Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘doing the right thing’ Category

“You don’t retract a paper, you retract the results within:” Why one scientist still displays one of his mistakes

with 2 comments

lance fortnow

Lance Fortnow

And now, one from the archives.

In 1989, then MIT grad student Lance Fortnow (he’s now chair of the computer science department at Georgia Tech) wrote a mathematical proof and published it as conference proceedings. He later went to publish the proof in a journal.

But he then discovered “unexpected technical challenges” and published a retraction in 1997. Both are still available on his personal website.

Not everyone would be that transparent. We reached out to ask why he left them up for people to see. He gave us his rationale: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

December 15th, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Can you hear me now? Neuroscience paper sunk by audio stimulus error

with one comment

j neurophysHave you ever noticed that hearing something read aloud as you follow along helps you remember what you’re reading better?

Two bioengineers at Trinity College Dublin, Michael Crosse and Edmund Lalor, decided to investigate the underlying reason for the phenomenon. Unfortunately, after they published their findings in the Journal of Neurophysiology earlier this year, they tried to recreate the experiments and discovered that their equipment didn’t line up the audio and visual stimuli properly.

They did the right thing and contacted the journal for a retraction. Here’s the notice for “The cortical representation of the speech envelope is earlier for audiovisual speech than audio speech”: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

November 21st, 2014 at 9:30 am

Doing the right thing: Authors retract PNAS paper when new experiments show “conclusion was incorrect”

with 19 comments

pnascoverResearchers in Sweden and Australia have retracted a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) after follow-up experiments disproved their conclusions.

Here’s the notice for “Dominant suppression of inflammation by glycan-hydrolyzed IgG,” which is signed by all nine of the paper’s authors: Read the rest of this entry »

Doing the right thing: Particle physicists pull paper after equation collides with the truth

with 4 comments

physicalreviewlettersThree physicists at Imperial College London have retracted a paper on Coulomb collisions, a kind of fender bender between two charged particles, after realizing their equations were written wrong.

The mistake resulted in an erroneous conclusion about the strength of the collisions.

Here’s the notice for “Effects of Large-Angle Coulomb Collisions on Inertial Confinement Fusion Plasmas”: Read the rest of this entry »

Downstream effects: Comment on retracted narcolepsy paper retracted

without comments

stmcoverThe recent retraction of a paper in Science Translational Medicine reporting “one of the biggest things to happen” in narcolepsy research has claimed a bystander: A letter that commented on the no-longer-landmark article.

The authors of the letter are with GlaxoSmithKline’s vaccine division. Here’s the new notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Publisher updates with more info on staph retraction

with 2 comments

cidWe brought you this story last week, about a paper on drug resistant staph being retracted for a lab error. Now, we’ve got an update from Rachel Safer, senior editor for medical journals at Oxford University Press, where the paper was published.

Apparently, the researchers “inadvertently relied upon the use of a test system that was not approved for the microorganism studied in their paper,” leading to the retraction, and the corresponding author of the study wasn’t initially all that responsive:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

September 17th, 2014 at 11:30 am

87% of bugs resistant to antibiotics? Not so fast, as staph paper yanked after staff mistake

with 3 comments

What could have been a truly scary study about drug resistant staph infections in hospitals has been retracted due to a lab error.

6.coverResearchers at a community hospital in Pittsburgh claimed that the commonly quoted 3% rate of staph that is resistant to ceftriaxone and sensitive to methicillin was drastically understated. However, an “honest error in the interpretation of a key lab test” called the findings into question.

Here’s the abstract: Read the rest of this entry »

Authors retract PNAS brain genetics paper for statistical issues

with 3 comments

pnas 1113The authors of a paper on brain genetics published online in June in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) are retracting it for “a potential confound relating to statistical inference.”

Here’s the notice for “Identification of gene ontologies linked to prefrontal–hippocampal functional coupling in the human brain:” Read the rest of this entry »

Tonic-clonic stats error sinks epilepsy paper

with one comment

pm_cover_dez_01A brain imaging study in children with epilepsy has been retracted by the Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging due to a statistics error.

Here’s the notice for “Microstructural Brain Abnormalities of Children of Idiopathic Generalized Epilepsy With Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizure: A Voxel-Based Diffusional Kurtosis Imaging Study”: Read the rest of this entry »

Authors ask Science to retract Hayabusa asteroid paper

with 13 comments

jaxa_logoThe Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has requested that Science retract a 2006 paper about the makeup of asteroid Itokawa as observed from the spacecraft Hayabusa, the news section of Science reports.

Instead of calibrating their equipment on Earth, the scientists assumed they’d see both magnesium and silicon in the x-ray spectra, and used that assumption to assess the rest of the chemical composition of the asteroid.

The paper may be based on faulty assumptions, but the conclusions have been backed up by other published papers, according to the Science magazine report: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

September 2nd, 2014 at 2:26 pm