Salon retracts 2005 Robert F. Kennedy Jr. piece on alleged autism-vaccine link

Salon today retracted a controversial 2005 story by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. about an alleged link between autism and thimerosal, the mercury-based preservative formerly used in vaccines.

As Salon explains in their retraction notice, the online magazine had co-published the piece with Rolling Stone. The notice reads, in part: Continue reading Salon retracts 2005 Robert F. Kennedy Jr. piece on alleged autism-vaccine link

Is scientific fraud on the rise?

As readers of this blog have no doubt sensed by now, the number of retractions per year seems to be on the rise. We feel that intuitively as we uncover more and more of them, but there are also data to suggest this is true.

As if to demonstrate that, we’ve been trying to find time to write this post for more than a week, since the author of the study we’ll discuss sent us his paper. Writing about all the retractions we learned about, however, kept us too busy.

But given how sharp Retraction Watch readers are, you will be quick to note that more retractions doesn’t necessarily mean a higher rate. After all, there were about 527,000 papers published in 2000, and 852,000 published in 2009, so a constant rate of retractions would still mean a higher number. Here’s what Grant Steen, who published a paper on retractions and fraud last month in the Journal of Medical Ethics, found when he ran those numbers: Continue reading Is scientific fraud on the rise?

Update on Anil Potti: A patient in a trial based on retracted research speaks out; Baggerly on how to prevent the next fiasco

courtesy Duke

A quick post this Sunday morning to draw your attention to two must-read items for anyone interested in the Anil Potti case or in how one goes about checking data. (A second paper by Potti et al was officially retracted on Friday.)

First, a terrific profile of Joyce Shoffner in the Charlotte News & Observer. Shoffner

was one of 110 Duke patients enrolled in three clinical trials based on the research of Dr. Anil Potti, who resigned in November as an associate professor at Duke.

Here at Retraction Watch, we obviously think all retractions are worth following. But we hope this story will convince those who shrug and say such items are inside baseball, or “none of your damn business,” that they need to re-evaluate their positions. This is where the rubber hits the road: Continue reading Update on Anil Potti: A patient in a trial based on retracted research speaks out; Baggerly on how to prevent the next fiasco

Nature Medicine makes it official, retracting Anil Potti paper

 

courtesy Nature

Nature Medicine has retracted a paper that Anil Potti’s co-author, Joseph Nevins, requested be withdrawn in November.

This is the second retraction of a paper by Potti, who resigned from his post at Duke in November in the midst of an investigation into scientific misconduct. The first retraction was in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

According to the Nature Medicine retraction notice: Continue reading Nature Medicine makes it official, retracting Anil Potti paper

Authors of Journal of Immunology paper retract it after realizing they had ordered the wrong mice

The authors of a 2006 Journal of Immunology study have retracted it after it dawned on them that they used the wrong mice.

The study, “Endogenous IL-1R1 Signaling Is Critical for Cognate CD41 T Cell Help for Induction of In Vivo Type 1 and Type 2 Antipolysaccharide and Antiprotein Ig Isotype Responses to Intact Streptococcus pneumoniae, but Not to a Soluble Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine,” has been cited 11 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

According to the retraction notice: Continue reading Authors of Journal of Immunology paper retract it after realizing they had ordered the wrong mice

Paper by Silvia Bulfone-Paus to be retracted

At least one of the dominoes may be falling from a scandal at Research Center Borstel.

Retraction Watch has learned that one of six papers that an investigation found to include data manipulation will be retracted by the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. The paper, “ATP induces P2X7 receptor-independent cytokine and chemokine expression through P2X1 and P2X3 receptors in murine mast cells,” includes Silvia Bulfone-Paus as a co-author. The retraction notice will appear in the March issue of the journal, editor Luis Montaner told Retraction Watch today.

Bulfone-Paus is at the center of a complex case, and we’ll refer you to Nature‘s excellent coverage. As Nature reported last month: Continue reading Paper by Silvia Bulfone-Paus to be retracted

Some quick thoughts and links on Andrew Wakefield, the BMJ, autism, vaccines, and fraud

If you’re a savvy Retraction Watch reader — or if you’ve paid any attention at all to the news in the last 18 hours — you will have heard by now that the BMJ has called Andrew Wakefield’s work on autism and the MMR vaccine a “hoax.”

The February 2010 retraction of the original Wakefield paper in the Lancet was, of course, a huge deal. If there were a Canon of Scientific Retractions, it would be in it. It happened before we launched Retraction Watch, however, so we haven’t commented much on it.

We plan on writing about major retractions in history, but the frequency of fascinating timely ones hasn’t abated enough yet to let us do that. (One exception: Our Best of Retractions series.) And in any case, there have been a lot of pixels spilled on this one already, so we’re not sure we have much to add. That’s the nice thing about the web: It leaves us free to curate as well as create.

One comment we want to offer is that the investigation by Brian Deer in the BMJ Continue reading Some quick thoughts and links on Andrew Wakefield, the BMJ, autism, vaccines, and fraud

Top Retraction Watch posts of 2010, and a short wish list for 2011

Bronze statues of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, by sculptor Lorenzo Coullaut Valera, at the Plaza de España in Madrid. Photo by Zaqarbal via Wikimedia

2010 was a busy year at Retraction Watch. (Well, actually the first seven months of it weren’t busy at all, since we didn’t launch until August.) We’ve published 88 posts, an average of about four per week.

We no longer wonder whether we’ll have enough material to post frequently, as Adam told The New York Times we did when we launched. We weren’t the only ones. Here’s Paul Raeburn, writing in the Knight Science Journalism Tracker:

I confess that when Retraction Watch appeared, I predicted (silently, so nobody could catch me on it later) that it would die a slow death, because there would be too few retractions to justify paying attention to this worthy but misguided endeavor.

For what must surely be the first time in my reporting career, I was wrong.

Here are our most popular posts of 2010, followed by a short wish list for 2011: Continue reading Top Retraction Watch posts of 2010, and a short wish list for 2011

Nearly identical twins: European Respiratory Journal retracts asthma in pregnancy paper similar to another by same group

The European Respiratory Journal (ERJ) is retracting a paper about whether mothers with asthma are more likely to have poor birth outcomes, after the journal found it overlapped with an earlier paper by the same group. The ERJ paper was published online on June 18, 2010.

The retraction notice said only that Continue reading Nearly identical twins: European Respiratory Journal retracts asthma in pregnancy paper similar to another by same group

No medals: Group that retracted JACS gold nanoparticle paper retracts silver one, too

Earlier this month, we reported that a group led by Jicun Ren, of Shanghai Jiaotong University, had retracted a paper in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) on a way to measure the concentration of gold nanoparticles. Turns out they are also retracting a very similar paper about silver nanoparticles published in the January 18, 2010 issue of Chemistry: A European Journal.

Ren tells Retraction Watch that the silver paper, “Ultrahighly sensitive homogenous detection of DNA and microRNA by using single-silver-nanoparticle counting,” is being retracted for the same reason as the gold one. From our earlier post (just substitute “silver” for “gold”): Continue reading No medals: Group that retracted JACS gold nanoparticle paper retracts silver one, too