Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘china retractions’ Category

Caught Our Notice: When data went missing, lab tech filled in the gaps

without comments

via Wikimedia

Title: Effects of cyclin E gene silencing on the proliferation of esophageal cancer cell lines, EC9706, Eca109 and KYSE30

What Caught Our Attention: When a reader noticed that six panels in one figure from a 2013 paper looked a little fishy, the authors decided to take a closer look. Following an internal investigation, the authors learned that a laboratory technician had manipulated the panels after realizing some of the original data had been lost.   Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison Abritis

January 22nd, 2018 at 11:00 am

Caught Our Notice: Doesn’t anyone do a literature review any more?

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Via Wikimedia

Titles: (1) Whole-Genome De Novo Sequencing of the Lignin-Degrading Wood Rot Fungus Phanerochaete chrysosporium (ATCC 20696)

(2) Structure revision of aspergicin by the crystal structure of aspergicine, a co-occurring isomer produced by co-culture of two mangrove epiphytic fungi

What Caught Our Attention: Two articles by different groups of authors recently suffered from the same (fatal) flaw: A poor literature review. The article, “Whole-Genome De Novo Sequencing of the Lignin-Degrading Wood Rot Fungus Phanerochaete chrysosporium (ATCC 20696),” claimed to have sequenced a strain already sequenced in 2004 and published in a well-cited article.  According to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science, the 2004 article was cited 474 times before the now-retracted article was published. And that 2004 article appeared in a highly-cited journal, Nature Biotechnology. Read the rest of this entry »

Caught Our Notice: Unusual — journal flags paper for concerns, then updates them

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Via Wikimedia

Title: Filled and peptide-modified single-walled carbon nanotubes: synthesis, characterization, and in vitro test for cancer cell targeting

What Caught Our Attention: After an expression of concern (EOC) is published in a journal, the usual procedure is to either publish a subsequent correction or retraction — or, unfortunately, leave it sit ad infinitum. But apparently, there’s another option. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison Abritis

January 3rd, 2018 at 9:01 am

One image was duplicated in eight papers. Yes, eight.

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A cancer journal has retracted a 2014 paper after discovering one image had been duplicated in seven other papers. That’s right—the same image appeared in a total of eight papers.

For some of the papers, the issues went beyond the single image. According to the retraction notice, several papers contained other duplicated images, as well as “overlapping text.”  The notice, published in October 2017 in Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention (APJCP), is essentially a letter PLOS ONE wrote to several journals, informing them of the issues in the eight papers, all published between 2014 and 2016. The letter mentions that one of the papers—a 2016 analysis in Korean Journal of Physiology (KJPP)—had already been retracted earlier this year. One author of the retracted KJPP paper confessed to using a company to prepare and submit the manuscript. Read the rest of this entry »

Caught Our Notice: How can a publication be a surprise to a corresponding author?

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Via Wikimedia

Title: Umbelliferone reverses depression-like behavior in chronic unpredictable mild stress-induced mice via RIP140/NF-κB pathway

What Caught Our Attention: One would think that the corresponding author would have to be aware that they are submitting an article for publication — but apparently not, as this retraction demonstrates. The 2016 paper listed two corresponding authors — along with both of their emails and mailing addresses — but according to the retraction notice, one of them did not give consent “in any form” to the publication. Often, we see authors unaware of the use of their name when their email has been faked, but here, it’s possible the journal simply relied on the other corresponding author for all correspondence. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison Abritis

December 11th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Caught Our Notice: What if you find out a paper relied on expired herbal supplement?

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Via Wikimedia

Title: Exploration of inhibitory mechanisms of curcumin in lung cancer metastasis using a miRNA- transcription factor-target gene network

What Caught Our Attention: The researchers were studying how curcumin, a component of the spice turmeric, can inhibit lung cancer metastases. But upon learning that the primary material had been expired at the time of testing (and realizing they were unable to repeat their experiments), the researchers pulled their paper. Expiration dates do have safety factors built in, but attention to such details is imperative in research.  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison Abritis

December 4th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Caught Our Notice: Don’t count your chicken (genes) before they’re hatched

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Via Wikimedia

Title: Molecular Characterization and Biological Activity of Interferon-α in Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus)

What Caught Our Attention: Soon after the paper appeared, the journal was alerted to the fact its findings were at odds with others in the field. When the editor approached the authors, everything fell apart: The authors couldn’t repeat the experiments, and “were also unsure of the molecular probes that were used in the study.” While it isn’t unusual to have doubts about data — since since research is a process of experimentation — it is odd not to know how your experiment was conducted. The paper was retracted less than two months after it was published. The manuscript was accepted two months after it was submitted in early May, theoretically giving reviewers enough time to catch these issues (along with the authors’ failure to cite relevant papers).  

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Caught Our Notice: To know if someone’s been vaccinated, just asking isn’t enough

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Via Wikimedia

Title: Hepatitis B Virus Infection in Preconception Period Among Women of Reproductive Age in Rural China – A Nationwide Study

What Caught Our Attention: When researchers set out to study hepatitis B among women in rural China, and they wanted to know if the women had been vaccinated against the virus, they simply asked them. While that can sometimes be useful, apparently it was a mistake in this case, as the reliance on patient memory injected too much doubt into these findings.  Read the rest of this entry »

Caught Our Notice: Concerns about image in 2008 paper prompt editorial notice

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Via Wikimedia

Title: Characterization of a novel epigenetically-silenced, growth-suppressive gene, ADAMTS9, and its association with lymph node metastases in nasopharyngeal carcinoma

What caught our attention: One year ago, a PubPeer user suggested an image from a 2008 paper looked similar to one from another paper. After the authors stated their belief in the soundness of the image, without providing the originals, the journal issued only an Expression of Concern for the paper. Some journals have issued retractions for lack of original data, some have issued corrections, and even fewer have published editorial notices. Expressions of concern usually indicate that some type of final resolution will be announced, but in reality, a significant proportion remain unresolved for years. Based on the wording of this notice, it may be around for a while. Read the rest of this entry »

Caught Our Notice: An “absolutely perfect retraction”

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Via Wikimedia

When Retraction Watch began in 2010, our co-founders Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus quickly realized they couldn’t keep up with the hundreds of retractions that appeared each year.  And the problem has only gotten worse — although we’ve added staff, the number of retractions issued each year has increased dramatically. According to our growing database, more than 1300 retractions were issued last year (and that doesn’t include expressions of concern and errata). So to get new notices in front of readers more quickly, we’ve started a new feature called “Caught our Notice,” where we highlight a recent notice that stood out from the others. If you have any information about what happened, feel free to contact us at

Title: Skeletal muscle-specific CPT1 deficiency elevates lipotoxic intermediates but preserves insulin sensitivity

What caught our attention:  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison Abritis

October 23rd, 2017 at 8:00 am