Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘food science’ Category

Journal flags paper about GMO foods over concerns about figures

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A journal has flagged a paper by a researcher who has questioned the safety of genetically modified organisms, after receiving concerns that there were issues with some images.

In the 2006 paper, researchers led by Federico Infascelli, an animal nutrition researcher at the University of Naples, tested the blood of rabbits fed genetically modified soybeans. Starting in November 2015, however, the journal animal fielded concerns that gels appeared manipulated, and a figure legend differed from that in a thesis associated with the research.

This isn’t the first notice issued for Infascelli’s controversial work, which has been under scrutiny in recent years, including by Italian senator and biologist Elena Cattaneo. Last year, he was formally reprimanded by the University of Naples for including manipulated data in three papers.

Although the University of Naples concluded the image manipulations were “not a breach of scientific integrity,” the journal has issued a lengthy expression of concern about the paper:

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Idea theft: Two food chemistry papers retracted for using someone’s ideas

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A researcher has retracted two papers after her former supervisor complained she had used his ideas and methodology.

In addition, some of the work was apparently covered by a copyright agreement.

Both papers were co-authored by the same three people. The idea theft came to light after one of the co-authors received a complaint from her former supervisor, prompting her to contact the publisher to resolve the issue.

Wendy Hurp, executive publisher of Food Science at Elsevier, which publishes the two journals, provided some additional background on what happened: Read the rest of this entry »

Nightmare scenario: Text stolen from manuscript during review

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A food science journal has retracted a paper over “a breach of reviewer confidentiality,” after editors learned it contained text from an unpublished manuscript — which one of the authors appears to have reviewed for another journal.

The publisher and editors-in-chief of the Journal of Food Process Engineering became aware of the breach when the author of the unpublished manuscript lodged a complaint that his paper, under review at another journal, had been plagiarized by the now retracted paper.

We’re hazy on a few details in this case. Although the journal editor told us the “main author” of the retracted paper reviewed the original manuscript for another journal, the corresponding author of the retracted paper said he was not to blame. (More on that below.)

When looking into the matter, the publisher found that one of the co-authors of the published paper had acted as a reviewer of the unpublished manuscript. Alexandra Cury, an associate editor at Wiley, explained: Read the rest of this entry »

Tomato study didn’t get co-author okays, includes unreliable data

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scientia-horticulturaeA journal has retracted a paper examining the traits of drought-resistant tomatoes after an investigation at the first author’s institution in Italy found a number of problems.

For starters, the first author — Maria Riccardi of the National Research Council of Italy-Institute for Agricultural and Forest Systems in the Mediterranean (CNR-ISAFOM) in Ercolano, Naples, Italy — apparently submitted the paper without consulting the study’s four other listed co-authors. What’s more, according to the retraction notice in Scientia Horticulturae, the paper’s description of the experiment “does not reflect the real conditions under which the data was collected,” rendering the findings invalid.  

Riccardo d’Andria, CNR-ISAFOM’s former director who conducted an investigation into the case, said Read the rest of this entry »

Retraction notice for GMO paper updated to include fraud

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fns2015012717103119Earlier this year, a nutrition journal retracted an article about the potential dangers of eating food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs), noting the paper contained a duplicated image.

At the time, news outlets in Italy were reporting accusations that the last author, Federico Infascelli, an animal nutrition researcher at the University of Naples, had falsified some of his research.

Food and Nutrition Sciences has now updated its initial notice, saying the paper was pulled for data fabrication. In addition, Infascelli is no longer listed on its editorial board – he is included on an archived link to the editorial board from March 2016, but not on the current list of members.

Here is the updated version of the retraction notice for “Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase Activity in Kids Born from Goats Fed Genetically Modified Soybean:” Read the rest of this entry »

USDA finds “evidence of manipulation” in vaccine study

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VaccineA journal is retracting a paper by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture about a vaccine to protect fish from a deadly bacterial infection, after an investigation found evidence of data manipulation. 

The retraction notice — which appears in the journal Vaccine — cites an investigation by the USDA. It also notes that the authors — who are no longer with the USDA — have not agreed to the retraction.

Here’s the retraction notice, issued on August 20: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

August 26th, 2016 at 9:30 am

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:

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Did an author retract a paper at company’s behest? Retraction notice says yes, author now says no

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Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 15.59.31

The author of a paper whose retraction notice says it was pulled at the behest of a company now says that wasn’t the case.

It’s a bit difficult to get this story straight: Although the retraction notice says a company complained the 2006 paper was “giving business inputs to their competitors,” the corresponding author told us no one asked him to retract the paper. Instead, he said, he was concerned about the inclusion of plant materials that belong to a previous employer, and did a “poor job” of explaining the reason for retraction. But since the results of the paper remain valid, Santosh Rajput — now a plant breeder at Dryland Genetics LLC in Ames, Iowa — told us he regrets asking to retract it:

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Three more papers felled by suspected fake reviews

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Food Processing and Preservation

So far, we’ve counted more than 300 papers that have been retracted after editors suspected the peer-review process had been compromised — and we’re adding three more to the list.

Editors of the Journal of Food Processing and Preservation became suspicious of the three papers after discovering similarities in reports from supposedly different reviewers. When they were unable to verify the identities of the reviewers, they pulled the papers.

An editor told us that he thinks the reviewer identities were fabricated entirely (as opposed to stolen):

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Nature fixes highly cited paper suggesting food additives hurt the gut

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Nature_latest coverA 2015 study about dietary emulsifiers has been corrected by Nature after another researcher pointed out a few ambiguities.

When it first appeared, the study — which showed emulsifiers cause inflammation in the guts of mice — received a fair amount of media attention, including from Nature’s own news department. But since publication, a researcher noted some imprecision around the ages of mice used in the sample, affecting the paper’s calculations of weight gain over time. Andrew Gewirtz, co-author of the study from Georgia State University, told us the change did not affect the conclusions of the paper.

Here’s the corrigendum for “Dietary emulsifiers impact the mouse gut microbiota promoting colitis and metabolic syndrome”: Read the rest of this entry »