Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘climate change’ Category

U.S. gov’t scientist says he was banned from climate research at work — so he used a pseudonym

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A scientist working for the U.S. government says he was told not to work on climate research during working hours, nor reveal his government affiliation when presenting results. So he published his research under a pseudonym instead.

The researcher explains all this in a recent erratum for one of the papers he published under a different moniker — confirming why he and his co-author used the same pseudonyms to publish another now-withdrawn paper that presented some controversial climate findings. That withdrawal — which we covered in in September (as did the Washington Post) — raised eyebrows after Twitter users began pointing out that the authors — Den Volokin and Lark ReLlez — have similar names to another pair of researchers: Ned Nikolov and Karl Zeller

Nikolov’s use of a pseudonym even prompted a misconduct investigation by his employer, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

Here’s the erratum, issued last week for a 2014 paper in SpringerPlus:

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Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

December 13th, 2016 at 11:30 am

Authors retract paper linking nuclear power to slow action on climate change

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climate-policyDo pro-nuclear energy countries act more slowly to curb the effects of climate change? That’s what a paper published in July in the journal Climate Policy claimed. But the hotly debated study was retracted last week after the authors came to understand that it included serious errors.

An August 22 press release about the original study has been retracted by the University of Sussex, and no longer appears on ScienceDaily. An archived version notes:   Read the rest of this entry »

Renewable energy researcher with troubled record loses another paper

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renewable-sustainable-energy-reviewsA renewable energy researcher who recycled material in several papers — and has already agreed to withdraw 10 studies — has lost another paper.

In January, we reported that six of 10 papers flagged by an investigation into author Shyi-Min Lu have either been retracted or withdrawn. Now, Lu has lost another paper that was not among the previous ten — again, for reproducing figures from earlier works without seeking permission from original authors. This paper was on a hot topic: gas hydrates, considered to be a potential new energy source to replace oil in the 21st century.

The investigations into Lu’s work took place at the Industrial Technology Research Institute in Hsinchu, Taiwan, where he was formerly based, and the National Taiwan University, in Taipei, Taiwan, which fired Lu from his position at the university’s energy research center.

Here’s the retraction notice in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, issued last month: Read the rest of this entry »

U.S. gov’t researchers withdraw climate paper after using pseudonyms

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adv-space-resClimate scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture have withdrawn a study they wrote under eyebrow-raising pseudonyms.

The withdrawn paper, about predicting surface temperatures of planets, appeared in Advances in Space Research in August, 2015, and is authored by Den Volokin and Lark ReLlez.

Normally, a withdrawal wouldn’t raise our eyebrows, but climate scientist Gavin Schmidt pointed out on Twitter that the authors’ names are eerily similar to another pair who have published climate papers together: Ned Nikolov and Karl Zeller. Yes, that’s correct — Den Volokin and Lark ReLlez are Ned Nikolov and Karl Zeller spelled backwards. Nikolov and Zeller are currently listed as a physical scientist and a meteorologist, respectively, at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The notice doesn’t state the reason for withdrawal, and Pascal Willis, editor-in-chief of Advances in Space Research from the Earth Physics Institute in Paris, France, referred us to the study’s authors for more information. Elsevier, which publishes Advances in Space Research, confirmed that the paper was retracted due to an “authorship issue” — namely, that the authors had used pseudonyms.

We used the contact information listed on the paper for “Den Volokin,” and got this response: Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Environmental group alleges scientific fraud in disputed methane studies

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icn-logoNote: We are reprinting below an article originally published at InsideClimate News.

The inspector general of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been asked to examine whether a significant recent study of greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas fields was technically flawed—and whether researchers brushed aside concerns that methane pollution was being understated.

The emission of methane, a much more potent greenhouse gas in the short term than carbon dioxide, has proven difficult to measure. The latest complaint is a volley in a long-running skirmish among academics, advocacy groups and regulators over how tightly methane should be regulated.

On Wednesday, a North Carolina environmental advocacy group, NC Warn, alleged that this dispute has risen to the level of fraud. Read the rest of this entry »

Ecologists pull paper on how climate change affects moths after model mixup

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science advancesEcologists have retracted a paper published only months ago in Science Advances, after realizing that they had misinterpreted a climate model.

The October paper examined the effects of climate change on populations of 155 species of British moths and butterflies. According to a press release from the authors’ institution, the University of York:

Using data collected by thousands of volunteers through ‘citizen science’ schemes, responses to recent climate change were seen to vary greatly from species to species.

But the authors quickly realized that the variation they had measured was not due to climate change alone, according to the retraction notice they issued for the paper last week:

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Desalination journal let a plagiarized paper — from the same journal — through its filter

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The editor of Desalination has retracted a paper that plagiarized from another article published in the same journal six years earlier. The papers describe desalination systems, of course.

This retraction happened on a relatively quick timeline: The paper, “An integrated optimization model and application of MEE-TVC desalination system,” was published online in June, and pulled in January.

Here’s the retraction note:

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Double-dipping equals double retraction for fracking paper

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tran por medTransport in Porous Media and the Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering have retracted two articles on shale gas by Chinese researchers for duplication and other “mistakes.”

The articles came from a group at the State Key Laboratory of Oil and Gas Reservoir Geology and Exploitation at Southwest Petroleum University, in Chengdu. The articles share a corresponding author.

According to the abstract of the TPM paper, “Pressure Transient Analysis for Multi-stage Fractured Horizontal Wells in Shale Gas Reservoirs”:

The presented model could be used to interpret pressure signals more accurately for shale gas reservoirs.

Make that a double, according to its notice:

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Article using tin foil, cling wrap to debunk ocean warming retracted after urgent peer review

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wessexA conference proceedings paper that attempted to debunk ocean warming due to climate change using tin foil and cling wrap has been retracted by the Wessex Institute of Technology (WIT) Press.

The paper, “A Comparison Of The Efficacy Of Greenhouse Gas Forcing And Solar Forcing,” was published as part of the proceedings of a July 2014 conference in Spain called Heat Transfer 2014.

Here’s what author Robert (Bob) A. Irvine, about whom we haven’t been able to find information, claimed to have done in the paper: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

October 21st, 2014 at 9:30 am