Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Weekend reads: A “culture of fear?”; blogs vs. academic papers; neurosurgery retractions on the rise

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The week at Retraction Watch featured a new record for most retractions by a single journal, and an impassioned plea from a biostatistician for journals to clean up their act. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

April 22nd, 2017 at 9:30 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

Weekend reads: Data sharing fees block access; Machiavellianism and gossip in science; “power pose” redux

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booksThe week at Retraction Watch featured a look at where retractions for fake peer review come from, and an eyebrow-raising plan that has a journal charging would-be whistleblowers a fee. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

October 1st, 2016 at 9:50 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Coding error sinks cancer study

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Authors of a 2016 cancer paper have retracted it after finding an error in one line of code in the program used to calculate some of the results. Reposting as our subscription software appears to be acting up again. Read the whole post here.

Written by Alison McCook

September 26th, 2016 at 9:54 am

Posted in Uncategorized