Physics Letters A paper gets retracted twice, but the issues remain “unsettled”

A retraction with a complex and yet unclear narrative appears in the April 25, 2011 issue of Physics Letters A. According to the notice, for “Nuclear spin magnetic resonance force microscopy using slice modulation:”

This article has been retracted at the request of the Editors of Physics Letters A because there are unsettled issues on how the research was carried out, how the data were acquired and analyzed. The article was removed from the journal issue before printing although it appeared online. In addition, the article was accidentally published online twice in the same journal.

As the notice suggests, this was actually the second retraction, of the same paper. Here was the first, in 2008, shortly after the paper was published. And here is a removal notice, from later that year. We haven’t come across such an occurrence before, although we’ve been writing Retraction Watch for less than a year.

There are six editors of Physics Letters A, and we tried them all for comment on the “unsettled issues.” A few pointed to Burkhard Fricke, the communicating editor for the paper, who is no longer with the journal. He didn’t respond to requests for more information.

A few referred us to Karine van Wetering, a publisher at Elsevier: Continue reading Physics Letters A paper gets retracted twice, but the issues remain “unsettled”

Retractions we haven’t had a chance to cover, part 2: Duplication and plagiarism edition

Last week, we started a new series at Retraction Watch, “Retractions we haven’t had a chance to cover.” The first edition had sort of an environmental theme. This one has a duplication and self-plagiarism theme. But it’s not always the authors’ fault, as you’ll learn. Continue reading Retractions we haven’t had a chance to cover, part 2: Duplication and plagiarism edition

Two more retractions for Mori make 16 — but not a record

Biochemical Journal has retracted two articles by Naoki Mori, bringing the total number of pulled papers by the Japanese cancer researcher to sixteen.

As with the previous Mori retractions, the latest ones — of papers published in 2007 and 2010 — involve unreliable images. Mori, you’ll recall, had recycled control blots from study to study over the years, and was dismissed from his academic post in August.

The 2007 paper, “Activation of hypoxia-inducible factor 1 in human T-cell leukaemia virus type 1-infected cell lines and primary adult T-cell leukaemia cells,” also included a frequent co-author Mariko Tomita, who has been implicated in the deception. It has been cited 15 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. The 2010 article, “Inhibition of Akt/GSK3β signalling pathway by Legionella pneumophila is involved in induction of T-cell apoptosis,” has not yet been cited.

In each case, the retraction notice is the same: Continue reading Two more retractions for Mori make 16 — but not a record

Why was that paper retracted? Editor to Retraction Watch: “It’s none of your damn business”

L. Henry Edmunds, photo by University of Pennsylvania

Yesterday, we reported on the retraction of a 2004 study in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery. As we noted, the notice’s language was, um, fuzzy, referring vaguely to

an investigation by the University of Florida, which uncovered instances of repetitious, tabulated data from previously published studies.

Today, we are slightly more clear, although what we really got was an earful of other language.

We had the pleasure of speaking this morning with L. Henry Edmunds, Jr., the long-time editor of the Annals of Thoracic Surgery, who gave us a better sense of why his retraction notice was so delicately worded. Edmunds, responding to question of why the letter didn’t say more about the matter:

It’s none of your damn business.

Ranting against “journalists and bloggists,” Edmunds, a cardiac surgeon at the University of Pennsylvania, said the purpose of the retraction notice was merely Continue reading Why was that paper retracted? Editor to Retraction Watch: “It’s none of your damn business”

Irony alert: Shades of plagiarism undo med ethics paper on terminal care

With some conservatives fulminating over President Obama’s eternal lust for “death panels,” we have our own case of end-of-life outrage to report.

BMC Medical Ethics has retracted a November 2010 paper by two authors from Mayo Clinic whose manuscript — “End-of-life discontinuation of destination therapy with cardiac and ventilatory support medical devices: physician-assisted death or allowing the patient to die?” — contained passages that closely echoed those in another article, “Moral fictions and medical ethics,” published online in July 2009 in the journal Bioethics.

According to the retraction notice: Continue reading Irony alert: Shades of plagiarism undo med ethics paper on terminal care

Microbial reproduction: Plagiarism from Wikipedia, elsewhere leads to retraction of biotech paper

When is an advance not an advance?

Biotechnology Advances has retracted a 2008 review by researchers in India who allegedly stole chunks of their manuscript from several sources including journal articles, Wikipedia, and StateMaster.com, a statistics clearinghouse.

According to the notice, the article, titled “Microbial production of dihydroxyacetone” Continue reading Microbial reproduction: Plagiarism from Wikipedia, elsewhere leads to retraction of biotech paper

Redundancy, redux: Anesthesia journal retracts obesity paper in self-plagiarism case

Sometimes redundancy — the topic of our last post — is a failure of editors to adequately vet a manuscript. Other times, the blame falls more squarely on the authors.

Consider: In the August 2010 issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia, a highly regarded specialty journal, five researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, led by Andrew Ochroch, made a remarkable confession.

Their article in the May issue of A&A on ventilation of patients recovering from bariatric surgery plagiarized a 2009 paper in a competing publication, Anesthesiology — written by the same group:

We sincerely apologize for the inappropriate and unacceptable intellectual overlap and self-plagiarism of our paper … published in Anesthesiology.

Sincere apologies are better, we suppose, than insincere ones. But, never mind. They go on: Continue reading Redundancy, redux: Anesthesia journal retracts obesity paper in self-plagiarism case

Department of Redundancy Department: From fish to toxicology, where have all the editors gone?

Photo by shaymus22 via flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/shaymus22/

Readers of three science publications may be wondering, “Where in the world were the editors?” after retractions appeared recently in the journals sounding the same theme: The articles in question had too much “overlap” between previous publications.

For example, the Journal of Fish Biology notice reads, in part: “The retraction has been agreed due to overlap between this article and several previously published articles.”

Translation: Our bad!

The latest retraction notices from the journals Environmental Toxicology, the Journal of Fish Biology and the Journal of Clinical Neurology Continue reading Department of Redundancy Department: From fish to toxicology, where have all the editors gone?