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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Authors of three retracted PLOS ONE papers to retract four more, with one researcher resigning

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ChemosphereThe hits keep coming for a research group at the Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH) in Chandigarh, India.

Last week, we reported that PLoS ONE was retracting three papers by the research group because “there are no data available underlying this study and thus…the published results are fabricated.” Now, according to The Hindu, four more papers are being retracted:
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The camel doesn’t have two humps: Programming “aptitude test” canned for overzealous conclusion

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From Larry Summers to James Watson, certain scientists have a long and questionable tradition of using “data” to make claims about intelligence and aptitude.

So it’s no surprise that, when well-known computer scientist Richard Bornat claimed his PhD student had created a test to separate people who would succeed at programming versus those who didn’t, people happily embraced it. After all, it’s much easier to say there’s a large population that will just never get it, instead of re-examining your teaching methods.

The paper, called “The camel has two humps,” suggested instead of a bell curve, programming success rates look more like a two-humped ungulate: the kids who get it, and the kids who never will.

Though the paper was never formally published, it made the rounds pretty extensively. Now, Bornat has published a retraction, stating that he wrote the article during an antidepressant-driven mania that also earned him a suspension from his university. Here’s the meat of the notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

July 18, 2014 at 8:30 am

Rice researcher in ethics scrape threatens journal with lawsuit over coming retraction

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Guangwen Tang, a rice researcher at Tufts University, landed in hot water in 2012 after her team was accused of feeding Chinese children genetically modified Golden Rice without having obtained informed consent from the parents.

Now, she’s suing both Tufts and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which reportedly is retracting a paper, “ß-carotene in Golden Rice is as good as p-carotene in oil at providing vitamin A to children,” based on the federally funded research, claiming that the retraction would constitute defamation. (That retraction hasn’t happened yet.)

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard the retraction = defamation line. Readers might remember Ariel Fernandez, who threatened to sue us for writing about an expression of concern. Maybe a course on the Streisand Effect should be mandatory for PhD students?
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Written by Cat Ferguson

July 17, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Authors issue their own expression of concern about elephant femur paper

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interfaceThe authors of a 2012 paper in the journal Interface have had the journal issue an expression of concern about it after issues with “some of the data and methods” came to light.

Here’s the expression of concern for “What makes an accurate and reliable subject-specific finite element model? A case study of an elephant femur:” Read the rest of this entry »

PLOS ONE retracts breast cancer genetics paper after claim of misappropriated data

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plosonePLOS ONE has retracted a 2012 article by a group of breast cancer researchers after another scientist — a leading U.S. oncologist — objected that the data came from his lab.

The paper, “GREB1 Functions as a Growth Promoter and Is Modulated by IL6/STAT3 in Breast Cancer,” came from a team composed of researchers at the Morehouse School of Medicine, Xavier University of Louisiana and the University of Miami School of Medicine. It purported to find that: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by amarcus41

July 17, 2014 at 9:30 am

Second Nature paper by researcher found to have violated academic integrity retracted

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Pankaj Dhonukshe

A second Nature paper co-authored by Pankaj Dhonukshe, formerly of Utrecht University and VIB Ghent, has been retracted.

Here’s the notice for “Generation of cell polarity in plants links endocytosis, auxin distribution and cell fate decisions:” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

July 16, 2014 at 5:50 pm

Poetry, politics, plagiarism, and erotics add up to a retraction

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Nizar Qabbani, via WikiMedia

Here’s a new category for us: Poetry.

Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, a comparative studies journal, has retracted a paper on gender roles in Middle Eastern poetry due to plagiarism.

Nizar Kabbani was a famed Syrian poet who wrote frankly about feminism, love, and sex. He’s well worth a read, if you have the time – here’s an excerpt from one of his more famous poems, I Have No Power: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

July 16, 2014 at 12:30 pm


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