4th ORI-flagged paper by Oregon student is retracted

home_cover (2)The last of four papers containing data falsified by University of Oregon neuroscience student David Anderson has been retracted.

When the Office of Research Integrity report flagging the papers came out in July, Anderson told us he “made an error in judgment,” and took “full responsibility” for the misconduct.

The newly retracted paper, “A common discrete resource for visual working memory and visual search,” published in Psychological Science, has been cited 28 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. According to the abstract, it demonstrates a possible link between working memory and the ability to “rapidly identify targets hidden among distractors.”

But according to the retraction note, Anderson produced “results that conformed to predictions” by “removing outlier values and replacing outliers with mean values”  in some of the data.

Here’s the retraction note in full:

The retraction follows the results of an investigation into the work of author David E. Anderson. The Office of Research Integrity (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services), together with the University of Oregon, has determined that Anderson falsified data affecting Figures 3e and 3f, removing outlier values and replacing outliers with mean values, to produce results that conformed to predictions. Anderson’s coauthors were in no way implicated in the research misconduct, and all authors have seen and agreed to this retraction.

Anderson is still listed as a doctoral student on the University of Oregon’s website. When asked in July, he said he was “unable to confirm my status as a graduate student.”

The three other papers flagged in the ORI report have already been retracted. Anderson and his former supervisor, Edward Awh — now at the University of Chicago — also had to pull another Journal of Neuroscience paper due to “an error in the analytic code,” independent from this misconduct.

Hat tip: Rolf Degen 

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2 thoughts on “4th ORI-flagged paper by Oregon student is retracted”

  1. It is getting to the point where retractions at Psychological Science are worse for the journal than for the affected author. Many journals occasionally publish articles that eventually get retracted but only Psychological Science manages to do it with such breathtaking regularity. Possibly it is a function of the fact that papers submitted to Psychological Science have to have “breathtaking” results – as one former editor of the journal put it so artfully.

    1. I read the reference with some interest. The particular graph of most import is the submissions per year, which have accelerated substantially. How many reviewers do they have? Are the reviewers qualified?

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