Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘computer science’ Category

U.S. gov’t physicist sentenced to 18 months in prison for fraud

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A physicist formerly based at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for faking data. 

According to the United States Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of California, after receiving millions in government funding between 2008 and 2012, Sean Darin Kinion submitted faked data and reports to make it seem like he’d performed quantum computing work. Kinion pled guilty in June, 2016 to “a scheme to defraud the government out of money intended to fund research.” He has also been ordered to pay back $3,317,893 to the government.

As readers may know, scientists who commit misconduct are rarely sentenced to prison, although there are some exceptions — most notably, Dong-Pyou Han, who last year was sentenced to nearly five years in prison (and pay back $7 million) after spiking rabbit blood samples to make a HIV vaccine look more effective.

Lynda Seaver, director of public affairs at the LLNL, told us Kinion was dismissed in February 2013, following an investigation that found “some discrepancies in his work.”

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

December 23rd, 2016 at 1:30 pm

Danish university revokes PhD of anti-terrorism researcher

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Nasrullah Memon

Nasrullah Memon

Anti-terrorism researcher Nasrullah Memon has lost his PhD after a committee in Denmark found he had plagiarized his doctoral thesis.

He’s also recently been let go by his latest employer, the University of Southern Denmark in Odense; a spokesperson for the university told us the decision stemmed from budgetary cutbacks, and was unrelated to the loss of his PhD.

We previously reported on 15 retractions for papers co-authored by Memon; in 2014, the Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD) ruled that Memon’s thesis had been plagiarized.

In May this year, an official from Aalborg University (AAU) in Denmark — where Memon earned his PhD — told us the university was considering whether to revoke Memon’s PhD. They ultimately decided to do so, Inger Askehave, AAU’s pro-rector, told Retraction Watch: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

November 8th, 2016 at 9:30 am

Does your work need IRB approval? Better check, says author of retracted paper

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screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-9-51-48-pm

Does an article that discusses anonymized student projects about how to catalog data count as research on human subjects?

One of the students included in the paper thought so, and complained to the journal after learning that it had published the case study of the program without the approval required for studying people. The authors admitted they didn’t get consent from participants, because they didn’t realize the work required it. The mix-up has prompted both them and the journal to reconsider their policies regarding ethics approval of studies.

In the meantime, “A Project-Based Case Study of Data Science Education” has been retracted, with this notice:

Read the rest of this entry »

Social networking site privacy breach complaint prompts retraction

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patients-like-meA journal has removed a paper after realizing it contained a verbatim quote from a patient that could reveal the patient’s identity.

The journal learned of the slip-up after receiving a complaint from a social networking site for patients called PatientsLikeMe, which enables people with similar conditions to connect with each other. The retracted paper — ironically about automatically sanitizing private information on social networking sites — included a brief quote from an HIV-positive user of the site, containing specific dates and infections the patient had experienced.

The corresponding author of the study in Expert Systems and Applications confirmed to us that the letter from PatientsLikeMe about two lines of text in the study triggered its removal.

The journal has republished an updated version of the paper without the problematic text. 

Here’s an excerpt from the complaint, sent by Paul Wicks, Principal Scientist and Vice President of Innovation at PatientsLikeMe, to the researchers and the journal in December 2015: Read the rest of this entry »

Journal pulls paper — entirely (we can’t find it anymore)

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IJSR Cover pageA journal has retracted a paper about augmented reality that it termed problematic,” as it copied large sections from another paper.

The International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR) is on librarian Jeffrey Beall’s list of “potential, possible, or probable predatory” scholarly journals — which rarely issue retractions, Beall told us.

Contrary to the retraction guidelines published by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), IJSR has removed the paper entirely from its website, and asked readers to report any additional copies so they can be removed, as well. 

Here’s the retraction notice entitled, “Letter of Apology and Retraction:” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

July 29th, 2016 at 11:30 am

You’ve been dupe’d (again): Do these data look familiar? They are

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plant_growth_regulationWe can’t keep up with the growing number of retraction notices, so we’ve compiled a list of recent duplications to update our records.

1. Authors don’t always intentionally duplicate their own work, of course. The first paper on our list was retracted after the authors included a figure from a previous paper by accident, according to the publisher: Read the rest of this entry »

Internet trolling paper published email without consent; retraction sparked lawsuit threat

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De Gruyter

When a paper was retracted earlier this year with an opaque notice, we set out to figure out why. We’re still not entirely clear of the reason, but we’ve uncovered one aspect of the paper that raised objections from another researcher: The paper, on internet trolling, included an email he sent without his permission.

The retraction sparked our interest, both because of the journal’s opaque reasoning — saying the paper “does not fit” with the journal — and because the author (Jonathan Bishop, CEO of an independent media company called Crocelshas taken preliminary steps to sue the publisher of the Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Here’s some of what happened before all that took place: When mechanical engineer Filippo Salustri discovered the paper included a screenshot of an email he sent to a listserv — along with his email address — his university (Ryerson in Canada) asked the publisher to retract the paper. De Gruyter re-reviewed the paper and retracted it, issuing the vague notice.

Salustri explained that the paper contains a figure with a picture of an email message:
Read the rest of this entry »

Lawsuit against publisher over retraction comes a step closer to reality

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De GruyterAn author has begun the process of taking legal action against a publisher for retracting his paper.

As we reported last month, John Bishop, the CEO of an independent media company called Crocels, based in Pontypridd, Wales, argues that by taking down his paper, De Gruyter defamed him and breached a contract — their agreement to publish his paper. Now, Bishop has sent the publisher what’s known in the UK as a “letter of claim.”

In the letter, Bishop writes:

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Oops — journal published same paper three times

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surface interface analysisOn November 25, 2014, a journal published an article on mass spectrometry. Then on December 18th they published it again — twice.

Yes: “Mass analysis by Ar-GCIB-dynamic SIMS for organic materials” was mistakenly published a total of three times.

Over a year later, the journal pulled the two redundant publications. Here’s the retraction notice for one of them:

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Seven more retractions for anti-terrorism prof brings count to 15

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MemonAnti-terrorism researcher Nasrullah Memon has notched seven more retractions, bringing his total up to 15 — earning him a spot on our leaderboard.

We previously reported on eight pulled papers authored by Memon, based at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense. There was some confusion over whether his count then increased to nine — but, following a retracted retraction, his total was back to eight.

Now, it seems like the retracted retraction has been re-retracted, and six other of Memon’s publications have been pulled. Memon has also been found guilty of plagiarising his PhD thesis, and more of his work is being questioned online.

The retraction notices for the newly pulled material — all published by Springer — include the following statement: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

May 9th, 2016 at 9:30 am