Four years after readers raise concerns, journal finally retracts climate paper

The wheels of scientific publishing turn slowly … but they do (sometimes) turn.

In January, we reported on the case of a paper on global warming marred by several problems, including allegations of plagiarism and “false claims” by the authors — which readers had raised as early as 2014, with no result. (Find a discussion of those allegations here.)

Now, the journal, Elsevier’s Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews (ironic on multiple levels, when you think about it), is retracting the paper.

According to the long-time-in-coming retraction notice: Continue reading Four years after readers raise concerns, journal finally retracts climate paper

Irony? The Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention retracts a paper

Irony machine, start your engine: A pair of engineers have lost a 2017 paper in the Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention over a failure to determine who owned the data.

The article, “Solder selection for reflowing large ceramic substrates during PCB assembly,” was written by Prashant Reddy Gangidi and Noy Souriyasak, both listed as working at a semiconductor firm called FormFactor Inc., based in Livermore, Calif.

Evidently, at least one of the authors lacked the okay to publish the data.

According to the retraction notice: Continue reading Irony? The Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention retracts a paper

High-profile health policy researcher Gilbert Welch out at Dartmouth after plagiarism charge

H. Gilbert Welch

H. Gilbert Welch, a leading researcher in the field of health policy, has resigned from his faculty post at Dartmouth College after the institution concluded that he had plagiarized from a colleague in a 2016 paper.

As we reported in STAT earlier this summer, a Dartmouth committee found that Welch had misused a figure from a colleague, Samir Soneji, who had provided him the data after a 2015 presentation. At the time, Soneji had requested that he be part of any paper that would include the data — but Welch said he had no intention of publishing it. However, the information appeared in a 2016 article in the New England Journal of Medicine, which has declined to retract or even correct the paper. Continue reading High-profile health policy researcher Gilbert Welch out at Dartmouth after plagiarism charge

Persistence pays off for plagiarized author: emails spur retraction, sanctions against researcher

Here’s an object lesson for scientists who find out they’ve been ripped off by other researchers: Taking matters into your own hands can produce results.  

An aggrieved author’s doggedness led to the retraction of a 2013 paper that plagiarized his work, along with the revocation of a doctoral degree by one of the scientists responsible for the theft and sanctions against another.

We don’t often get the blow-by-blow, but in this case we have the details to share. The story begins in early 2017, when Andrew Boyle, a professor of cardiac medicine at the University of Newcastle, in Australia, noticed something fishy in an article, “Cathepsin B inhibition attenuates cardiac dysfunction and remodeling following myocardial infarction by inhibiting the NLRP3 pathway.” The paper had appeared in a journal called Molecular Medicine Reports, from Spandidos.

The article, published by a group from Shandong Provincial Hospital, contained a pair of figures that Boyle recognized from his 2005 article in the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology. One of the images had been altered, but the other was a patent duplication.

Boyle explained that: Continue reading Persistence pays off for plagiarized author: emails spur retraction, sanctions against researcher

When it comes to retracting papers by the world’s most prolific scientific fraudsters, journals have room for improvement

Journals have retracted all but 19 of the 313 tainted papers linked to three of the most notorious fraudsters in science, with only stragglers left in the literature. But editors and publishers have been less diligent when it comes to delivering optimal retraction notices for the affected articles.

That’s the verdict of a new analysis in the journal Anaesthesia, which found that 15% of retraction notices for the affected papers fail fully to meet standards from the Committee for Publication Ethics (COPE). Many lacked appropriate language and requisite watermarks stating that the articles had been removed, and some have vanished from the literature.

The article was written by U. M. McHugh, of University Hospital in Galway, Ireland, and Steven Yentis, a consultant anaesthetist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital in London. Yentis was editor of Anaesthesia during the three scandals and had a first-hand view of two of the investigations. He also is the editor who unleashed anesthetist and self-trained statistician John Carlisle on the Fujii papers to see how likely the Japanese researcher’s data were to be valid (answer: not very likely). Continue reading When it comes to retracting papers by the world’s most prolific scientific fraudsters, journals have room for improvement

Hello, reviewers? How did a study manage to say it was randomized, but also that it wasn’t?

A journal has retracted a 2016 article for a litany of flaws, including plagiarism and a massive self-inflicted wound that should have obviated the first offense.  

According to the notice in Cardiology Research and Practice (a Hindawi title) for the paper, which compared two methods of threading a catheter into the heart’s arteries:

Continue reading Hello, reviewers? How did a study manage to say it was randomized, but also that it wasn’t?

Distraction paper pulled for clerical error

The authors of a 2018 paper on how noisy distractions disrupt memory are retracting the article after finding a flaw in their study.

The paper, “Unexpected events disrupt visuomotor working memory and increase guessing,” appeared in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, a publication of the Psychonomic Society. (For those keeping score at home, psychonomics is the study of the laws of the mind.)

The article purported to show that an unexpected “auditory event,” like the sudden blare of a car horn, reduced the ability of people to remember visuomotor cues. Per the abstract:

Continue reading Distraction paper pulled for clerical error

Gluten-free turkeys? Paper on dangers of wheat-based diet in birds retracted

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.

Here’s the notice: Continue reading Gluten-free turkeys? Paper on dangers of wheat-based diet in birds retracted

A critic with more than two dozen retractions can’t seem to stop plagiarizing

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 papers for 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.

In 2001, Schroeder found that

Continue reading A critic with more than two dozen retractions can’t seem to stop plagiarizing