“This is a case of good science:” Nature republishes retracted glacier paper

via NASA

Nature has republished a paper on glacier melt that was retracted more than a year ago after the author became aware that he had made an error that underestimated such melt.

The paper, originally titled “Asia’s glaciers are a regionally important buffer against drought,” was subjected to an expression of concern in 2017 after two researchers noticed that the author, Hamish Pritchard, of the British Antarctic Survey, had mistaken annual figures for water loss for decade-long water loss figures. It was retracted in February 2018, and is now republished as “Asia’s shrinking glaciers protect large populations from drought stress.”

Hester Jiskoot, who had reviewed the paper for us for previous posts, and is now chief editor of the International Glaciological Society’s journals, told Retraction Watch this week that the episode

Continue reading “This is a case of good science:” Nature republishes retracted glacier paper

Authors have papers in Nature and Science retracted on the same day

Steve Jackson

A University of Cambridge researcher — Steve Jackson —  and a former researcher at the University of Bristol — Abderrahmane Kaidi — have accomplished a two-fer: Retracting a paper in Nature, and one in Science, on the same day.

In September of last year, the BBC reported that Kaidi was resigning “after admitting that he fabricated his research.” The Times reported that “Dr Kaidi’s admission came during a separate inquiry into complaints about his treatment of colleagues.” The university told the BBC at the time: Continue reading Authors have papers in Nature and Science retracted on the same day

Nature cancer paper that raised animal welfare concerns is retracted

When Nature published a paper in 2011 describing a compound extracted from a pepper plant that appeared to kill cancer cells but leave healthy cells unscathed, it got some attention.

Of course, the news caught the media’s eye, but also that of other researchers, who have since jumped on the concept, and continued to study the effects of the compound — piperlongumine — on cancer, as well as other conditions.

But ever since the 2011 letter appeared, researchers have raised concerns about some of the figures — including one that showed mice with massive tumors, suggesting they had experienced an unreasonable amount of distress during the study. Nature has responded by issuing two lengthy correction notices in 2012 and 2015 — as well as an editorial that admitted the animals may have “experienced more pain and suffering than originally allowed for,” but did not warrant retracting, as the results remained “valid and useful.”

Today, the journal is retracting the paper, with the following brief notice:

Continue reading Nature cancer paper that raised animal welfare concerns is retracted

Researchers pull Nature paper over first author’s objections

Researchers have retracted a 2015 Nature paper about the molecular underpinnings of immune function after discovering they could not replicate key parts of the results.

The first author, Wendy Huang — who started working as an assistant professor at the University of California, San Diego, only months after the paper appeared — did not sign the retraction letter, published last week. The research was conducted while Huang was working as a postdoctoral fellow at New York University, home of last author Dan Littman (also an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute).

What happened appears to be a case of “he said, she said:” Littman asked to retract the paper after his lab couldn’t reproduce it, and Huang insists the data remain correct, saying the process had been “unfair and done without due process:”

Continue reading Researchers pull Nature paper over first author’s objections

Caught Our Notice: Yes, a 20-year-old article is wrong — but it won’t be corrected online

Title: AMPA receptor-mediated regulation of a Gi-protein in cortical neurons

What Caught Our Attention:  Usually, when journals publish corrections to articles, they also correct the original article, except when the original is unavailable online.  When Nature noticed that some figure panels in a 20-year-old paper were duplicated, it flagged the issue for readers — but didn’t correct the online version of the original paper. According to the notice, the duplications don’t disturb the conclusion illustrated by the figure, the original data couldn’t be found, and the last two authors had retired. We contacted a spokesperson at Nature, who told us “the information at the start of the paper clearly links to the corrigendum.”   Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Yes, a 20-year-old article is wrong — but it won’t be corrected online

Figures in cancer paper at root of newly failed compound called into question

How much role did a potentially problematic paper play in the demise of a once-promising compound?

Researchers are questioning the validity of a high-profile article, published by Nature in 2006. Although the letter is 12 years old, the concerns have current implications: It was among the early evidence used to develop a cancer compound that recently failed a number of clinical trials.

It’s unclear whether the problems with the paper — if validated — could have contributed to the compound’s demise. But an outside expert has some thoughts — and so do image experts and multiple external reports, including one released this month, which agree the concerns about the figures have merit. (The first author’s ex-husband isn’t too happy with the article, either.)

Continue reading Figures in cancer paper at root of newly failed compound called into question

Author retracts Nature paper on Asia’s glaciers flagged for data error

A glacier researcher has retracted a Nature paper after mistakenly underestimating glacial melt by as much as a factor of ten.

In September, the journal tagged “Asia’s glaciers are a regionally important buffer against drought,” originally published in May 2017 by Hamish Pritchard,a glaciologist at the British Antarctic Survey, with an expression of concern, notifying readers of the mistake. It turns out, Pritchard had missed the fine print on a data set; a figure he thought represented water loss over a decade covered, in fact, only a year.

In September, Pritchard told Retraction Watch that the mix-up strengthened his argument that glacial melt was important to Asia’s water supply.

However, in the retraction notice, published today, he indicated that the mistake affected other conclusions: Continue reading Author retracts Nature paper on Asia’s glaciers flagged for data error

Nature adds alert to heavily debated paper about gene editing

Nature has added an “editor’s note” to a high-profile August paper alerting readers to the fact that the article has been subject to criticism.

Journals often flag papers that are being debated — what’s unusual here is that the journal doesn’t label the notice as an official “Expression of Concern,” which are indexed by PubMed. Yet the Nature notice reads just like an expression of concern.

Here’s the text of the new notice, which was added October 2 (and spotted by Paul Knoepfler):

Continue reading Nature adds alert to heavily debated paper about gene editing

Nature tags glacier paper with note of concern due to data mix-up

Nature has tagged a recent paper on the importance of glacial melt to water supply in Asia with an expression of concern (EoC), after receiving a tip that the author had misused some data.

The EoC for “Asia’s glaciers are a regionally important buffer against drought,” published by Hamish Pritchard, a glaciologist at the British Antarctic Survey, came out today. The May 11, 2017 article — which has been cited three times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science — considers the contribution of glaciers to water supply in Central Asia and the potential for glacier loss to exacerbate water stress in the region. The paper received limited news coverage when it came out from science sites, including Phys.org.

Pritchard appears to have improperly used a particular data set — an error that was reported to the journal by two outside experts within weeks after the paper was published.  Continue reading Nature tags glacier paper with note of concern due to data mix-up

Nature retracts paper by stem cell scientist appealing her dismissal

Susana Gonzalez

A once-rising star in stem cell biology — who recently lost both her job and a sizable grant — has had a fourth paper retracted.

The notice — issued by Nature for a 2006 letter — cites duplicated images, and a lack of raw data to verify the findings. First author Susana Gonzalez — who was dismissed from her position at the National Center for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC) in Spain last February over allegations of misconduct — couldn’t be reached by the journal.

Here’s the full text of the retraction notice:

Continue reading Nature retracts paper by stem cell scientist appealing her dismissal