Archive for the ‘doing the right thing’ Category
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:
Researchers are retracting two papers about molecular signalling in plants — including one from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) — after discovering some inadvertent genotyping errors. But that was only after they used the problematic plants for an entire year without realizing they’d made a mistake.
In a pair of refreshingly transparent and detailed notices, the authors explain that the transgenic plants used in the papers included genotyping errors, which invalidated their findings. According to the notices, first author Man-Ho Oh generated the problematic transgenic plants, while corresponding author Steven C. Huber, based at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), took responsibility for omitting some critical oversight.
Huber told us that there were only two papers that used the transgenic plants in question, so no other retractions will be forthcoming.
The authors revisited their experiments after another lab was unable to replicate their data, about proteins that may play a role in lung cancer.
The first author told Nature News in 2013 that the paper may have helped her secure her current position at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research in Massachusetts.
Pulling “Cytohesins are cytoplasmic ErbB receptor activators” appears to be a case of doing the right thing, given the detailed retraction notice:
If you need evidence of the value of transparency in science, check out a pair of recent corrections in the structural biology literature.
This past August, researchers led by Qiu-Xing Jiang at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center corrected their study, first published in February 2014 in eLife, of prion-like protein aggregates called MAVS filaments, to which they had ascribed the incorrect “helical symmetry.” In March, Richard Blumberg of Harvard Medical School, and colleagues corrected their 2014 Nature study of a protein complex called CEACAM1/TIM-3, whose structure they had attempted to solve using x-ray crystallography.
In both cases, external researchers were able to download and reanalyze the authors’ own data from public data repositories, making it quickly apparent what had gone wrong and how it needed to be fixed — highlighting the very best of a scientific process that is supposed to be self-correcting and collaborative. Read the rest of this entry »
The October paper examined the effects of climate change on populations of 155 species of British moths and butterflies. According to a press release from the authors’ institution, the University of York:
Using data collected by thousands of volunteers through ‘citizen science’ schemes, responses to recent climate change were seen to vary greatly from species to species.