Archive for the ‘doing the right thing’ Category
This one seems like an honest mistake: a paper on dietary supplements during pregnancy has been retracted based on an error in data recording.
In the BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth paper, “Folic acid supplementation, dietary folate intake during pregnancy and risk for spontaneous preterm delivery: a prospective observational cohort study,” women for whom the researchers had no data on folic acid supplementation were classified as taking no supplements. Despite the error, the authors claim the overall conclusion remains the same: taking folic acid supplements didn’t protect women from preterm deliveries.
We came across a rather long-toothed retraction in the Journal of the American Statistical Association, which represents a case of doing the right thing (similar to that involving the apparent first-ever English language retraction from 1756, about which we wrote in 2012).
The 1927 notice came in the form of a letter by C. H. Whelden Jr., who was for a time the chief statistician for the American National Red Cross, referencing his 1926 article in the JASA,”The Trend-Seasonal Normal in Time Series:”
You’ve got to love when an author is willing to detail the specifics of an unhelpful retraction notice.
This May, a paper came out in Journal of Thoracic Diseases about drug-resistant tuberculosis. It was retracted in June, for “some misconduct in the manuscript.”
Here’s the notice:
The article “Application status of MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry in the identification and drug resistance of Mycobacterium tuberculosis” (doi: 10.3978/j.issn.2072-1439.2014.02.19) that appeared on page 512-516 of the May 2014 issue of the Journal of Thoracic Disease needs to be withdrawn due to some misconduct in the manuscript. We are sorry for the inconvenience caused.
Since that’s pretty vague and unhelpful, we reached out to corresponding author Jiayun Liu, who gave us a thorough rundown:
Researchers at Qingdao University have fully retracted a paper originally published in Molecular Medicine Reports with a clear, detailed outline of what went wrong and how they discovered the error.
Here’s the notice for “Generation of induced pluripotent stem cells using skin fibroblasts from patients with myocardial infarction under feeder-free conditions:”
The authors of a paper showing a link between immune response and depression requested a retraction after they realized they’d merged two spreadsheets with mismatching ID codes.
Here’s the notice for “Lower CSF interleukin-6 predicts future depression in a population-based sample of older women followed for 17 years,” retracted in February 2014:
Check List, the “journal of species lists and distribution,” retracted a paper in February after the authors realized they hadn’t spotted a yellow-red rat snake in a strange range, but rather a green rat snake in its known home.
Here’s the notice for “New distribution and elevation records for the snake Pseudelaphe flavirufa Cope, 1867 (Squamata: Colubridae) in Oaxaca, Mexico,” as written by the authors: Read the rest of this entry »
A group of physicists has retracted their preliminary report in the GCN Circular of a massive star-sized explosion after deciding that what they’d really observed was another phenomenon.
Although we could try to explain this, we’d rather leave it up to Giacomo Vianello, an experimental physicist at Stanford University, who was a member of the research team.
Vianello told us: Read the rest of this entry »