As we’re fond of repeating, sunlight is the best disinfectant. Which doesn’t jibe with the findings in an eye-catching 2018 paper that found people were less fearful of catching a contagious illness if they were in a dark room or were wearing sunglasses.
Fortunately for us, although not for the researchers, we no longer have to live with the cognitive dissonance. The paper, the journal tells us, will be retracted for flaws in the data — which, thanks to the open sharing of data, quickly came to light.
This one gave us pause: A journal recently removed a 1992 paper, providing only a terse explanation — “The above article has been removed at the author’s request.”
Author John Frank Nowikowski tells Retraction Watch he never submitted the article to the Police Journal; it was originally published in the Buenos Aires Herald in Argentina. He asked the journal to remove it because, as a freelance writer, he had expected to be paid for it, but never had been. SAGE purchased the journal from its original publisher, Vathek, in 2014, and agreed to honor the author’s request. But the notice says only that — the 26-year-old article was withdrawn at the author’s request.
Many publishers have been duped by fake peer reviews, which have brought down more than 600 papers to date. But some continue to get fooled.
Recently, SAGE retracted 10 papers published as part of two special collections in Advances in Mechanical Engineering after discovering the peer review process that had been managed by the guest editors “did not meet the journal’s usual rigorous standards.” After a new set of reviewers looked over the collections, they determined 10 papers included “technical errors,” and the content “did not meet the journal’s required standard of scientific validity.”
Yeah, we’re not exactly sure what happened here, either. SAGE gave us a little extra clarity — but not much.
The paper found that the presence of weapons increased people’s aggressiveness, but not feelings of anger. However, the corresponding author, Arlin James Benjamin, who works at University of Arkansas–Fort Smith, told us:
we would urge considerably more caution in interpreting the impact of weapons on behavioral outcomes based on those initial re-analyses.
Last month, a colleague of emergency medicine doctor Daniel Waxman sent him some newly reported findings that took him by surprise. Waxman knew from the title of a press release about the recent paper — “Nearly Half of U.S. Medical Care Comes From Emergency Rooms” — that something was wrong.
Immediately I said, that’s not true. It’s just crazy.
Waxman quickly realized the mistake: The data were based only on care provided in hospitals — much of which, not surprisingly, originates from emergency departments (EDs). But the title of the paper, the abstract, and other places in the text do not specify that. What’s more, the press release about the study says the findings relate to “all medical care.” The journal has since changed the paper, including the title, to make that distinction clear, but not provided any editorial notice indicating the text had been updated. Meanwhile, the press release and news stories about the original study continue to report the “surprising” original findings.
What Caught Our Attention: A big peer review (and perhaps academic mentorship) fail. These researchers used the wrong anticoagulant for their blood samples, leading them to believe that certain blood components were fighting microbes. The authors counted the number of colonies to show how well or poorly Tuberculin mycobacteria were growing in cultures — but blood samples need anticoagulants to prevent clots before analysis, and they used an anticoagulant that actually prevented the microbes from colonizing. The authors (and reviewers) should have known this from Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Dear peer reviewer, please read the methods section. Sincerely, everyone
The editors of a new journal resigned earlier this month, claiming that one of the publishers had cold feet about launching the journal. The publishers, however, tell a different story.
To be honest, we’re a bit confused about what happened.
The editors—Apoorvanand Jhaand Dhruva Narayan—claim that India’s Council for Social Development (CSD), which was publishing the journal in collaboration with SAGE, attempted to stall the launch of the journal after expressing concerns about the content. As a result, both editors have decided to resign from the journal, Samajik Vimarsh, created to publish social science findings in Hindi. An article published in The Wire quotes the director of the CSD, Ashok Pankaj, saying that the council had decided to shutter the journal.
But SAGE told us that the CSD has not interfered in the editorial process and both publishers remain committed to launching the social science journal. The only hold-up, according to SAGE, has been registering the journal with the government’s Registrar of Newspapers for India (RNI)—a legal requirement for all journals in India. The CSD website also states that the publisher remains “firmly committed to bringing out the Hindi Journal after meeting the legal requirement.”