Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘corrections’ Category

Want to correct the scientific literature? Good luck

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David Allison

David Allison

Andrew Brown

Andrew Brown

If you notice an obvious problem with a paper in your field, it should be relatively easy to alert the journal’s readers to the issue, right? Unfortunately, for a group of nutrition researchers led by David B. Allison at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, that is not their experience. Allison and his co-author Andrew Brown talked to us about a commentary they’ve published in today’s Nature, which describes the barriers they encountered to correcting the record. 

Retraction Watch: You were focusing on your field (nutrition), and after finding dozens of “substantial or invalidating errors,” you had to stop writing letters to the authors or journals, simply because you didn’t have time to keep up with it all. Do you expect the same amount of significant errors are present in papers from other fields? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

February 3rd, 2016 at 1:00 pm

News site The Intercept says reporter created fake quotes, sources

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interceptThe Intercept is apologizing to readers after an investigation revealed one of its reporters fabricated multiple quotes and even created a fake email address for a source to deceive his editors.

The online news site is retracting and correcting several articles by former staff writer Juan Thompson, who was employed there from November 2014 until last month.

In a note issued earlier today, editor Betsy Reed revealed some details of the results of the investigation to readers:

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Science publishes Voinnet’s 19th, 20th, and 21st corrections

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351-6271-coverProminent plant biologist Olivier Voinnet has issued three more corrections in this week’s issue of Science.

Collectively, the papers have earned more than 1400 citations, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

By our count, he’s now at 21 corrections and seven retractions, following months of questions about his work. He’s been the subject of an investigation that found he “breached his duty of care,” and another which found evidence of scientific misconduct.

One correction goes against the recommendation of the ETH Commission to retract the paper for “well documented intentional manipulations.” According to the correction note, the incorrect figures did not “alter the data in any material way that could be construed to benefit the results and their conclusions.” That correction is the only one of the three for which Voinnet takes full responsibility.

The other two corrections place the responsibility on  Read the rest of this entry »

So, pot may not be as harmless as a recent study suggested

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Researchers are correcting a widely covered study that suggested chronic use of pot might not put users at risk of problems later in life.

It turns out that initial, unexpected finding — covered by Newsweek, The Washington Post, Quartzand (of course) The Stoner’s Cookbook — wasn’t quite right, and a reanalysis found users had a small uptick in risk for psychosis. The authors have issued a lengthy correction in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors that includes some supplemental analysis, too.

Not surprisingly, the study’s findings engendered some controversy, which prompted the authors to reanalyze their data, collected from 408 males with varying levels of marijuana use, who were followed from their teens into their 30s.

Now, an American Psychological Association press release that accompanied the initial findings in August contains an editors note explaining why those aren’t quite correct:

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Communications researcher regrets “severe shortcomings” in three publications

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3A communications researcher in Switzerland has made a few errors in his efforts to communicate his research.

Peter J. Schulz, who works at the University of Lugano, has lost a paper which did not “appropriately acknowledge” another paper as its primary source. He has also corrected a paper with “severe shortcomings in the references.” Both papers were published in the journal Argumentation. 

In addition, he is facing allegations that a book chapter contains some unattributed material.

Schultz acknowledged the problems in a statement he emailed to us:

I regret very much the severe shortcomings in the three publications.

Here’s the retraction note for “Comments on ‘Strategic Manoeuvring with the Intention of the Legislator in the Justification of Judicial Decisions’”: Read the rest of this entry »

Cancer Cell paper under investigation following anonymous queries on PubPeer

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cancer cellA Cancer Cell paper that caused a flurry of activity on the website PubPeer is under investigation, after the last author announced on the site that he’d requested a correction from the journal.

The 2012 paper sparked a lively dialogue last month on the post-publication discussion site, as commenters questioned Western blot images in which some bands appeared to be duplicates. The last author responded, noting he had alerted the journal to a “mishap,” and a correction would be forthcoming. However, some commenters remained unsatisfied, and questioned why the correction was taking so long to appear, as well as the explanation for what went wrong.

A spokesman from Cancer Cell confirmed to us the paper is under investigation: Read the rest of this entry »

Suspicions of data manipulation lead to correction of testicular cancer paper

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The corresponding author of a paper on testicular cancer is telling readers to discount a figure after she learned it may have been manipulated.

Although that one figure in the 2005 paper in the British Journal of Cancer may be problematic, the authors found data to support the other figures, and its conclusions.

This isn’t the first time first author Kerry Manton has faced questions over her data — in 2012, one of her papers was retracted following an investigation by her institution, the Queensland University of Technology. And in 2014, QUT repaid a $275,000 grant after finding Manton

failed to fulfill (her) responsibilities in relation to the responsible dissemination of research findings and that this, coupled with a failure to correct the errors, constituted research misconduct.

Here’s the corrigendum for “Hypermethylation of the 5′ CpG island of the gene encoding the serine protease Testisin promotes its loss in testicular tumorigenesis:”

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Inventors have a dust up over air sampling device

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graphic_amt_cover_homepageTo climate scientist Pieter Tans, a “novel” air sampling device in a recent paper looked a little too familiar. Specifically, like a device that he had invented — the AirCore, which he calls a “tape recorder” for air.

The journal editors came up with a unique solution to the disagreement that followed, which the editor in chief called “rather unclear:” The journal ran an editorial in which both Tans and the authors of the paper contend that their device is unique.

The paper in question, “A novel Whole Air Sample Profiler (WASP) for the quantification of volatile organic compounds in the boundary layer,” was published in Atmospheric Measurement Techniques. It has not been cited, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

It now bears a note, in bold and red: “Please read the Editorial Note before accessing the paper.” 

Here’s how the editorial laid out the case:

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Four retractions follow Swedish government findings of negligence, dishonesty

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242915_1uu_logoA Swedish ethical review board has censured two biologists and their employer, Uppsala University, for events related to “extensive image manipulations” in five papers published between 2010 and 2014. The case has led to criticism from an outside expert — who brought the allegations to Uppsala — over the current system in Sweden for handling such investigations.

Four of the papers have been retracted, and the authors have requested a correction in the fifth.

After an eight-month investigation, in September the government-run Expert Group for Scientific Misconduct at the Central Ethical Review Board in Stockholm, Sweden, concluded that Uppsala professor Kenneth Söderhäll — who has published more than 200 papers — and lecturer Irene Söderhäll acted “negligently” and “dishonestly” by Read the rest of this entry »

Stem cell researcher that sued Harvard failed to disclose conflicts on 6 publications

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Piero Anversa, a stem cell researcher who we recently learned is leaving Harvard and Brigham & Women’s Hospital after suing them, has added a disclosure statement to six publications.

The four papers and two letters were published in Circulation, and all bear identical corrections:

Piero Anversa, MD, discloses that he is a member of Analogous, LLC.

The author regrets this omission.

Trouble is, we can’t find a company by that name. What we do know:

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