in this case. The paper has been retracted from Ecography because the scientists erred in calculating the “radiative conductance of the animal” — basically, how much heat it can get rid of — such that the “broad-scale” conclusions of the study are invalid.

The notice for the aptly named paper “Lizards could be warming faster than climate” reads: Read the rest of this entry »

Kansas ecology prof loses whistleblower protection after alleging misconduct

with 8 comments

ecologyThe U.S. government has denied whistleblower protection for a researcher who was fired from Kansas State University after alleging his colleagues misrepresented data in an ecology paper.

Researcher Joseph Craine was asked to leave K-State after being the “subject of a dismissal campaign” by colleagues when he told the Ecology journal that he believed some had been “fraudulently characterizing field studies,” according to the Topeka Capital-Journal.

In response, Craine sought whistleblower protection status from the National Science Foundation — a sponsor of the research — which was recently denied, says the Topeka Capital-Journal:

Read the rest of this entry »

A mess: PLOS mistakenly publishes rejected ADHD-herbicide paper, retracts it

with 10 comments

logoPLOS One has retracted a paper that links the most commonly used herbicide to ADHD, after it was “published in error.”

According to the note, the paper was “editorially rejected following peer review and consultation with the Editorial Board,” but ended up going through the production process anyway.

When we contacted the authors, they filled us in with more details.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Shannon Palus

August 26th, 2015 at 2:47 pm

Sea squirt draft paper published by mistake

with 2 comments

cover (1)

A paper on the evolution and development of urochordata — also known as sea squirts — was published in an under-developed form: Due to the publishers’ “error,” a “preliminary draft” of the article was published online in Developmental Dynamics last year.

The draft has been retracted; we can no longer find it on the site at all. The final copy of the paper has been posted in its place.

Here’s the retraction note in full for “Development, Metamorphosis, Morphology and Diversity: Evolution of Chordates muscles and the Origin of Vertebrates”:

Read the rest of this entry »

Author disputes retraction of pine needle paper published “without the knowledge” of all authors

with one comment

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 1.16.27 PM

The properties of pine needles in northwestern China differ — both inside and out — depending on where on the slope of a mountain they are situated. The properties of a recent paper on this phenomenon have recently changed from “published” to “retracted.”

It appears that some of the authors didn’t realize it had been submitted to The Scientific World Journal. The paper has not been cited, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Here’s the notice:
Read the rest of this entry »

Second correx for controversial paper on the financial benefits of climate change

with 10 comments

Journal of Economic PerspectivesThe Journal of Economic Perspectives has published a second correction for a 2009 paper that argued that some amount of global warming could lead to economic gains.

The author of “The Economic Effects of Climate Change,” Richard Tol, a professor of economics at the University of Sussex, blamed earlier problems with the paper on “gremlins.” In a notice posted last year, Tol wrote that “minus signs were dropped”; he also added a pair of “overlooked estimates” and several recently published studies.

After the first correction was published, several people contacted the JEP to point out more issues with the paper. Editors worked with Tol and outside researchers to update the paper again.

Here’s some text from the newest correction notice:

Read the rest of this entry »

A tale of two journals: Elsevier retracts paper after publishing it in the wrong journal

with 4 comments

EMIf you happen to pick up this month’s issue of Economic Modelling, there’s a little surprise on page 307—blank pages. Publisher Elsevier has retracted a paper from that space because it “inadvertently published” the paper in the journal. In fact, Elsevier meant to include the paper in the pages of its other journal, Energy Economics.

The paper, “An Approach to Computing Marginal Land-Use Change Carbon Intensities for Bioenergy in Policy Applications,” is most assuredly not about economic modeling. Rather, it describes an approach for assessing carbon emissions from the production of bioenergy crops.

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

The “worst moment of my scientific career:” Two bird migration articles brought down by analytical error

with 3 comments

JAvianBio_ak19Evolutionary and conservation biologists in Spain are retracting two articles – one from the Journal of Avian Biology and the other from Ardeola – because they discovered a fatal flaw in their analysis.

The Journal of Avian Biology article, “Are European birds leaving traditional wintering grounds in the Mediterranean?” aimed to determine whether the abundance of passerines had decreased in recent decades, but failed to control for birds that may have gotten killed by hunters. Although it was published in January, we can only find an abstract from its acceptance by the journal in November 2014.

The authors detail the saga of their error in the retraction notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Citation manipulation the last straw for modified rice straw paper

with one comment

jnm_coverThe Journal of Nanomaterials has retracted a paper on modified rice straw over citation manipulation.

Rice straw, which makes up nearly half of the biomass in rice plants, is generally considered agricultural waste. However, in recent years scientists have discovered ways to modify the raw material to make it capable of absorbing heavy metal ions, making it useful to both prevent and clean up pollution from industrial processes.

The retracted paper, which analyzed the physical properties of different kinds of modified rice straw, was retracted for citation manipulation.

Here’s the short (and to the point) retraction for “Mechanical and Thermal Stability Properties of Modified Rice Straw Fiber Blend with Polycaprolactone Composite”: Read the rest of this entry »