Science retracts report on deadly Kumamoto earthquake

Damage from the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake

Science is retracting a 2017 paper about the deadly Kumamoto earthquake about a month after the university announced that the paper’s first author, Aiming Lin, had committed misconduct, including falsification of data and plagiarism.

Science editor in chief Jeremy Berg told us in late March that the journal had been trying to obtain more information in preparation for writing an expression of concern. Here’s today’s retraction notice:

Continue reading Science retracts report on deadly Kumamoto earthquake

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

Science standing by for updates as university finds fraud in earthquake paper

Damage from the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake

A researcher at Kyoto University in Japan faked some of the data in a 2017 paper in Science about the deadly Kumamoto earthquake, the university said.

According to media reports about a press conference held today, Kyoto found that the paper’s first author, Aiming Lin, had committed misconduct, including falsification of data and plagiarism. They recommended that Lin retract the paper, and said he would face sanctions, while his co-authors were cleared of wrongdoing.

Science editor in chief Jeremy Berg tells us: Continue reading Science standing by for updates as university finds fraud in earthquake paper

Post-publication peer review in action: Science flags paper just days after publication

Science has issued an expression of concern for a widely covered materials science paper published on Friday, citing issues with the supplementary data.

The paper — which caught the attention of multiple news outlets — added properties to cotton fibers in vitro, potentially enabling researchers to manufacture fabric that can fluoresce or carry magnetic properties.

The move to issue an expression of concern was unusually quick. According to the journal, an expert who received the paper from a journalist under a media embargo contacted Science to flag issues in some of the supplementary data. At the time of this post, the paper does not yet have an entry on PubPeer.

Here’s the full expression of concern:

Continue reading Post-publication peer review in action: Science flags paper just days after publication

Authors retract Science paper after investigation reveals manipulated images

Researchers at a prominent Japanese university have retracted a 2015 paper in Science, after an investigation uncovered image falsification and fabrication.

Last September, the University of Tokyo began an investigation of seven papers from the lab of cell biologist Yoshinori Watanabe after receiving anonymous allegations. In May 2017, the university determined that five papers contained falsified or fabricated images, and announced the results of its investigation on August 1. Two of the papers were published in Science, two in Nature and one in EMBO Reports.

On July 1 2017, EMBO Reports issued an erratum to the 2011 paper flagged in the investigation, correcting issues in several figures. Here’s the retraction notice for “The inner centromere–shugoshin network prevents chromosomal instability,” the 2015 paper in Science and the first of the papers to be retracted: Continue reading Authors retract Science paper after investigation reveals manipulated images

Updated: Science fish-microplastics paper retracted

Despite continuing to vigorously defend their work, the authors of a controversial paper about the effects of human pollution asked Science to retract the paper last week.

According to a release from Uppsala University issued today, authors Peter Eklöv and Oona Lönnstedt submitted their request to Science last week, noting they wanted to withdraw the paper “as long as a suspicion of misconduct remains.”

The release — which echoes a statement that was also provided to Nature — notes:

Continue reading Updated: Science fish-microplastics paper retracted

“Remarkable” it was ever accepted, says report: Science to retract study on fish and microplastics

Science is retracting a paper about how human pollution is harming fish, after months of questions about the validity of the data.

The move, first reported by the news side of Science on Friday, follows a new report from a review board in Sweden that concluded the authors were guilty of “scientific dishonesty,” and the paper should be “recalled.”

The report had some strong words for the journal and the university that conducted a preliminary investigation:

Continue reading “Remarkable” it was ever accepted, says report: Science to retract study on fish and microplastics

Dear journals: Clean up your act. Regards, Concerned Biostatistician

Romain-Daniel Gosselin

Recently, a biostatistician sent an open letter to editors of 10 major science journals, urging them to pay more attention to common statistical problems with papers. Specifically, Romain-Daniel Gosselin, Founder and CEO of Biotelligences, which trains researchers in biostatistics, counted how many of 10 recent papers in each of the 10 journals contained two common problems: omitting the sample size used in experiments, as well as the tests used as part of the statistical analyses. (Short answer: Too many.) Below, we have reproduced his letter.

Dear Editors and Colleagues,

I write this letter as a biologist and instructor of biostatistics, concerned about the disregard for statistical reporting that is threatening scientific reproducibility. I hereby urge you to spearhead the strict application of existing guidelines on statistical reporting. Continue reading Dear journals: Clean up your act. Regards, Concerned Biostatistician

Headline-grabbing Science paper questioned by critics

When zoologists at the University of Oxford published findings in Science last year suggesting ducklings can learn to identify shapes and colors without training (unlike other animals), the news media was entranced.

However, critics of the study have published a pair of papers questioning the findings, saying the data likely stem from chance alone. Still, the critics told us they don’t believe the findings should be retracted.

If a duckling is shown an image, can it pick out another from a set that has the same shape or color?  Antone Martinho III and Alex Kacelnik say yes. In one experiment, 32 out of 47 ducklings preferred pairs of shapes they were originally shown. In the second experiment, 45 out of 66 ducklings preferred the original color. The findings caught the attention of many media outlets, including the New York Times, The Atlantic, and BuzzFeed.

Martinho told us:

Continue reading Headline-grabbing Science paper questioned by critics

High-profile Science paper retracted for misconduct

Science has retracted a high-profile immunology paper after a probe concluded the corresponding author had committed misconduct.

The paper — which initially caught media attention for suggesting a protein could help boost the immune system’s ability to fight off tumors — has been under a cloud of suspicion since last year, when the journal tagged it with an expression of concern, citing a university investigation.

That investigation — at Imperial College London — has concluded that the paper contained problematic figures that were the result of research misconduct. All were prepared by last and corresponding author Philip Ashton-Rickardt, who took full responsibility. Even though the paper was published in 2015, some original blots and accompanying details have disappeared.

Today, the journal released a retraction notice: Continue reading High-profile Science paper retracted for misconduct