Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘math retractions’ Category

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 »

PLOS ONE flags math paper over algorithm concerns

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PLOS OnePLOS ONE has issued an expression of concern (EOC) for a 2014 math paper after readers raised concerns with its algorithm.

According to the first author of the paper Hafsa Athar Jafree from the University of Karachi in Pakistan — none of the authors agreed to the EOC notice. She told us the paper contains a few typos, which may have made it unclear to some readers, but said the authors had provided all of the necessary information to “justify the presented algorithms.”

A PLOS ONE spokesperson told us the journal decided to issue an EOC after consulting the editorial board, which raised significant concerns about the study.

In 2014, the journal issued a correction to the study to fix several equations in the original article. 

Here’s the EOC, posted July 25: Read the rest of this entry »

Two math papers are too similar, both retracted

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Advances in Differential EquationsA mathematician has lost two publications that overlap substantially.

In this case, it’s easy to see how editors were duped (as it were). Both journals received the papers within a few months of each other, and then published them in quick succession; both have since been retracted. The papers share a first author, Jin Li, affiliated with Jiujiang University in China.

How similar are Li’s papers? See for yourself.

Here’s the abstract for “Landesman-Lazer type condition for second-order differential equations at resonance with impulsive effects,” received by Advances in Difference Equations in June 2014 and published in September 2014: Read the rest of this entry »

Paper plagiarizes from handwritten manuscript

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semiform groupThis case of plagiarism is a little weirder than usual.

A paper has been retracted from Semigroup Forum because it includes material taken from another researcher’s manuscript — which was handwritten. In fact, the same journal had already published a paper by the plagiarized researcher, also based on the same manuscript. The journal editor told us that, although the two papers are similar, they are not word-for-word copies, and thus escaped detection.

The retraction notice for “Varieties of bands with a semilattice transversal” gives more details about the handwritten manuscript:

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Written by Shannon Palus

May 24th, 2016 at 11:30 am

“Lack of scientific contributions and novelty” fells math paper

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A journal apparently changed its mind about the uniqueness of a math paper, published last year.

We’ll get right to the brief retraction noticeRead the rest of this entry »

Written by Shannon Palus

May 23rd, 2016 at 11:30 am

Authorship, funding misstatements force retraction of satellite study

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rslRemote Sensing Letters has retracted a 2015 paper by a pair of researchers in China because the duo was in fact a solo, and the manuscript lied about its funding source.

The article, “A novel method of feature extraction and fusion and its application in satellite images classification,” purportedly was written by Da Lin and Xin Xu, of Wuhan University. But as the retraction notice makes clear, that wasn’t the case: Read the rest of this entry »

Algorithm paper retracted for “significant overlap” with another

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1-s2.0-S0096300314X00044-cov150hA paper on a hybrid algorithm turned out to be a hybrid itself — some original data, plus some from a paper that the authors had published earlier.

According to the retraction note, the overlap was significant enough to pull it from the scientific record.

The retracted paper describes an algorithm that is the combination of a “genetic algorithm” and a “cultural algorithm”– which, as their names sort of suggest, focus on looking at a population of solutions, and the history of which kinds of solutions work, respectively. According to the abstract, results to optimization problems found with a hybrid algorithm are “more accurate and the fast convergence is obvious.”

The retraction note provides a few details about the nature of the duplication:

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Written by Shannon Palus

March 11th, 2016 at 11:30 am

Math journal retracts entire issue following peer-review problems

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home_coverThe editor of a special issue of a math journal — and author of many of the papers in it — has officially retracted the entire thing, after promising to withdraw it last year following issues with the review process.

According to the note in Mathematics and Mechanics of Solids, the peer-review process was “less rigorous than the journal requires.” Indeed, that process was coordinated by guest editor David Y. Gao, a mathematician at the Federation University Australia, who was also author on 11 of the 13 papers present in the issue.

Gao told us in November that he was withdrawing the issue because he thought it would be better suited as a book.

Here is the official retraction note, which focuses on the conflict of interest:

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Honest errors take down math paper

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1-s2.0-S0022247X15X00217-cov150hAn incorrect proof has felled a math paper. There’s not too much to say in a straightforward situation like this one, which we’ve seen before — the result of honest errors, not any malfeasance.

Here’s the abstract for “Spectral mapping theorem for generalized Kato spectrum:”

In this paper, we give an affirmative answer to Mbekhta’s conjecture (Mbekhta, 1990) about the pseudo Fredholm operators in Hilbert space. As a consequence, we characterize pseudo Fredholm operators and we prove that the generalized Kato spectrum satisfies the spectral mapping theorem in the Hilbert spaces setting.

The paper — published in the Journal of Mathematical Analysis and Applications — has been cited twice, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Here’s the retraction note:

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Written by Shannon Palus

November 26th, 2015 at 9:30 am

Author withdraws entire issue after overseeing his own peer review

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home_cover-31The editor and author of most of the papers in a special issue of a math journal told us he is withdrawing the entire issue following revelations that he had coordinated the peer-review process.

The articles, published online earlier this year, recently received an expression of concern after the journal realized the guest editor David Gao, at the Federation University Australia, had coordinated the peer-review process. This was a major no-no, since Gao was also an author of 11 of the 13 papers. Mathematics and Mechanics of Solids slated the articles to be peer reviewed again, by reviewers not chosen by Gao.

Gao told us what happened next, from his perspective — he changed his mind about publishing the papers in MMS:

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