May the sting be with you: Another journal prank, too good to overlook

Yes, yes, we know: It’s easy to publish “fake” papers in journals and expose the inherent flaws of academic publishing. We’ve covered many such stings, but there are simply too many for us to cover all.  Still, occasionally one is just too clever to ignore. On Saturday, the pseudonymous blogger Neuroskeptic announced that they had … Continue reading May the sting be with you: Another journal prank, too good to overlook

Hello…Newman: Yet another sting pranks a predatory journal, Seinfeld-style

Starting to get bored of stings designed to expose the well-documented flaws in scientific publishing? Yeah, sometimes we are too. But another one just came across our desks, and we couldn’t help ourselves. John McCool is neither a researcher nor a urologist. When received an unsolicited invitation to submit a paper to an open-access urology journal, … Continue reading Hello…Newman: Yet another sting pranks a predatory journal, Seinfeld-style

The latest sting: Will predatory journals hire “Dr. Fraud”?

From time to time, academics will devise a “sting” operation, designed to expose journals’ weaknesses. We’ve seen scientists submit a duplicated paper, a deeply flawed weight loss paper designed to generate splashy headlines (it worked), and an entirely fake paper – where even the author calls it a “pile of dung.” So it wasn’t a … Continue reading The latest sting: Will predatory journals hire “Dr. Fraud”?

Citation-boosting episode leads to editors’ resignations, university investigation

The fallout from an investigation into alleged citation-boosting at several journals that we first reported on two weeks ago has widened, leading to the resignation of the executive editor of one of the journals, and an investigation at a university in The Netherlands. On February 13, the European Geosciences Union (EGU) announced that an editor … Continue reading Citation-boosting episode leads to editors’ resignations, university investigation

Editor resigns from two journals after “considerable” citation boosting attempts

An editor at two European Geosciences Union journals has resigned following revelations that he or she engaged in citation manipulation — boosting citations to his or her own papers and associated journals. Here’s a letter announcing the news, signed by EGU publication committee chair Hubert Savenije, that ran in several EGU journals earlier this week:

Author objects to retraction of paper suggesting fingerprints can predict facial features

A journal has pulled a paper about predicting people’s faces from their fingerprints due to “significant overlap” with a previous paper by the same authors.    According to the retraction notice in Intelligent Automation & Soft Computing, the authors didn’t cite or acknowledge the other study in the Turkish Journal of Electrical Engineering & Computer … Continue reading Author objects to retraction of paper suggesting fingerprints can predict facial features

Weekend reads: Fake news in science; how not to stress about science; another hilarious sting

The final week of 2016 at Retraction Watch featured the retraction of a high-profile paper on diabetes from Harvard, and the retraction of a JAMA article on whether zinc was useful for the common cold. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:

Psychological society wants end to posting error-finding algorithm results publicly

A leading psychology research society in Germany has called for the end of PubPeer postings based on a computer program that trawls through psychology papers detecting statistical errors, saying it is needlessly causing reputational damage to researchers. Last month, we reported on an initiative that aimed to clean up the psychology literature by identifying statistical errors using … Continue reading Psychological society wants end to posting error-finding algorithm results publicly

Sting operation forces predatory publisher to pull paper

Sometimes, the best way to expose a problem with the publishing process is to put it to a test — perhaps by performing a Sokal-style hoax, or submitting a paper with obvious flaws. In 2014, that’s just what a researcher in Kosovo did. Suspicious that a journal wasn’t doing a thorough job of vetting submissions, she decided to … Continue reading Sting operation forces predatory publisher to pull paper

Authors retract PNAS paper suggesting silk stabilizes vaccines

A PNAS paper that caught the media’s attention for suggesting that adding silk could stabilize vaccines and antibiotics has been pulled after the authors realized there were significant errors in the data analysis.  According to the notice, the authors agreed to retract the 2012 paper; however, the corresponding author told us the authors did not think a … Continue reading Authors retract PNAS paper suggesting silk stabilizes vaccines