Exclusive: Russian site says it has brokered authorships for more than 10,000 researchers

Want to be a first author on a scholarly paper? A Russian company has you covered — starting at about $500. The company claims to have added the names of more than 10,000 researchers to more than 2,000 published articles in scholarly journals over the past three years. Think eBay — or perhaps StubHub — for unscrupulous scientists. 

Although we can’t verify the numbers, at least one major journal indexer, from whom we recently learned of the scheme, is concerned enough about the site that it has demanded that it stop doing business. 

According to the Russian outfit’s site (through Google Translate): 

Continue reading Exclusive: Russian site says it has brokered authorships for more than 10,000 researchers

U.S. government watchdog names investigative director

A week after news that the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) would have a new interim director shortly comes news that the agency will also have a new director of its investigative division as of early next month.

Starting August 4, Alexander Runko will be the director of the ORI’s Division of Investigative Oversight (DIO). He is already working at the agency as an investigator.

According to the ORI:

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Criminologist posts 27-page article explaining why he asked for one of his papers to be retracted

via Tony Webster/Flickr

On Sunday, May 5 of this year, Justin Pickett received an email from a “John Smith” with the subject line “Data irregularities and request for data.”

“There seem to be irregularities in the data and findings in five articles that you published together with two surveys,” the anonymous correspondent wrote. “This document outlines those irregularities.”

Pickett was a co-author on only one of the papers, “Ethnic threat and social control: Examining public support for judicial use of ethnicity in punishment,” which was published in 2011 — the year he earned his PhD from Florida State University (FSU) — in the journal Criminology. The other four papers were published from 2015 to 2019 in Criminology, Law & Society Review, and Social Problems. The only author common to all four was Eric A. Stewart, a professor at FSU.

Continue reading Criminologist posts 27-page article explaining why he asked for one of his papers to be retracted

No delight for Turkish surgeon in authorship dispute over case study

A surgeon in Turkey has won a court case in which he argued that he deserved to be named in  a list of authors from his institution who’d published a paper. But even that doesn’t appear to have satisfied the aggrieved medic, as you’ll see. 

The article, “Late onset traumatic diaphragmatic herniation leading to intestinal obstruction and pancreatitis: two separate cases,” was written by a group from the Department of General Surgery at Ankara Numune Training and Research Hospital. The list of authors comprised Tolga Dinc, Selami Ilgaz Kayilioglu and Faruk Coskun … but not Baris Yildiz, a colleague in the department. 

The paper appeared in Case Reports in Emergency Medicine, a Hindawi title, which has issued a rather byzantine expression of concern about the article: 

Continue reading No delight for Turkish surgeon in authorship dispute over case study

Blood pulls deceased star oncologist’s paper after Stanford inquiry

Blood has retracted a 2011 article by a now-deceased Stanford researcher, Holbrook Kohrt,  who earlier this month lost two other papers over concerns about the whereabouts of the data. 

The journal’s move comes about a week after Retraction Watch posted a story on the previous retractions, in the Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI), of Kohrt’s work. As we noted then, Kohrt was a superstar young faculty member who died in 2016 of complications of hemophilia. He was the subject of this 2013 profile in the New York Times, which also wrote an obituary of him. 

The Blood paper was titled “CD137 stimulation enhances the antilymphoma activity of anti-CD20 antibodies.” The paper has been cited 148 times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science.

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Weekend reads: Researcher resigns following questions about ties to China; grad student’s suicide sparks misconduct investigation; study of chronic fatigue syndrome corrected

Before we present this week’s Weekend Reads, a question: Do you enjoy our weekly roundup? If so, we could really use your help. Would you consider a tax-deductible donation to support Weekend Reads, and our daily work? Thanks in advance.

The week at Retraction Watch featured retractions and expressions of concern for a prominent cancer researcher; retractions for a deceased star researcher at Stanford; and a new director for a U.S. government watchdog. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:

Continue reading Weekend reads: Researcher resigns following questions about ties to China; grad student’s suicide sparks misconduct investigation; study of chronic fatigue syndrome corrected

Forensics Friday: Notice anything odd about this image?

Ever wanted to hone your skills as a scientific sleuth? Now’s your chance.

Thanks to the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), which is committed to educating authors on best practices in publishingfigure preparation, and reproducibility, we’re presenting the eighth in a series, Forensics Friday.

Take a look at the image below, and then take our poll. After that, click on the link below to find out the right answer.

Continue reading Forensics Friday: Notice anything odd about this image?

US government watchdog gets new director

The U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) has a new director.

Elisabeth (Lis) Handley, currently deputy operations director of the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) Center for Program Integrity, will become interim director of the ORI on August 26. (CMS and ORI are both part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)). Wanda Jones, formerly interim director and now deputy director, will remain at the agency in her current role.

Handley, according to an announcement sent to HHS employees,

Continue reading US government watchdog gets new director

Cancer specialists in Mexico earn third retraction following questions about their data

Cases of cancers seen at the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, according to researcher Agustin Avilés

A group of cancer researchers in Mexico has lost their third paper over concerns about the integrity of their data. 

Neither the new retraction, in the journal Hematology, nor the previous two, cite misconduct as the reason for the removals. However, the statements do refer to lack of reliability of results,  “ambiguities and inconsistencies” in the findings and other serious issues. 

The first author on each paper is Agustin Avilés, whom the Hematology article listed as being with the National Medical Center in Mexico City. 

According to the retraction notice

Continue reading Cancer specialists in Mexico earn third retraction following questions about their data

Chemistry researcher who studies oil wells is up to seven retractions

via Wikipedia

A chemistry researcher in India is up to seven retractions and one correction for problematic images and other issues. 

The researcher, Mahendra Yadav, was the first author on an article titled “Corrosion inhibition of tubing steel during acidization of oil and gas wells,” which appeared in 2013 in the Journal of Petroleum Engineering (JPE). Yadav, who also has a correction for similar concerns, and who has a fairly extensive entry in PubPeer, is listed as being affiliated with the Department of Applied Chemistry at the Indian School of Mines, in Dhanbad. 

According to the notice

Continue reading Chemistry researcher who studies oil wells is up to seven retractions