The journal Scientifica has retracted a 2016 paper on gut disease in turkeys for a rafter of sins including plagiarism and authors plucked out of thin air.
The article, “Role of wheat based diet on the pathology of necrotic enteritis in turkeys,” was purportedly written by a team from Pakistan and France. But it turns out the first author, one Sajid Umar, appears to have misrepresented his affiliations and added names to the list of authors that didn’t belong there. He also plagiarized, although the journal took pains to avoid saying as much.
A mysterious lit and film critic who built a significant portion of his career using the words of other scholars instead of writing his own appears to be attempting a second act.
Last year, Richard-Lawrence Etienne Barnett, who has lost more than two dozen papersfor plagiarism, published a book called “The Adversarial Text,” which appears to have a rather cozy relationship with four of his retracted articles. The apparent purloinment was first reported by Volker Schröder, a scholar of French and Italian at Princeton University who has been following the Barnett case for the better part of two decades.
Last month, the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition pulled an article on fecal transplantation for a reason that, well, doesn’t pass the sniff test.
The paper, by Sonia Michail of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, appeared online in October 2017 and described a randomized controlled trial of fecal transplants to treat kids with ulcerative colitis. (If you’re interested, here’s an overview of how fecal transplantation works.) The trial, or one awfully like it, is listed on ClinicalTrials.gov, and shows Michail as the lone investigator on the study, which is aiming to gather more than 100 participants.
But the journal retracted the article — which was the subject of a laudatory editorial in the journal pointing readers to the findings — with an entirely opaque statement, saying that the work
Transparency begins …. with a T, as Ali G once said. That seems to be extent of the University of Liverpool’s commitment to openness, at least in the handling of an ongoing misconduct investigation at the UK institution.
We know this much: The school in late 2017 launched an inquiry into one of its scientists — apparently someone involved in liver research. The investigators concluded that the employee, who has since left the institution, had indeed committed research misconduct, according to a statement from the university.
The problem is, that’s all we know at this point. The university is refusing to name the researcher, identify any affected papers or shed any other light on the matter. The only salient facts in the statement are that the work involves:
Dismissing concerns of the Committee on Publication Ethics and extensive allegations of misconduct, a journal has corrected, but is refusing to retract, a 2016 paper linking online pornography to sexual dysfunction in men. The article, “Is internet pornography causing sexual dysfunctions? A review with clinical reports,” appeared last year in Behavioral Sciences, which is published by MDPI. After publication, critics asked COPE to look at the paper, and in particular whether the authors had obtained adequate informed consent for two patients described in the work. COPE, which has no enforcement authority, said in an email to the publisher that it would have recommended retraction of the article.
A group of Australian researchers who studied the cat’s meow as a model for urinary incontinence and other motor-neural issues in people have lost a 2015 paper in the wake of a misconduct investigation.
The target of the inquiry was Hari Subramanian, a former senior research fellow at the Queensland Brain Institute, part of the University of Queensland (UQ). Subramanian was leading studies of incontinence in the elderly, for which he sometimes used nerve stimulators on live rodents and cats. As The Australian reported last September, animal rights activists have objected to his research methods — which sometimes involved sticking probes into the brains of living animals.
Recently, the school launched an investigation — prompted by an unknown complainant — into the integrity of Subramanian’s data in two articles, including one, now retracted, that appeared in the Journal of Comparative Neurology.
The case is controversial, to say the least, replete with allegations of unfair attacks. Subramanian’s lawyer told us the journal may be reviewing its decision to retract the paper. (We couldn’t confirm that with the editor.)
A leading orthodontics journal has retracted 12 papers after determining that they contained either reused images, questionable data or both. Several of the articles involved experiments conducted in dogs — and one person familiar with the case told us that the duplication was an attempt to avoid sacrificing more animals than necessary for the research.
Although the list of authors on the articles varies, the common denominator is Jose Luis Calvo-Guirado, of the UCAM Universidad Católica San Antonio de Murcia, in Spain. Calvo-Guirado’s title at the institution is director de la Cátedra Internacional de Investigación en Odontología, which Google translates as director of the International Research Chair in Dentistry. Calvo-Guirado also holds (or has held) a research professorship at SUNY Stony Brook in the Department of Prosthodontics and Digital Medicine, according to his CV.
Calvo-Guirado’s name is on at least 187 entries in PubMed. Of those, 40 appeared in Clinical Oral Implants Research, a Wiley title on whose editorial board the researcher served, according to his CV.
Last week, we reported that the journal, and its publisher, Springer Nature, were having some trouble with a retracted presentation from a 2017 cancer meeting. Turns out, the issue involved crossed wires for similar articles in the journal by the same trio of researchers.
Elizabeth Hawkins, a spokeswoman for Springer Nature, told us: