The authors of a highly cited 2016 research letter on a way to improve the efficiency of solar panels have retracted their work following “concerns about the reproducibility.”
Given the potential importance of the data, it would be nice to know what exactly went wrong, and why. However, the retraction notice doesn’t provide many details, and doesn’t even specify if the authors did indeed fail to reproduce the data.
Last spring, a group of environmental scientists reported an impressive finding: Hydraulic fracturing (better known as fracking) in the Marcellus Shale region of the eastern United States was leaking enough methane to power a city twice the size of Washington, D.C. (We didn’t come up with that comparison, apt though it may be.)
The authors of a 2017 paper on emotional and behavioral gaps between boys and girls have retracted the article after discovering a coding error that completely undermined their conclusions.
The revelation prompted the researchers to republish their findings in the same journal, this time with a title that flips the narrative.
The PsychJournal study, first published in March, looked at self-regulation — loosely defined as the ability to get stuff done and keep a lid on it — in boys and girls in German elementary schools. Although previous studies had found girls might do better on this front, the authors, from the University of Leipzig and New York University’s Abu Dhabi campus, initially found the opposite:
A journal devoted to wrestling science — we’re not sure if it’s the only one — has given the old reverse frankensteiner to a 2016 article whose authors stole much of their text from a conference presentation one of them had reviewed for the meeting.
The article, “The Role of Goal Setting, Collectivism, and Task Orientation on Iranian Wrestling Teams Performance,” appeared in International Journal of Wrestling Science, a Taylor & Francis title. Its two authors were Hossein Abdolmaleki and Seyyed Bahador Zakizadeh, of the Islamic Azad University in Karaj, Iran.
An oceanography journal has retracted a 2017 paper by a group of researchers in China after learning from a reader that one of the authors had a bogus affiliation in the United States.
The paper, “Southward migrations of the Atlantic Equatorial Currents during the Younger Dryas,” appeared in early spring in Limnology and Oceanography, a publication of the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (limnology is the study of fresh-water bodies). It had three authors: one from Shanghai, one from Wuhan and one, a Chaoyang Zhang, identified as being on the faculty of the Georgia Institute of Technology (otherwise known as Georgia Tech). But that last part was false — no Chaoyang Zhang works at Georgia Tech.
A journal has retracted a 2016 paper on wildfires in Australia because the authors neglected to cite earlier work — an unintentional lapse, they said.
The article, “Projected changes in Australian fire regimes during the 21st century and consequences for Ecosystems,” appeared in the International Journal of Wildland Fire. The authors are Sandy Harrison and Douglas Kelley, of the University of Reading, in the UK. Kelley appears to have done his share of the work as a PhD student at Macquarie University in Australia.
Post-publication peer review isn’t just for scientists. Newspaper reporters can help correct the scientific record, too.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has corrected a journal article on Legionnaire’s disease after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette revealed what seems to be efforts by the researchers to misrepresent their data.
In a series of articles last December, the newspaper raised questions about the CDC’s actions in the aftermath of outbreaks in 2011 and 2012 of Legionnaire’s that sickened 22 veterans, killing six. The Post-Gazette obtained emails from CDC scientists that appeared to reveal their disdain for the sterilization method the hospital had been using to suppress the growth of Legionella bacteria. That method, a copper-silver system, is widely considered to be effective. But according to the newspaper, the CDC investigators were so critical of the copper-silver disinfectant technology that the VA ultimately switched to a system based on chlorine. Continue reading Newspaper series prompts CDC to correct paper on Legionnaire’s disease
Lewis’ inside joke wasn’t lost on those who knew him, and the benign deception seems to have been common knowledge in the field since the Le Catt paper appeared in 1982 (which also happens to be the year Cats began its run on Broadway). The paper has been cited four times since it was published, according to Clarivate Analytics. But 25 years later, the journal has finally decided to put an end to the gag.