A year after a university asked two Elsevier journals to retract papers, they haven’t

How long should a retraction take?

As Retraction Watch readers may recall, that’s a question we ask often. In 2018, for example, we wrote a post noting that nearly two years after the University of Maryland, Baltimore, had requested retractions, the journals had done nothing. Some of the papers have since been retracted.

We have occasion to ask the question again, about a different case at the University of Maryland. 

Last month, we reported on three retractions by a trio of authors — Hua Zhou, Ying Hua Yang and John Basile, an associate professor of oncology and diagnostic sciences at the institution. At the time, we had obtained one letter from the university to a journal — PLOS ONE — requesting a retraction following an investigation. That letter was dated May 8, 2019, and the retraction happened four and a half months later.

Two days after we published our post about the case, the university, in response to an additional public records request, sent us correspondence between Bruce E. Jarrell, Executive Vice President & Provost and Dean of the Graduate School, and three other journals: Angiogenesis, Neoplasia, and The American Journal of Pathology. All of the letters were dated May 8, 2019.

Jarrell’s letter to Angiogenesis referred to three papers, and concluded:

The University of Maryland, Baltimore conducted an internal investigation which found that the evidence supports retraction of the publications in order to correct the scientific record and ensure its integrity.

The journal had already retracted two papers, as we reported last month, and corrected another, all in February of this year.

Jarrell’s letters to Neoplasia and The American Journal of Pathology each referred to one paper, and ended the same way as the Angiogenesis letter. But nearly a year later, neither has been retracted or corrected.

An Elsevier spokesperson said the company could not comment “for confidentiality reasons…while these cases are ongoing.”

Since May 8, 2019, the two papers have been cited a total of 10 times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Knowledge.

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6 thoughts on “A year after a university asked two Elsevier journals to retract papers, they haven’t”

  1. Is it because the credibility and integrity of the journal and their claim of a rigorous review process is being challenged? Seems like journals are all too powerful… Where would they be if we did not submit?

  2. I belief there is a need of real collaboration. Whatever your role is in the scientific ecosystem we need a shared vision to efficiently provide real world research (output). If we all focus on serving each other towards what’s matters we may would not have the debate.

  3. 2020 retraction for:

    Am J Pathol. 2012 Mar;180(3):1232-1242. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2011.12.009. Epub 2012 Jan 15.
    Plexin-B1 and Semaphorin 4D Cooperate to Promote Perineural Invasion in a RhoA/ROK-dependent Manner
    Nada O Binmadi 1, Ying-Hua Yang 2, Hua Zhou 2, Patrizia Proia 3, Yi-Ling Lin 4, Alfredo M Batista De Paula 5, André L Sena Guimarães 5, Fabiano O Poswar 6, Devaki Sundararajan 7, John R Basile 8
    Affiliations collapse
    Affiliations
    1Department of Oncology and Diagnostic Sciences, University of Maryland Dental School, Baltimore, Maryland; Department of Oral, Basic, and Clinical Sciences, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
    2Department of Oncology and Diagnostic Sciences, University of Maryland Dental School, Baltimore, Maryland.
    3Department of Oncology and Diagnostic Sciences, University of Maryland Dental School, Baltimore, Maryland; Department of Sports Science, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy.
    4Department of Diagnostic and Surgical Sciences, University of California at Los Angeles, School of Dentistry, Los Angeles, California.
    5Health Science Program, Department of Dentistry, State University of Montes Claros, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
    6Health Science Program, Department of Medicine, State University of Montes Claros, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
    7Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts.
    8Department of Oncology and Diagnostic Sciences, University of Maryland Dental School, Baltimore, Maryland; Marlene and Stuart Greenebaum Cancer Center, Baltimore, Maryland.

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002944011011060?via%3Dihub

    This article is being retracted following correspondence from the Office of Accountability and Compliance at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

    An internal investigation into this manuscript by the University of Maryland, Baltimore, found evidence that there are errors with the presentation of the standard deviations and statistical significance shown in Figure 6 which are not supported by the original data, and that these inaccuracies warrant retraction to correct the scientific record.

    Despite extensive efforts, the journal was unable to contact Dr. Ying-hua Yang and Dr. Hua Zhou with regard to this retraction.

  4. 2021 retraction for:
    Neoplasia . 2017 Feb;19(2):65-74. doi: 10.1016/j.neo.2016.12.004. Epub 2016 Dec 27.

    Recruitment of Tiam1 to Semaphorin 4D Activates Rac and Enhances Proliferation, Invasion, and Metastasis in Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma
    Hua Zhou 1, Maricel G Kann 2, Emily K Mallory 3, Ying-Hua Yang 1, Amr Bugshan 1, Nada O Binmadi 4, John R Basile 5

    Affiliations
    1Department of Oncology and Diagnostic Sciences, University of Maryland Dental School, 650 W. Baltimore Street, 7-North, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.
    2Dept of Biological Sciences, University of Maryland Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA.
    3Biomedical Informatics Training Program, Stanford University, 1265 Welch Road, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
    4Department of Oncology and Diagnostic Sciences, University of Maryland Dental School, 650 W. Baltimore Street, 7-North, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA; Department of Oral Basic & Clinical Sciences, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah 21589, Saudi Arabia.
    5Department of Oncology and Diagnostic Sciences, University of Maryland Dental School, 650 W. Baltimore Street, 7-North, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA; Greenebaum Cancer Center, 22 S. Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA. Electronic address: jbasile@umaryland.edu
    PMID: 28038319 PMCID: PMC5198113 DOI: 10.1016/j.neo.2016.12.004

    2021 retraction notice.
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1476558621000580?via%3Dihub

    This article is being retracted following correspondence from the Office of Accountability and Compliance at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

    An internal investigation into this manuscript by the University of Maryland, Baltimore, found evidence that there are errors with the presentation of the data shown in Figures 4A, 4B, and 5A and that these inaccuracies warrant retraction to correct the scientific record.

    Figure 4A: The original data show that the cell line was HN13 instead of HN12 that was described in the paper; the averages were not calculated correctly; the time points were incorrectly reported.

    Figure 4B: The two images in column 2 came from the same micrograph; the four images in columns 3 and 4, which were supposed to be two separate conditions and two different cell lines, came from the same micrograph; the two images in column 5 came from the same micrograph.

    Figure 5A: There was discrepancy with regard to the stated antibody. The legend states that the image was immunohistochemistry for SEMA4D instead of for PB1 as indicated in the figure labels.

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