Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘society journal retractions’ Category

Physics journal pulls two papers for data shortcuts

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New Journal of PhysicsA publisher is retracting two papers today by a team of physicists who took a short cut in reporting their data.

The papers present a method for imaging very small things — like biological processes on a molecular scale — that could be an alternative to electron microscopy, as the authors explain in a video. But after the papers were published in the New Journal of Physics, last author Ulf Leonhardt, now based at the Weizmann Institute of Science, found out that some of the data

 were pixel-by-pixel mirror-symmetric, which is impossible for genuine experimental data.

One of the researchers co-authored a subsequent paper that acknowledges one of the papers incorrectly assumed the data were symmetrical, and could therefore be extrapolated from one side to the other. A representative of the publisher told us they have not seen any signs of misconduct, and the problem seemed to result from a “series of apparent miscommunications between the authors.”

Here’s the retraction notice for “Evidence for subwavelength imaging with positive refraction:” Read the rest of this entry »

Does posting on PubPeer count as prior publication? Journal says yes, rejects letter rebutting campus sexual assault data

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Jim Hopper

Journals typically shy away from publishing data and text readers have seen before — but amidst the newly established norms of open science and data sharing, what counts as a prior publication?

We’re asking ourselves that question after learning that JAMA Pediatrics has rejected a letter rebutting a recent study in the journal about sexual assault on college campuses after deciding that posting the letter on PubPeer is a prior publication.

The submitted letter (which you can read here) was co-authored by independent consultant, therapist and researcher Jim Hopper, who is also a Teaching Associate in Psychology at Harvard Medical School. It concerned a 2015 paper published in JAMA Pediatricswhich suggested that the long-held belief that most rapists on college campuses are repeat offenders may be false. The findings can have major implications for university efforts to stop assaults, as institutions weigh whether to divert resources towards punishment (if serial offenders are largely responsible) or prevention (if most men only commit assaults once). Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

April 26th, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Authors correct highly cited biology paper due to “genuine mistake”

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Journal of Cell ScienceAuthors of a highly cited biology paper in the Journal of Cell Science (JCS) have corrected the data underlying one of the figures.

The 2003 paper, “The transcription factor Slug represses E-cadherin expression and induces epithelial to mesenchymal transitions: a comparison with Snail and E47 repressors,” has been cited 566 times, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science. One of the authors is the last author on a recent high profile retraction from Nature Genetics, which cost the first author a grant from the European Molecular Biology Organisation.

The correction note tells us a bit more: Read the rest of this entry »

Raw files help fix 2003 figure by heart researcher accused of fraud

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A researcher accused of misconduct by an anonymous Japanese blogger has corrected a 2003 paper in Circulation Research, after providing a university investigation with the original source files.

Allegations of fraud have dogged Shokei Kim-Mitsuyama for years, and even caused him to step down from his position as editor in chief at another journal. However, Kim-Mitsuyama and his colleagues call the latest correction a “mistake,” which didn’t affect any of the paper’s conclusions.

We’ve unearthed a total of five publications co-authored by Kim-Mitsuyama that have earned corrections, the latest of which cites an investigation by the university:

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Authors retract, replace highly cited JAMA Psych paper for “pervasive errors”

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JAMA PsychiatryAuthors have retracted a highly cited JAMA Psychiatry study about depression after failing to account for some patient recoveries, among other mistakes.

It’s a somewhat unusual notice — it explains that the paper has been retracted and replaced with a new, corrected version.

The study, which included 452 adults with major depressive disorder, concluded that cognitive therapy plus medication works better to treat depression than pills alone. But after it was published, a reader pointed out that some of the numbers in a table were incorrect. The authors reviewed the data and redid their analysis, and discovered “a number of pervasive errors.”

The notice (termed “notice of retraction and replacement”) explains the consequences of those errors:

Read the rest of this entry »

JACS imaging paper “under editorial review” has been replicated, says author

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JACS The author of a paper “under editorial review” at the Journal of the American Chemical Society has told us the results the paper have been replicated, contrary to claims made by a former member of her lab.

What’s more, the author said she has submitted a correction to the paper, which is currently flagged with an expression of concern, to provide uncropped images.

We originally reported on the case in February from the perspective of Roger Wong, a former chemist at Hong Kong University who said he hasn’t been able to replicate the findings out of the lab of Dan Yang, a current chemistry professor at HKU (who is female, despite the fact that “Dan” is frequently used as a male name in English). We unfortunately failed to reach Yang in February because of an email glitch; once we contacted Yang, she told us she does not believe Wong’s side of the story:

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Singapore investigation leads to another retraction, correction for Harvard research fellow

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After an investigation found evidence of misconduct, a biologist has issued a third retraction.

Sudarsanareddy Lokireddy — now a research fellow at Harvard Medical School — “admitted falsification,” a Research Integrity Officer at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore told us in December. According to The Scientist, another journal has also published a correction that the authors had requested earlier.

The newly retracted paper is “Myostatin is a novel tumoral factor that induces cancer cachexia,” published in Biochemical Journal and cited 40 times, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science. Here’s the retraction note:

NEJM quickly corrects disclosure statement, errors in diabetes paper

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NEJM LogoAfter publishing a paper about neuropathy in diabetic patients last week, The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) immediately corrected it after editors learned of errors and some missing disclosures within the article.

The notice explains that the sole author of the paper, “Diabetic Sensory and Motor Neuropathy,” reported incorrect doses for several medications, and received royalties for the tool to measure quality of life used in the paper. The author told us all the declarations were “discussed in detail” between him and the journal, and both parties agreed to the final decision. 

Let’s take a look at the lengthy correction notice — what some of our readers might call a “mega-correction:” Read the rest of this entry »

Three HER2-cancer review papers tagged with expressions of concern

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The Oncologist Her 2 expression of concern

The Oncologist has tagged three review papers that share a first author with an expression of concern. The three papers, which have together been cited more than 1,000 times, focus on HER2, a gene that can contribute to breast cancer.

Though the papers contain errors, the conclusions — about how the HER2 gene serves as a predictive factor for breast cancer, and a target for therapies — remain unchanged, according to the EOC. The editor of the journal notes that the conclusions of the papers have been confirmed by other publications. Two of the papers are more than 10 years old, and today many patients continue to be treated with medications that target HER2, such as Herceptin.

Here’s the expression of concern:

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Scientists call for retraction of “seriously misleading” paper with asbestos industry ties

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EBPHEleven scientists are asking a journal to consider retracting an asbestos paper with industry ties for including “seriously misleading information,” “several wrong statements,” and thrice citing a journal that doesn’t appear to exist.

Editors of the journal, Epidemiology Biostatistics and Public Health, however, say they will not retract the article, based on the advice of two external reviewers.

An earlier correction for the paper,  “Further Studies of Bolivian Crocidolite – Part IV: Fibre Width, Fibre Drift and their relation to Mesothelioma Induction: Preliminary Findings,” cited previously undisclosed competing interests for four of the paper’s five authors.

Earlier this year, scientists criticized “gross mistakes” in another paper from three of the same authors: Edward Ilgren, Yumi Kamiya, and John Hoskins. EBPH subsequently issued two corrections but did not retract that paper. Read our full coverage here. Read the rest of this entry »