Famous Harvard economist reused parts of 2002 paper multiple times, says journal

Michael Jensen

A former Harvard economist and co-founder of a massive repository of free papers in social sciences has been accused of reusing similar material over multiple papers.

The three papers share the same title. According to an investigation by one of the journals, two papers by Michael Jensen, now an emeritus faculty member at Harvard, are “close-to-identical,” while another includes a “substantial amount of overlapping content.” None of the three papers cite the others.

The journal, Business Ethics Quarterly, has added an editorial notice to a 2002 paper by Jensen, noting its similarity to a 2001 paper and another 2001 paper. The notice states an earlier version of the paper was published by Harvard Business School Press. The editor surmises that all three journals were “more or less simultaneously vetting versions of the Jensen article.”

Jensen is the co-founder of the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), a repository of more than 800,000 papers that has been named the “Number 1 Open Access Repository in the World.” SSRN was purchased by Elsevier in 2016.

We spoke with Jensen briefly by phone; he denied submitting the same paper to three journals simultaneously:

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Dental journal pulls a dozen papers for recycled images and “unreliable data”

A leading orthodontics journal has retracted 12 papers after determining that they contained either reused images, questionable data or both. Several of the articles involved experiments conducted in dogs — and one person familiar with the case told us that the duplication was an attempt to avoid sacrificing more animals than necessary for the research.  

Although the list of authors on the articles varies, the common denominator is Jose Luis Calvo-Guirado, of the UCAM Universidad Católica San Antonio de Murcia, in Spain. Calvo-Guirado’s title at the institution is director de la Cátedra Internacional de Investigación en Odontología, which Google translates as director of the International Research Chair in Dentistry.  Calvo-Guirado also holds (or has held) a research professorship at SUNY Stony Brook in the Department of Prosthodontics and Digital Medicine, according to his CV.

Calvo-Guirado’s name is on at least 187 entries in PubMed. Of those, 40 appeared in Clinical Oral Implants Research, a Wiley title on whose editorial board the researcher served, according to his CV.  

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Hey journals, it is possible to quickly correct the record

Even when a paper is obviously flawed, it can take years for journals to take action. Some never do. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

On April 27, a reader emailed the editors of two journals, noting that each had recently published a paper by the same group of authors that appeared strikingly similar.

Four days later, on May 1, a representative at Medicine, the journal that published the most recent version of the paper, wrote the reader back, saying the paper was going to be retracted.

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A distorted record on blood pressure drugs: Why one group is trying to clean up the literature

In 2015, a group of researchers based in Spain decided to write a review article on high blood pressure. But when they looked over eight articles co-authored by the same person, they noticed some undeniable similarities.

Over the last few years, Giuseppe Derosa, based at the University of Pavia in Italy, has racked up 10 retractions after journals determined he’d published the same material multiple times. But there’s much more to this story: The researchers in Spain (led by Luis Carlos Saiz of the Navarre Regional Health Service in Pamplona) kept digging into his publication record, and have since identified dozens of additional potential duplicates. Although the outside researchers alerted journals to the additional potentially problematic papers in 2015, most have not taken action; recently, two journals published by Taylor & Francis flagged 12 of Derosa’s articles, three of which they had been alerted about in 2015 by Saiz and colleagues.

Now, Saiz is telling his story — and why duplication of medical research matters:

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Journal says it will correct three papers by prominent psychologist for duplication

Some heavy criticism of a high-profile scientist has prompted one journal to announce it plans to correct the record.

Following a series of allegations about the work of psychologist Robert Sternberg at Cornell, a journal has declared it plans to correct three of his papers. Last month, Inside Higher Ed reported that critics have raised concerns about Sternberg’s practice of citing his own work, prompting him to resign from his position as editor of Perspectives on Psychological Science. On the heels of that, graduate student Brendan O’Connor took to Twitter to accuse Sternberg of recycling his own text in his papers — and last Friday, the Journal of Creative Behavior told O’Connor it was correcting three of Sternberg’s papers.

In an email to O’Connor — who we interviewed this month about his concerns regarding Sternberg’s work — the journal says it will publish three “Text Recycling Corrections & Notifications” to three articles O’Connor flagged, which will:

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Controversial Australian science journalist admits to duplication in her PhD thesis

Maryanne Demasi

A prominent (yet controversial) journalist in Australia has admitted to duplicating three images that were part of her PhD thesis — a practice outside experts agreed was acceptable, if not ideal, at the time, according to a report released today.

As part of an inquiry, the University of Adelaide convened an expert panel to investigate 17 allegations of duplication and/or manipulation in Maryanne Demasi’s 2004 thesis. Duplication is a common reason for retractions, such as when researchers use the same image to depict the results of different experiments.

After earning her PhD in rheumatology, Demasi became a journalist who got headlines for more than just her reporting. In 2013, she produced a controversial series about cholesterol and fat (which suggested they have been unfairly villainized, and which cast doubt on cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins). A few years later, Demasi was fired from the science program Catalyst, after it aired an episode alleging wi-fi could cause brain tumors.

Regarding the allegations of misconduct in Demasi’s thesis, the originals of the images in question were long gone, so in 14 instances, an expert concluded it was not possible to conclude whether or not duplication had occurred. But in the remaining three instances, Demasi admitted she had “duplicated or probably duplicated” the images:

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A new “data thug” is born

Brendan O’Connor

In the last week, a lot more people know the name of Brendan O’Connor. Recently, the graduate student at the University of Leicester in the UK posted allegations on Twitter that a prominent psychologist at Cornell University, Robert Sternberg, had recycled large swaths of text in multiple publications. Since then, other so-called “data thugs” — such as Nick Brown and James Heathers — have added their voices to the discussion. Sternberg recently resigned as editor of Perspectives on Psychological Science, in part over concerns about his practice of frequently citing his own papers. We spoke with O’Connor about the response to his allegations — and why he took to Twitter to raise them. (Note: O’Connor’s opinions are his own, and not necessarily representative of his institution.)

Retraction Watch: How did you stumble upon the alleged text recycling by Dr. Sternberg?

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Author under fire has eight papers retracted, including seven from one journal

A researcher whose work on the use of nanomaterials has been heavily scrutinized on PubPeer — with one critic alleging a paper contained “obviously fabricated” images — has lost eight papers. [Editor’s note: See update below.]

The eight articles — seven from Biosensors and Bioelectronics and one from Analytica Chimica Acta, both published by Elsevier — all cite issues related to duplications, and conclude with some version of the following:

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“Youth Guru” loses turkey-neck paper that overlapped with book chapter

Ronald Moy

A prominent cosmetic surgeon and his daughter have lost a 2017 paper on treating men with excessive neck flab — otherwise known as “turkey neck” — because much of the work appears to have duplicated a book chapter he co-authored about the topic.

The first author of the retracted article is Ronald L. Moy, a plastic surgeon to the stars in Beverly Hills, Calif., and a past president of both the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Society of Dermatology. In a 2012 article about area plastic surgeons, LA Confidential Magazine dubbed Moy the “youth guru” and a local leader in the use of “new research and a comprehensive approach to restore a youthful complexion—no cutting required.”

His co-author was his daughter, Lauren Moy, who appears to be working with him in his Rodeo Drive dermatology practice.

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Highly cited paper by dep’t chair at Sloan Kettering is corrected — three times

A radiology journal has published an addendum to a 2005 review on cancer imaging techniques, alerting readers to figure duplication.

But that’s not what caught our attention about this case. The addendum, published in January, is the third notice that The British Journal of Radiology (BJR) has issued for the 2005 review by Hedvig Hricak, chair of the Department of Radiology at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City. The notices, published between 2014 and 2018, all describe duplication.

Why the series of notices, all describing a similar problem? Continue reading Highly cited paper by dep’t chair at Sloan Kettering is corrected — three times