Caught Our Notice: Ethics, data concerns prompt another retraction for convicted researchers

Via Wikimedia

Title: Unravelling the influence of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) on cognitive-linguistic processing: A comparative group analysis

What Caught our Attention: RW readers might already be familiar with Caroline Barwood and Bruce Murdoch, two researchers from Australia who had the rare distinction of being criminally charged for research misconduct. Both Barwood and Murdoch received suspended sentences after being found guilty of multiple counts of fraud. In September 2014, University of Queensland announced that:

UQ subsequently examined 92 papers published since 2007 by former staff members Bruce Murdoch and Caroline Barwood. The examination did not reveal any other instances of research not supported by primary data or of research undertaken without ethics approval.

Following multiple retractions and several corrections, a 5th retraction for Murdoch (4th for Barwood) has been issued that cites concerns about the data and ethical approvals for a research project in humans. 

Journal: Brain Injury

Authors: Caroline H.S. Barwood & Bruce E. Murdoch

Affiliations: University of Queensland, Australia

The Notice:

The Editors and Taylor & Francis received notification from the University of Queensland, that they have not been able to satisfactorily identify and match all patient data to that within the publication and thus cannot verify the entire data set.

Further, assessment of the human research ethics approvals have found that ethical approval had expired prior to the testing of at least nine of the study participants and Dr. Barwood was not named as an investigator on any of the approvals which did apply to this research. There is no evidence or reason to suggest that participants were subjected to research protocols which had not previously been approved.

This action constitutes a breach of warranties made by the first author with respect to originality. Taylor & Francis notes that we received, peer-reviewed, accepted, and published the article in good faith based on these warranties, and censure this action.

Date of Article: April 2013

Times Cited, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science: 3

Date of Notice:  October 31, 2017

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One thought on “Caught Our Notice: Ethics, data concerns prompt another retraction for convicted researchers”

  1. Without a detailing the steps and scope of an investigation, the weasel phrases of “we see no evidence” or “the investigation did not reveal…” are meaningless. There is no credibility in internal investigations that result in such context-less “findings” which are more often than not clumsy attempts to mask willful blindness.

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