A fish scientist in Iran has now lost 13 papers about the properties of Sturgeon sperm — try saying that five times fast — and other ichthyological topics over concerns about faked peer review.
The papers were part of a collaboration funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, which focused on solving protein structures. Adam Godzik, the senior author, told Retraction Watch that all papers had to be approved by a special committee before being submitted to a journal. Given the scale of the collaboration, the committee for the Joint Center for Structural Genomics (JCSG) would assess whether researchers who had made a previous contribution to the work should be added as authors.
Proteins: Structure, Function, and Bioinformatics retracted both papers after Godzik informed the editor in August 2014 that neither article had undergone the required review before being submitted to the journal. Although Wiley agreed to the retractions in an email to Godzik in September 2014, the papers were only pulled in January—more than three years later. Continue reading Author: “The retractions were about bureaucracy, not science”
A third paper co-authored by researchers based at a prominent lab whose work has been under investigation on and off for almost three years has been retracted.
According to the notice, the university’s investigation found that a 2008 paper in FEBS Letters contained “clear signs of manipulation” in three figures.
Research from geneticist David Latchman’s group has been dogged by misconduct allegations since late 2013 and subject to two investigations by the University College London (UCL). Continue reading “Clear signs of manipulation” in paper co-authored by prominent geneticist
In a recent editorial, the Journal of Neurochemistry declared it would no longer accept author-suggested reviewers. While other journals have done the same in order to prevent fake reviews, the Journal of Neurochemistry is basing its decision on a different logic. We spoke with editor Jörg Schulz about why he believes relying on reviewers picked by editors helps reduce bias in the peer-review process.
Retraction Watch: What prompted you to compare the outcomes of papers reviewed by experts suggested by authors versus experts selected by editors, or experts the authors “opposed?”
A pharmacy journal has retracted a 2017 cancer paper after determining that the lead author forged her co-author’s signature.
Alain Li Wan Po, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, told Retraction Watch that, after discovering the forgery, the journal lost confidence in “the integrity of the whole report,” and decided to retract it:
Our judgment was that if an author is willing to forge a signature, we cannot be sure of the integrity of the whole report and decided on the retraction.
According to Po, the paper’s lead author, Yan Wang, objected to the retraction because “she maintained that the data were accurate.” So the editors retracted the paper without her approval — but with the agreement of the author Jatinder Lamba, whose name was forged.
How did the journal discover the forged signature?
Last spring, a group of environmental scientists reported an impressive finding: Hydraulic fracturing (better known as fracking) in the Marcellus Shale region of the eastern United States was leaking enough methane to power a city twice the size of Washington, D.C. (We didn’t come up with that comparison, apt though it may be.)
Turns out that wasn’t true. Continue reading Fracking paper overstated size of methane leak from Marcellus Shale, earning retraction
What Caught Our Attention: Food researcher Brian Wansink has had a rough time lately. After researchers began scrutinizing his work, he has racked up five retractions and multiple corrections. (We’re counting one retracted paper twice, as Wansink first retracted and replaced it with a new version, then retracted the replacement.)
These notices haven’t gone unnoticed, either by us or other media outlets — BuzzFeed reported on his most recent retraction this weekend, a paper a critic discussed with us, as well. Yesterday, BuzzFeed also reported that Cornell is investigating. (It wouldn’t be the first time — in April, Cornell announced that it had found evidence of mistakes, not misconduct, in Wansink’s papers.) Below, we present his 13th correction, for duplicated text — 1,376 words of duplicated text, to be exact.
What Caught Our Attention: When researchers set out to study hepatitis B among women in rural China, and they wanted to know if the women had been vaccinated against the virus, they simply asked them. While that can sometimes be useful, apparently it was a mistake in this case, as the reliance on patient memory injected too much doubt into these findings. Continue reading Caught Our Notice: To know if someone’s been vaccinated, just asking isn’t enough
What Caught Our Attention: When authors fail to respond to editors’ requests for information, it isn’t hard to imagine that the submitted manuscript will lose its publishing appeal. In this case, the journal and publisher withdrew the article after “repeated attempts” to contact the authors were unsuccessful.
The notice doesn’t say why the journal needed to get in touch with the authors; of course, some authors may cease correspondence for a variety of reasons, but there is usually some backstory. Since the authors disappeared, the withdrawn article has, as well. Continue reading Caught Our Notice: When authors go MIA, the article may follow
What Caught Our Attention: Everyone makes mistakes — but some are more amusing than others. In one recent correction, the publisher (Wiley) admitted to including a proofreader’s query in the published manuscript. But didn’t say what the query was.
We looked around, and think we found the added notes in the abstract on the PubMed entry (emphasis ours): Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Oops — paper included proofreader’s query