Authors plan to appeal Global Ecology and Biogeography retraction

The authors of a Global Ecology and Biogeography study originally published in November 2009 and retracted last week are appealing the decision with the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), Retraction Watch has learned. Continue reading Authors plan to appeal Global Ecology and Biogeography retraction

Wnt Research: How a retraction delayed an IPO, shrunk investment — but should build public trust

It’s easy to focus on the downstream scientific effects of retractions. But sometimes they have financial implications, too.

Two weeks ago, we covered the retraction of a PNAS paper on a potential breast cancer treatment, one that would make tumors that didn’t respond to tamoxifen respond to the drug. We learned earlier this week from a Retraction Watch commenter that Wnt Research, a company based on the breast cancer finding and other work, was about to go public.

In fact, their initial public offering (IPO) happened today, and you can follow the price of their stock — listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange as WNT — here. But what we learned when we looked into the IPO was that it was originally scheduled for late November, and was delayed because of the retraction.

Tommy Andersson, one of the researchers on the now-retracted paper and Wnt Research’s chief scientific officer, told Retraction Watch that the company had initially planned on going public on November 26. They had written a memorandum describing the company’s work to date, and its plans, and the public was given a chance to invest before shares hit the Stockholm exchange. That memorandum included a mention of the PNAS paper, as follows (translated from Swedish): Continue reading Wnt Research: How a retraction delayed an IPO, shrunk investment — but should build public trust

Journal of the American Chemical Society retracts gold nanoparticle paper

On October 20, the Journal of the American Chemical Society retracted a 2009 paper. The retraction notice for “Single Gold Nanoparticles Counter: An Ultrasensitive Detection Platform for One-Step Homogeneous Immunoassays and DNA Hybridization Assays” was somewhat opaque:

This article is being retracted due to inaccurate DNA hybridization detection results caused by application of an incorrect data processing method. The authors regret any confusion that may have been created by the paper’s publication.

We contacted the paper’s lead author, Jicun Ren, of the College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, State Key Laboratory of Metal Matrix Composites, Shanghai Jiaotong University, to ask for more detail. He responded: Continue reading Journal of the American Chemical Society retracts gold nanoparticle paper

Journal will remove fake cardiologist William Hamman’s credentials, but paper will remain in print

Earlier this week, we asked what is likely to happen to papers published by William Hamman, the United pilot who claimed — falsely — to also be a cardiologist. Read more about the episode here.

One of the journals in which Hamman published, the American Journal of Medical Quality, will “amend the paper to correct” Hamman’s credentials — or lack thereof, a journal staffer told us today. The journal hasn’t dealt with this sort of thing before, so is checking with the publisher before making the change. They “plan to get it done as quickly as they can do it.”

We haven’t seen this sort of thing either. Continue reading Journal will remove fake cardiologist William Hamman’s credentials, but paper will remain in print

Catch Me If You Can: What happens to fake cardiologist William Hamman’s published papers?

photo of Frank Abagnale, Jr., whose story is the basis of Catch Me If You Can, by marcus_jb1973 via flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/marcusjb/

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’s career seems to be collapsing, now that he resigned from his post as a researcher and educator at Royal Oak, Michigan’s William Beaumont Hospital once the hospital found out he had misled them. (Just last year, Beaumont touted a $150,000 grant Hamman nabbed with a colleague, Marc Abramson at Improbable Research notes.) United has also grounded him.

The storyline is reminiscent of 2002’s Catch Me If You Can, in which Frank Abagnale Jr. (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) forges millions of dollars’ worth of checks around the world, in the process impersonating a Pan Am pilot and a doctor. In Hamman’s case, there are apparently no questions over whether his pilot credentials are legit, according to the AP.

Our interest at Retraction Watch is what happens to the papers Hamman has published over the years. There are at least six, including two published this year. The AP reported that Continue reading Catch Me If You Can: What happens to fake cardiologist William Hamman’s published papers?

A retraction in Neurology highlights an unusual practice

There’s a retraction in the issue of Neurology published this week. In a nutshell, a group of researchers had reported earlier this year that they had identified a genetic mutation potentially responsible for a rare neurological disorder called the filamin myopathy. But when another group tried to replicate those results, they found that the original tests were probably contaminated by a “pseudogene.”

In a letter from the second group:

Kono et al reported the effects of a novel c.8107del mutation in the filamin C gene (FLNC). We reviewed their results and concluded that the reported mutation was mistaken identity.

In a response, the authors thank the group and conclude: Continue reading A retraction in Neurology highlights an unusual practice

Academic purgatory: Papers withdrawn before they’re “officially” published

If a paper appears online but then is withdrawn — a kinder, gentler version of retracted — before it is “officially” published, did anyone hear it fall?

Oops, mixed metaphors again. And scare quotes! The latter, however, are because publishers seem to have varying opinions of whether or not something that is freely available online is published. And that has ramifications for whether you can retract a paper like that.

Let us explain with two examples: Continue reading Academic purgatory: Papers withdrawn before they’re “officially” published

More on Anil Potti: Two other papers worth keeping an eye on

courtesy Duke

It’s fair to say that we haven’t heard the last of Anil Potti, the Duke cancer researcher who resigned last month following revelations that he had faked some of his results. Duke is still investigating the situation, and has also asked the Institute of Medicine to conduct its own study into the case and its ramifications.

This week, we may find out whether Nature Medicine will retract a paper that Joseph Nevins, one of Potti’s co-authors, asked the journal to withdraw last month. We’re also keeping an eye on two other papers that have already been the subject of increased scrutiny: Continue reading More on Anil Potti: Two other papers worth keeping an eye on

PNAS paper on potential breast cancer treatment retracted

The authors of a 2009 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) have retracted the paper, which found a particular molecule could make breast tumors respond to a drug to which they’re not normally susceptible.

The paper — which has been cited five times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge — was the subject of a fair amount of press coverage, although the molecule is not yet in clinical trials. In a Reuters story, lead author Caroline Ford said of the alleged tamoxifen-sensitizing compound, Foxy-5:

“It flips the switch basically,” Ford said in a telephone interview. “It makes breast cancer cells respond to tamoxifen in women who cannot be treated with the drug,” she added. “If you don’t have that molecule you can’t get tamoxifen because there is no target.”

According to the retraction notice, signed by all three of the study’s authors: Continue reading PNAS paper on potential breast cancer treatment retracted

How much plagiarism should editors tolerate? A poll

Photo by captain.tucker via flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/russell300d/

Over the past few weeks, you’d have been forgiven for wondering if the name of this blog should be “Plagiarism Watch” instead of Retraction Watch. Just take a look at all of the recent plagiarism cases:

That last example inspired this poll. When we brought an example of likely plagiarism by the same author to the attention of one journal editor, he was nonplussed. “[A]s all editors know there are rarely absolutely clear cut issues in which the line is unequivocally drawn in the sand,” said the editor-in-chief of Biomaterials, David Williams of Wake Forest. (Williams also suggested that the relative obscurity of the plagiarizers’ institution, and of the journal where they published, meant the case wasn’t worth investigating.)

So where is that line in the sand? Take our poll: