Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘materials science’ Category

Lack of reproducibility triggers retractions of Nature Materials articles

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The authors of a highly cited 2015 paper in Nature Materials have retracted it, after being unable to reproduce some of the key findings.

The move prompted the journal to also retract an associated News & Views article.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Fast and long-range triplet exciton diffusion in metal–organic frameworks for photon upconversion at ultralow excitation power:” Read the rest of this entry »

Lesson not learned: Researchers copied a master’s thesis — twice

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A material science journal has retracted a paper after learning the authors took most of the content from a master’s thesis – and added the author as a co-author without his knowledge.

The authors must have really liked this thesis – they lost another paper in 2015 for copying from the same document.

Both retracted articles were co-authored by three researchers in the Department of Civil Engineering at Shahid Rajaee Teacher Training University in Tehran, Iran. The first author, Saeed Ghaffarpour Jahromi, serves as the University’s Dean of Faculty in the School of Civil Engineering.

Simon Hesp, a professor in the Department of Chemistry at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, told Retraction Watch that he had notified both journals about the plagiarism when he recognized the thesis of Benjamin James Smith, who was a master’s student in his lab from 1998 to 2000. Hesp told us: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Stephanie Wykstra

December 26th, 2016 at 9:30 am

Physics journal removes study for breach of confidentiality

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applied-physics-lettersA physics journal has retracted a 2016 study after learning that the author published it without the knowledge or permission of the funder, which had a confidentiality agreement in place for the work.

According to the retraction notice in Applied Physics Letters, the paper also lifted content from other researchers without due credit. Given the “legal issue” associated with the breach of confidentiality, the journal has decided to remove the paper entirely. 

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

Researcher denies faking reviews for 5 newly retracted papers

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engineering-failure-analysisJournals have retracted five papers by a materials researcher based in Poland after concluding the peer-review process had been faked. 

According to the retraction notices — which all appear in Elsevier journals and contain the same text — the papers were accepted due to “positive advice of at least one faked reviewer report,” which were submitted from fictitious email accounts for reviewers suggested by the author.

All five studies were solely authored by Mariusz Książek, who is based at the Wrocław University of Science and Technology in Poland, and has denied any wrongdoing.

A spokesperson from the Wrocław University of Science and Technology confirmed that the university “has taken legal actions.” 

Książek told Retraction Watch why he doesn’t agree with the decision to retract his papers: Read the rest of this entry »

Materials researcher falsified data in two studies, probe reveals

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advanced-materialsA materials journal has retracted two 2013 papers, citing an investigation at Pennsylvania State University that concluded the first author falsified data.

According to the retraction notice in Advanced Materials, Mehdi Ghaffari — formerly based at Penn State — was solely responsible for the misconduct. Ghaffari’s LinkedIn page says he finished his PhD at Penn State in 2014, and now works as an independent consultant in New York, after a stint as a postdoc at Procter and Gamble.

A Penn State spokesperson sent us this statement:  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 »

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 »

A plagiarism loop: Authors copied from papers that had copied from others

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2Note to self: If you’re going to duplicate your own work, don’t copy from papers that plagiarize others’ research.

Just such a mistake has cost a PhD candidate three papers — although his co-author argues that a company is in part to blame.

Hossein Jafarzadeh, who is studying mechanical engineering at the University of Tehran, apparently asked a company to complete photomicroscopy for his work. Instead of doing to the work, the company provided him with an image taken from another paper, according to Karen Abrinia, his co-author, who is based at the same institution.

That’s the explanation that Abrinia gave when we asked about three retractions that the pair share, at least.

What the notices tell us is a little more convoluted. Plagiarized material from two different papers ended up in two different papers by the pair. Then, the researchers copied from their own papers in a third paper. (We’re unclear if Abrinia attributes every step of the mess to a company or not. Confused yet?) 

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Researcher in Brazil earns 12th retraction for recycling text and figures

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Thermochimica ActaA scientist in Brazil has gained his twelfth retraction for reusing text and figures from previously published papers.

In 2011, Elsevier announced that it would retract 11 papers by Claudio Airoldi, a researcher at the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in Brazil. Subsequently, he was suspended for 45 days, and his co-author on the 11 previously pulled papers, Denis de Jesus Lima Guerra, lost his post at the Federal University of Mato Grosso (also in Brazil).

Now, a 12th retraction has appeared for Airoldi — this time in Thermochimica Acta.

Here’s the latest retraction notice, issued earlier this year: Read the rest of this entry »

Why did a chemistry journal fix fraud with a correction instead of a retraction?

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Chemical Communciations

Are some cases of research fraud fixable with a correction notice?

A chemistry journal thought so in 2014, when it issued a correction notice for a 2012 paper after the first author admitted to manipulating an image. After an investigation, the publisher agreed the manipulation was a “clear breach” of its ethical guidelines, but decided not to retract the paper since the overall conclusions remain valid.

The last author told us the first author had to repeat the experiments under supervision, and received a “serious warning.”

It’s an older notice, but one we thought interesting enough to cover now. Once you’ve read through the journal’s reasoning, tell us if you agree with the decision to correct (rather than retract) the paper in a poll at the bottom of this post.

Here’s the correction for “A novel route for preparing highly proton conductive membrane materials with metal-organic frameworks,” issued by Chemical Communications:

Read the rest of this entry »