When the merde hits the fan, blame the translator. That’s Rule 1 of botched international diplomacy — and, evidently, botched international science.
Otolaryngology researchers in China have lost their 2018 paper in the American Journal of Translational Research for what they’re calling (with some degree of chutzpah) language barriers.
The article, “Therapeutic ultrasound potentiates the anti-nociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin to postoperative pain via Sirt1/NF-κB signaling pathway,” came from group whose primary affiliation was the Second Military Medical University in Shanghai. (It hasn’t been cited, according to Clarivate’s Web of Science.) However, the list of authors also included several scientists in Germany.
A pathology journal has retracted a 2015 paper from researchers in China after concluding the authors had falsified and copied some of the data and text.
According to the notice, a “knowledgeable informant” told the journal about the overlap and “fraudulent” aspects of the paper, which the editors were able to confirm. The journal retracted the paper last month.
That happened this week, when we saw a retraction notice for a 2015 paper on gastric cancer in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, which only says the authors “made big mistakes” and contains two fairly significant typos.
Sometime in the middle of 2015, Jennifer Byrne, professor of molecular oncology at the University of Sydney, began her journey from cancer researcher to a scientific literature sleuth, seeking out potentially problematic papers.
The first step was when she noticed several papers that contained a mistake in a DNA construct which, she believed, meant the papers were not testing the gene in question, associated with multiple cancer types. She started a writing campaign to the journal editors and researchers, with mixed success. But less than two years later, two of the five papers she flagged have already been retracted.
When our co-founders launched the site in 2010, they wondered whether there would be enough retractions to write about on a regular basis. Five+ years and three full-time staffers later, and we simply don’t have the time to cover everything that comes across our desk.
In 2012, we covered a group of duplication retractions in a single post, simply because duplications happen so frequently (sadly) and often don’t tell an interesting story. So in the interest of bookkeeping, we’re picking up the practice again.
Here are five unrelated retractions for your perusal: all addressing duplications, in which the same – or mostly the same – authors published the same – or mostly the same – information in two different – or sometimes the same – journals.
The authors of a paper about the benefits of an antioxidant found in blueberries known as pterostilbene have retracted it after their subsequent research suggested the antioxidant might actually be harmful.
The paper presented evidence that the antioxidant might help rats after heart attack, in part by inhibiting cell death (apoptosis). But according to the retraction note, more work
found that pterostilbene might induce apoptosis in the heart and can be harmful, and we are now focusing on the phenomenon.
The article, “Importance of spondin 1 and cellular retinoic acid binding protein 1 in the clinical diagnosis of ovarian cancer,” came from Ting-Ting Jiao, Ye-Min Zhang, Lin Yao, Yuan Gao, Jian Sun, Dong-Fang Zou, Guo-Ping Wu, Dan Wang, Jun Ou, Ning Hui, who work at various Shanghai hospitals.