Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

What do studies of retractions tell us?

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jmbeThe Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education has published a special issue on scientific ethics, and it includes an invited piece from us.

In “What Studies of Retractions Tell Us,” we decided to do a literature review of the small but growing field of retraction studies. Five years ago, this would have been a very short paper, consisting of a handful of references, but we were able to find about 30 studies to include quite easily.

Here’s the abstract: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

December 16th, 2014 at 9:30 am

“You don’t retract a paper, you retract the results within:” Why one scientist still displays one of his mistakes

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lance fortnow

Lance Fortnow

And now, one from the archives.

In 1989, then MIT grad student Lance Fortnow (he’s now chair of the computer science department at Georgia Tech) wrote a mathematical proof and published it as conference proceedings. He later went to publish the proof in a journal.

But he then discovered “unexpected technical challenges” and published a retraction in 1997. Both are still available on his personal website.

Not everyone would be that transparent. We reached out to ask why he left them up for people to see. He gave us his rationale: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

December 15th, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Retraction Watch is growing, thanks to a $400,000 grant from the MacArthur Foundation

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macarthurDear Retraction Watch readers, we have some exciting news to share.

After more than four years, 2,000 posts, and incredible responses from the scientific community, we are thrilled to announce that The Center For Scientific Integrity, a not-for-profit corporation we’ve established, has been awarded a $400,000 grant from the MacArthur Foundation to expand the work of Retraction Watch.

The goal of the grant — $200,000 per year for two years — is to create a comprehensive and freely available database of retractions, something that doesn’t now exist, as we and others have noted. That, we wrote in our proposal, is

a gap that deprives scholarly publishing of a critical mechanism for self-correction.

While we’re able to cover somewhere around two-thirds of new retractions as they appear, we’ll need more resources to be comprehensive. Here’s more from our proposal: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

December 15th, 2014 at 9:30 am

ORI sanctions former University of Chicago and UCSF scientists for faking findings

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H. Rosie Xing

H. Rosie Xing

The stories behind several recent inscrutable retraction notices became a bit more clear today when the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) issued findings in cases involving former researchers at the University of Chicago and the University of California, San Francisco.

The ORI found that H. Rosie Xing, a former assistant professor at the University of Chicago, Read the rest of this entry »

Weekend reads: Maggie Simpson publishes a paper, why correcting the scientific record is hard

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booksOn Sunday, tune in to WUSA at 8:30 a.m. Eastern in Washington, DC, or online starting at 9 to see Ivan on BioCenturyTV. (He might just have an exciting announcement to make.) Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

December 13th, 2014 at 9:30 am

Posted in weekend reads

PubPeer Selections: Spinal injury, theoretical physics, and inherited fear

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Written by Ivan Oransky

December 12th, 2014 at 11:30 am

Revealed: Complaint lodged against Macchiarini, “super-surgeon” under investigation

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Paolo Macchiarini

Retraction Watch has obtained copies of a misconduct complaint filed against surgeon Paolo Macchiarini, who is currently under investigation by the Karolinksa Institute in Stockholm for allegedly downplaying dangers of an experimental surgery, along with other misconduct accusations. We’re posting them here to allow researchers and clinicians to review and perhaps comment on them.

The complaint was from four surgeons at Karolinska Hospital, and was filed in August, as The New York Times reported last month. You can read the full complaint here. An excerpt: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

December 12th, 2014 at 9:30 am

Second former University of Queensland researcher to appear in court to face fraud charges

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Bruce Murdoch

Bruce Murdoch

Bruce Murdoch, a neuroscientist formerly of the University of Queensland, will appear in court next week to face fraud charges stemming from an investigation that has already led to three retractions, several corrections, and similar charges for one of his colleagues.

Here’s the notice from the Crime and Corruption Commission: Read the rest of this entry »

Dentistry student loses travel grant for duplicating his own work

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iadrThe International Association for Dental Research has retracted a student travel award after discovering that the recipient had previously published the work he used to secure the grant, including in an abstract he presented at the same conference last year.

The self-plagiarism was uncovered by an anonymous group of students at the Hong Kong University dentistry school, where the student is a PhD student. The unnamed students sent both the IADR and HKU faculty members a color-coded chart showing identical phrases between the 2014 abstract, a 2013 paper published in the Journal of Periodontal Research called “Human umbilical vein endothelial cells synergize osteo/odontogenic differentiation of periodontal ligament stem cells in 3D cell sheets,” and another abstract the authors presented at the 2013 IADR conference.

The paper and both abstracts were written by P.K.C.P. Panduwawala, who lost the travel grant, along with HKU’s former dean of dentistry L.P. Samaranayake; HKU’s associate dean for research L.J. Jin; and C.F. Zhang, part of HKU’s tissue engineering group.

The IADR’s page now lists the winners with a note at the bottom: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

December 11th, 2014 at 11:30 am

Non-renewable resource: Fuel yanks paper for duplication

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fuel30420Fuel, an Elsevier title, has pulled an article on coal pollution because the authors took much of the work from an earlier paper of theirs in another journal.

The article, “Co-firing of coal and biomass: Development of a conceptual model for ash formation prediction,” was published in September by a group from Australia and The Netherlands.

According to the notice: Read the rest of this entry »