Last week, the University of Queensland (UQ) announced some of its authors were retracting a paper after discovering data were missing. Just days later, the university made headlines over an investigation into three papers about controversial therapies that were OK’d by UQ ethics committees. Continue reading Research problems at Australian university hit the news
What Caught Our Attention: When the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) publishes a correction that is more than a misspelling of a name, we take a look. When NEJM publishes a 500-word correction to the data in a highly cited article, we take notice. This study tested the effects of a drug to prevent blood loss in patients undergoing heart surgery; it’s been the subject of correspondence between the authors and outside experts. The correction involved tweaks — lots of tweaks — to the text and tables, which did not change the outcomes. Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Big journal, big correction
A paleontology journal has retracted a recent paper after discovering it had published the uncorrected version of the manuscript.
The mistake occurred after the authors submitted revisions to the manuscript without tracking the changes, prompting the publisher to believe nothing had been changed and publishing the previous version. The journal initially told the authors it planned to publish an erratum that described the mistake as a production error, but then retracted the paper—seemingly without consulting the authors. However, the authors said they were happy with the outcome.
Glenn Brock, an author on the Journal of Paleontology paper, told Retraction Watch: Continue reading “GOOD NEWS!…we were able to retract your article:” Journal
A paper on the prevalence of cruel social behavior in the corporate world has been retracted, following an investigation at the authors’ university. According to the senior author, she inadvertently paraphrased a dissertation on the same topic that did not belong to her student and co-author.
On Sept. 21, 2016, Katarina Fritzon, a professor at Australia’s Bond University, and Nathan Brooks, who was Fritzon’s graduate student at the time, published “Psychopathic personality characteristics amongst high functioning populations,” in Crime Psychology Review. The paper suggested that as many as one in five corporate executives exhibited the hallmarks of a psychopath, such as lack of remorse or egocentricity.
Fritzon told Retraction Watch the paper drew largely from the introduction to Brooks’s doctoral dissertation. Along with Brooks’ research, it received media attention worldwide. But Fritzon told us that in October 2016 she received a complaint from another university about the work: Continue reading Authors retract paper on psychopathic traits in bosses
Too many papers cite retracted research — even after it’s been retracted. It’s a problem. It can be especially a problem in clinical fields, where patient care is at stake. Recently, Richard Gray at La Trobe University in Australia and his colleagues examined the scope of the problem in the nursing field, noting how many systematic reviews included findings from retracted clinical trials. We spoke with Gray about their findings, published in the International Journal of Nursing Studies — and what they might mean for the safety of patients.
Retraction Watch: Retractions are a concern in any field, but as you note, when clinical practice is at stake, it can be particularly worrisome. Do you think your findings raise any potential concerns about patient safety?
Title: Unravelling the influence of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) on cognitive-linguistic processing: A comparative group analysis
What Caught our Attention: RW readers might already be familiar with Caroline Barwood and Bruce Murdoch, two researchers from Australia who had the rare distinction of being criminally charged for research misconduct. Both Barwood and Murdoch received suspended sentences after being found guilty of multiple counts of fraud. In September 2014, University of Queensland announced that: Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Ethics, data concerns prompt another retraction for convicted researchers
The Journal of Biological Chemistry has added an expression of concern to a 2003 paper that arose from the PhD thesis of a once-prominent — and controversial — science journalist in Australia.
The first author of the paper is Maryanne Demasi, a journalist whose reporting created unintentional headlines in recent years. In 2013, she produced a controversial series about cholesterol and fat (and even cast doubt on cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins); in 2016, she was fired from the science program Catalyst, after it aired an episode alleging wi-fi could cause brain tumors.
Now, it appears the research community is taking a second look at some of the work underlying her PhD in rheumatology from Royal Adelaide Hospital. Here’s the notice from the journal:
A project to identify studies doomed by problematic reagents has triggered three more retractions, bringing the total to five.
Jennifer Byrne, a scientist at the University of Sydney, who developed the the idea of double-checking the nucleic acid sequences of research materials — thereby ensuring studies were testing the gene in question — told Retraction Watch that all three retractions came after she started emailing journals in January to alert them to the problems: Continue reading Project to “fact check” genetic studies leads to three more retractions. And it’s just getting started.
In the withdrawal notice, published July 14, 2017, the authors claim that the “errors do not impact the underlying scientific findings of the article.”
Although the notice does not mention an investigation, a comment on PubPeer on March 2017—signed by Mark Hargreaves, the vice-chancellor at the University of Melbourne—indicates that the university conducted an investigation to assess the issues in the paper and determined that research misconduct “did not occur.”
Here’s the withdrawal notice for “Induction of the unfolded protein response in familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and association of protein-disulfide isomerase with superoxide dismutase 1:” Continue reading Authors withdraw study, citing “accidentally duplicated” images
The article, “Projected changes in Australian fire regimes during the 21st century and consequences for Ecosystems,” appeared in the International Journal of Wildland Fire. The authors are Sandy Harrison and Douglas Kelley, of the University of Reading, in the UK. Kelley appears to have done his share of the work as a PhD student at Macquarie University in Australia.
According to the notice: Continue reading Lost citation snuffs out Aussie fire paper