Group in China up to three retractions, ostensibly for three different reasons

A group of researchers at Harbin Medical University in China has had a third paper retracted, making for a tale of three notices.

The first retraction appeared in April 2017 as one of more than 100 from Tumor Biology for fake peer review.

The second, for “Functions as a Tumor Suppressor in Osteosarcoma by Targeting Sox2,” was from the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, an MDPI title, in 2018: Continue reading Group in China up to three retractions, ostensibly for three different reasons

Late researcher faked Kumamoto earthquake data, university finds

Damage from the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake, via Wikimedia

A researcher in Japan who published at least five papers about a deadly 2016 earthquake faked some of the data, Osaka University announced late last week.

Yoshiya Hata resigned his Osaka post and later died, according to media outlet NHK. He claimed to have studied the April 2016 Kumamoto earthquake, which killed at least 50 people, and injured thousands.

In October 2017, we reported that Hiroyuki Goto, of Kyoto University and one of Hata’s co-authors, had apologized because he said that the data contained “wide reaching errors.” One of the papers the two co-authored earned an editor’s note. Continue reading Late researcher faked Kumamoto earthquake data, university finds

Weekend reads: Lancet cardiac stem cell paper retracted; predatory journals pivot to video and get stung; reviews that cite retracted papers

Before we present this week’s Weekend Reads, a question: Do you enjoy our weekly roundup? If so, we could really use your help. Would you consider a tax-deductible donation to support Weekend Reads, and our daily work? Thanks in advance.

The week at Retraction Watch featured a publisher error that led to eight withdrawals; a paper on the benefits of tea whose cup overflowed; and a paper that seemed to have everything wrong with it. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Continue reading Weekend reads: Lancet cardiac stem cell paper retracted; predatory journals pivot to video and get stung; reviews that cite retracted papers

“All very painful:” Two retractions to watch for, in eLife and PLOS ONE

We have news of two upcoming retractions, both following critiques on PubPeer.

PLOS ONE is retracting a 2012 paper by researchers at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità in Rome and the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, “Interferon-β Induces Cellular Senescence in Cutaneous Human Papilloma Virus-Transformed Human Keratinocytes by Affecting p53 Transactivating Activity.”

PubPeer commenters first left critiques of the paper on August 6 of last year, noting likely splicing and other manipulation of images. Several days later, pseudonymous whistleblower Claire Francis contacted the journal to flag similar issues. On Wednesday of this week, a journal representative emailed Francis to say the paper would be retracted: Continue reading “All very painful:” Two retractions to watch for, in eLife and PLOS ONE

Journal temporarily withdraws eight papers after publisher mistake

Publishers love their embargoes, whether they’re of papers that aren’t open access yet, or are available to the media before they’re published. Apparently, however, they also break embargoes, just like the journalists they sometimes sanction for the same sin.

Take Oxford University Press, which publishes the journal Physical Therapy for the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). Late last month, the journal temporarily withdrew eight papers because, well, the publisher broke the journal’s embargo. Jan Reynolds, the APTA’s managing editor for the journal and director of scientific communications, explained to Retraction Watch that Continue reading Journal temporarily withdraws eight papers after publisher mistake

Weekend reads: Journal editor fired for homophobic comments; “three-parent baby” paper mega-correction; the Bette Midler journal club

Before we present this week’s Weekend Reads, a question: Do you enjoy our weekly roundup? If so, we could really use your help. Would you consider a tax-deductible donation to support Weekend Reads, and our daily work? Thanks in advance.

The week at Retraction Watch featured plagiarism by a priest; retraction of a creationist paper “published in error;” and how a PubPeer comment led a university to reopen an investigation. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Continue reading Weekend reads: Journal editor fired for homophobic comments; “three-parent baby” paper mega-correction; the Bette Midler journal club

Semi-automated fact-checking for scientific papers? Here’s one method.

Jennifer Byrne

Wouldn’t it be terrific if manuscripts and published papers could be checked automatically for errors? That was the premise behind an algorithmic approach we wrote about last week, and today we bring you a Q&A with Jennifer Byrne, the last author of a new paper in PLOS ONE that describes another approach, this one designed to find incorrect nucleotide sequence reagents. Byrne, a scientist at the University of Sydney, has worked with the first author of the paper, Cyril Labbé, and has become a literature watchdog. Their efforts have already led to retractions. She answered several questions about the new paper.

Retraction Watch (RW): Seek & Blastn allows for “semi-automated fact-checking of nucleotide sequence reagents.” Can you explain what these reagents are used for, and what Seek & Blastn does? Continue reading Semi-automated fact-checking for scientific papers? Here’s one method.

A university thought its misconduct investigation was complete. Then a PubPeer comment appeared.

When Venkata Sudheer Kumar Ramadugu, then a postdoc at the University of Michigan, admitted to the university on June 28 of last year that he had committed research misconduct in a paper that appeared in Chemical Communications in 2017, he also “attested that he did not manipulate any data in his other four co-authored publications published while at the University of Michigan.”

And so, a few days later, Michael J. Imperiale, the university’s research integrity officer, wrote a letter to the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) informing them of the findings. On August 2, Ramadagu was terminated from Michigan. And on August 3, Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy, the head of the lab where Ramadagu had worked, wrote a letter to Chemical Communications requesting retraction of the paper.

While the retraction would not appear until the end of November, and ORI sanctions not announced until the end of December, Michigan’s responsibilities seemed to have been discharged as of early August. But documents obtained by Retraction Watch through a public records request detail how that was not the end of the story. Continue reading A university thought its misconduct investigation was complete. Then a PubPeer comment appeared.

Journal retracts creationist paper “because it was published in error”

Charles Darwin

It’s become a sort of Retraction Watch Mad Libs: Author writes a paper that is so far, far, out of the mainstream. Maybe it argues that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS. Or that vaccines cause autism. Truth squads swarm over the paper, taking to blogs and Twitter to wonder, in the exasperated tone of those who have been here before, how on earth it was published in a peer reviewed journal.

Then, in something that approaches — but does not quite qualify as — contrition, the journal in question retracts the paper, mumbling something in a retraction notice about a compromised peer review process, or that ghosts in the machine allowed the paper to be published instead of being rejected.

This week’s parade float entry is a paper in the International Journal of Anthropology and Ethnology, a Springer Nature title that is apparently sponsored by The Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, where many of its editorial board members work.

Here’s how Jerry Coyne, a researcher at the University of Chicago who keeps an eye on creationists, described the paper, “A brief history of human evolution: challenging Darwin’s claim,” written by Sarah Umer, in a December 18, 2018 post: Continue reading Journal retracts creationist paper “because it was published in error”

Plagiarism prompts retraction of 25-year-old article by prominent priest

Fr. Thomas Rosica

Retraction Watch readers may have heard about Fr. Thomas Rosica, a priest who recently apologized for plagiarism and resigned from the board of a college. The case, which involved Rosica’s speeches and popular columns, prompted at least two observers to take a look at his scholarly work.

One of those observers was Michael Dougherty, who has a well-earned reputation as the plagiarism police squad in certain fields and recently published Correcting the Scholarly Record for Research Integrity: In the Aftermath of Plagiarism. Dougherty wrote a letter to the journal in question, Worship, on February 20th.

In the letter, which we have posted here, Dougherty writes: Continue reading Plagiarism prompts retraction of 25-year-old article by prominent priest