The Karolinska Institutet University Board announced today it was issuing a new external investigation of trachea surgeon Paolo Macchiarini, looking into questions about his recruitment and the handling of previous allegations of misconduct.
According to a press release:
The University Board deems such an inquiry to be an important part of restoring the confidence of the public, the scientific community, staff and students in the university.
The board hopes to appoint the investigative team, which will not consider “matters of a medical-scientific nature,” next week. The goal is to conclude the investigation by the summer.
There were many signs this was coming: Read the rest of this entry »
Today, Science has retracted a 2004 paper that’s been under scrutiny for years, despite the authors’ objections.
This paper has a long backstory: Recently, a report from the National Science Foundation’s Office of Inspector General surfaced that announced the agency had cut off the authors from funding. Last month, editor Marcia McNutt told us that the journal planned to retract the paper as soon as possible. Then, on January 21st, “just as we were going to press with the retraction,” said McNutt, the authors submitted a correction, which Science wanted to take some time to consider.
Here it is the retraction note:
An engineer has retracted three papers on a method for making nanoscale materials that are useful in solar cells.
The papers, all published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, contain irregularities in data, and one includes images “which have been published elsewhere and identified with different samples,” according to the note.
The first author on all three papers is Khalid Mahmood, who — according to the bio from a talk he gave last year on efficient solar cells — is currently a postdoc at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia. He did the work in the retracted papers while a student at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, where, according to the bio, he completed his PhD in two years.
Karolinska Institutet announced today it would not extend the contract of star surgeon Paolo Macchiarini. He has been instructed to “phase out” his research from now until November 30.
According to a press release issued today: Read the rest of this entry »
If audits work for the Internal Revenue Service, could they also work for science? We’re pleased to present a guest post from Viraj Mane, a life sciences commercialization manager in Toronto, and Amy Lossie at the National Institutes of Health, who have a unique proposal for how to improve the quality of papers: Random audits of manuscripts.
Skim articles, books, documentaries, or movies about Steve Jobs and you’ll see that ruthlessness is the sine qua non of some of our greatest business leaders. It would be naïve to assume that scientists somehow resist these universal impulses toward leadership, competition, and recognition. In the white-hot field of stem cell therapy, where promising discoveries attract millions of dollars, egregious lapses in judgment and honesty have been uncovered in Japan, Germany, and South Korea. The nature of the offenses ranged from fraudulent (plagiarism and duplication of figures) to horrifying (female subordinates coerced into donating their eggs).
When a researcher embraces deception, the consequences extend well beyond the involved parties. Former physician Andrew Wakefield published a linkage between MMR vaccines and autism with overtly substandard statistical and experimental methods, while hiding how his financial compensation was tied to the very hysteria he helped unleash.
Let’s ask some hard questions. Read the rest of this entry »
If you notice an obvious problem with a paper in your field, it should be relatively easy to alert the journal’s readers to the issue, right? Unfortunately, for a group of nutrition researchers led by David B. Allison at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, that is not their experience. Allison and his co-author Andrew Brown talked to us about a commentary they’ve published in today’s Nature, which describes the barriers they encountered to correcting the record.
Retraction Watch: You were focusing on your field (nutrition), and after finding dozens of “substantial or invalidating errors,” you had to stop writing letters to the authors or journals, simply because you didn’t have time to keep up with it all. Do you expect the same amount of significant errors are present in papers from other fields? Read the rest of this entry »
A psychology journal is retracting a 2015 paper that attracted press coverage by suggesting women’s hormone levels drive their desire to be attractive, after a colleague alerted the last author to flaws in the statistical analysis.
The paper, published online in November, found women prefer to wear makeup when there is more testosterone present in their saliva. The findings were picked up by various media including Psychology Today (“Feeling hormonal? Slap on the makeup”), and even made it onto reddit.com.
However, upon discovering a problem in the analysis of the data, the authors realized that central finding didn’t hold up, according to Psychological Science‘s interim editor, Stephen Lindsay: Read the rest of this entry »
Nearly four years after an analysis of more than 160 papers by Yoshitaka Fujii concluded the chances the data were authentic were infinitesimally small, the British Journal of Ophthalmology has decided to formally retract one of the papers included in that review.
The name Yoshitaka Fujii should ring a bell — an alarm bell, in fact — for our readers. He’s firmly listed in the number one spot on our leaderboard, with more than 180 retractions.
The recently retracted paper — “Ramosetron compared with granisetron for the prevention of vomiting following strabismus surgery in children” — has been included in that retraction total for years, because it was part of a seminal 2012 analysis by J.B. Carlisle that put the odds of data occurring naturally in some of Fujii’s papers at: Read the rest of this entry »
The online news site is retracting and correcting several articles by former staff writer Juan Thompson, who was employed there from November 2014 until last month.
Remember when we recently found PLOS ONE had published two papers with “substantial overlap” from two different groups, that were edited around the same time? Well, we have discovered another similarly perplexing case of plagiarism in two studies published only months apart. But in this instance, we have a possible explanation for how two groups of authors from different institutions could report a similar experiment and data, and even use some of the same text.
It also concerns a paper focusing on cancer biology — in this case, it’s a 2014 paper retracted by Clinical and Investigative Medicine after editors learned that it contained many similarities to a study published only a handful of months before in Tumour Biology.
According to an email from an author on the retracted paper to the editor, Read the rest of this entry »