Data mishap forces retraction of paper on gun laws, domestic killings

The authors of a 2018 paper on the effects of gun laws on domestic violence have retracted the article after discovering errors in their analysis and replaced it with a clean version. The new study shows that some gun laws — particularly ones that keep firearms out of the hands of violent offenders, even if their offenses don’t involve domestic assaults — do seem to reduce the incidence of domestic killings.

The paper, which appeared last November in the American Journal of Epidemiology and received some press coverage, including this piece in the New York Times, looked specifically at whether laws that keep guns away from people convicted of violent crimes beyond domestic abuse reduce the number of intimate partner homicides. It also considered the effect of laws that covered dating partners and not simply spouses or former spouses. The first author is April Zeoli, of Michigan State University. Zeoli has published other papers on the topic and delivered a TEDMED talk on it as well.

According to the abstract of the article: Continue reading Data mishap forces retraction of paper on gun laws, domestic killings

Harvard and the Brigham recommend 31 retractions for cardiac stem cell work

Piero Anversa

Retraction Watch readers may be familiar with the name Piero Anversa. Until several years ago, Anversa, a scientist at Harvard Medical School and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, was a powerful figure in cardiac stem cell research.

“For ten years, he ran everything,” says Jeffery Molkentin, a researcher at Cincinnati Children’s whose lab was among the first to question the basis of Anversa’s results in a 2014 paper in Nature. Continue reading Harvard and the Brigham recommend 31 retractions for cardiac stem cell work

Chief scientific officer of a high-flying cannabis product company faked data at the NIH

The chief scientific officer of a cannabis product company whose stock price has been hotter than a flaming joint (sorry) was known more than 18 months ago to have committed research misconduct while at the U.S. National Institutes of Health — casting a cloud of suspicion over the firm’s operations.

Marketwatch reported yesterday that the company, India Globalization Capital, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange as IGC, has at least nine other “red flags” for investors, from questions about its ability to manufacture cannabinoids to a history of trouble with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Until August, the company’s stock had been trading below 50 cents per share. It began a dramatic rise, eventually reaching $13 per share. MarketWatch notes:

Continue reading Chief scientific officer of a high-flying cannabis product company faked data at the NIH

Researchers replicated a classic paper on unsuccessful treatment of writer’s block. Then they tried to write it up.

Matt Brodhead

In 1974, Dennis Upper published a paper — well, to be precise, a blank page — entitled “THE UNSUCCESSFUL SELF-TREATMENT OF A CASE OF “WRITER’S BLOCK.” There have been several attempts to replicate the work, which has become a classic among a certain cohort of academics.

Until late last month, however, there was no multidisciplinary attempt to replicate the study. (As best we can tell, anyway. Who has time to do a proper literature review these days?) Now there is, along with an editor’s note that calls it “an exceptionally fine piece of scholarship.” We felt the best way to celebrate this auspicious occasion — coming about as far on the calendar from April 1 as one can — would be to interview the corresponding author of the new paper, Matt Brodhead, of Michigan State University. Lucky for us, he did not suffer from writer’s block, so he could respond to our questions by email.

Q: We can’t find the actual paper, even though the editor’s note refers to “the article below.” Did you bury your results in the supplemental information?
Continue reading Researchers replicated a classic paper on unsuccessful treatment of writer’s block. Then they tried to write it up.

A study of an “abortion reversal” method has been republished — but its mystery deepens

A study that claimed a highly controversial “abortion reversal” method was effective — and which was temporarily removed from a journal’s site — has been republished.

While there are some wording changes in the new version, they don’t seem to clarify much about what happened before and during the study. Continue reading A study of an “abortion reversal” method has been republished — but its mystery deepens

Prominent video game-violence researcher loses another paper to retraction

Brad Bushman

If you read this space, you probably know the name Brad Bushman. He studies the effects of violent video games on the people who play them. He also has just retracted his third paper, and significantly corrected another.

Although Bushman remains a prominent voice in a highly contentious field — prompting numerous media to consult him after school shootings or other violent acts — he’s retracted two papers, one following an investigation at his institution, the Ohio State University (OSU), which prompted OSU to strip his co-author of her PhD. (There’s a lot more to tell about that story, including the backlash outside critics faced for taking their concerns about the paper public. To read more, check out our in-depth piece in Motherboard.)

Bushman’s third retraction came this month; he nearly had a fourth as well, but attorneys for the publisher decided that a massive correction (to a paper which previously had been flagged with an expression of concern) would be more appropriate.

The retraction notice from Current Opinion in Psychology states the paper showed too much similarity to a 2016 paper in the same journal by Bushman and Arlin James Benjamin, based at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith. It notes that although Bushman was the guest editor of the issue of the journal:

Continue reading Prominent video game-violence researcher loses another paper to retraction

UConn prof “recklessly” used false data in NIH grant applications, says Federal watchdog

Li Wang (via UConn)

A liver physiologist at the University of Connecticut with millions of dollars in Federal U.S. funding included false data in half a dozen grant applications, according to the U.S. Office of Research Integrity.

Li Wang, according to the ORI, Continue reading UConn prof “recklessly” used false data in NIH grant applications, says Federal watchdog

Cancer researcher at OSU up to nine retractions

Samson Jacob

A cancer researcher and emeritus professor at The Ohio State University has retracted four more papers, bringing his total to nine from a single journal.

The four retractions of work by Samson Jacob appear in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, from which Jacob retracted five papers in March. The original papers — one of which has been cited more than 250 times — date back to 2002.

OSU declined to say whether Jacob’s work was under investigation: Continue reading Cancer researcher at OSU up to nine retractions

Distraction paper pulled for clerical error

The authors of a 2018 paper on how noisy distractions disrupt memory are retracting the article after finding a flaw in their study.

The paper, “Unexpected events disrupt visuomotor working memory and increase guessing,” appeared in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, a publication of the Psychonomic Society. (For those keeping score at home, psychonomics is the study of the laws of the mind.)

The article purported to show that an unexpected “auditory event,” like the sudden blare of a car horn, reduced the ability of people to remember visuomotor cues. Per the abstract:

Continue reading Distraction paper pulled for clerical error

A medical school put a scientist found guilty of misconduct in charge of an NIH grant

Santosh Katiyar

After a scientist was found guilty of misconduct at one university, a new institution asked to take over his grant and put him in charge of it.

But the new institution — the Morehouse School of Medicine, in Atlanta, Georgia — denies they ever employed him. Continue reading A medical school put a scientist found guilty of misconduct in charge of an NIH grant