Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘unhelpful retraction notices’ Category

“Lack of scientific contributions and novelty” fells math paper

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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discovered retractions is for fake peer review, attributed to Zaman; one is for plagiarism, and two other papers were withdrawn while in press, for reasons that are unclear.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

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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