A lab at the University of Malaya has lost two papers and will have to correct five more — just from one publisher — over poor lab practices.
One of the retracted papers paper tested the effects of a plant on liver damage; its notice says the paper contains overlap with another paper from the same lab that tested a different plant for the same effect — but to save time and cut costs, the authors tested both plants in animals at the same time, and collected their tissues using one kit and protocol.
According to Hodgkinson, the UM investigation concluded the problems were due to errors, not deliberate misconduct. Hindawi plans to correct five more papers from Abdulla’s lab, after consulting with Hindawi’s board members following UM’s investigation:
If you read this space, you probably know the name Brad Bushman. He studies the effects of violent video games on the people who play them. He also has just retracted his third paper, and significantly corrected another.
The retraction notice from Current Opinion in Psychology states the paper showed too much similarity to a 2016 paper in the same journal by Bushman and Arlin James Benjamin, based at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith. It notes that although Bushman was the guest editor of the issue of the journal:
Less than two weeks ago, PLOS ONE published a paper about the parents of teenagers who appeared to immediately start questioning their gender identity around the time of puberty. Then the critiques flooded in.
The paper — about a highly contentious issue — surveyed parents who felt that their children had suddenly started to question their gender identity around the time of puberty, prompting author Lisa Littman at Brown University to coin a new phenomenon as “rapid-onset gender dysphoria.” Any discussion of transgender identity in young children can get politicized, and this paper was no exception.
Earlier this year, The Advocate, a publication focused on LGBT issues, published a commentary titled “‘Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria’” is biased junk science,” after the Journal for Adolescent Health published one of Littman’s poster abstracts. According the Advocate:
The original paper was covered by many news outlets — including Reuters and the New York Times — some of which suggested the procedure may help with more than just vision (even though the study, by its nature, couldn’t determine whether or not surgery caused women to live longer). Annette Flanagin, the Executive Managing Editor for The JAMA Network, told us the publisher tried to get the word out about the significant change to the findings:
A 2017 paper, when originally published, had a fairly clear message: People who got the flu vaccine every year were no less protected than someone who had skipped last year’s dose. But now that it’s been retracted, the picture is somewhat less clear.
The retraction notice in BMC Medicine doesn’t provide much information — it simply says the authors included and omitted some information that affects the conclusions.
Last author Bryna Warshawsky, the medical director of communicable diseases at Public Health Ontario in Canada, provided some additional explanation to Retraction Watch — namely, that after addressing errors in the analysis, the researchers found that there were actually slight differences; specifically, for some strains of the flu, the new analysis suggests that the flu shot was slightly more effective in people who’d skipped last year’s dose.
Warshawsky told Retraction Watch she and her team have submitted the corrected paper to the journal, and the bottom line message stays the same:
A researcher who was found guilty of committing misconduct while using three federal grants has published new findings that cite those grants.
In 2012, the U.S. Office of Research Integrity determined that Michael Miller, a former department chair at the State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, had committed misconduct by falsifying and/or fabricating data. The affected research was funded by three grants issued by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Last year, an academic society recommended that journals retract nine papers by a researcher in Japan who collaborated with a notorious fraudster. Only two have been retracted.
The researcher is Yuhji Saitoh of Yachiyo Medical Center and Tokyo Women’s Medical University, who co-authored many papers with Yoshitaka Fujii, an anethesiologist who holds the dubious distinction of having retracted more papers than any other. Already, Saitoh has retracted 39 papers, many of which were co-authored by Fujii. But it turns out Saitoh was not an entirely innocent bystander: After receiving allegations of misconduct, the Japanese Society of Anesthesiologists (JSA) investigated approximately 40 publications by Saitoh.
The JSA investigation into Saitoh’s work was prompted, at least in part, by a 2016 analysis (that we covered) from two anesthesiologists— John Carlisle and John Loadsman—who examined dozens of Saitoh’s papers, 23 of which he didn’t write with Fujii. Carlisle and Loadsman identified several potential concerns with Saitoh’s work, including that it was unlikely the sampling had been conducted randomly.
When you think a retraction notice doesn’t tell the whole story, what should you do?
For one group of researchers who’ve been closely following how journals handle the work associated with a bone researcher found guilty of misconduct, the actions of one publication were too problematic to let go.
So the researchers wrote to the journal about their concerns, stating a recent retraction notice for a meta-analysis “oversimplifies a complex situation and might be misinterpreted by readers.” And the journal recently published their concerns in a letter to the editor.
The retracted paper is co-authored by researchers who used to collaborate with Yoshihiro Sato, a now-deceased bone researcher who has accrued dozens of retractions. The retraction, issued earlier this year by Acta Neurologica Scandinavica, notes that the meta-analysis cited research by Sato that was “extensively duplicated,” and includes a statement from the first author of the retracted paper, Jun Iwamoto, stating that he was an “honorary author of Sato’s papers,” and played no role in Sato’s scientific misconduct.