Archive for the ‘doing the right thing’ Category
When an ecologist realized he’d made a fatal error in a 2009 paper, he did the right thing: He immediately contacted the journal (Evolutionary Ecology Research) to ask for a retraction. But he didn’t stop there: He wrote a detailed blog post outlining how he learned — in October 2016, after a colleague couldn’t recreate his data — he had misused a statistical tool (using R programing), which ended up negating his findings entirely. We spoke to Daniel Bolnick at the University of Texas at Austin (and an early career scientist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute) about what went wrong with his paper “Diet similarity declines with morphological distance between conspecific individuals,” and why he chose to be so forthright about it.
Retraction Watch: You raise a good point in your explanation of what went wrong with the statistical analysis: Eyeballing the data, they didn’t look significant. But when you plugged in the numbers (it turns out, incorrectly), they were significant – albeit weakly. So you reported the result. Did this teach you the importance of trusting your gut, and the so-called “eye-test” when looking at data? Read the rest of this entry »
Do pro-nuclear energy countries act more slowly to curb the effects of climate change? That’s what a paper published in July in the journal Climate Policy claimed. But the hotly debated study was retracted last week after the authors came to understand that it included serious errors.
A few months ago, an author alerted us to two retractions — including one in PNAS — after realizing his team had been using plants affected by inadvertent genotyping errors for an entire year. He initially told us these were the only two papers affected, but more recently reached out to say he had to pull a follow-up article, as well.
Recently, Steven C. Huber contacted us about the newest retraction, noting he was submitting a notice to the editor of Plant Signaling and Behavior:
Oh, well — “love hormone” doesn’t reduce psychiatric symptoms, say researchers in request to retract
It turns out, snorting the so-called “love hormone” may not help reduce psychiatric symptoms such as depression and anxiety.
At least, that’s the conclusion the authors of a 2015 meta-analysis, which initially found intranasal doses of oxytocin could reduce psychiatric symptoms, have now reached. After a pair of graduate students pointed out flaws in the paper, the authors realized they’d made some significant errors, and oxytocin shows no more benefit than placebo.
The last author of a 1999 paper has asked the journal to retract it less than one month after a user raised questions about images on PubPeer.
Yesterday, last author Jim Woodgett posted a note on the site saying the author who generated the figures in question could not find the original data, and since he agreed the images appeared “suspicious,” he had contacted the journal to retract the paper.
Two psychology researchers are retracting a meta-analysis after discovering errors they believe may affect the conclusions.
We’re giving this a “doing the right thing” nod, as last author Pankaj Patel of Villanova University in Pennsylvania contacted us about his plan to retract the paper, and resubmit for publication once he and co-author Sherry Thatcher — at the University of South Carolina — have performed all their recalculations.
Here’s the retraction notice for “Demographic faultlines: A meta-analysis of the literature,” published in the Journal of Applied Psychology: Read the rest of this entry »
According to the notice in Molecular Biology of the Cell (MBoC), the contamination occurred by “unknown means” in the senior authors’ laboratory, who told us the mistake was a difficult one to catch. He added that they discovered the problem after other researchers published conflicting results.
He also noted that the contaminated cell lines were not used for experiments in any other papers.
A researcher banned from funding by a Canadian agency for misconduct has earned her second retraction, after a reanalysis uncovered problems with the paper’s conclusions.
The retraction follows an investigation by Sophie Jamal‘s former workplace, the Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, which has led to a recent retraction of a JAMA paper due to data manipulation, and a lifetime funding ban from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).
The latest retraction stemmed from a re-analysis of the paper by the Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study Group, of which the paper was a part; all authors but Jamal have requested the retraction. In the notice, the authors say that they believe no patients were harmed as a result of the “possibly invalid conclusions” in the paper, which showed patients with kidney problems were at higher risk of bone loss. A researcher told us a third paper by Jamal is also due to be retracted soon.
The retraction is part of a large initiative on the part of nutrition researcher David Allison and colleagues to clean up the literature, which we’ve previously covered. Regarding this paper, he told us:
When we looked at the study…it was very clear that the statistical methods used were not correct. These are not matters of debate or opinion, these are just…verifiably incorrect.
The Nutrition Journal published the paper in January 2015, and retracted it in June 2016, one day after publishing a letter by Allison and a colleague critiquing the paper.
A vociferous advocate for correcting the literature — who has been banned by two publishers for his persistent communications — has asked journals to retract one paper and correct three others for duplications.
After a reader flagged his 2004 paper on PubPeer last month, author Jaime Teixeira da Silva “immediately” contacted the journal to alert it that the paper had been duplicated, as he noted on a recent comment on our site: