Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘geology’ Category

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

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In January, we reported that six of 10 papers flagged by an investigation into author Shyi-Min Lu have either been retracted or withdrawn.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 »

You’ve been dupe’d: Results so nice, journals published them twice

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With so many retraction notices pouring in, from time to time we compile a handful of straight-forward retractions.

Once again, this list focuses on duplications — but unlike other duplications, these authors were not at fault. Rather, these retractions occurred because the publishers mistakenly published the same paper twice — the result of a transfer between publishers, for instance, or accidentally publishing the unedited version of the paper. We’re forced to wonder, as we have before, whether saddling researchers’ CVs with a retraction is really the most fair way to handle these cases.

So without further ado, here’s five cases where the journal mistakenly duplicated a paper, and had to retract one version: Read the rest of this entry »

More than $100M worth of research may be tainted by govt lab misconduct

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usgsMisconduct by a chemist at a Colorado lab run by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has potentially affected  24 research and assessment projects, supported by $108 million in federal funding, government officials have disclosed.

According to a June 15 statement from the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of the Interior, which oversees the USGS, the operator of a mass spectrometer in the Inorganic Section of the Energy Resources Program’s (ERP) Energy Geochemistry Laboratory in Lakewood has been accused of scientific misconduct and manipulating data. The unit is responsible for conducting coal and water quality assessments in projects both in the United States and abroad.

The inorganic section closed following the discovery of the misconduct, and we have yet to learn the fate of the employee involved. As the statement notes, problems with the lab’s data were common knowledge among workers at the facility: Read the rest of this entry »

Engineer: Paper plagiarized my thesis — badly

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GeoScience EngineeringAn engineering journal has published a statement by a researcher alleging that a 2015 paper in the same journal plagiarized his thesis — and was so poorly done it “should not have been published.”

In the “counterstatement” to the 2015 paper, Christian Seip of the Rostock University in Germany said the paper — about the development of a Marine Spatial Data Infrastructure (MSDI) in Croatia — took content from his dissertation thesis, about MSDI geoportals in Germany.

In addition, Seip argued that the original paper, “A Framework for Evaluation of Marine Spatial Data Geoportals Using Case Studies,” in GeoScience Engineering (GSE) — shows “major weaknesses” and therefore “should have not been published even [if] it was not plagiarized.”

Seip told us: Read the rest of this entry »

Physicists retract Nature paper on Earth’s core after findings aren’t reproducible

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cover_naturePhysicists have retracted a highly cited paper from Nature on the behavior of electrons at the center of the Earth after other researchers could not reproduce their findings.

The 2015 paper earned coverage in Science News and Live Science, where co-author Ronald Cohen explained:

There was a big problem in how you generate a magnetic field, and now, because of our results, that problem has basically gone away.

Here are more details about what the original paper claimed, courtesy of a press release from The Carnegie Institution for Science, where co-authors Peng Zhang and Cohen work: Read the rest of this entry »

Far from earth-shatteringly new: Plagiarism topples Chinese quake paper

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scientificreportsA group of scientists at the Chinese Earthquake Administration in Beijing have lost their 2014 paper in Nature Scientific Reports for lifting chunks of text from a previously published article.

The abstract of the paper, “Early magnitude estimation for the MW7.9 Wenchuan earthquake using progressively expanded P-wave time window,” states: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by amarcus41

January 26th, 2015 at 9:30 am

Paper on refolded mountain range a reproduction, now retracted

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JAESThe Journal of Asian Earth Sciences has retracted a 2004 article by a scholar in India who resused text from a previous work on which he was a co-author.

The article, “Finite strain and deformation from a refolded region of the Dudatoli-Almora Crystalline, Kumaun Lesser Himalaya,” was written by Hari B. Srivastava, of Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi. Here’s what it had to say: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by amarcus41

February 12th, 2014 at 1:30 pm

Double-dipping leads to removal of petroleum research paper

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pst journalcoverIranian scientists have lost one of two articles they submitted — and published — simultaneously to different journals. Watch as confusion ensues.

The retracted paper, “Permeability Estimation of a Reservoir Based on Neural Networks Coupled with Genetic Algorithms,” appeared online in August 2011  in Petroleum Science and Technology, a Taylor & Francis journal. According to the liner notes, the paper had been received on January 15, 2010 and accepted a few weeks later. It has been cited once since, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge, by its authors, in a paper published in the same journal.

Meanwhile, in August 2011 the authors (minus one name) also published “Evolving neural network using real coded genetic algorithm for permeability estimation of the reservoir,”  in Expert Systems With Applications, an Elsevier title.

The standing paper — which has been cited seven times — now carries the following erratum notice (dated far into the future, September 2013): Read the rest of this entry »

Fleetwood Mac, anyone? Landslides paper crumbles under weight of “significant originality issue”

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As Stevie Nicks sang in Fleetwood Mac’s hit, “Landslide”:

Well, I’ve been afraid of changing, cause I’ve built my life around you ….

The authors of a 2010 paper in the journal Landslides might have taken those words a little too much to heart. Their manuscript, “Real-time slope water table forecasting by multi-tank model combined with dual ensemble Kalman filter,” purported to be an original paper — but it was really “Second Hand News,” to quote more Fleetwood Mac, the kind that might have “Murrow Turning Over in His Grave.”

According to the notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by amarcus41

May 9th, 2012 at 9:30 am