Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Does a paywall protect patient privacy?

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A psychoanalyst has retracted an award-winning 2016 paper over concerns that it contained “sensitive” patient information.

On July 15, Judith L. Mitrani, a psychoanalyst based in California, published an article that included “sensitive clinical material” about a patient. Although we do not know what prompted the concerns, on November 21, Mitrani, in agreement with the journal’s editor-in-chief and publisher, retracted the article. The author and editor told us the retraction was meant to prevent non-experts from accessing the paper and to stop other non-Wiley sites from posting it.

The article was published after it had won the journal’s essay contest in 2015.

Here’s the retraction notice for “On Separating One from the Other: Images of a Developing Self,” published in the British Journal of Psychotherapy (BJP):

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Journal retracts paper by state senator (and former mathematician)

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Daniel Biss

Here’s something you don’t see every day: A state senator with an academic publication record, in his former career as a mathematician. Even more unusual: A retraction of one of his 15-year-old papers, after the journal realized most of the results were incorrect.

According to the notice, some aspects of the paper by Daniel Biss — now a democratic Illinois State Senator — are also “ambiguous.”

We spoke with Senator Biss, who told us he had been contacted by an editor who told him someone had raised questions about the paper, but he didn’t have much input in the notice:

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Written by Alison McCook

February 13th, 2017 at 9:35 am

Weekend reads: Sugar paper tussle at a reunion; “Sex, lies, and video-taped experiments;” p-value harm?

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The week at Retraction Watch featured the retraction of a psychology paper because of manipulation by an unnamed graduate student, and a tale about the cost of being a whistleblower, even when you’re successful. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

February 11th, 2017 at 9:30 am

Posted in weekend reads

Authors pull virus replication paper after they cannot replicate results

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Researchers in China have retracted a 2016 paper exploring the replication behaviors of a retrovirus, after discovering that the key results could not be reproduced — possibly because their cell cultures had been contaminated.

The authors also cite a disagreement with a colleague, who they say contributed to the work but does not want to be listed as an author.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Nuclear import of prototype foamy virus transactivator Bel1 is mediated by KPNA1, KPNA6 and KPNA7,” published in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine: Read the rest of this entry »

Journal pulls paper with missing data, citing inquiry and legal proceedings

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A journal has retracted a 2012 paper after the last author was unable to provide material to support the results presented in multiple figures.

The lack of supporting data came out during “an internal inquiry and subsequent legal proceedings,” according to the notice, issued by Cell Cycle.

The last author on the paper is Susana Gonzalez, who was dismissed from her position at the National Center for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC) in Spain last year.

Here’s the full notice:

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Why traditional statistics are often “counterproductive to research the human sciences”

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Andrew Gelman

Doing research is hard. Getting statistically significant results is hard. Making sure the results you obtain reflect reality is even harder. In this week’s Science, Eric Loken at the University of Connecticut and Andrew Gelman at Columbia University debunk some common myths about the use of statistics in research — and argue that, in many cases, the use of traditional statistics does more harm than good in human sciences research. 

Retraction Watch: Your article focuses on the “noise” that’s present in research studies. What is “noise” and how is it created during an experiment?

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Written by Alison McCook

February 9th, 2017 at 2:00 pm

Elsevier to retract six more papers by computer scientist, citing duplication and fake reviews

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Yesterday we reported that Elsevier journals had pulled three papers by a computer scientist with an impressive publication record. The publisher has since informed us that it plans to pull six more, again citing duplication and manipulation of the peer-review process.

Shahaboddin Shamshirband at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s record will be down by a total of nine papers once the publisher issues the additional notices. We also found evidence that an additional paper was removed by a journal, but haven’t confirmed if that’s a retraction.

One of Shamshirband’s co-authors has objected to one of the retractions Elsevier has already issued for faked reviews, arguing the reviewers were PhD students without institutional email addresses. A spokesperson for Elsevier told us:

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Students withdraw report of private stem cell retreat

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Master’s students have retracted a review of an internal meeting of stem cell researchers because it contained confidential information.

According to the Managing Director of the society, Stem Cell Network North Rhine Westphalia (NRW), the event was not open to the public, and the authors had not contacted either the society or the scientists they cited before publishing the report.

Here’s the retraction notice for “A Report on the Internal Retreat Meeting of the Stem Cell Network North Rhine Westphalia,” published online in Molecular Biotechnology on October 31 and retracted shortly after on December 14: Read the rest of this entry »

Computer scientist loses at least three papers, two for faked reviews

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A computer scientist in Malaysia has lost two papers for faked peer reviews, and another for duplication. A fourth paper on which he is a co-author appears to have simply disappeared.

One retraction lays the blame for the fake reviewer on corresponding author Shahaboddin Shamshirband at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. According to the journal, Shamshirband — who has co-authored more than 200 papers and book chapters, despite receiving his PhD in 2014, according to his biography on Vitae — supplied a fake email for the reviewer during the submission process.

Here’s the retraction notice for that paper, issued by the journal Measurement:

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Authors contest retractions for “high degrees of similarity” with previous papers

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A group of researchers has lost two papers due to “high degrees of similarity with previously published works,” according to the notices.

The authors are objecting to the retractions, however, arguing the journal never gave them an opportunity to show their work is different from the previous papers.

Both papers were published in the International Journal of Plastics Technology, and share the same three authors, all based at Charan Singh University in India. They were retracted by the Editor in Chief, according to the notices.

Effect of dynamic cross-linking on melt rheological properties of isotactic polypropylene (iPP)/ethylene–propylene diene rubber (EPDM)/nitrile rubber (NBR) elastomeric blends” was published in 2011. Here’s the retraction notice:

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