Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

RAND withdraws report on child welfare reform for further analysis

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Last week, Emily Putnam-Hornstein, an associate professor at the University of Southern California, was reading what seemed like a noteworthy new report from the RAND Corporation on the child welfare system. But then she realized that some of the key estimates were off. When she sent the report to some colleagues, they agreed.

Curious, Putnam-Hornstein and some of her colleagues tuned into a RAND webinar on Thursday, May 25, to discuss the report, Improving Child Welfare Outcomes: Balancing Investments in Prevention and Treatment, which had been released two days earlier. They asked the report’s lead author, Jeanne Ringel, about the numbers, and Ringel responded by saying they were on-target. (Ringel recalls acknowledging that the numbers were conservative, but that revised inputs would not change the overall results substantially.) The Pritzker Foundation, which had funded the study, also dismissed the concerns.

Ringel, however, contacted Putnam-Hornstein to suggest a phone call. The Memorial Day holiday weekend was just about underway, so the call was scheduled for Wednesday, the 31st. In the meantime, Putnam-Hornstein and other researchers drafted a letter explaining their concerns. A conference call happened on the 31st, during which the critics shared their concerns, and also said that they’d publish the letter online if the report was not retracted swiftly.

Apparently, the critics were persuasive:

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Written by Ivan Oransky

June 2nd, 2017 at 7:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Weekend reads: Prison for sharing an article?; which country has most fake peer review retractions; counterfeit reagents

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The week at Retraction Watch featured a look at a school where everyone has published in possibly predatory journals, and doubts about a study of doing math unconsciously. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

May 13th, 2017 at 9:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Weekend reads: New calls for retraction; more on fake peer review; how long does peer review take?

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The week at Retraction Watch featured a look at how long journals take to respond to retraction requests, and news of a $10 million settlement for research misconduct allegations. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

April 29th, 2017 at 10:57 am

Posted in Uncategorized

For problematic papers, don’t retract or correct, say publishing experts: Amend

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A group of publishing experts have proposed a somewhat radical idea: Instead of retracting papers, or issuing corrections that address problems, authors should amend published articles. Here’s how it would work – any post-publication changes would be added as amendments labeled “insubstantial,” “substantial,” or “complete” (equivalent to a retraction). Is this a better way? We spoke with authors of a preprint in BioRxivVirginia Barbour, chair of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE); Theodora Bloom, executive editor of The BMJ; Jennifer Lin, director of product management at Crossref; and Elizabeth Moylan, senior editor of research integrity at BioMed Central.

Retraction Watch: Why do you think it’s a good idea to amend articles, rather than issue formal retractions or corrections?

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Written by Alison McCook

April 4th, 2017 at 11:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

They agreed to listen to a complaint about a paper. Then the harassment began.

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We receive our fair share of tips, and most are well-intentioned attempts to clean up the scientific literature. However, sometimes would-be critics can veer into personal attacks. As chair of the Committee on Publication Ethics, Virginia Barbour has seen a lot. But nothing quite prepared her for being cyberbullied by someone the organisation had agreed to listen to when they raised a complaint about a published paper. In this guest post, Barbour tells the story of how COPE’s attempts to assist led to hundreds of harassing emails and unfounded accusations of a cover-up, which the complainant spread indiscriminately.

By its very nature, publication and research ethics often includes issues that are hard to resolve and it’s not uncommon for journals to receive  concerns from individuals about specific papers. COPE has guidance for its members on what to do when they are contacted by such individuals. We urge and support editors and publishers in taking issues raised seriously. Nonetheless, such individuals (whether anonymous or not) can experience difficulties in getting their cases heard and, in rare and unusual cases, face extreme measures to silence them.

At COPE, we therefore also have a mechanism whereby readers can raise concerns about an issue in a COPE member journal, if the journal and publisher have not been able to resolve the issue. We have devoted increasing resources to this mechanism, even though is not the primary reason for which COPE was set up. As a membership organisation, COPE does not have regulatory authority over journals or publishers, but we can review the process the journal or publisher followed to determine if best practice was followed.

Therefore, when we received an email in 2015 from a reader with a complaint about a published paper, we reviewed the initial correspondence and, as it appeared to be a legitimate issue, opened a file on the case and assigned council members to work on it according to our procedures.

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Written by Alison McCook

March 23rd, 2017 at 2:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Why did Beall’s List of potential predatory publishers go dark?

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Jeffrey Beall

Jeffrey Beall, the University of Colorado Denver librarian who has since 2008 chronicled “potential, possible, or probable” predatory publishers, has — at least for now — pulled the plug on his influential, and at times controversial, site.

The decision to take down the site — and Beall’s faculty page at the Auraria Library, where he remains a tenured associate professor — was his own, the University of Colorado Denver tells Retraction Watch.

The site, scholarlyoa.com, which just earlier this month included a list of more than 1,000 such publishers, now contains no information. The sudden change was noted Sunday on Twitter, where questions about the move — catalogued, along with some answers, by Emil Karlsson — swirled for two days. Beall’s faculty page was also taken down. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

January 17th, 2017 at 4:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Author pulls Diabetes paper with duplicated Western blots

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diabetesA researcher has retracted a paper from Diabetes after re-using some Western blots in one of the figures from other papers.

According to the retraction notice, the first and corresponding author — Eric Berglund, formerly at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee — contacted the journal himself to report the error, for which he takes full responsibility.

Here’s the retraction notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Post you may have missed: Top economists publish in predatory journals

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A technical glitch prevented another story from reaching our email subscribers earlier today, so in case you missed it:

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Written by Alison McCook

October 27th, 2016 at 2:49 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Posts you may have missed: Macchiarini logs EoC, 4 retractions for cardiovascular researcher

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We get email glitches from time to time, and some alerts don’t go out to readers. In cased you missed them, here are two posts from this week that didn’t make it into your inbox:

Like Retraction Watch? Consider making a tax-deductible contribution to support our growth. You can also follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, add us to your RSS reader, sign up on our homepage for an email every time there’s a new post, or subscribe to our daily digest. Click here to review our Comments Policy. For a sneak peek at what we’re working on, click here.

Written by Alison McCook

October 14th, 2016 at 2:28 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Post you may have missed: E-cigarette debate triggers questions over review process

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toxicology-reportsOur email alert acted up again this morning, so some readers may have missed the first post of the day, about a controversial topic: e-cigarettes.

Click here to read “A paper on chemical safety was accepted one day after submission. Was it peer reviewed?

Like Retraction Watch? Consider making a tax-deductible contribution to support our growth. You can also follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, add us to your RSS reader, sign up on our homepage for an email every time there’s a new post, or subscribe to our daily digest. Click here to review our Comments Policy. For a sneak peek at what we’re working on, click here.

Written by Alison McCook

October 5th, 2016 at 3:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized