Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘chemistry retractions’ Category

Official notice published for chem paper slated for retraction in 2011

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process-safetyAfter five years, Elsevier has finally issued a notice of retraction for a paper it announced it was pulling for fraud in 2011.

All of the papers were produced by a research group in Brazil; all were retracted after the publisher conducted an investigation, concluding that the NMR results had been manipulated. At the time, the last author on the latest retraction, Claudio Airoldi, defended the work. Since then, however, Airoldi has logged two more retractions, bringing his total to 13.

Here’s the full text of the retraction notice, from Process Safety and Environmental Protection: Read the rest of this entry »

Who wrote this chem paper? Author claims her name was removed without consent

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Spectrochimica ActaA researcher is claiming that her former PhD students impersonated her to remove her name as a co-author on a 2015 study.   

According to an editor’s note, published in Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy, the journal received confirmation from all three authors that the aforementioned researcher should be removed from the author list during proofing stage. However, the researcher whose name was omitted — Nahid Nishat of the Jamia Millia Islamia in Jamia Nagar, New Delhi, India — later contacted the journal claiming that she didn’t okay this move.  

Nishat told Retraction Watch that she believes the two listed authors on the paper wrote to the journal on her behalf to remove her name:  Read the rest of this entry »

Chem paper “the product of intentional, knowing, or reckless falsification, fabrication, and plagiarism”

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rsc-advancesA journal has retracted a study after an institutional investigation concluded that it was riddled with misconduct.

According to the retraction notice in RSC Advances, the first author submitted the paper without the knowledge of the other two co-authors, and the paper was falsified, fabricated, and plagiarized. The notice cites a probe at the University of Tennessee (UT) at Knoxville — where all three listed authors are based — that concluded the study’s findings were invalid.

We asked a UT spokesperson if the first author, Sammy Eni Eni, was still based at the institution, and received this response: Read the rest of this entry »

Cancer paper flagged due to “credible” concerns over its reliability, journal says

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rsc-advancesA journal has issued an expression of concern (EOC) for a cancer study after the publisher received what it called a “credible” tip that its results may not be reliable.

According to the EOC, published in RSC Advances, the paper is now under investigation.

Here’s the EOC for “Filled and peptide-modified single-walled carbon nanotubes: synthesis, characterization, and in vitro test for cancer cell targeting:” Read the rest of this entry »

“The results were so perfect” — and now they’re being retracted

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journal-of-photochemistry-and-photobiologyRecently, François-Xavier Coudert, a researcher at the Research Institute of Chemistry of Paris in France, noticed something strange: A nearly perfect image in a chemistry paper, with none of the typically expected “noise.”

Last week, he started a thread on PubPeer, alerting readers to his concerns — namely, that a microscopy image showed hexagons with crisp edges. The author responded that the students had been working to obtain a “perfect hexagonal structure,” and had adjusted the contrast of the image to make it seamless. But, the author noted, the paper was being retracted for other reasons.

Indeed, a spokesperson for Elsevier, which publishes the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology (JPB), has confirmed to us the paper will be retracted. Here’s the upcoming notice for “Influence of humic acid on the stability and bacterial toxicity of zinc oxide nanoparticles in water,” which cites image duplication as the reason: Read the rest of this entry »

Journal flags paper at center of authorship dispute

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carbohydrate-polymersA journal has issued an expression of concern (EOC) for a nanofilm paper after a researcher protested being left off the author list. 

According to the notice in Carbohydrate Polymers, the University of Calcutta in West Bengal, India, where the research was carried out, has “failed to provide evidence of a thorough, fair, and proper investigation of this claim,” despite being presented with evidence from both sides.

The study’s last and corresponding author told us that his former student, who had previously co-authored some abstracts, got in touch with journal, alleging to be an author of the present paper. 

Here’s the EOC for “Cationic guar gum orchestrated environmental synthesis for silver nano-bio-composite films:” Read the rest of this entry »

U.S. Congress investigating misconduct at Colorado geochem lab

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usgs-1A U.S. Congressional subcommittee is investigating two cases of fraud affecting one Colorado lab run by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The misconduct occurred in two separate cases, taking place between 1998 and 2014. We covered the most recent incident, in which a chemist doctored data in up to 24 projects supported by more than $100 million in federal funding.

A letter from the Committee on Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations to USGS director Suzette Kimball details another incident that took place in the Energy Resources Program (ERP) Geochemistry Laboratory in Lakewood, Colorado, in which another worker manipulated data for more than a decade.

The letter notes that, although the incidents were reviewed by the Department of the Interior (DOI) Scientific Integrity Review Panel and its Office of Inspector General (OIG): Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

October 3rd, 2016 at 11:45 am

The story of an errant cylinder has been used for decades as a cautionary lab tale. But is it true?

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CrucibleIn 1969, an entertaining tale of an errant cylinder was published in a pharmaceutical company’s internal newsletter.

According to the story, a bunch of painters took six 220-cubic foot gas cylinders off their off their wall supports and put them to the side to allow the painting of an area. A painter, who was trying to scoot one of the cylinder across the floor, realized that it was leaking gas. But before he could do anything, he found himself being jet-propelled across the construction site. 

The amusing story has spread through safety circles and the academic literature, appearing in the Journal of Chemical Education, which is published by the American Chemical Society, in  June 1976. But does the account contain any element of truth?

It turns out that’s quite unclear.  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

September 1st, 2016 at 9:30 am

Uranium study pulled after author says data were falsified

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Journal of the European Ceramic SocietyA researcher has pulled a paper about uranium oxide fuel pellets after notifying the journal the data had been falsified — and, what’s more, the publisher can’t verify the identities of the co-authors. 

Originally, the Journal of the European Ceramic Society paper suggested a way to increase the compatibility of uranium oxide fuel pellets, which are usually used in nuclear reactors, at high temperatures.  

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

Study of air quality around Damien Hirst’s artwork retracted — against most authors’ wishes

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via Flickr Commons

Damien Hirst’s “Away From The Flock” — exhibited at Tate Britain, via Flickr Commons

The corresponding author of the study that detected toxic leaks from the work of prominent British artist Damien Hirst has now retracted it — but most of his co-authors disagree with the decision.

The April Analytical Methods study was covered extensively by the media when it suggested staff at Damien Hirst’s 2012 exhibition at Tate Gallery in London of dead animals embalmed in formaldehyde were being exposed to higher than recommended levels of the carcinogen. 

Tate and Hirst’s company, Science Limited, immediately objected to the results; we’ve obtained what appears to be letter from a lawyer for Science Limited to the corresponding author of the paper — Pier Giorgio Righetti of the Polytechnic University of Milan in Italy — saying it was “deeply concerned and troubled by the claims” in the paper.

Last month, the journal issued an expression of concern (EOC) for the paper, nothing the data may not be reliable, and on July 15, Righetti announced in a joint statement with Hirst’s company that he will be retracting his study.

Now, the paper has been officially retracted, noting more recent measurements show formaldehyde levels to be much lower than originally reported. But most of Righetti’s co-authors disagree with the decision, the notice says:  Read the rest of this entry »