What Caught Our Attention: When authors decide they want to make their articles freely available after they’ve already been published, how should publishers indicate the change, if at all? Recently, Ross Mounce (@rmounce) thought it was odd a Springer journal issued a formal correction notice when the authors wanted to make their paper freely available, and we can’t say we disagree. As he posted on Twitter:
A spokesperson at Springer explained that the retractions are “due to a human error.”
According to one of the retraction notices, published in Archive for Mathematical Logic, the paper had not yet undergone peer review and the author plans to resubmit his paper to the journal. The other retraction notice, published in Arabian Journal of Geosciences, simply states that an “error in the submission system” is to blame. Unfortunately, in both cases the authors now have a retraction on their record, seemingly through no fault of their own.
Neither notice indicates what publisher glitches led to the premature publications. We asked the spokesperson for clarity, but she did not elaborate. When asked whether Springer has made changes to prevent these errors from happening again, the spokesperson said:
A journal retracted a paper about how conflicts of interest might be influencing research into the link between vaccines and autism because — wait for it — the authors failed to disclose conflicts of interest.
According to the retraction notice, the editors retracted the paper without the authors’ agreement, because the authors had a host of personal and professional interests in the field they didn’t declare, such as being associated with organizations involved in autism and vaccine safety. What’s more, the article also contained “a number of errors, and mistakes of various types that raise concerns about the validity of the conclusion.”
But now, Science and Engineering Ethics has published a new version of the article that draws similar conclusions to the retracted one, albeit with an updated conflict of interest statement, among other changes. From the abstract of the revised version: Continue reading Journal replaces anti-vaccine paper it retracted for missing conflicts, “number of errors”
Journals are raising ethical concerns about the research of a doctor who offers controversial embryonic stem cell treatments.
Two journals have issued expressions of concern for three papers by Geeta Shroff, who was the subject of a 2012 CNN investigative documentary. All cite ethical concerns; one mentions the potential link between the procedure the authors describe and a risk of forming teratomas, a type of tumor. Shroff has objected to all three notices.
Shroff, a doctor offering controversial embryonic stem cell treatments at her New Delhi clinic, Nutech Mediworld, has said that for years she couldn’t find opportunities to present her research to the medical community. Continue reading Ethical concerns arise for head of controversial stem cell clinic
It’s been a rough year for Brian Wansink.
Last year, the prominent food researcher posted a blog praising a student for her productivity in his lab. But when Wansink described his methods, readers became concerned that the lab was using improper research techniques to generate more publications. Earlier this year, researchers posted an analysis of four papers by Wansink about pizza consumption to PeerJ, saying they discovered more than 150 inconsistencies in the data. Now, one of those four papers has been retracted.
On Friday, BMC Nutrition posted a brief notice about the 2015 paper, which examined whether people who pay different amounts for all-you-can-eat Italian buffets feel more or less guilty about how much they ate. The notice says the retraction stems from concerns about the data analysis, and the authors do not agree with the journal’s decision.
The new retraction is the second for Wansink, director of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell.
Here’s the complete retraction notice:
A journal is retracting a paper on the relative merits of one fertility procedure compared to another because the study never received ethical review or approval.
In the paper, “Intracytoplasmic morphologically selected sperm injection versus conventional intracytoplasmic sperm injection: a randomized controlled trial,” originally published Aug. 27, 2015 in Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, the authors wrote: Continue reading Fertility docs said their study didn’t need ethics review. An investigation said they were wrong.
This offense is the second we know of for the corresponding author, Uttam Chand Banerjee, in the same journal, Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. Last year, Banerjee—who works at National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) in Mohali, Punjab, India—had a 14-year-old review retracted in Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology after an investigation revealed the authors had plagiarized from numerous sources and failed to reference them. At the time, Banerjee told us that he and his co-authors took a few lines from other reviews and that omitting the references was “simply unintentional.” According to The Indian Express, Banerjee also faced plagiarism allegations in 2005, and was denied a prestigious fellowship in 2011 as a result. Continue reading Author who previously claimed plagiarism was a mistake earns new erratum
Authors react in a variety of ways to criticism of their work. Some stonewall, some grit their teeth but make corrections, and others thank their critics. But what about bribery? Continue reading Did the author of a now-retracted article bribe a critic to silence him?
A company that indexes journals — thereby assigning them impact factors — has chosen to delist a cancer journal after it retracted 107 papers earlier this year for faked peer reviews.
Starting July 19, anything published by Tumor Biology will not be indexed in Web of Science, part of Clarivate Analytics (formerly part of Thomson Reuters). Clarivate told us the decision was based on the fake reviews that took down more than 100 papers earlier this year. The problematic papers were released while the journal was published by Springer, not its current publisher, SAGE.
Without being indexed by Web of Science, Tumor Biology will lack an impact factor — which can be the kiss of death for many journals, since researchers (and institutions) often count on such metrics when applying for grants and promotions, so many will not submit work to a journal without one.
Here’s the statement from a Clarivate spokesperson [their emphasis]:
Researchers in China thought they had sequenced the genomes of two snails that help transmit diseases to other species — an important first step to stopping the spread. But their hopes were soon dashed after they realized they had misidentified one of the snails.
The researchers published their findings earlier this year in the journal Parasites & Vectors. In the paper, the authors stressed that understanding the genetic makeup of these molluscs is important because many “freshwater snails are intermediate hosts for flatworm parasites and transmit infectious diseases” to humans and other animals. They also acknowledged that identifying snail species from their appearance alone can be tricky. Continue reading Researchers retract a paper when they realize they had sequenced the wrong snail’s genome