Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

We have an epidemic of deeply flawed meta-analyses, says John Ioannidis

with 15 comments


John Ioannidis, via Stanford University

John Ioannidis, a professor at Stanford University and one of the most highly cited researchers in the world, has come up with some startling figures about meta-analyses. His new paper, published today in Milbank Quarterly (accompanied by this commentary), suggests that the number of systematic reviews and meta-analyses in literature have each increased by more than 2500% since 1991. We asked Ioannidis — who is perhaps most well known for his 2005 paper “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False” (and was featured in a previous Retraction Watch Q&A article) — why such a massive boost these publication types in scholarly literature is potentially harmful. 

Retraction Watch: You say that the numbers of systematic reviews and meta-analyses have reached “epidemic proportions,and that there is currently a “massive production of unnecessary, misleading, and conflicted systematic reviews and meta-analyses.” Indeed, you note the number of each has risen more than 2500% since 1991, often with more than 20 meta-analyses on the same topic. Why the massive increase, and why is it a problem? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

September 13th, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Two more retractions bring total to 9 for neuroscience duo

with 2 comments

Journal of Neuroscience CoverAfter the first author admitted to fraud, his colleagues have retracted a 2013 paper in the Journal of Neuroscience, as well as a 2015 book chapter about working memory.

The retractions come as part of a backstory of pulled papers authored by psychologist Edward Awh and his former graduate student David Anderson when he was based at the University of Oregon in Eugene. The pair retracted four papers last year after Anderson admitted to misconduct during an investigation by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (and spoke to us about it last July). This led Awh — now based at the University of Chicago in Illinois — to take a second look at the other publications he’d co-authored with Anderson; earlier this year, Awh retracted two others, and informed us more would be coming, including the two most recent publications

First, let’s take a look at the retraction note for the Journal of Neuroscience paper, about remembered items and task performance: Read the rest of this entry »

Plant scientist Voinnet’s correction count grows to 22

with 10 comments

nature structure molecular biologyWe have found another correction for high-profile plant scientist Olivier Voinnet, bringing his total count to 22. Voinnet, who works at ETH Zurich, also has seven retractions, a funding ban, and a revoked award.

Voinnet’s most recent corrections involve problems with figures; the same issue is cited in this latest correction notice, for “Competition for XPO5 binding between Dicer mRNA, pre-miRNA and viral RNA regulates human Dicer levels.”

The correction notice in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, issued earlier this year, explains:

Read the rest of this entry »

Authors pull 14-year-old paper from PNAS over concerns of fabrication

with 3 comments

13.coverAuthors have retracted a 2002 paper from PNAS because part of a figure “may have been fabricated,” and they no longer have the original data to prove otherwise.

The paper in question, “Deficient Smad7 expression: A putative molecular defect in scleroderma,” studied the signaling pathways that may underlie the autoimmune disease. It has been cited 198 times, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science.

The authors, led by Pascal J Goldschmidt-Clermont, currently the Dean of the School of  Medicine at the University of Miami, have issued a retraction note, which appeared online yesterday: Read the rest of this entry »

“We gave you the wrong information.” An apology from the CBC

with one comment

CBCWhenever we see someone step forward and admit their mistakes, along with a clear explanation so others can avoid the same, we applaud them.

Today, our digital hands are clapping for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), whose Marketplace has issued a lengthy explanation for why they reported incorrect results from tests of popular vitamins and supplements.

Since they do it so well, we’ll let them tell what happened: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

January 21st, 2016 at 4:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Oops! Authors accidentally include extra patients in biopsy paper

with 3 comments

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 2.06.59 PM

A paper that compared two gauges of needles to take samples of pancreatic masses has been retracted after authors unintentionally included patients from another trial.

Randomized Trial Comparing the Flexible 19G and 25G Needles for Endoscopic Ultrasound-Guided Fine Needle Aspiration of Solid Pancreatic Mass Lesions,” published a year ago in Pancreas, notes that:

A total of 100 patients with solid pancreatic mass lesions constituted the study cohort and were randomized equally to the 2 needle groups.

The problem? According to the retraction note, some of those patients weren’t supposed to be included:

Read the rest of this entry »

Math journal retracts entire issue following peer-review problems

without comments

home_coverThe editor of a special issue of a math journal — and author of many of the papers in it — has officially retracted the entire thing, after promising to withdraw it last year following issues with the review process.

According to the note in Mathematics and Mechanics of Solids, the peer-review process was “less rigorous than the journal requires.” Indeed, that process was coordinated by guest editor David Y. Gao, a mathematician at the Federation University Australia, who was also author on 11 of the 13 papers present in the issue.

Gao told us in November that he was withdrawing the issue because he thought it would be better suited as a book.

Here is the official retraction note, which focuses on the conflict of interest:

Read the rest of this entry »

Management researcher with 7 retractions issues “clarifications” to 2013 paper

with one comment


The authors of a paper on supportive supervisors just want readers to “better understand the reported findings,” and so have issued multiple “clarifications” in a corrigendum note.

Some of the issues addressed in the note have been raised on PubPeer.

The paper’s author list includes one Fred Walumbwa, formerly an Arizona State University management researcher, some of whose work has succumbed to scrutiny in the the past two years. His current list: seven retractions, a megacorrection, an expression of concern, and now this.

Unraveling the relationship between family-supportive supervisor and employee performance,” published in Group & Organization Management, has been cited twice, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Here’s the note in full:

Read the rest of this entry »

Authors retract two neuroscience papers for duplication and plagiarism

with one comment

Journal of NeurosurgeryA tipster’s complaints have led to the retraction of two papers in the Journal of Neurosurgery for “plagiarism, duplicate publication, and copyright infringement.”

The corresponding author for both papers, Hung-Chuan Pan of Taichung Veterans General Hospital, had contacted the journal about publishing an erratum for one of the articles when the journal was tipped off by an email pointing out deeper problems in the two retracted papers.

The tipster provided evidence that alleged “a violation of ethics on the part of the authors,” according to the communications manager at the JNS Publishing Group, Jo Ann Eliason.

Both retraction notices, published October 2, detailed a number of “similarities” and “overlaps” in the papers.

Read the rest of this entry »

ASU prof placed on administrative leave following plagiarism charges

with one comment

Matthew Whitaker

A faculty member at Arizona State University has been placed on leave while the university investigates charges against him.

According to a spokesperson for ASU, Matthew Whitaker

has been placed on administrative leave and relieved of all duties. The University will follow Arizona Board of Regents policy as it reviews allegations that his conduct has fallen short of the University’s expectations for a faculty member and a scholar.

In July, we reported that Whitaker was revising a book about modern African-American history after he admitted it contained Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

September 18th, 2015 at 11:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized