Weekend reads: Our database of 18,000-plus retractions is launched; inside a trial gone wrong; scholarly publishers bow to censorship

Before we present this week’s Weekend Reads, a question: Do you enjoy our weekly roundup? If so, we could really use your help. Would you consider a tax-deductible donation to support Weekend Reads, and our daily work? Thanks in advance.

The week at Retraction Watch featured the official launch of our database of more than 18,000 retractions, along with a six-page package in Science about some preliminary findings. Have a look. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Continue reading Weekend reads: Our database of 18,000-plus retractions is launched; inside a trial gone wrong; scholarly publishers bow to censorship

Three more retractions brings diabetes researcher who once sued publishers to 18

Mario Saad

FEBS Letters has retracted three papers by the Brazilian diabetologist Mario Saad, bringing his total to 18.

The now-retracted articles, published between 2005 and 2010, contain doctored images, according to the notices, which read similarly.

Here’s one, for the 2005 paper “Aspirin inhibits serine phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate 1 in growth hormone treated animals”: Continue reading Three more retractions brings diabetes researcher who once sued publishers to 18

We’re officially launching our database today. Here’s what you need to know.

Readers, this is a big day for us.

We’re officially launching the Retraction Watch Database of more than 18,000 retractions, along with a six-page package of stories and infographics based on it that we developed with our partners at Science Magazine. In that package, you’ll learn about trends — some surprising, some perhaps not — and other tidbits such as which countries have the highest retraction rates. Thanks as always to our partners at Science, particularly Jeffrey Brainard and Jia You, who crunched the numbers and developed the package.

As readers no doubt know, we’ve been working on the database for some years. Some have asked us why it has taken so long — can’t we just pull retractions from existing databases like PubMed, or publishers’ sites? The answer is resoundingly no. All of those databases are missing retractions, whether by design or because notices aren’t transmitted well. That’s why we found more than 18,000, far more than you’ll find elsewhere. And we also went through each one and assigned it a reason, based on a detailed taxonomy we developed over eight years of reporting on retractions. Continue reading We’re officially launching our database today. Here’s what you need to know.

JAMA journal retracts paper when author can’t produce original data

In July 2017, a JAMA journal called for an investigation into a 2013 paper it had published after concluding that the article had “scientific and ethical concerns.” Now the journal, JAMA Otolaryngology − Head & Neck Surgery, is retracting the paper.

The article, “Dexamethasone for the prevention of recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy and other complications after thyroid surgery: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial,” came from a group in Italy led by Mario Schietroma, of the Department of Surgery at the University of L’Aquila, in Abruzzo, Italy. Schietroma, who in December admitted to us that a retracted 2015 paper of his in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons suffered from “misinterpretation of the statistical data,” now has four retractions.

The paper has been cited a total of 18 times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science, including twice since it was subjected to an expression of concern. One of those citations was by a Cochrane systematic review.

According to the retraction notice: Continue reading JAMA journal retracts paper when author can’t produce original data

When researchers from a particular country dominate retraction statistics, what does it mean?

Iekuni Ichikawa

The Retraction Watch Leaderboard of authors with the most retractions is a frequent source of comment and speculation. Why do only men appear on it? And what fields and countries are represented? Here, Iekuni IchikawaProject Professor at Shinshu University and Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University, as well as a co-founder of the Association for the Promotion of Research Integrity (APRIN) in Japan, takes a look at a recent story that referenced our leaderboard — and what those figures really mean.

The authors of Retraction Watch often take pains to point out that the relative rarity of retractions — despite dramatic increases in their rates — make studying them a challenge. But it is often difficult to resist seeking out truth in retraction numbers.

As a case in point, in August Science published an article by Kai Kupferschmidt about research misconduct in Japan that quoted data from the Retraction Watch Leaderboard, pointing that out that although “half of the top 10 are Japanese researchers…only about 5% of published research comes from Japan.” Continue reading When researchers from a particular country dominate retraction statistics, what does it mean?

As China cracks down on faked drug trial data, US FDA abandons disclosure rule

The FDA has walked away from a 2010 rule that would have forced drug makers to disclose fabricated data to regulators.

As Bloomberg Law reported last week, the FDA has withdrawn the proposed rule, “Reporting Information Regarding Falsification of Data,” which would Continue reading As China cracks down on faked drug trial data, US FDA abandons disclosure rule

Graduate student in China stripped of PhD after investigation that led to a dozen retractions

On Friday we reported on the case of a group of researchers in China who have retracted at least 11 papers for various kinds of misconduct. Here’s a bit more on that story, courtesy of our commenters.

First, it turns out that the retraction total is at least 12. But more significant is that the institution in question, Tsinghua University’s Graduate School at Shenzhen, announced yesterday that it had stripped one of the researchers involved in the studies of his PhD and sanctioned another in the matter. Continue reading Graduate student in China stripped of PhD after investigation that led to a dozen retractions

Weekend reads: A whistleblower speaks; a new most-cited retracted paper; criminalizing scientific fraud?

Before we present this week’s Weekend Reads, a question: Do you enjoy our weekly roundup? If so, we could really use your help. Would you consider a tax-deductible donation to support Weekend Reads, and our daily work? Thanks in advance.

The week at Retraction Watch featured a call for more than 30 retractions by former Harvard stem cell scientists, a settlement in a sexual harassment suit by UCSF and a high-profile researcher, and the retraction of a paper based on the long-discredited vaccine-autism paper by Andrew Wakefield and colleagues. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Continue reading Weekend reads: A whistleblower speaks; a new most-cited retracted paper; criminalizing scientific fraud?

Group in China earns nearly a dozen retractions for image duplication, forged authorship, and more

A group of materials scientists in China has earned 11 retractions and three corrections — so far — for image manipulation, duplication, deceptive authorship and other misconduct.

The papers, from a group at the prestigious Tsinghua University, appeared in a variety of materials journals and date back to 2014. The most recent publications arrived in 2016.

[Please see an update on this post.]

The notices read pretty much the same way. Here, for example, is the retraction statement for “Effects of high-energy electro-pulsing treatment on microstructure, mechanical properties and corrosion behavior of Ti–6Al–4V alloy,” which was published in 2015 in Materials Science and Engineering C, an Elsevier title: Continue reading Group in China earns nearly a dozen retractions for image duplication, forged authorship, and more

How a typo in a catalog number led to the correction of a scientific paper — and what we can learn from that

Anita Bandrowski

Papers are corrected for lots of different reasons. In this guest post, Anita Bandrowski, who leads an initiative designed to help researchers identify their reagents correctly, describes one unusual reason for a correction — and explains what researchers can learn from the episode.

Last December, Tianyi Wang and her colleagues published a very interesting paper in Cell Metabolism on the potential link between a gene called JAK/STAT3 and breast cancer. It turns out that breast cancers become resistant to chemotherapy via a pathway that involves JAK/STAT3, and blocking this pathway can re-sensitize the tumor to chemotherapy.

But six months later, they corrected the paper — because of typos in the catalog numbers they’d used. Continue reading How a typo in a catalog number led to the correction of a scientific paper — and what we can learn from that