After Tina Wenz was found guilty of scientific misconduct, how long did it take for journals to retract the problematic papers? The answer: Between three and nine months.
In September 2016, the University of Cologne found that Wenz had committed scientific misconduct in six papers and requested they all be retracted. From that point on, the retraction clock was ticking.
We’ve explored how long it takes a journal to act over the years, and we’ve found that the time between identifying a problem to retracting the paper can vary — and sometimes last years.
In Wenz’s case, one of the papers—published in Cell Metabolism in 2009—had already been retracted in 2015. Three of the remaining five were retracted in December 2016—a 2008 paper in Cell Metabolism, a 2009 paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), and a 2009 paper in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
In January 2017, the journal IUBMB Life pulled a 2014 paper flagged in the investigation. And just over nine months after Wenz was found guilty of misconduct, the last paper—published in 2013 in Mitochondrion—has been retracted.
The most recent notice states that the University of Cologne requested the retractions, after determining that the data had been “inappropriately manipulated.”
Here’s the retraction notice in Mitochondrion:
Continue reading The retraction countdown: How quickly do journals pull papers?
Hearsay is not admissible as evidence in court — and it doesn’t seem to go very far in science, either.
A pair of researchers in the field of human evolution have lost a paper which contained data from “personal correspondence” that the providing party apparently did not enjoy seeing in print.
The article, “Early hominin biogeography in Island Southeast Asia,” was published in the September/October 2015 issue of Evolutionary Anthropology. The authors, Roy Larick and Russell Ciochon, are paleoanthropologists and co-founders of the Iowa-Bandung Java Project — a 20-year old collaborative effort to study the origins of early humans in Indonesia. Continue reading Inclusion of “personal correspondence” in evolution paper prompts retraction, new journal policy
An engineering researcher has written about models tackling a range of complex issues — security problems in Iraq, poverty in Europe, and emergency responses to humanitarian crises. But there may be some limits to his expertise: Between 2016 and 2017, five journals have retracted five of his papers, citing plagiarism.
Some of the notices describe the plagiarism as “extensive,” “significant,” and “substantial.” One journal editor, who retracted one of Kubilay Kaptan’s papers last year, told us the paper “was simply a direct copy from an existing one.”
The editor noted that Kaptan — who lists his affiliation as the Civil Engineering Department at Beykent University in Istanbul — claimed to be “the victim of a personal smear campaign, which involved submitting plagiarised manuscripts in his name.” We reached out to Kaptan several times by phone and email to verify this claim, but did not hear back.
Here’s the most recent retraction, for a 2016 paper published in Journal of Refugee Studies: Continue reading Plagiarism costs author five papers in five different journals
In 2005, the U.S. Office of Research Integrity found an obesity researcher had engaged in scientific misconduct.
More specifically, the ORI report revealed that Eric Poehlman, then based at the University of Vermont, had “falsified and fabricated” data in 10 papers. The 2005 report asked that the journals issue retractions or corrections to the papers. By 2006, six of those papers were retracted (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). In 2006, a judge sentenced Poehlman to one year and one day in prison for falsifying research data.
In 2015, we explored how long it takes a journal to retract a paper. We found that four of the 10 papers had still not been retracted — one appeared to be missing from Medline, another had received a correction (as the ORI report requested), and two had not been retracted or corrected (1, 2).
Until now. Continue reading 12 years after researcher found guilty of misconduct, journal retracts paper
Plant scientists have issued two retractions after noticing several images had been duplicated within and across the papers.
The papers both appeared in March 2002 in The Plant Cell and The Plant Journal.
The last author on both papers — Jonathan Jones, a professor and group leader at The Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, UK — took responsibility for the duplications. He told us:
As last author I was responsible for checking the papers but did not notice the similarities between figures in the different papers. I regret this and took action as soon as I realized there was an issue. Both papers went through peer review and the issue was not picked up at that point either.
Susana Rivas, the first author on both papers, has collaborated with beleaguered plant scientist Oliver Voinnet — and was a second author on one of his eight retractions (which we covered here).
The editor-in-chief of TPJ Christoph Benning said that, after the authors contacted them, the journals looked into the issue, confirmed the duplications and then retracted the papers: Continue reading Authors retract two plant biology papers over duplicated images
The fallout continues for a study conducted at a local CrossFit gym by researchers at The Ohio State University. First it was corrected, now it’s been retracted, and it continues to be the basis of litigation against both the authors and the publisher.
Editors at the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research have decided to pull the 2013 study after learning that the research protocol had not been approved by Ohio State’s institutional review board (IRB).
Over the past few years, the study has spawned several lawsuits, including a defamation suit brought by gym owner Mitch Potterf against Ohio State that landed him a six-figure settlement, as well as an ongoing suit by Potterf against the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA, which publishes the journal). The CrossFit brand has also sued the NSCA. [See update at end of post for more on that case.]
An NSCA statement issued May 30 describes what happened: Continue reading Journal retracts Ohio State CrossFit study at center of lawsuits
A gastroenterology and hepatology journal has retracted a 2017 review after discovering it included data “accessible only during peer review for another journal.”
Although we don’t know the details of this particular case—for instance, how the editors and publisher of Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics learned about the transgression and which author was responsible—the journal acted quickly to retract the paper, which was published online in March.
Here’s the retraction notice for “Systematic review: benefits and harms of transarterial embolisation for treating hepatocellular adenoma:”
Continue reading Yikes: Peer reviewer stole (and published) author’s data
A pharmaceutical researcher has received his tenth retraction. The reason, once again: duplicating his previous work.
Giuseppe Derosa, based at the University of Pavia in Italy, lost a 2011 paper this month after journal editors identified “substantial duplication of an earlier published paper.” According to the notice, the authors failed to cite the previous work and to disclose that the manuscript had been published or was under consideration elsewhere.
Derosa has a habit of reusing clinical trial data in multiple papers. He received his first four retractions in 2015 for publishing the same clinical trial results six times—two of those papers were retracted over the summer and two more several months later. By 2016, a fifth from the bunch was retracted (one of the six still stands). Derosa received another retraction, citing duplication (which we covered here and which was not related to the six clinical trials).
Continue reading Drug researcher up to ten retractions
A neurochemistry journal has retracted a paper from a group in China over a duplicated image.
According to the notice, the authors used the same image in the two papers to represent different experimental conditions. The only distinguishing feature between the images: “apparent brightness changes.”
The authors defended their actions, explaining that the research published in Journal of Neurochemistry “sequentially builds” on their previous study in Journal of Neuroinflammation, which they mention in the 2015 paper’s discussion. In the notice, the authors were quoted saying: Continue reading Paper with duplicated image “sequentially builds” on neuroscience work, authors argue
Researchers have retracted a 2016 paper after discovering that they accidentally administered three times the reported dose of anesthesia to rats.
In the Experimental Physiology paper, the authors set out to mathematically map how rats’ blood pressure changes under different conditions, which required the rats to be anesthetized. But their findings were called into question when they found the rats had received a much higher concentration of anesthesia than intended. According to the notice, this higher dose compromised the “objectives of the experiment.”
The corresponding author Karol Ondrias, from the Institute of Molecular Physiology and Genetics at the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Bratislava, told us how the dosing error occurred: Continue reading Researchers mistakenly administer three-fold higher dose of anesthesia