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

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?