Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Patents has retracted a 2015 review article about natural fighters of cancer stem cells for reproducing “content to a high degree of similarity without appropriate attribution or acknowledgement” from a handful of papers.
How should scientists think about papers that have undergone what appears to be a cursory peer review? Perhaps the papers were reviewed in a day — or less — or simply green-lighted by an editor, without an outside look. That’s a question Dorothy Bishop, an Oxford University autism researcher, asked herself when she noticed some troubling trends in four autism journals.
Recently, Bishop sparked a firestorm when she wrote several blog posts arguing that these four autism journals had a serious problem. For instance, she found that Johnny Matson, then-editor of Research in Developmental Disabilities and Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, had an unusually high rate of citing his own research – 55% of his citations are to his own papers, according to Bishop. Matson also published a lot in his own journals – 10% of the papers published in Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders since Matson took over in 2007 have been his. Matson’s prodigious self-citation in Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders was initially pointed out by autism researcher Michelle Dawson, as noted in Bishop’s original post.
Short peer reviews of a day or less were also common. Matson no longer edits the journals, both published by Elsevier.
Bishop noted similar findings at Developmental Neurorehabilitation and Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, where the editors (and Matson) frequently published in each others’ journals, and they often had short peer reviews: The median time for Matson’s papers in Developmental Neurorehabilitation between 2010 and 2014 was a day, and many were accepted the day they were submitted, says Bishop.
Although this behavior may seem suspect, it wasn’t necessarily against the journals’ editorial policies. This is the peer review policy at RIDD:
The Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy has retracted a 2014 paper by a group of South Korean researchers after determining that the authors had doubled up on their publishing odds by submitting the manuscript to a competing journal.
The article was titled “A comparative study of low-fluence 1064-nm Q-switched Nd:YAG laser with or without chemical peeling using Jessner’s solution in melasma patients,” and it purported to find that:
This study suggests Jessner’s peel is a safe and effective method in the early course of treatment for melasma when combined with low-fluence 1064-nm Q-switched Nd:YAG laser.
The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine has retracted a 2012 paper by a group of pediatric gut researchers in Naples, Italy, who seemed to have had a visceral reaction to using their own words.
Unfortunately, due to an honest error from the author, a small portion of this otherwise reliable published article contains clinically inaccurate data. The publisher and author agree to retract the paper pending correction.
A pair of authors from Italy has retracted their 2012 article in the Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine for including chunks of text with a “high degree of similarity” from other published sources. But rest assured: the authors, we’re told, didn’t intend to do so.
The article, “Central venous catheterization and thrombosis in newborns: update on diagnosis and management,” appeared in a supplemental issue of the journal covering the proceedings of the XVIII Congress of the Italian Society of Neonatology.
The journal Clinical Research and Regulatory Affairs has retracted a 2012 article on over-the-counter drugs by a trio of pharmacy researchers in India who decided to “reproduce content to a high degree of similarity” from other sources.