Feminism & Psychology study of UK birthing classes draws ire, winds up retracted

The debate — in entrenched medical circles, anyway — over whether it’s safe to give birth at home can be fierce. Just last month, for example, Nature reported that a review of the subject in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology that found home births more dangerous than those in the hospital generated so much controversy that it forced an investigation. Outside reviewers found problems, but the journal didn’t think they rose to the level of a retraction. Critics disagreed.

The same fraught subject came up in a paper published in Feminism & Psychology last year by Mary Horton-Salway and Abigail Locke. The original paper had concluded:

Our analysis suggests that the normativity of medical interventions in labour and childbirth is discursively reproduced in ante-natal classes whilst parental choice is limited by a powerful ‘rhetoric of risk’.

In other words, NCT classes were scaring women into choosing hospital births. But it turns out that conclusion wasn’t actually supported by the findings, which were based on a review of National Childbirth Trust’s classes. That led to a retraction: Continue reading Feminism & Psychology study of UK birthing classes draws ire, winds up retracted

More details emerge on ScienceBlogs-National Geographic deal

Yesterday, we reported that National Geographic had bought ScienceBlogs. We’ve now obtained a recording of a conference call between various members of National Geographic senior management, ScienceBlogs management, and ScienceBloggers — aka Sciblings — that adds some details.

What we’ve learned is that Nat Geo plans to assume control of operations, editorial content, and ad sales by June 1 of this year. And while a post from PZ Myers post said “basically, we’ve been bought,” and we had further confirmation last night of the contents of yesterday’s post from someone familiar with the situation, we want to make sure to point out, high up, that one of the first things that SEED CFO and vice president of finance and operation’s Vera Scavcic said on the call was that SEED would maintain ownership: Continue reading More details emerge on ScienceBlogs-National Geographic deal

So who bought ScienceBlogs? Retraction Watch exclusive: National Geographic

This afternoon, PZ Myers, of the wildly popular Pharyngula blog on ScienceBlogs, started a post with a few lines that set science writers on Twitter abuzz:

I have news. Scienceblogs is going to be folded into a new organization sometime soon — basically, we’ve been bought. I can’t discuss all of the details just yet, but let’s just say it is a prestigious national magazine with a healthy bottom line that will do us a lot of good.

Retraction Watch has learned, from a source familiar with the negotiations, that the buyer is National Geographic. We don’t have any details at this point, and Nat Geo has not returned a request for comment [see update at end], but we are confident in reporting this.

Readers may recall PepsiGate, Continue reading So who bought ScienceBlogs? Retraction Watch exclusive: National Geographic

Science publishes replication of Marc Hauser study, says results hold up

There has been some news over the past few weeks about Marc Hauser, the Harvard psychologist found guilty of misconduct by the university last year. First, because Harvard had listed him in a course catalog, The Crimson said that he might be teaching again, following a ban. But that turned out not to be the case, as The Boston Globe reported.

Today, Science lifted the embargo on a paper by Hauser and Justin Wood, now of the University of Southern California, showing that results published in the journal in 2007 — and later questioned — have held up. The abstract: Continue reading Science publishes replication of Marc Hauser study, says results hold up

Duplicate publication and apparent guest authorship force retractions of two math papers

Two math journals have recently retracted two papers that share most of their text — and their first author.

The two papers were “Unsteady flows of an Oldroyd-B fluid in a cylindrical domain for a given shear stress,” in Applied Mathematics and Computation, and A note on longitudinal flows of an Oldroyd-B fluid due to a prescribed shear stress,” in Mathematical and Computer Modelling. The studies were published online last year, but hadn’t made it into a print issue yet.

Both retraction notices, which appeared within the space of a few weeks in late February and early March, say the same thing — that is to say, nothing at all, really:

This article has been withdrawn at the request of the author(s) and/or editor. The Publisher apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause. The full Elsevier Policy on Article Withdrawal can be found at http://www.elsevier.com/locate/withdrawalpolicy.

So what was wrong with the original reports? Continue reading Duplicate publication and apparent guest authorship force retractions of two math papers

Update: After unexplained delay, Cell Cycle retracts paper related to work that formed the basis of anti-cancer company

In December, we reported on the retraction of a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on a potential treatment for breast cancer. We later found out that the retracted research was part of the basis of a company that had an initial public offering a few weeks later. How the company dealt with the news of the retraction made for an interesting follow-up, and speaks well of the principles of the principals.

Here’s another follow-up. The retraction notice has now appeared of a related review in Cell Cycle that we reported would be withdrawn. Here’s the text: Continue reading Update: After unexplained delay, Cell Cycle retracts paper related to work that formed the basis of anti-cancer company

Physics Letters A paper gets retracted twice, but the issues remain “unsettled”

A retraction with a complex and yet unclear narrative appears in the April 25, 2011 issue of Physics Letters A. According to the notice, for “Nuclear spin magnetic resonance force microscopy using slice modulation:”

This article has been retracted at the request of the Editors of Physics Letters A because there are unsettled issues on how the research was carried out, how the data were acquired and analyzed. The article was removed from the journal issue before printing although it appeared online. In addition, the article was accidentally published online twice in the same journal.

As the notice suggests, this was actually the second retraction, of the same paper. Here was the first, in 2008, shortly after the paper was published. And here is a removal notice, from later that year. We haven’t come across such an occurrence before, although we’ve been writing Retraction Watch for less than a year.

There are six editors of Physics Letters A, and we tried them all for comment on the “unsettled issues.” A few pointed to Burkhard Fricke, the communicating editor for the paper, who is no longer with the journal. He didn’t respond to requests for more information.

A few referred us to Karine van Wetering, a publisher at Elsevier: Continue reading Physics Letters A paper gets retracted twice, but the issues remain “unsettled”

Why was that paper retracted? Peer-reviewed evidence that Retraction Watch isn’t crazy

Retraction Watch readers will no doubt have realized by now that we are often frustrated by the opacity of many of the retraction notices we cover. And some critics may wonder if we’re overstating that case.

Well, wonder no more.

In a study published online yesterday in the Journal of Medical Ethics, Liz Wager and Peter Williams looked at retractions from 1988 to 2008. Their findings: Continue reading Why was that paper retracted? Peer-reviewed evidence that Retraction Watch isn’t crazy

Remember William Hamman, the pilot who claimed to be a cardiologist? A retraction appears

In December, we reported on the case of William Hamman:

It’s a mind-boggling story: A United Airlines pilot claims to be a cardiologist and was eagerly sought after for medical conferences at which he taught doctors teamwork. He shared millions in grants, according to the Associated Press. But as the AP reports, William Hamman wasn’t a cardiologist at all, having never even finished medical school.

Hamman had published at least six papers using false credentials, including an MD and a PhD. In December, Jean Gayton Carroll, editor in chief of Quality Management in Health Care, told us that the journal would be “reviewing and evaluating” a paper by Hamman it published last year, “Using in situ simulation to identify and resolve latent environmental threats to patients safety: case study involving operational changes in a labor and delivery ward.” That review, we learned today, has led to a retraction.

According to the notice, which is refreshingly detailed (we added a link): Continue reading Remember William Hamman, the pilot who claimed to be a cardiologist? A retraction appears

Stanford group retracts JACS paper, but revisits and validates findings

A prominent Stanford University chemistry lab has been forced to retract a paper in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS). According to the retraction notice:

Due to inconsistencies between some of the assigned structures and the experimental data that appear in the paper, the authors retract this publication. We regret very much this unfortunate occurrence.

The Retraction Watch tipster who alerted us to this retraction explained what the original paper reported: Continue reading Stanford group retracts JACS paper, but revisits and validates findings