Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Upcoming Retraction Watch appearances: New York, St. Louis

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If you’re a Retraction Watch reader in New York or St. Louis, come see Retraction Watch live. On Thursday, October 20, Ivan will be on a SONYC panel at Rockefeller University [please see update at end]. On the 25th, he’ll give a talk at the Danforth Center in St. Louis.

More info: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

October 16th, 2011 at 11:58 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tune to NPR this weekend to hear Retraction Watch on “On The Media”

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This week’s episode of NPR’s “On The Media” features a conversation about retractions between Ivan and co-host Brooke Gladstone. You can listen online, or find a station that carries the program.

The show also includes an interview about retractions with Jonah Lehrer.

Earlier: Retraction Watch on NPR’s Science Friday. Listen here (with transcript).

Written by Ivan Oransky

September 3rd, 2011 at 8:03 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tune in to Science Friday today to hear Retraction Watch

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It’s a nice way to celebrate our first anniversary this week: Ivan will appear today on Science Friday, the nationally syndicated NPR program hosted by Ira Flatow.

The segment, “If Science Takes A Wrong Turn, Who Rights It,” is part of the show’s first hour, at 2 p.m. Eastern. It will also feature Grant Steen, whose work we’ve covered.

You can listen online, or find a station near you that carries it, if you’re in the U.S. It’s live, so call in — you know we love hearing from Retraction Watch readers. It will also be archived on the site, so you can listen later.

Update, 5:15 Eastern, 8/5/11: Here’s that archived audio (top left corner).

Written by Ivan Oransky

August 5th, 2011 at 8:24 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Should we change our name to Mori Watch? Yet another retraction from cancer researcher

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Earlier this week we reported on the latest retraction of an article by Naoki Mori, number 21 in a series. We could have waited a few days and saved ourselves some trouble.

The journal Leukemia Research has retracted a 2006 paper by Mori, titled “Curcumin suppresses constitutive activation of AP-1 by downregulation of JunD protein in HTLV-1-infected T-cell lines.” From the notice, which is behind a paywall: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by amarcus41

July 22nd, 2011 at 12:27 pm

So how often does medical consensus turn out to be wrong?

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In a quote that has become part of medical school orientations everywhere, David Sackett, often referred to as the “father of evidence-based medicine,” once famously said

Half of what you’ll learn in medical school will be shown to be either dead wrong or out of date within five years of your graduation; the trouble is that nobody can tell you which half–so the most important thing to learn is how to learn on your own.

Sackett, we are fairly sure, was making an intentionally wild estimate when he said “half.” [See note about these strikethroughs at bottom of post.]  But aA fascinating study out today in the Archives of Internal Medicine gives a clue as to the real figuresuggests that he may have been closer than any of us imagined. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

July 11th, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Unprecedented? Journal yanks transcendental meditation paper 12 minutes before it’s scheduled to publish

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There’s a highly unusual situation brewing at the Archives of Internal Medicine. At 3:48 Eastern time on Monday, 12 minutes before the embargo lifted on the June 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, the following message went out from its press office:

The editorial office of the Archives of Internal Medicine has made the decision not to publish,  “Stress Reduction in the Secondary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Transcendental Meditation and Health Education in African Americans,” by Schneider et al, and the accompanying Commentary by Mehta and Bairey Merz that was to post Online First at 3 PM central time today.

The decision is to allow time for review and statistical analysis of additional data not included in the original paper that the authors provided less than 24 hours before posting.  We apologize for the short notice, but hope you will understand and not run your stories on this study today.

We asked Archives of Internal Medicine editor Rita Redberg when the paper might be published: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

June 29th, 2011 at 8:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

So when is a retraction warranted? The long and winding road to publishing a failure to replicate

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Sometime in 2009, the University of Nottingham’s Uwe Vinkemeier thought something was wrong with two papers he read in Genes & Development, one from 2006 and one from 2009. The papers claimed to show how changes to a protein called STAT1 affect programmed cell death. So he did what scientists are supposed to do: He tried to repeat the experiments, to replicate the results.

He couldn’t.

So he submitted the results to G&D, which was initially willing to publish the data along with a rebuttal by the original authors. But everyone seemed to be dragging their feet. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

June 3rd, 2011 at 9:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Idea retraction: Did Picasso suffer migraines? Do ‘guitar nipple,’ ‘cello scrotum’ exist? Ask pigeons

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Pablo Picasso, 1962, via Wikimedia

Cephalalgia published a lovely piece online this month. The abstract is a refreshing bit of honesty:

It is widely believed that Pablo Picasso suffered from migraine. The main cause for this is our suggestion made 10 years ago that some of Picasso’s paintings resemble migraine auras. Here we critically look back at our own hypothesis. We conclude that, although the idea is still fascinating, there is no proof of Picasso suffering from migraine with aura.

In other words, say authors Michel Ferrari and Joost Haan: Go ahead, blame us for this important clinical finding, which we first described in an editorial in Cephalalgia in 2000. We’re retracting the idea, but not before we have some fun with it.

So we figured we’d do the same.

The authors describe a number of famous cases of historical diagnoses such as Hildegard of Bingen, an abbess and mystic of the 12th century whose work has led some to suggest she was a migraneur. It’s difficult to confirm such diagnoses, of course, and the authors draw a parallel to other pronouncements by doctors: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

May 27th, 2011 at 9:30 am

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We wrote what? The problem of forged authorship. Plus, a guest appearance on MedPage Today

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At a time when you can set up a Google alert to find out when your name appears anywhere on the Web — not that we’d know, of course — it puzzles us that some researchers are trying to get away with using others’ names on papers without their knowledge.

But they’re not just trying. Our recent experience suggests they’re actually getting away with it and seeing those papers in print. We’ve found at least six cases of that in the past few months. Of course, some eventually get caught.

We’d like to see journals taking a more vaccine-like approach to this problem. That’s the subject of our new column in Lab Times, where we’re now regular contributors. Excerpt: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

May 12th, 2011 at 9:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

How journal editors can detect and deter scientific misconduct

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Misconduct happens. So what can journal editors do find and prevent it?

While we don’t claim to be experts in working on the other side of the fence — eg as editors — Ivan was flattered to be asked by session organizers at the Council of Science Editors to appear on a panel on the subject. He was joined on the panel by:

Their presentations were chock-full of good tips and data. Bradford, for example, said that Science had published 45 retractions since 1997. And Laine recommended copying all of a manuscript’s authors on every communication, which could help prevent author forgery that seems to be creeping into the literature.

So we hope their slides will be online soon. In the meantime, Ivan’s slides are here (scroll down a bit so that the entire first slide, and navigation, are visible below the CSE banner): Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

May 2nd, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Posted in Uncategorized