U.S. government research watchdog pulls newsletter without explanation

The U.S. Office of Research Integrity has removed an issue of its quarterly newsletter, without including a public notice explaining why.

The main website for the newsletter — published since 1993 — is now missing the March 2017 edition.

A spokesperson for the agency told Retraction Watch:

ORI discovered that some of the figures in the newsletter were wrong, so it is working to update the newsletter and website to acknowledge and reflect the changes.

We’ve found an archived version of the newsletter, which includes figures from recent years reporting the outcomes of research misconduct cases, the types of findings from the investigations, and probes conducted by institutions.

We asked for more details about the nature of the problems, and why the agency removed the newsletter without any explanation. The spokesperson told us:

It was trying to put up the explanation simultaneously.

She noted that the corrected version of the newsletter “should be up shortly.”

Update, 0100 UTC, 5/31/18: Sometime after this post went live, the ORI added a link to this PDF in place of the newsletter. The PDF reads:

NOTIFICATION OF TEMPORARY REMOVAL OF ORI NEWSLETTER

Date: May 25, 2018

Subject: March 2017 ORI Newsletter Temporarily Removed for Correction

The ORI Newsletter from March 2017 (Volume 24, No. 1) has been temporarily removed due to incorrect data graphs that were published. Specifically, draft versions of the following graphs were published rather than the final versions:

“Research Misconduct Case Outcomes, by Year, 2006-2015″

“Types of Misconduct in Cases with Findings of Research Misconduct, 2006-2015”

“Cases with Research Misconduct Findings Involving Image Manipulation, by Year, 2011–2015”

“Rank of Complainants in Cases with Findings of Research Misconduct, 2006–2015”

“Rank of Respondents in Cases with Findings of Research Misconduct, 2006–2015”

The correct graphs were posted in “ORI Data Graphs from 2006-2015.”

ORI expects the corrected version of the March 2017 newsletter will be available online by Wednesday, May 30, 2018.

At this time of this writing (9 p.m. on May 30), the corrected version of the newsletter has not yet appeared.

Update June 20 2018 17:55 UTC: We’ve learned that the corrected version of the newsletter has been published.

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One thought on “U.S. government research watchdog pulls newsletter without explanation”

  1. It has been obvious for a year that the figures were wrong, e.g., the numbers in the text often did not agree with the heights of the bar graphs that the director posted as new data.

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