Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘unhelpful retraction notices’ Category

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David Carpenter, told us the report — which takes the controversial stance that WiFi can cause harm to some people — was retracted because “major sections of it had been taken directly” from another source, without reference.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

Editors weren’t “unable to verify reviewer identities” — reviewers just weren’t qualified

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We can’t resist flagging some misleading language in a retraction note for a 2015 paper on the inner workings of an amoeba pathogen.

The note for “The Charms of the CHRM Receptors: Apoptotic and Amoebicidal effects of Dicyclomine on Acanthamoeba castellanii” is short, so we’re going to give it to you up front:

This accepted manuscript has been retracted because the journal is unable to verify reviewer identities.

Sounds like another case of faked emails to generate fake peer reviews, right? But that’s not what happened to this paper, according to the editor in chief of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, Louis B. Rice, a professor at Brown University:

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Authors withdraw two papers from JBC — and that’s all we know

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Two sets of authors have withdrawn their papers from the Journal of Biological Chemistry. We’re telling you about the both together because, true to JBC form, there’s not too much to say.

The retraction notices for both papers — about the molecular underpinnings of cardiac fibroblasts and melanoma cells — are identical:

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“Irresolvable authorship dispute” leads to retraction of tropical disease paper

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Microbiology AustraliaA paper on schistosomiasis, a tropical disease spread by parasitic worms that live in freshwater snails, has been pulled because of an “irresolvable authorship dispute.”

Microbiology Australia published the retraction earlier this month in an agreement with the editors and the authors. Unfortunately, the notice doesn’t provide many details and that’s pretty much all we know.

Here’s the notice in full:

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Cancer drug paper nulled by “statistical errors”

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12032Researchers have pulled a paper about a drug used to treat pancreatic tumors due to “statistical errors.”

The 2014 paper suggested a drug that appears to treat pancreatic tumors also works in Chinese patients. We’re not exactly sure what went wrong with “A randomized phase II study of everolimus for advanced pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors in Chinese patients,” however, because the retraction note is not particularly helpful. Here’s the whole thing, published in Medical Oncology: Read the rest of this entry »

“Our manuscript unintentionally failed to meet academic and publication standards”

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Authors of a 2014 review paper about the use of “as needed” medications by people with mental health diagnoses are retracting it, but we’re scratching our heads as to why.

The retraction appears in “The experiences of mental health professionals’ and patients’ use of pro re nata (PRN) medication in acute adult mental health care settings: a systematic review protocol of qualitative evidence,” published by The JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports.

From the abstract of the paper:

Pro re nata is a Latin phrase meaning “for an unforseen need or contingency”…The authors of the systematic review found that although the practice of using “as required” medication is common there is no good evidence of whether this is the best way of helping people to be less agitated when compared to being given a regular dose of medication.

We’re not entirely sure what went wrong here. This is the full contents of the note:

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Authors withdraw immunology study, no reasons given

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Journal of Biological Chemistry1Researchers have withdrawn a 2010 article in the Journal of Biological Chemistry about an immune regulator.

The paper was pulled without any explanation (in standard JBC style). Here’s the complete notice:

This article has been withdrawn by the authors.

The study’s authors were based out of Shandong University Medical School, Jinan General Hospital of Jinan Command and Duke University Medical Center.

Two of the authors have had previous papers retracted.

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