In a first for the CDC, the agency’s premier scientific publication has retracted a 2016 article on suicide, five months after a news story pointed out serious errors in the paper.
The article, initially published as “Suicide Rates by Occupational Group — 17 States, 2012,” had purported to find that farmers were at particularly high risk of suicide. That result in particular caught the attention of a website called The New Food Economy (TNFE), which last June called out what it said were errors in the CDC’s analysis. And on June 29, the journal, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), issued a reader’s note.
A researcher fired from the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) in 2014 for plagiarizing the work of a Harvard scientist has been barred from receiving Federal U.S. funding for two years.
The sanctions come three years after the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) tried to impose a three-year ban on funding for Rakesh Srivastava, who appealed the move. In September of this year, Department of Health and Human Services administrative law judge Keith Sickendick recommended a two-year sanction.
Pro-tip for journals and publishers: When you decide to publish a paper about a subject — say, diets — that you know will draw a great deal of scrutiny from vocal proponents of alternatives, make sure it’s as close to airtight as possible.
And in the event that the paper turns out not to be so airtight, write a retraction notice that’s not vague and useless.
Carlo Croce, a prolific cancer researcher at The Ohio State University in Columbus who was the subject of a front page story in The New York Times last year about allegations of misconduct against him, has had most of a lawsuit he filed against the newspaper thrown out.
As first reported by Courthouse News Service, United States District Judge James Graham tossed all but one of Croce’s claims for defamation against the Times and two of its reporters. That claim — which involved a statement in a letter that reporter James Glanz sent Croce as part of his reporting — survived dismissal, but not on grounds that it inflicted emotional distress, Graham ruled.
Yesterday, Cornell University told a group of researchers who had petitioned them to release a report of their investigation into alleged misconduct by Brian Wansink, a food marketing researcher who recently resigned his post there, that they would not release that report. As BuzzFeed reports, the university is now conducting a “Phase II” investigation into Wansink’s work. (It’s unclear what a “Phase II” investigation refers to; we’ve asked the university to clarify.)
Unfortunately, Cornell’s lack of transparency about the case puts them in the majority. Here’s a piece by our two co-founders, Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus, about why this veil of secrecy needs to be lifted.
For more than a decade, Cornell University’s Brian Wansink was a king in the world of nutrition. He published his findings — on everything from why small plates make us eat less to the behavior of obese people at all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets — in top-tier journals and garnered media coverage in prestigious newspapers. His work even formed the basis of U.S. dietary guidelines.
The authors of a 2018 paper on the effects of gun laws on domestic violence have retracted the article after discovering errors in their analysis and replaced it with a clean version. The new study shows that some gun laws — particularly ones that keep firearms out of the hands of violent offenders, even if their offenses don’t involve domestic assaults — do seem to reduce the incidence of domestic killings.
The paper, which appeared last November in the American Journal of Epidemiology and received some press coverage, including this piece in the New York Times, looked specifically at whether laws that keep guns away from people convicted of violent crimes beyond domestic abuse reduce the number of intimate partner homicides. It also considered the effect of laws that covered dating partners and not simply spouses or former spouses. The first author is April Zeoli, of Michigan State University. Zeoli has published other papers on the topic and delivered a TEDMED talk on it as well.
Anil Jaiswal, who until a year ago was a cancer researcher at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, has had four more papers retracted.
That makes 21 for Jaiswal, who joins our leaderboard of the 30 researchers with the most retractions. All four new retractions appear in journals published by the American Association for Cancer Research, and are for image or data manipulation.
A pair of researchers in Japan has lost their third paper in a UK journal, which cites problematic images and an institutional investigation for the move.
The 2016 article, “Novel Rh-substituted hexaaluminate catalysts for N2O decomposition,” was written by Rachid Amrousse and Akimasa Tsutsumi, of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, in Sagamihara. It appeared in Catalysis Society & Technology, a publication of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and has been cited seven times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science.