That study reporting worrisome levels of zinc in tuna? It’s being retracted

Recently, a rash of news outlets posted concerns that canned tuna and other products may contain potentially dangerous levels of zinc. They were all wrong.

News outlets such as The Daily Mail and The Sun reported findings from a recent study, which showed that canned foods such as tuna may contain 100 times the daily limit of zinc — raising concerns about how such huge doses of the mineral could be causing digestion problems. The last author of the study told Retraction Watch the paper is going to be retracted, because the authors made a fundamental error calculating the amount of zinc present in canned foods.

Last week, the UK’s biggest health website NHS Choices posted a critique of the paper, in which they recalculated the levels of zinc present in canned foods:

Continue reading That study reporting worrisome levels of zinc in tuna? It’s being retracted

Chem journal cautions readers about data in three papers

A chemistry journal has issued expressions of concern for three papers after a reader notified the editors of “unexplained discrepancies” in the data.

According to the notices, after the editors of Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry confirmed the problems, they contacted the corresponding author on the three papers, Pradeep Kumar—who works at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-National Chemical Laboratory in Pune, India—as well as the director of CSIR, Ashwini Kumar Nangia. The institution conducted its own internal review of the spectra and concluded the authors did not intentionally alter them.

Still, the journal and institution could not confirm the accuracy of the data, and the journal published expressions of concern to warn readers about the issues.

Here’s the expression of concern for “A general and concise asymmetric synthesis of sphingosine, safingol and phytosphingosines via tethered aminohydroxylation:”

Continue reading Chem journal cautions readers about data in three papers

First author objects to retraction (his fourth) in chemistry journal

The first author of a 2013 chemistry paper is objecting to his co-authors’ decision to retract the paper, which contains duplicated figures.

We recently encountered a similar scenario with papers by first author Khalid Mahmood. In late 2015, Mahmood lost three papers in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces over duplicated images. One of the notices also indicated that the figures had “been published elsewhere and identified with different samples” — the same language used in the notice of the most recent retraction, in Journal of Materials Chemistry C.

Mahmood performed the work on the papers at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), along with his two co-authors, Seung Bin Park and Hyung Jin Sung (also co-authors on two of the retracted papers in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces).

Seung Bin Park, who is dean of the College of Engineering at KAIST, told us: Continue reading First author objects to retraction (his fourth) in chemistry journal

No longer in limbo: Journal lifts 2015 expression of concern from chemistry paper

All too often, when an article is flagged by a journal that’s concerned about the findings, the notice lingers in limbo, leaving readers unclear whether or not to rely on the findings. One chemistry paper’s two-year stint in purgatory ended last month, when the journal lifted its expression of concern (EOC) and replaced it with a correction.

The journal chose to swap the 2015 EOC with a correction after the authors addressed its concerns in a follow-up paper, also published in Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry.

The journal’s executive editor Richard Kelly provided further insights about what happened:

Continue reading No longer in limbo: Journal lifts 2015 expression of concern from chemistry paper

Error-laden database kills paper on extinction patterns

An ecologist in Australia realized a database he was using to spot trends in extinction patterns was problematic, affecting two papers. One journal issued an expression of concern, which has since turned into a retraction. So far, the other journal has left the paper untouched.

The now-retracted paper concluded that medium-sized species on islands tend to go extinct more often than large or small mammalian species. But a little over a year ago, Biology Letters flagged the paper with an expression of concern (EOC), noting “concerns regarding the validity of some of the data and methods used in the analysis.”

Now, last author Marcel Cardillo at Australian National University has come to a new conclusion about extinction patterns. A retraction notice that has replaced the EOC explains:

Continue reading Error-laden database kills paper on extinction patterns

Chem paper “the product of intentional, knowing, or reckless falsification, fabrication, and plagiarism”

rsc-advancesA journal has retracted a study after an institutional investigation concluded that it was riddled with misconduct.

According to the retraction notice in RSC Advances, the first author submitted the paper without the knowledge of the other two co-authors, and the paper was falsified, fabricated, and plagiarized. The notice cites a probe at the University of Tennessee (UT) at Knoxville — where all three listed authors are based — that concluded the study’s findings were invalid.

We asked a UT spokesperson if the first author, Sammy Eni Eni, was still based at the institution, and received this response: Continue reading Chem paper “the product of intentional, knowing, or reckless falsification, fabrication, and plagiarism”

Cancer paper flagged due to “credible” concerns over its reliability, journal says

rsc-advancesA journal has issued an expression of concern (EOC) for a cancer study after the publisher received what it called a “credible” tip that its results may not be reliable.

According to the EOC, published in RSC Advances, the paper is now under investigation.

Here’s the EOC for “Filled and peptide-modified single-walled carbon nanotubes: synthesis, characterization, and in vitro test for cancer cell targeting:” Continue reading Cancer paper flagged due to “credible” concerns over its reliability, journal says

Study of air quality around Damien Hirst’s artwork retracted — against most authors’ wishes

via Flickr Commons
Damien Hirst’s “Away From The Flock” — exhibited at Tate Britain, via Flickr Commons

The corresponding author of the study that detected toxic leaks from the work of prominent British artist Damien Hirst has now retracted it — but most of his co-authors disagree with the decision.

The April Analytical Methods study was covered extensively by the media when it suggested staff at Damien Hirst’s 2012 exhibition at Tate Gallery in London of dead animals embalmed in formaldehyde were being exposed to higher than recommended levels of the carcinogen. 

Tate and Hirst’s company, Science Limited, immediately objected to the results; we’ve obtained what appears to be letter from a lawyer for Science Limited to the corresponding author of the paper — Pier Giorgio Righetti of the Polytechnic University of Milan in Italy — saying it was “deeply concerned and troubled by the claims” in the paper.

Last month, the journal issued an expression of concern (EOC) for the paper, nothing the data may not be reliable, and on July 15, Righetti announced in a joint statement with Hirst’s company that he will be retracting his study.

Now, the paper has been officially retracted, noting more recent measurements show formaldehyde levels to be much lower than originally reported. But most of Righetti’s co-authors disagree with the decision, the notice says:  Continue reading Study of air quality around Damien Hirst’s artwork retracted — against most authors’ wishes

Author pulls study for duplication, blames editing company

MedChemCommThe author of a paper about insulin has retracted it due to “extensive text and data overlap” with another paper.

In November 2015, MedChemComm issued an expression of concern (EOC) for the same paper. According to the EOC, the author of the paper, Yong Yang, flagged the paper to the journal, citing problems with authorship and portions of text overlap, which Yang attributed to an editing company.  

The editor-in-chief of the journal told us Yang’s institution — China Medical University — carried out an investigation into the case at the journal’s request.

We’ve also found a 2015 retraction for Yang, after he published a paper without the okay of his previous institution in Texas. 

Here’s the retraction notice: Continue reading Author pulls study for duplication, blames editing company

Author to retract study warning of toxic leaks from Damien Hirst’s artwork

via Flickr Commons
Damien Hirst’s “Away From The Flock” — exhibited at Tate Britain, via Flickr Commons

The corresponding author of the 2016 study that found high levels of the carcinogen formaldehyde leaking from a prominent British artist’s exhibition is now retracting it.

The study, about Damien Hirst’s 2012 exhibition at the Tate Gallery in London that presented dead animals embalmed in glass cases full of formaldehyde, suggested that higher than recommended limits of the carcinogen were being released from the exhibition. The study was widely covered by the media, which raised concerns over possible health hazards to visitors.

As we reported yesterday, the journal Analytical Methods had already issued an expression of concern (EOC), noting that the corresponding author of the paper, Pier Giorgio Righetti of the Polytechnic University of Milan in Italy, warned the paper may contain unreliable data.

Today, Righetti released a joint statement with Hirst’s company, Science Ltd, stating that he will be retracting the paper (reported earlier today by the New York Times). It reads:   Continue reading Author to retract study warning of toxic leaks from Damien Hirst’s artwork