Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Journal that published bogus chocolate study delisted from open access directory

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logo_croppedThe journal that recently published a bogus study showing the health benefits of chocolate has been kicked out of a membership organization for open access journals.

According to the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), the International Archives of Medicine was removed from the list of member journals August 20, due to “suspected editorial misconduct by publisher.”

The journal is still was listed in PubMed until November 2014.

According to the DOAJ website, membership to the organization serves as a stamp of approval for OA journals:

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Written by Alison McCook

August 25th, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Former UCSF grad student fudged data in two papers

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ORIA former graduate student at the University of California, San Francisco “knowingly falsified and/or fabricated” data in two published papers, according to the Office of Research Integrity.

According to a case summary published this morning, Peter Littlefield was working on his PhD, studying the ways that cells respond to external signals, when he published the two problematic papers. He is the first author on the papers; Natalia Jura, whose lab he worked in, is the last on both.

The report’s findings are based on, among other sources, “the respondent’s admission.”

The first paper, “Structural analysis of the EGFR/HER3 heterodimer reveals the molecular basis for activating HER3 mutations” was published in Science Signaling and has been cited twice, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Three figures in the paper are problematic, says the ORI summary:

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Sea squirt draft paper published by mistake

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cover (1)

A paper on the evolution and development of urochordata — also known as sea squirts — was published in an under-developed form: Due to the publishers’ “error,” a “preliminary draft” of the article was published online in Developmental Dynamics last year.

The draft has been retracted; we can no longer find it on the site at all. The final copy of the paper has been posted in its place.

Here’s the retraction note in full for “Development, Metamorphosis, Morphology and Diversity: Evolution of Chordates muscles and the Origin of Vertebrates”:

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Following criticism, PLOS removes blog defending scrutiny of science

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plos_logoCommunity blog PLOS Biologue has pulled a post by journalists Charles Seife and Paul Thacker that argued in favor of public scrutiny of scientists’ behavior (including emails), following heavy criticism, including from a group and scientist mentioned in the post.

Their reasoning: The post was “not consistent with at least the spirit and intent of our community guidelines.”

The original post, published August 13, is no longer available online, but you can read it here. In the piece, Seife and Thacker lament what they call a recent backlash against transparency in science: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

August 24th, 2015 at 11:30 am

Paper on narcissistic CEOs earns big correction

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home_coverIt may not be much of a surprise that narcissistic CEOs of pharmaceutical companies will make bold choices, such as adopting radically new technology. That idea remains true, despite a lengthy correction to a paper that supports it.

The paper, “CEO Narcissism, Audience Engagement, and Organizational Adoption of Technological Discontinuities,” in Administrative Science Quarterly, found support for the following hypothesis:

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Weekend reads: “Unfeasibly prolific authors;” why your manuscript will be rejected; is science broken?

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booksThe week at Retraction Watch featured revelations of yet more fake peer reviews, bringing the retraction total to 250. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

August 22nd, 2015 at 9:30 am

Former Wake Forest grad student fudged data for drug study

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Brandi Blaylock

A former graduate student at Wake Forest School of Medicine “presented falsified and/or fabricated data” in a government-funded drug study, according to findings released by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity earlier today.

The report was released in the wake of an investigation conducted by the university and the ORI. Investigators found that although Brandi Blaylock recorded responses of a dozen laboratory monkeys after giving them anti-abuse drugs, she hadn’t given them the compounds “per protocol.”

Blaylock then presented the data at “two poster presentations, several laboratory meetings, and progress reports.”

Some of her research was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, “Dopamine D2 Receptors In Primate Models of Cocaine Abuse,” which examined the effects of novel dopamine D3 receptor compounds on drug addiction on monkeys.

However, according to the report, Blaylock presented the falsified responses from a dozen monkeys: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ross Keith

August 21st, 2015 at 2:06 pm

Investigation digs up data falsification in two papers on roundworm stress

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18.coverAn investigation at the University of Florida has led to the retraction of a pair of papers on the stress responses of Caenorhabditis elegans in Molecular and Cellular Biology.

One paper has been retracted, and one “partially” retracted, as the main conclusion was “not compromised.” According to the retraction notes, the investigation found the data were “falsified” by first author Chi Leung, a former postdoc at UF.

Here’s the note in full for the partial retraction of “A Negative-Feedback Loop between the Detoxification/Antioxidant Response Factor SKN-1 and Its Repressor WDR-23 Matches Organism Needs with Environmental Conditions:”

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“Goodbye…”?: Editor pulls farewell editorial after deeming it “inappropriate”

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3We’ve unearthed a retraction of an editorial titled “Goodbye…”, pulled from Cognition, Technology & Work by its retiring editor after he decided it was “inappropriate.”

The original text is not online. The note in its place reads, in full:

This article has been retracted due to unintended publication.

The author of the editorial is psychologist Erik Hollnagel, based at the University of Southern Denmark, who left the journal after a decade. Interestingly, his own research includes studies of “When Things Go Wrong” (per the title of one of his book chapters), ranging from financial crises to the Fukushima disaster.

The error that led to this reaction seems tiny, in comparison. Hollnagel explains:

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Thirteen-year-old mathematics paper retracted for plagiarism

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A 2002 paper that investigates a kind of equation used to describe physical systems has been “has been detected to be a case of plagiarism.”

Here’s the abstract of the Journal of Applied Mathematics and Physics (Zeitschrift für angewandte Mathematik und Physik) article, “Some blow-up results for a generalized Ginzburg-Landau equation,”

We investigate the blow-up of the solution to a complex Ginzburg-Landau like equation in coupled with a Poisson equation in ϕ defined on the whole space nn=1 or 2.

What did this paper plagiarize from?  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Shannon Palus

August 20th, 2015 at 11:30 am