What Caught Our Attention: At times we get to just appreciate the moment: A paper focused on repetition — specifically, linking repeated exposure to travel videos and actual visits to the location — got retracted for duplication. The notice says the duplications were “inadvertent;” perhaps these researchers were motivated by their research? This isn’t the first time authors have been tripped up by their own subjects — in 2015, a researcher retracted his guidelines on plagiarism for…you guessed it. (Plagiarism.) Continue reading Caught Our Notice: An article about repetition is duplicated? Priceless
What Caught Our Attention: Two articles by different groups of authors recently suffered from the same (fatal) flaw: A poor literature review. The article, “Whole-Genome De Novo Sequencing of the Lignin-Degrading Wood Rot Fungus Phanerochaete chrysosporium (ATCC 20696),” claimed to have sequenced a strain already sequenced in 2004 and published in a well-cited article. According to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science, the 2004 article was cited 474 times before the now-retracted article was published. And that 2004 article appeared in a highly-cited journal, Nature Biotechnology. Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Doesn’t anyone do a literature review any more?
After the editorial board of a public health journal resigned in protest last week, the publisher is trying to “move on.”
In a statement from Taylor & Francis, the publisher laments that the board of the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health “did not wish to take the opportunities offered by ourselves and the editor-in-chief to discuss the journal’s future,” and defended its recent editorial decisions that were questioned by the board.
Since the the spring, the board has vocally protested actions taken by the journal without consulting the editorial board, including its decision to appoint a new editor with industry ties, and the “unilateral withdraw[al]” of a paper by the previous editor that was critical of corporate-sponsored research, with little explanation. In the resignation letter from last week, the board said it did not wish to participate in the “apparent new direction that the journal appears to be moving towards.”
In its statement, the publisher says it has no plans to make “major changes” to the journal:
The editorial board of the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health resigned today in protest over ongoing battles involving the new editor and its handling of recent withdrawals.
We’ve covered the board’s gripes with the journal and publisher, which date back to the spring, and include appointing a new editor with industry ties without consulting the board, and withdrawing a paper by the previous editor that was critical of corporate-sponsored research with no explanation — again, without consulting the editorial board. In the en masse resignation letter dated today and submitted to Ian Bannerman, managing director at Taylor & Francis journals, which publishes the IJOEH, board member Arthur Frank writes:
A plant journal recently retracted a 2017 paper, saying the authors couldn’t pay the page charges ($110/page). The notice has since disappeared, and the journal announced on Twitter Thursday it was issued in error. The paper is now intact on the journal’s site.
This isn’t the first time the journal has withdrawn a statement that authors couldn’t pay the page charges — we’ve discovered the journal removed a line to that effect from a 2015 retraction notice (although in that case, it left the retraction intact). Page charges, often required by traditional publishers, typically cover printing costs; they differ from article processing charges (APCs) levied by open-access journals, which cover the cost of publishing the paper and making it freely available.
We’ve contacted editors at the journal and its publisher, Taylor & Francis, to try to find out why there are mixed messages about author page charges. A spokesperson for the publisher said it was unable to respond before deadline, but it was looking into the matter:
I can confirm that we are committed to following [Committee on Publication Ethics] guidelines and that we are taking this issue seriously.
In the meantime, here’s what we know.
Title: Unravelling the influence of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) on cognitive-linguistic processing: A comparative group analysis
What Caught our Attention: RW readers might already be familiar with Caroline Barwood and Bruce Murdoch, two researchers from Australia who had the rare distinction of being criminally charged for research misconduct. Both Barwood and Murdoch received suspended sentences after being found guilty of multiple counts of fraud. In September 2014, University of Queensland announced that: Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Ethics, data concerns prompt another retraction for convicted researchers
A journal has withdrawn an essay that called for a return to colonialism after the editor received alleged threats tied to the article.
Soon after Third World Quarterly published the controversial essay, readers began to object. When the journal defended its decision, 15 editorial board members resigned in response. More than 10,000 people signed a petition to have it retracted. On September 26, the publisher posted a statement — including a detailed timeline of the paper’s peer review process — and said the the author had requested to withdraw the article. However, in the statement, the publisher said that “peer-reviewed research articles cannot simply be withdrawn but must have grounds for retraction.”
The journal has since changed its position, and withdrawn the paper entirely from its site, posting this notice in its place:
“The Case for Colonialism,” published Sept. 8 in Third World Quarterly (TWQ), was written by Bruce Gilley, a professor of political science at Portland State University. For an idea of what the piece was about, here’s the beginning of the abstract:
For the last 100 years, Western colonialism has had a bad name. It is high time to question this orthodoxy. Western colonialism was, as a general rule, both objectively beneficial and subjectively legitimate in most of the places where it was found, using realistic measures of those concepts.
Since the essay came out, scholars have criticized both the article itself and the journal’s decision to publish it. Several critics have called for retraction. [Update: 15 members of the editorial board have resigned in response.]
One group of critics wrote that they objected to the essay because:
A journal devoted to wrestling science — we’re not sure if it’s the only one — has given the old reverse frankensteiner to a 2016 article whose authors stole much of their text from a conference presentation one of them had reviewed for the meeting.
The article, “The Role of Goal Setting, Collectivism, and Task Orientation on Iranian Wrestling Teams Performance,” appeared in International Journal of Wrestling Science, a Taylor & Francis title. Its two authors were Hossein Abdolmaleki and Seyyed Bahador Zakizadeh, of the Islamic Azad University in Karaj, Iran.
Peer reviewers, like authors, are supposed to declare any potential conflicts of interest. But what happens when they don’t?
Take this case: In a court transcript from Feb. 23, 2017, Bryan Hardin testified that he was a peer reviewer on a 2016 paper in Critical Reviews in Toxicology, which found that asbestos does not increase the risk of cancer. In the deposition, Hardin—who works at the consulting firm Veritox—also said that he has testified in asbestos litigation on behalf of automakers, such as Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler, but said he had not disclosed these relationships to the journal.
Last year, the first author of the 2016 review withdrew a paper from another journal (by the same publisher) which concluded asbestos roofing products are safe, following several criticisms — including not disclosing the approving editor’s ties to the asbestos industry. In this latest case, the journal told us it believes the review process for the paper was up to snuff, but two outside experts we consulted said they believed Hardin’s relationships — and failure to disclose them — should give the journal pause.
We obtained a copy of the transcript from Christian Hartley, who was representing a man suing a mining company because the man developed cancer after being exposed to asbestos at work. When Hartley asked Hardin whether he had told the journal about testifying for companies involved in asbestos litigation, Hardin responded: