As many of our readers will know, we’ve been having serious technical issues with the site. We’re cautiously optimistic that they’ve been solved, so although we’re still working on fixes, we’re going to try posting again. Thanks for your ongoing patience.
This week, we posted at our sister site, Embargo Watch. Here are those posts:
- “Major advance” in solar power retracted for reproducibility issues
- Should a journal retract a paper the authors didn’t know contained bad data?
- Author retracts Nature paper on Asia’s glaciers flagged for data error
- Six days after publication, paper is flagged. By day 11, it’s retracted.
And here’s what’s been happening elsewhere over the past few weeks:
- “Data thugs” Nick Brown and James Heathers “have been remarkably effective at uncovering problematic publications,” say our co-founders in Science.
- Heathers takes on Brian Wansink’s storied “bottomless soup bowl” study. It turns out that “it also contains errors which appear fatal to its conclusions.” (Medium)
- Students who worked with Brian Wansink as undergraduates say his “retracted work stains the University’s reputation — and their own.” (Emma Newburger, Cornell Daily Sun)
- “We need moral examples of people who can admit when they’re wrong. We need more Heroes of Retraction.” (Clive Thompson, Wired) Read our 2016 coverage of one such hero here.
- “[W]hen Nature or any other publication asks a scientist about their political or religious views, the response should be
#NoneOfYourBusiness,” says Steve Usdin. (BioCentury)
- A journal’s new editor who calls the Impact Factor “One of the most significant measures of a scientific journal” says that “In today’s fast-paced world, a medical journal should be fast in communicating decisions.” (Paolo Pozzilli, Diabetes/ Metabolism: Research & Reviews)
- “Let’s move beyond the rhetoric: it’s time to change how we judge research.” Stephen Curry takes a look back at the 2012 San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment. (Nature)
- Though it would violate copyright law, a librarian says she has “been asked to upload a large number of academic articles to the cloud” for a systematic review. What should she do? (Jane Falconer, UK Copyright Literacy)
- “[F]emale co-first authors of articles published in clinical journals were less likely than their male counterparts to be listed first in the byline.” A study of gender and byline placement. (JAMA)
- “Student says a science fair competition was rigged,” writes Pablo Lopez. “Critics say his lawsuit is ‘bogus.’” (Fresno Bee)
- “It has always been delusional for researchers to imagine that the public would believe their findings and accept their conclusions without access to supporting data.” (Milton Packer, The BMJ)
- “[C]onspiratorial narratives in science can distort the past in the service of contemporary causes and obscure genuine uncertainty that surrounds aspects of research, impairing efforts to formulate good evidence-informed policies.” (David Merritt Johns, Gerald Oppenheimer, Science)
- John Ioannidis says “Preprints do matter” in biomedicine and that bioRxiv “has the power to be transformational.” (Smriti Mallapaty, Nature Index)
- From Die Zeit, a reminder that it’s always a good idea to check on what’s happened to a paper since it was published. (Stefanie Kara)
- Have a heart: Last year, we reported on concerns about a peer-reviewed paper from an Australian science journalist. Recently, a cardiologist tweeted about them. This week, he received a sour Valentine’s day surprise from her lawyer.
- “[D]evelopments in article numbers indicate that mega-journals have found a place in scholarly publishing.” An IT expert writes about the evolution of mega-journals over the last decade. (Bo-Christer Björk, PeerJ)
- A new study says astronomers are “good at explaining why they don’t publish, even after being given time on some of the world’s best telescopes.” (Daniel Clery, Science)
- “No one really knows how the game is played/The art of the trade/How the sausage gets made/We just assume that it happens/But no one else is in/ The lab where it happens.” Andrew Gelman mashes up the Brian Wansink saga with the smash-hit musical “Hamilton.”
- After two baffling interactions with other editors, Elliot Gilbert warns, “the basis of voluntary reviewing and editing may have their days numbered.”(LinkedIn)
- He did the math: “the implicit money value of peer review is likely to be positive for the publisher, but it translates in a real value that is close or equal to zero for the reviewers.” (Sergio Copiello, Scientometrics)
- Attendees at an ASAPBio meeting voiced support for publishing peer review reports, but offered “divergent takes” on naming reviewers. (Jeffrey Brainard, Science)
- “Predatory conferences have become an increasing problem in academic life. Now, this phenomenon has arrived in Norway.” (Einar Nilsen, Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association)
- “This work is an exploratory study of how we could progress a step towards an AI assisted peer-review system.” (Tirthankar Ghosal, et al.; arXiv)
- A study the US EPA used “as evidence to suspend a key emissions rule” isunder investigation by the university where it was conducted. (Kate Cook, Cookeville Herald-Citizen)
- “NSF has developed a new award term and condition that will require grantee organizations to report findings of sexual harassment…” (France Córdova, NSF Important Notice)
- They thought they had found a new minor planet. Then they had to retract that claim, with the entry marked as “omitted.” (Gareth V. Williams, Minor Planet Electronic Circulars)
- “Two major journals experiment with the idea of ‘registered reports,’ agreeing to publish articles based on their design and potential significance, not their results.” (Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed)
- PLOS and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory have reached an agreement toautomatically post submitted papers to the bioRxiv preprint server. (Press release, PLOS Blogs/CSHL Newsstand)
- A dissertation from Zimbabwe’s former first lady “has been described as a mere compilation of plagiarised text and quotations.” (Zimbabwe Independent)
- “With Beall’s List gone, we now need to ‘teach a man to fish’ in assessing journals, whether subscription or Open Access.” (Matt Hodgkinson, Hindawi Opinion)
- Wikipedia “rarely ends up in a paper’s citations as the source of, say, the history of the gut-brain axis or the chemical formula for polyvinyl chloride.” (Bethany Brookshire, Science News)
- Conflict of interest in peer review “is an important problem that merits more attention than it currently receives.” (David B. Resnik, Susan A. Elmore, Toxicologic Pathology)
- “A search on the internet produces a raft of reports about Prof. Cardullo’s antics.” Indeed; see our post. And now he’s left a post at American University of Malta. (Ivan Camilleri, Times of Malta)
- Some Swiss researchers are publishing in predatory journals. (Martin Amrein, NZZamSonntag, in German)
- “Compared to more established academic disciplines, rates of retraction in nursing and midwifery are low.” (International Journal of Nursing Studies)
- Using Twitter to measure attention to papers? Be careful what you wish for, says a new preprint analyzing tweets about a recent case of misconduct. (Lutz Bornmann, Robin Haunschild; arXiv)
Like Retraction Watch? You can make a tax-deductible contribution to support our growth, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, add us to your RSS reader, sign up on our homepage for an email every time there’s a new post, or subscribe to our daily digest. If you find a retraction that’s not in our database, you can let us know here. For comments or feedback, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.