It started as a simple email exchange over authorship. But it angered one researcher so much that it ended a 20-year collaboration.
In January 2017, a chemist based in Mexico had finished writing a paper describing the structure of a molecule. Sylvain Bernès, at the Instituto de Física Luis Rivera Terrazas, asked his co-author—the head of the lab where the molecule had been synthesized 10 years ago—to review the draft and include any co-authors involved in the initial work.
When a paper is retracted, how many other papers in the same field — which either cite the finding or cite other papers that do — are affected?
That’s the question examined by a study published in BioMed Central’s new journal, Research Integrity and Peer Review. Using the case of a paper retracted from Nature in 2014, the authors found that subsequent research that cites the retracted paper often repeats the problematic finding, thereby spreading it throughout the field. However, papers that indirectly cited the retracted result — by citing the papers that cited the Nature paper, but not the Nature paper itself — typically don’t repeat the retracted result, which limits its spread.
Can we teach good behavior in the lab? That’s the premise behind a number of interventions aimed at improving research integrity, invested in by universities across the world and even private companies. Trouble is, a new review from the Cochrane Library shows that there is little good evidence to show these interventions work. We spoke with authors Elizabeth Wager (on the board of directors of our parent organization) and Ana Marusic, at the University of Split School of Medicine in Croatia.
Retraction Watch: Let’s start by talking about what you found – looking at 31 studies (including 15 randomized controlled trials) that included more than 9500 participants, you saw there was some evidence that training in research integrity had some effects on participants’ attitudes, but “minimal (or short-lived) effects on their knowledge.” Can you talk more about that, including why the interventions had little impact on knowledge?Continue reading Do interventions to reduce misconduct actually work? Maybe not, says new report
Last week, the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors proposed requiring authors to share deidentified patient data underlying the published results of clinical trials within six months of publication. The proposal has earned much support but also some concerns – for example that other scientists might poach the findings, acting as the New England Journal of Medicinedubbed “research parasites.”Elizabeth Wager, a member of the board of directors of our parent organization, disagrees with that concern, but raises another issue – namely, the unintended consequences of data sharing on other, more effective initiatives to make reporting more transparent.
The recent proposal from the ICMJE may appear, at first glance, a positive step towards better clinical trial reporting. However, I’m concerned that this new requirement might undermine other more effective initiatives to increase the efficiency of research, such as the publication of protocols and full study reports. Here’s why.
All actions have costs, risks, and benefits: Making partial data sharing a condition of publication is no exception. The costs are hard to quantify but undoubtedly not trivial. Putting clinical data into a usable format and making it meaningful to other researchers requires considerable time and effort by knowledgeable people. To this must be added the costs of establishing and maintaining suitable repositories and of checking compliance.
We’ve found two recent retractions and an expression of concern for Joachim Boldt, former prominent anesthesiologist and currently Retraction Watch leaderboard’s 2nd place titleholder. He now has 94 retractions.
One of the retracted articles contains falsified data, along with a researcher who didn’t agree to be a co-author, according to an investigation by the Justus Liebig University Giessen, where Boldt used to work. The expression of concern is regarding some questionable data. The other new retraction is actually one of 88 papers that a group of editors agreed to retract back in 2011, after they were “unable to verify” approval by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the studies.
In her CSE presentation, she discusses what editors can and can’t do to ferret out fraud. Make sure to read through to the end, where she discusses a study of how journal editors are much more likely to think that fraudulent results are appearing in other journals. (Hint: If you’re right that it’s happening in someone else’s journal, and the editor of that journal thinks it’s happening in yours, well…)
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.