Caught Our Notice: JAMA warns readers about all of Brian Wansink’s papers in its journals

Titles:

    1. First Foods Most: After 18-Hour Fast, People Drawn to Starches First and Vegetables Last
    2. Fattening Fasting: Hungry Grocery Shoppers Buy More Calories, Not More Food
    3. Watch What You Eat: Action-Related Television Content Increases Food Intake
    4. Super Bowls: serving bowl size and food consumption
    5. Consequences of belonging to the “clean plate club”
    6. Preordering school lunch encourages better food choices by children
Brian Wansink

What Caught Our Attention: Brian Wansink, the beleaguered food marketing researcher at Cornell University, has already earned a retraction — two, if you count the fact that a retracted and replaced article was then retracted — and a correction from JAMA journals. Today, JAMA and two of its journals issued Expressions of Concern for six articles by Wansink and colleagues — all of those by him that have not yet been retracted. One of those paper has been cited more than 100 times.

JAMA is also asking Cornell to “conduct an independent evaluation of the articles to determine whether the results are valid or not.”

Wansink has now had a total of seven papers retracted. His troubles began in late 2016 when he published a blog post that many read as evidence he had engaged in p-hacking. That led to scrutiny by a group of four researchers, which was followed by investigations by Cornell and journals.

Update, 1930 UTC, 4/13/18: Howard Bauchner, editor in chief of JAMA and the JAMA Network journals, tells Retraction Watch:

[O]ne of the most important functions of a medical journal is to ensure that the scientific literature is correct.  Given the large number of retractions of articles with Dr. Wansink as an author there is uncertainty that the results of his publications are valid.  Indeed we issued a notice of concern because of this uncertainty, and hope that with proper validation of the findings in these studies the notice of concern can be removed.

Journals: JAMA Internal Medicine, Archives of Internal Medicine (now JAMA Internal Medicine), JAMA, Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine (now JAMA Pediatrics), JAMA Pediatrics

Authors:

1) Brian Wansink, Aner Tal, Mitsuru Shimizu

2) Aner Tal, Brian Wansink

3) Aner Tal, Scott Zuckerman, Brian Wansink

4) Brian Wansink, Matthew M. Cheney

5) Brian Wansink, Collin Payne, Carolina Werle

6) Andrew S. Hanks, David R. Just, Brian Wansink

Affiliations:

1) Cornell University, NY, USA

2) Cornell University, NY, USA

3) Cornell University, NY, USA; Vanderbilt University, TN, USA

4) Cornell University, NY, USA; University of Illinois, IL, USA

5) Cornell University, NY, USA

6) Cornell University, NY, USA

The Notice:

We are issuing a Notice of Expression of Concern for these 3 articles (1-3) published in JAMA Internal Medicine and all articles published in JAMA and the JAMA Network specialty journals(4-6) that include Brian Wansink, PhD, as an author. These Notices of Expression of Concern are to alert the scientific community to the ongoing concerns about the validity of these publications. We have communicated with Cornell University and Dr Wansink, and we have requested that Cornell University conduct an independent evaluation of the articles to determine whether the results are valid or not.

References

  1. Wansink  B, Tal A, Shimizu  M. First foods most: after 18-hour fast, people drawn to starches first and vegetables last.  Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(12):961-963. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.1278
  2. Tal  A, Wansink  B. Fattening fasting: hungry grocery shoppers buy more calories, not more food.  JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(12):1146-1148. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.650
  3. Tal  A, Zuckerman  S, Wansink B.  Watch what you eat: action-related television content increases food intake.  JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(11):1842-1843. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.4098
  4. Wansink  B, Cheney MM.  Super Bowls: serving bowl size and food consumption.  JAMA. 2005;293(14):1727-1728. doi:10.1001/jama.293.14.1727
  5. Wansink  B, Payne C, Werle  C. Consequences of belonging to the “clean plate club”.  Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008;162(10):994-995. doi:10.1001/archpedi.162.10.994
  6. Hanks  AS, Just DR, Wansink  B. Preordering school lunch encourages better food choices by children.  JAMA Pediatr. 2013;167(7):673-674. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.82

Dates of Articles:

1) June 2012

2) June 2013

3) November 2014

4) April 2005

5) October 2008

6) July 2013

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

1) 7

2) 14

3) 9

4) 135

5) 18

6) 18

Date of Notice: April 13, 2018

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2 thoughts on “Caught Our Notice: JAMA warns readers about all of Brian Wansink’s papers in its journals”

  1. I just saw the expressions of concern in the JAMA journals and ended up having to Google to find out what the concerns were. So, on the one hand: thank you Retraction Watch for letting us know. On the other: why do journals still have such vague and unhelpful notices like this? All they needed to do to make the situation clearer was say in the expression of concern that a number of Brian Wansink’s papers have been retracted so they’re concerned about the validity of these ones too. Not that hard, would have made the notice far more helpful to readers.

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