Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

More black marks against unapproved protein touted as miracle cure

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clinical immunologyA protein which is sold online as a cure for everything from autism to cancer and the focus of multiple retracted papers has earned more black marks: The UK government’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has issued a warning about its use after discovering problems in the factory, and a journal has removed the last author from a paper touting its benefits in HIV.

The protein, vitamin D-binding protein-derived macrophage activating factor (GcMAF), is supposedly a natural activator of macrophages. The website continues to hawk the results of treatment, while the Anticancer Fund has been pushing journals to correct the record on GcMAF. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

February 23rd, 2015 at 9:30 am

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Weekend reads: Why some scientists lie, the state of academic integrity in Iran, Nature goes double-blind

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booksThe week at Retraction Watch featured Matlab miscoding and a look at how often a retracted paper was cited. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

February 21st, 2015 at 9:30 am

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Harvard-Smithsonian space center retracts ruling on asteroid

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Image of near Earth astroid Ida, via NASA

Image of main-belt asteroid Ida, via NASA

Between Mars and Jupiter floats a little rock with big dreams.

For three whole weeks in January and February, it was designated as 2015 BS515, a near Earth object, one of the many space rocks that astrophysicists keep an eye on for their potential to strike our planet. But then on February 12 came the announcement: the Minor Planet Center (MPC) at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics had downgraded the rock to a “routine main-belt object.” That means the asteroid is far enough away that we don’t have to worry about it hitting Earth any time soon.

The MPC gets sent two million observations of asteroids and comets every month. The five staff members then catalog these findings and figure out what’s new and what’s been seen before. The goal is to keep track of all near Earth objects, which make up about 1% of the observations the Center receives. It’s remarkable that there are so few corrections, given the 120 million observations on the MPC’s books.

Here’s a portion of the note that appeared in the most recent Minor Planet Electronic Circular (MPEC), which provides updates about comets, “observable unusual objects,” and other asteroid news: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

February 20th, 2015 at 11:30 am

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Science chemistry paper earns retraction after expression of concern, marking second for UT group

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scienceThe authors of a 2011 Science paper that proposed a new way to direct chemical bonds have withdrawn the paper after concerns about the data prompted an investigation and Editorial Expression of Concern last year from the journal. The retraction is the second for the group, which has also had seven other expressions of concern.

After a reader emailed the editors to raise suspicions about the data, corresponding author Christopher W. Bielawski, then based at the University of Texas at Austin, led an investigation of all the figures. It found substantial problems: “In over 50% of the figure parts, the authors deemed the data unreliable due to uncertainty regarding the origin of data or the manner in which the data were processed,” according to the retraction notice.

UT Austin concluded that there had been misconduct, but did not elaborate.

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Written by Alison McCook

February 20th, 2015 at 9:30 am

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Several chem journals neutralize papers from Brazil group over figure fraud

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quimica novaSeveral journals have retracted or corrected papers from a group at State University of Maringá in Brazil over what one chemistry journal calls “fraudulent use” of figures previously published by the authors.

Química Nova, which is retracting a 2013 paper, issued a notice that taps an additional eight articles with Angelica Lazarin as the corresponding author that reused figures. Specifically, the papers included images “where same trace on the figure was assigned to different conditions and/or compounds.”

A number of the papers mentioned in the Química Nova notice were co-authored by Claudio Airoldi, whose group retracted 11 papers in 2011 following concerns over fraudulent nuclear magnetic resonance images.

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Misconduct forces retraction of health behavior paper

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j behav medA pair of psychology researchers at West Virginia University have lost their 2013 article in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine after one of the authors was found to have cooked the data.

The paper, “Preference for immediate reinforcement over delayed reinforcement: relation between delay discounting and health behavior,” was written by Shane Melanko and Kevin Larkin. It examined whether people who place less importance on the future were also less likely to adopt healthy behaviors, which come with delayed benefits. Melanko, then a doctoral candidate under Larkin, was evidently at one time a psychology student of some promise.

That promise might go unfulfilled. According to the retraction notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by amarcus41

February 19th, 2015 at 9:30 am

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Danish high court clears Pedersen in misconduct case

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Klarlund Pedersen

Lawyers one, scientists nil.

Danish judges have overruled scientists in that nation, concluding that a panel of experts erred in finding that physiologist Bente Klarlund Pedersen, of the University of Copenhagen, was guilty of misconduct.

Last September, Pedersen announced that she would fight the ruling of the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD, Danish acronym UVVU), which had said she had committed misconduct in four of 12 articles it had examined.

As we reported then, Pedersen’s case is tied to that of another Copenhagen scientist, Milena Penkowa, with whom she had collaborated and who also has been found guilty of scientific misdeeds. (The new ruling does not address Penkowa.) Read the rest of this entry »

Written by amarcus41

February 18th, 2015 at 5:31 pm

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More evidence scientists continue to cite retracted papers

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Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 2.38.46 PMA new paper in the MDPI journal Publications reports that the only controlled study on the effect of giving COPD patients Omega-3 has been cited 52 times since being retracted. Of those, only two mentioned the retraction.

In 2005, Chest published an article that found that COPD patients who took omega-3 supplements for 2 years experienced improvements in their condition, such as better walking tests and a decrease in sputum cytokines. But when an institutional investigation found the lead author had falsified the data, the journal retracted the paper in 2008.

That’s news to many researchers in the field. Among the 50 papers that cited the research after 2008 without stating it had been retracted, 20 included “specific data” from the paper, while the other 30 “cited the reference in passing.” Articles citing the retracted study have themselves been cited 947 times total, pointing to the ripple effect this kind of unwitting mention can have throughout the literature.

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Written by Cat Ferguson

February 18th, 2015 at 11:30 am

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Acid studies burned by duplication test in corrosion papers

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ldis20.v034.i07.coverPetroleum engineers in Iran have lost a pair of papers in the Journal of Dispersion Science and Technology for duplication and misuse of data.

The authors, whose various and varying affiliations include the National Iranian Oil Company, the Iranian Offshore Oil Company and Karaj Azad University, appear to have plagiarized not once, but twice: Two 2014 papers are both “substantially similar” to a 2013 paper, all published in the same journal. Which says plenty about both parties, we think.

What’s more, both retracted papers lifted data from a 2013 article in another journal, Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, “without proper citation.”    Read the rest of this entry »

Written by amarcus41

February 18th, 2015 at 9:30 am

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Journal runs retraction, editorial over duplicate submission of pathology paper

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WebCurrentCoverThe International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine has taken a hard stance against overlapping publications in a recent retraction note and editorial.

Shortly after publishing a paper about the glycosylation patterns of endothelial cells in usual interstitial pneumonia, IJOEM editors discovered that it had been accepted by the Scholarly Journal of Biological Science two weeks before it was submitted to the IJOEM.

According to two authors we reached via email, Abolfazl Barkhordari and Carolyn JonesSJBS requested a $300 publication fee, which Barkhordari (a corresponding author) was unable to pay due to economic sanctions against Iran, where he is based.

Barkhordari provided us with an email from the SJBS stating that the paper would not be published until $300 was transferred into a Nigerian bank account. The Nigeria-based publisher, Scholarly Journals, is on Jeffrey Beall’s list of predatory open access publishers.

Barkhordari and Jones assumed the SJBS was a dead end, so submitted the paper elsewhere.

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Written by Cat Ferguson

February 17th, 2015 at 11:30 am

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