“All very painful:” Two retractions to watch for, in eLife and PLOS ONE

We have news of two upcoming retractions, both following critiques on PubPeer.

PLOS ONE is retracting a 2012 paper by researchers at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità in Rome and the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, “Interferon-β Induces Cellular Senescence in Cutaneous Human Papilloma Virus-Transformed Human Keratinocytes by Affecting p53 Transactivating Activity.”

PubPeer commenters first left critiques of the paper on August 6 of last year, noting likely splicing and other manipulation of images. Several days later, pseudonymous whistleblower Claire Francis contacted the journal to flag similar issues. On Wednesday of this week, a journal representative emailed Francis to say the paper would be retracted: Continue reading “All very painful:” Two retractions to watch for, in eLife and PLOS ONE

“We regret our delay:” PLOS ONE retracts two papers

PLOS ONE has retracted two papers for image problems, which we’ve learned were brought to the journal’s attention more than four years ago.

The first article came from a group of cancer researchers in China, and it turns out to have a bit more wrong than a few dodgy figures. The second also involved cancer research.

Asked about the delay, PLOS ONE told Retraction Watch: Continue reading “We regret our delay:” PLOS ONE retracts two papers

Former UAB natural products researcher up to a dozen retractions

Santosh Katiyar

A researcher who studied natural products for cancer at the University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB), had six papers retracted last month, bringing him to a total of 12.

Four of the recently retracted papers by Santosh Katiyar had appeared in PLOS ONE, and two had been published in Cancer Research. They have together been cited more than 250 times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science, and are on subjects including compounds found in grape seeds and green tea.

Here’s an example, from PLOS ONE, for “Green Tea Catechins Reduce Invasive Potential of Human Melanoma Cells by Targeting COX-2, PGE2 Receptors and Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition:” Continue reading Former UAB natural products researcher up to a dozen retractions

The waiting game: A university requests a retraction. Then it waits three years.

On June 25, 2015, following an investigation into the work of a then-graduate student at University College Cork in Ireland, the senior author of a 2014 paper in PLOS ONE requested its retraction. The paper, said senior author Zubair Kabir in an email to Iratxe Puebla, the journal’s managing editor, was “fundamentally flawed.”

Puebla responded on July 1, saying she would contact the graduate student — Olurotimi Bankole Ajagbe, corresponding author of the paper — and get back to Kabir. A few more emails, including one on Aug. 26, 2015, in which Ajagbe also requested the retraction, resulted. On August 31, Puebla wrote to Ivan Perry, head of Cork’s department of public health, where Ajagbe had been working on his PhD, to say she would discuss the case with colleagues and follow up.

And then Cork waited. Continue reading The waiting game: A university requests a retraction. Then it waits three years.

Glasgow professor leaves post amidst multiple retractions

A professor specializing in the health of children and pregnant women has left her post at the University of Glasgow, and issued three retractions in recent months.

All three notices — issued by PLOS ONE — mention an investigation at the university, which found signs of data manipulation and falsification. Fiona Lyall, the last author on all three papers, is also the only author in common to all three papers; she did not respond to the journal’s inquiries.

According to the University of Glasgow, the affiliation listed for Lyall, she is no longer based at the university. When we asked about the circumstances of her departure, the spokesperson told us the university has a “commitment to confidentiality,” but noted:

Continue reading Glasgow professor leaves post amidst multiple retractions

Over authors’ objections, PLOS ONE retracts paper claiming Shroud of Turin showed evidence of trauma

A year ago, PLOS ONE published a study claiming that there was strong evidence that a person wrapped in the Shroud of Turin — according to lore, the burial shroud of Jesus Christ — had suffered “strong polytrauma.”

Today, they retracted it.

According to the retraction notice for “Atomic resolution studies detect new biologic evidences on the Turin Shroud,” Continue reading Over authors’ objections, PLOS ONE retracts paper claiming Shroud of Turin showed evidence of trauma

Three years after questions surfaced, PLOS ONE retracts paper about potential antibiotic

In April 2015, two high-profile chemistry bloggers — and their commenters — raised questions about a paper that had been published in PLOS ONE some 18 months earlier. More than three years later, the journal has now retracted the paper, with a notice that echoes the 2015 blog posts.

So what took so long? PLOS tells Retraction Watch: Continue reading Three years after questions surfaced, PLOS ONE retracts paper about potential antibiotic

Have you seen more detail in PLOS ONE retraction notices? You’re welcome

If you’ve been pausing at some detailed PLOS ONE notices lately — such as one issued last month for a cancer paper that lists 21 shortcomings — you’re not alone.

According to a spokesperson for the publisher, the journal has been progressively pushing towards more transparency in its notices — in part, because it was getting too many calls from our reporters, asking about details that weren’t in the notice but that were “easily answerable.” This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a journal become more transparent following these kinds of questions — the Journal of Biological Chemistry, for instance, has become much more informative in its retraction notice, following criticism for its previous opacity.

Both the spokesperson and editor Joerg Heber, who took the role in November 2016, were quick to clarify that the increase in detail of notices is not only due to our queries — instead, it’s meant to benefit the entire scientific community. According to the spokesperson:

Continue reading Have you seen more detail in PLOS ONE retraction notices? You’re welcome

Caught Our Notice: Hey peer reviewers — did you even read this paper??

What Caught Our Attention: A tree of life paper has been axed — and based on the information in the retraction notice, we’re wondering how it ever passed peer review.

Specifically, the notice states a review of the paper found “concerns regarding the study design, methodology, and interpretation of the data.” Overall, the research “contradict(s) a large body of existing literature and do(es) not provide a sufficient level of evidence to support the claims made in the paper.” Um, so what did it get right?

Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Hey peer reviewers — did you even read this paper??

Caught Our Notice: Forged email for corresponding author dooms diabetes paper

Title: Naringin Alleviates Diabetic Kidney Disease through Inhibiting Oxidative Stress and Inflammatory Reaction

What Caught Our Attention: PLOS ONE had a few reasons for retracting a 2015 paper about a treatment for kidney disease due to diabetes: For one, despite what the paper claims, the authors did not obtain ethical approval to conduct the reported animal experiments. In addition, the corresponding author had no idea the paper had been submitted and published. How could a corresponding author be kept in the dark? It turns out, the journal was given an incorrect email address for him, so he didn’t receive any communications around the paper. (One author apparently used a third party editing company.) Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Forged email for corresponding author dooms diabetes paper