Less than a week after publishing a much-discussed hoax paper, a scholarly publisher has acknowledged that it had chosen reviewers for the paper whose “expertise did not fully align with this subject matter.”
The subject matter: that the penis should not be considered an anatomical organ, but more as a concept – “a gender-performative, highly fluid social construct.” Upon publication, the authors immediately admitted the paper was a prank, arguing that its publication illustrates a lack of intellectual and scientific rigor in some social sciences, especially gender studies. But others have questioned whether it really demonstrates that at all.
In response to the revelation of the hoax, Taylor & Francis associate editorial director Emma Greenword published a statement about the process that led to this entanglement: Continue reading Publisher blames bad choice of reviewer for publication of hoax paper on penis as “social construct”
Citation omissions in an economics preprint have set off a wave of recrimination and speculation on a widely read economics discussion board.
Commenters accuse the authors of purposely omitting citations that would have undermined the paper’s claims to novelty and contributions to the field, leveling acrimony and personal attacks. Economists Petra Persson at Stanford and Maya Rossin-Slater at the University of California, Santa Barbara told us they hadn’t been familiar with the omitted papers at the time they first posted their preprint, but their work remains distinct from these previous studies. Nevertheless, the two quickly updated the preprint of their paper – accepted by the top-tier economics journal American Economic Review – to include additional citations. An editor at the journal said it’s not unusual for authors to request such changes before publication, and dismissed the accusations made on the discussion board, calling the site “not a legitimate source of information.”
The study, “Family Ruptures, Stress, and the Mental Health of the Next Generation,” used data from Swedish national databases to compare mental health outcomes of people born to women who lost a relative while pregnant and women who lost a relative in the first year after giving birth. Continue reading Economists go wild over overlooked citations in preprint on prenatal stress
Two weeks after Nature Communications published a paper on asymmetric cell division in July, it posted a retraction notice saying the paper was submitted “without the knowledge or consent” of all but the corresponding author.
The following day the journal “amended” the retraction note to include the initials of the corresponding author, Aicha Metchat, then based at European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany.
The final notice for “An actin-dependent spindle position checkpoint ensures the asymmetric division in mouse oocytes” reads:
Continue reading Author appeals retraction after co-authors dispute Nature Comm paper
Researchers and advocates are calling for the retraction of a 2015 letter in the New England Journal of Medicine that suggested that e-cigarettes are as harmful – if not more than – traditional cigarettes.
The NEJM paper reported that e-cigarettes expose smokers to significant amounts of formaldehyde, which the authors calculated could raise lifetime cancer risk by 5-15 fold compared to the risk for regular smokers. Critics, however, have claimed that to obtain such high levels of formaldehyde, the NEJM authors superheated the vapor from the e-cigs to levels that would create a well-known, acrid puff called a “dry puff.” This sensation, they say, is so terrible that no self-respecting “vaper” would consider repeating it. In other words, allege the e-cigarette supporters, the conditions described in the Letter—which was widely reported—were not relevant to human health.
This week, Addiction published a letter from critics of the NEJM paper, along with extensive supplementary materials, a reply from some of the NEJM Letter authors, and a response letter from the critics.
In their first Addiction letter, “Research letter on e-cigarettes was so misleading it should be retracted,” authors Clive Bates and cardiologist Konstantinos Farsalinos write: Continue reading Researchers call for retraction of NEJM paper showing dangers of e-cigarettes