Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘corrections’ Category

Following criticism, BMJ “clarifies” dietary guidelines investigation

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downloadThe BMJ has issued two “clarifications” to an investigation it published last week that questioned whether the new U.S. dietary guidelines were evidence-based.

The article criticized several aspects of the new dietary guidelines, such as “deleting meat from the list of foods recommended as part of its healthy diets.” However, according to the clarification, that sentence should have specified “lean” meats.

After The BMJ‘s article appeared, an analysis on The Verge questioned whether The BMJ’s author Nina Teicholz was guided by her own opinions. She’s the author of a book The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet. The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee also posted a lengthy “rapid response”The BMJ‘s refined version of a comment section — to Teicholz’s article, saying it “strongly disagrees with many of the statements represented as facts.”

This afternoon, Rebecca Coombes, head of investigations and features at The BMJ, posted a response: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Shannon Palus

September 29th, 2015 at 3:35 pm

Journal corrects CrossFit injury data in paper at center of lawsuit

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XLargeThumb.00124278-201509000-00000.CVA study on the trendy and grueling workout regimen known as CrossFit has a correction concerning the number of participants hurt during 10 weeks of training. The paper has been the center of multiple lawsuits  — one by CrossFit, and one by a CrossFit gym owner — for allegedly over-inflating the risks associated with the regimen.

The original paper claimed that 9 of 54 participants dropped out of the study due to “overuse or injury.” The correction note says that just two left for those reasons.

The paper, published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research actually concludes that CrossFit has some benefits. According to the abstract: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Shannon Palus

September 21st, 2015 at 6:43 pm

When the title states the wrong result, a paper gets corrected

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Ever wonder why, on a round-trip, the leg home often feels shorter? A group of researchers found that’s only true in hindsight, as people look back on which leg felt shorter — the trouble is, when the paper first appeared, the title mistakenly stated the opposite was true.

One June 10, PLOS ONE published a paper entitled “The Return Trip Is Felt Longer Only Postdictively: A Psychophysiological Study of the Return Trip Effect”; 17 days later, it was republished under the correct title, “The Return Trip Is Felt Shorter Only Postdictively: A Psychophysiological Study of the Return Trip Effect.”

On July 15, the journal posted a correction notice explaining its mistake:

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Written by Ross Keith

September 21st, 2015 at 11:30 am

Science Signaling corrects data fudged by former UCSF student

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afbb251f8bc8f71e26b313c77669d48fA paper containing data fudged by former University of California San Francisco grad student Peter Littlefield has been corrected. We knew that this was coming — last month, the Office of Research Integrity issued a report that Littlefield had admitted to misconduct, and agreed to a retraction or correction of the two affected papers.

Published in Science Signaling, “Structural analysis of the /HER3 heterodimer reveals the molecular basis for activating HER3 mutations” examined the structural details of a protein associated with cancer. It has been cited two times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

According to the correction note, the concentration of a protein presented in one figure was “miscalculated;” in another figure, the error bars were “calculated incorrectly.”

A statement from the UCSF affirmed that principle investigator Natalie Jura has “not been implicated in any research misconduct finding,” and explains that Read the rest of this entry »

Erratum for economics paper after authors “failed to cite some very relevant recent papers”

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Experimental EconomicsThe authors of a paper that examined the best way to inspire creativity in the workplace have issued an erratum after they “failed to cite some very relevant recent papers in experimental economics.”

The paper, “Incentives for creativity,” was published by Experimental Economics only a few months ago — in May — by two researchers from the University of California San Diego and the University of Amsterdam. Sanjiv Erat and Uri Gneezy found that incentives don’t actually improve creativity, and competitive incentives can actually reduce creativity.

The notice updates the paper with references to four studies published between 2012 and 2015:

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Animal welfare breach prompts Nature correction

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cover_nature (1)A 2011 letter to Nature from Harvard researchers received its second correction today, this time after discovering the researchers conducted experiments in which mice may have “experienced more pain and suffering than originally allowed for.”

That quote comes from an accompanying editorial in the journal, a rare move for a correction to a 2011 letter. But it’s an unusual correction, for a letter that found that a component of a pepper plant appeared to selectively kill cancer cells, leaving healthy cells relatively unscathed.

Here’s the first paragraph from the detailed correction notice, published today: Read the rest of this entry »

Correction “does not change the scientific meaning” of leukemia letter

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The journal Blood has issued a correction in a 2009 letter about the molecular underpinnings of chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Despite the extent of the changes to a figure, “the error does not change the scientific meaning,” according to the erratum.

The article “p73, miR106b, miR34a, and Itch in chronic lymphocytic leukemia” was written in response to a 2009 Blood paper about the role of a microRNA in CLL. But its western blots were “assembled incorrectly,” leading to duplicated panels. Another set of panels was “shifted.”

So the authors repeated the experiments, and presented them in a correction. Here’s the correction notice in full, published earlier this month, including the figures in question:

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Three retractions for geriatric medicine researcher

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Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 11.51.11 AMA trio of papers on health issues in elderly patients, all sharing an author, have been retracted from Geriatrics & Gerontology International. 

The reasons for the retractions range from expired kits, an “unattributed overlap” with another paper, “authorship issues,” and issues over sample sizes.

Tomader Taha Abdel Rahman, a researcher at Ain Shams University in Cairo, is the first author on two of the papers, and second author on the third.

Here’s the retraction note for a paper that showed elderly adults with chronic hepatitis C are at risk of having cognitive issues:

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Stem cell researcher Jacob Hanna’s correction count updated to 10

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Jacob Hanna

Jacob Hanna

Thanks to some eagle-eyed readers, we’ve been alerted to some corrections for high profile stem cell scientist Jacob Hanna that we had missed, bringing our count to one retraction and 13 errata on 10 papers.

The problems in the work range from duplications of images, to inadvertent deletions in figures, to failures by his co-authors to disclose funding sources or conflicts of interest. Hanna is the first or last author on 4 of the papers, and one of several on the rest.

First up, a correction to a Cell paper on which Hanna is the first author:

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Following criticism, PLOS removes blog defending scrutiny of science

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plos_logoCommunity blog PLOS Biologue has pulled a post by journalists Charles Seife and Paul Thacker that argued in favor of public scrutiny of scientists’ behavior (including emails), following heavy criticism, including from a group and scientist mentioned in the post.

Their reasoning: The post was “not consistent with at least the spirit and intent of our community guidelines.”

The original post, published August 13, is no longer available online, but you can read it here. In the piece, Seife and Thacker lament what they call a recent backlash against transparency in science: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

August 24th, 2015 at 11:30 am