Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘unhelpful retraction notices’ Category

Did an author retract a paper at company’s behest? Retraction notice says yes, author now says no

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The author of a paper whose retraction notice says it was pulled at the behest of a company now says that wasn’t the case.

It’s a bit difficult to get this story straight: Although the retraction notice says a company complained the 2006 paper was “giving business inputs to their competitors,” the corresponding author told us no one asked him to retract the paper. Instead, he said, he was concerned about the inclusion of plant materials that belong to a previous employer, and did a “poor job” of explaining the reason for retraction. But since the results of the paper remain valid, Santosh Rajput — now a plant breeder at Dryland Genetics LLC in Ames, Iowa — told us he regrets asking to retract it:

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Internet trolling paper published email without consent; retraction sparked lawsuit threat

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De Gruyter

When a paper was retracted earlier this year with an opaque notice, we set out to figure out why. We’re still not entirely clear of the reason, but we’ve uncovered one aspect of the paper that raised objections from another researcher: The paper, on internet trolling, included an email he sent without his permission.

The retraction sparked our interest, both because of the journal’s opaque reasoning — saying the paper “does not fit” with the journal — and because the author (Jonathan Bishop, CEO of an independent media company called Crocelshas taken preliminary steps to sue the publisher of the Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Here’s some of what happened before all that took place: When mechanical engineer Filippo Salustri discovered the paper included a screenshot of an email he sent to a listserv — along with his email address — his university (Ryerson in Canada) asked the publisher to retract the paper. De Gruyter re-reviewed the paper and retracted it, issuing the vague notice.

Salustri explained that the paper contains a figure with a picture of an email message:
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Lawsuit against publisher over retraction comes a step closer to reality

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De GruyterAn author has begun the process of taking legal action against a publisher for retracting his paper.

As we reported last month, John Bishop, the CEO of an independent media company called Crocels, based in Pontypridd, Wales, argues that by taking down his paper, De Gruyter defamed him and breached a contract — their agreement to publish his paper. Now, Bishop has sent the publisher what’s known in the UK as a “letter of claim.”

In the letter, Bishop writes:

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“Lack of scientific contributions and novelty” fells math paper

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pms

A journal apparently changed its mind about the uniqueness of a math paper, published last year.

We’ll get right to the brief retraction noticeRead the rest of this entry »

Written by Shannon Palus

May 23rd, 2016 at 11:30 am

Peer review scam leader now up to 20 retractions

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Khalid Zaman

Khalid Zaman

We’ve unearthed four more retractions for Khalid Zaman, an economist who lost 16 papers in 2014 for orchestrating fake peer review.

That brings Zaman’s total to 20, and ties him at the #18 spot on our leaderboard.

One of the more recently discovered retractions is for fake peer review, attributed to Zaman; one is for plagiarism, and two other papers were withdrawn while in press, for reasons that are unclear. (Note bene: These retractions are all at least one year old.)

First, the retraction notice for peer review issues, published in April 2015 for “Environmental Indicators and Energy Outcomes: Evidence from World Bank’s Classification Countries:”

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Author: I’ll sue if publisher doesn’t retract my retraction

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Journal of Homeland Security

An author is preparing to sue a publisher for retracting his paper.

John Bishop, the CEO of an independent media company called Crocels, argues that by taking down his paper, De Gruyter is breaching a contract — their agreement to publish his work.

Perhaps appropriately, the paper suggests ways to combat negative online comments — including litigation.

Bishop told us he learned that his paper was pulled when he was alerted to the brief retraction notice, published in April. The notice, published in the Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, says:

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Ethics committee asks journal to retract paper about controversial growth-stunting treatment

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A journal has retracted a paper on a controversial course of treatment used to stunt the growth of disabled children, at the request of the human research ethics committee at the University of Waikato in New Zealand.

The paper described the so-called Ashley Treatment — explored last week in the New York Times — in which disabled children receive hormones and procedures to keep them small and diminish the effects of puberty, making it easier for them to be cared for. The retracted paper analyzed the use of the treatment in a girl named Charley who was born in New Zealand with a brain injury, whose case has attracted the attention of The Washington Post and People magazine, among other outlets.

The paper analyzed Charley’s case, and did not involve any clinical subjects. But the retraction note suggests that the ethics of publishing this paper weren’t fully worked out:

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“A big mistake:” Paper about the dangers of Wi-Fi pulled for plagiarism

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A report that presents guidelines for treating people allegedly harmed by signals from Wi-Fi and mobile phones was pulled two weeks after publication for plagiarism.

However, the retraction note, published in the March issue of Reviews on Environmental Health, doesn’t use the word “plagiarism,” and instead blames the move on lost citations and errors. The editor of the journal, David Carpenter, told us the report — which takes the controversial stance that WiFi can cause harm to some people — was retracted because “major sections of it had been taken directly” from another source, without reference.

The journal didn’t catch the plagiarism because it didn’t send the report out for peer review, Carpenter said:

[W]e didn’t subject the article to the full peer review that is applied for all other submissions, and that always include an on-line search for plagiarism.

The reason, Carpenter told us: the paper “was the outcome of a large committee.”

Here’s the retraction note for “EUROPAEM EMF Guideline 2015 for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of EMF-related health problems and illnesses:”

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Journal temporarily removes paper linking HPV vaccine to behavioral issues

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1-s2.0-S0264410X16X00084-cov150hThe editor in chief of Vaccine has removed a paper suggesting a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine can trigger behavioral changes in mice.

The note doesn’t provide any reason for the withdrawal, although authors were told the editor asked for further review.

Two co-authors on the paper — about Gardasil, a vaccine against HPV — have previously suggested that aluminum in vaccines is linked to autism, in research a World Health Organization advisory body concluded was “seriously flawed.”

Approximately 80 million doses of Gardasil were administered in the U.S. between 2006 and 2015. Both the the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have ruled the vaccine to be safe — the CDC, for instance, calls it “safe, effective, and recommended.”

The journal published an uncorrected proof of “Behavioral abnormalities in young female mice following administration of aluminum adjuvants and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil” online on January 9th, 2016. In its place now is a note that says:

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The Big (Retraction) Short: Securitized loans paper may get change of venue

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J financeA paper on the securitized loan industry’s pricing practices was pulled from the Journal of Finance, but may be appearing in another journal.

The Journal of Finance issued a notice of withdrawal, for “Who Facilitated Misreporting in Securitized Loans?” by John M. Griffin and Gonzalo Maturana, but does not say why it was taken out.  Griffin’s web site notes that the paper is to be published in the Review of Financial Studies.

Here’s the note, dated Sept. 23: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jesse Emspak

January 5th, 2016 at 3:37 pm