A BMJ journal has retracted a medical case report about a couple in the United Kingdom who were infected by parasitic worms while on a Caribbean cruise.
The paper in BMJ Case Reports included graphic photos of the patients’ buttocks, the site of the infection, which were republished within a week by UK tabloids.
Specifics about when and why the journal retracted the paper remains unclear. BMJ Publishing Group, the journal, and the corresponding author have not responded to multiple requests for comment.
A UK-based lawyer, who has represented doctors in cases that touch on publishing and media law, told us there could be legal trouble. Martin Soames, of London firm Simons Muirhead & Burton, told Retraction Watch that UK laws governing patient confidentiality or protection of personal information could apply, raising problems for both the publisher and the doctors who wrote the paper. [See update at the end of the post, in which the editor says the paper was removed, and “does not consider that there are any issues of liability.”] Continue reading BMJ journal pulls case report after UK tabloids publish graphic photos
A BMJ journal has published an updated analysis of a 2007 paper that shaped current car seat safety recommendations, which reports less conclusive findings about the safest way to install the seat.
The updated analysis follows an expression of concern the journal Injury Prevention added to the paper in June 2017, after the authors and an outside expert could not replicate the results.
The 2007 paper made a big claim: Children ages one to two years old are five times more likely to sustain serious injuries in a crash when restrained in a forward-facing car seat than a rear-facing seat.
According to the retraction notices, Sato asked the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry to retract three of his papers “due to scientific misconduct.” In the letter, Sato—who is corresponding author on all three papers—explained he included co-authors without their consent and that none of the other authors listed worked on the study or article.
In May, the editors issued expressions of concern while they investigated (1,2,3), and last month, the journal retracted the three articles.
BMJ told Retraction Watch that it took down the film review in response to a European citizen exercising his or her “right to be forgotten,” an internet privacy idea that, according to the European Union, ensures:
BMJ Global Health has pulled a paper that criticized U.S. research of the effects of cervical cancer screening in India over defamation concerns.
That’s not what the notice on the paper says, however — at the moment, it just reads:
This article has been withdrawn.
However, forwarded email correspondence between the first author and an associate publisher reveals the journal published the paper and planned a press release, then realized it should be reviewed by a legal adviser. When first author Eric J. Suba at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center inquired about the status of the paper and any potential press release, he was told the journal could no longer publish it, out of concern they would be taken to court.
Suba told us that, when he learned the paper would be pulled:
Every year, academics get thousands of spam emails inviting them to submit manuscripts or attend conferences — but don’t bother asking to “unsubscribe” for Christmas.
Spoiler alert, for those of you planning to read the rest of this post: It doesn’t make much of a difference.
That’s according to the conclusions of a study published in one of our favorite issues of the BMJ — the Christmas issue. After a group of five self-described “intrepid academics” tried to unsubscribe from the 300+ spam invitations they received on average each month, the volume decreased by only 19% after one year.
Not surprisingly, many emails — approximately 1 in 6 — were duplicates (aka “reheated spam”), and the vast majority (83%) had little relevance to the researchers’ interests.
After the article was published in 2015, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) organized a letter signed by more than 100 researchers, urging the publication to retract the article. Today, the journal said it found “no grounds” to do so.
However, in a press release accompanying the announcement of the correction, the BMJ notes that some aspects of the CSPI’s criticisms were merited.
For those who aren’t familiar, fake reviews arise when researchers associated with the paper in question (most often authors) create email addresses for reviewers, enabling them to write their own positive reviews.
The article — released September 23 by the Postgraduate Medical Journal — found the vast majority of papers were retracted from journals with impact factors below 5, and most included co-authors based in China.
As described in the paper, “Characteristics of retractions related to faked peer reviews: an overview,” the authors searched Retraction Watch as well as various databases such as PubMed and Google Scholar, along with other media reports, and found 250 retractions for fake peer review. (Since the authors concluded their analysis, the number of retractions due to faked reviews has continued to pile up; our latest tally is now 324.)
Yes, argues Roosy Aulakh, an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics in the Government Medical College and Hospital in Chandigarh, India. In last week’s BMJ, she argues that recent measures to force researchers in India to produce a minimum number of publications to obtain promotions could set the stage for many problems, including fraud.
Retraction Watch: You cite a recent paper that showed more than 50% of Indian medical institutions and hospitals didn’t publish a single paper between 2005 and 2014. Did that finding surprise you?
Roosy Aulakh: Well definitely yes! With over 400 medical colleges in India producing more than 50,000 doctors an year, such poor research output surely came as a surprise.