Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘physics retractions’ Category

Lancet Oncology updates conflicts of interest statement for cancer-cell phone paper

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lanoncThe Lancet Oncology is correcting a 2011 article about the cancer risks of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields, such as those from cell phones, to clarify information about potential conflicts of interest for one of the experts who was involved in its preparation.

The assessments appeared as a monograph for the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

However, after the 2011 paper “Carcinogenicity of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields” appeared, a reader raised allegations of conflicts of interest among its participants, which sparked a reconsideration of their disclosures.

The correction concerns the conflicts of interest for Niels Kuster of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, also a board member of the non-profit IT’IS foundation.

Kuster told Retraction Watch he disclosed everything upfront:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

June 24th, 2015 at 7:02 pm

“The main improvements reported are invalid”: Quantum communication paper retracted

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scientificreportsA paper on quantum communication has been retracted for failing to address several important problems, making the conclusions invalid.

Quantum communication involves sending a series of photons in specific quantum states over fiberoptic cables. It’s a little like the 1s and 0s of traditional computing, but much more secure. If the photons are intercepted on their way to the intended target, the quantum states will change, and the recipients can know their information was accessed by other parties. This is especially interesting to governments with a lot of secret information to transmit: both China and the U.S. have programs to develop these networks.

The retracted paper was a discussion of how to efficiently send lots of quantum information from different sources through the same fiberoptic cables at once.

Here’s the notice for “Efficient Quantum Transmission in Multiple-Source Networks”: Read the rest of this entry »

Spat between physicists hits Italian courts for the second time

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Ignazio Ciufolini

The long-running feud between Italian physicists Ignazio Ciufolini and Lorenzo Iorio (which we’ve covered here and here) turned up a notch in November, when Ciufolini filed a defamation lawsuit against Iorio.

You can read the full lawsuit here (in Italian). The gist is this: Iorio accused Ciufolini of criticizing the work of other physicists on under two separate pseudonyms (in a letter which the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, which published his claims, later retracted, saying it was a matter better handled locally). Iorio later left critical comments on articles about Ciufolini on the Science blog, Neuroskepticand an Italian newspaper La Repubblica‘s website.

This fight has a long history, despite the two having published articles together in the past. In 2004, Ciufolini’s lawyer sent Iorio a vaguely threatening letter (also in Italian) that had no specifics about what Iorio was doing wrong. Iorio described to us what the letter referred to:
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Written by Cat Ferguson

January 13th, 2015 at 11:30 am

Researchers retract Science paper claiming to have detected a single proton

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science jan 2015Less than three months after publishing a paper in Science which they claim to have been able to detect the spin of a single proton, the authors have retracted it for “a potentially serious issue with the main conclusion.”

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

Physics paper sinks amid accusations of unacceptable “overlap”

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prl-bannerA paper in Physical Review Letters has been retracted for “overlap” with two other previously published papers.

The notice isn’t available online yet, so we got in touch with American Physical Society (APS) editorial director Dan Kulp for more information. Here’s what he told us about “Anomalous melting scenario of the two-dimensional core-softened system”: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

November 19th, 2014 at 9:30 am

Quantum physics paper pulled for “serious theoretical errors,” notice accidentally paywalled

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physicalreviewlettersA paper on photonic quantum walks has been retracted over a theoretical disagreement.

The notice is also paywalled, which the editorial director has assured us is a mistake that is being corrected.

We sent the COPE guidelines on retraction to the American Physical Society, which publishes Physical Review Letters. Editorial director Dan Kulp told us the paywall was the unintentional consequence of a web redesign, and that they are in the process of restoring public access to “all Errata-types, including Retractions.”

Here’s the rest of his statement: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

October 27th, 2014 at 11:30 am

“Several scientific errors” sink physics paper after rewrite opportunity

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canadian journal of physicsWe don’t love this somewhat incoherent retraction for a paper on coherent states, although luckily the publisher was prompt with telling us a little more about what happened.

On October 2, a 2008 physics paper, “Generation of a superposition of coherent states in a resonant cavity and its nonclassicality and decoherence,” was retracted for “several scientific errors,” pointed out by a comment published in the same journal. The original authors rewrote the paper, but it was not up to the standards of Canadian Journal of Physics, so it was rejected, and the original was retracted.

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

Is it better to retract a paper, or publish a letter calling the conclusions “unphysical?”

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langd5_v030i025.inddSometimes publishers and authors decide it’s easier to retract a paper than leave it up for discussion by other scientists.

That seems to be the case here: The authors of a paper in Langmuir retracted it in September for a math mistake, but not before the journal refused to publish a comment criticizing the publication.

Here’s the notice for “Drainage of a thin liquid film between hydrophobic spheres: Boundary curvature effects:” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

October 8th, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Doing the right thing: Particle physicists pull paper after equation collides with the truth

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physicalreviewlettersThree physicists at Imperial College London have retracted a paper on Coulomb collisions, a kind of fender bender between two charged particles, after realizing their equations were written wrong.

The mistake resulted in an erroneous conclusion about the strength of the collisions.

Here’s the notice for “Effects of Large-Angle Coulomb Collisions on Inertial Confinement Fusion Plasmas”: Read the rest of this entry »

Two-timing sinks papers on ships in journal shaken by major scandal

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jvcWhen we heard about this retraction, we were forced to ask: Are there any articles left in Journal of Vibration & Control?

The publication was forced to retract 60 papers by the same author in July, after he was caught exploiting a technological loophole to review his own papers.

Now, papers on loading cargo ships has been felled by a much less tech-savvy method: Two authors submitted a paper to both Mathematical and Computer Modelling of Dynamical Systems and the Journal of Vibration & Control, both of which accepted and published the paper.

The authors, Yousef M. Al-Sweiti and Dirk Soeffker, have now lost three papers in total. Here’s the joint notice from SAGE and Taylor & Francis (we’ve added links to relevant retractions): Read the rest of this entry »