Nature has added an “editor’s note” to a high-profile August paper alerting readers to the fact that the article has been subject to criticism.
Journals often flag papers that are being debated — what’s unusual here is that the journal doesn’t label the notice as an official “Expression of Concern,” which are indexed by PubMed. Yet the Nature notice reads just like an expression of concern.
Here’s the text of the new notice, which was added October 2 (and spotted by Paul Knoepfler):
Continue reading Nature adds alert to heavily debated paper about gene editing
A social psychology journal has added an expression of concern to a paper by prominent social psychologist Jens Förster, whose work has been subject to much scrutiny.
This is the latest in a long-running saga involving Förster. The 2012 paper in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology had been flagged by a 2015 report describing an investigation into Förster’s work, which had concluded the paper likely contained unreliable data. Several other papers that received similar designations in that report have either been retracted or received expressions of concern (EoC).
The (paywalled) notice provides a lengthy explanation for why the journal chose to add an EoC, rather than retract the paper, as the University of Amsterdam had recommended. Here is an excerpt:
Continue reading Journal adds concern notice to paper by psychologist Jens Förster
A journal has removed an expression of concern for a 2011 paper after Karolinska Institutet (KI) “concluded no wrongdoing had occurred.”
In June, Journal of Cell Science (JCS) issued the expression of concern, after a reader contacted the editors with questions about the data in one of the figures. JCS investigated but could not resolve the issue, and in March 2017 turned the case over to KI where the authors are based.
The 2011 paper had already received a correction in 2016, citing inadvertent figure duplication.
In late August, KI concluded its investigation into the 2011 paper by last author Boris Zhivotovsky; JCS has now updated the expression of concern with a publisher’s note: Continue reading “No wrongdoing had occurred,” says Karolinska, following investigation of cancer research
Nature has tagged a recent paper on the importance of glacial melt to water supply in Asia with an expression of concern (EoC), after receiving a tip that the author had misused some data.
The EoC for “Asia’s glaciers are a regionally important buffer against drought,” published by Hamish Pritchard, a glaciologist at the British Antarctic Survey, came out today. The May 11, 2017 article — which has been cited three times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science — considers the contribution of glaciers to water supply in Central Asia and the potential for glacier loss to exacerbate water stress in the region. The paper received limited news coverage when it came out from science sites, including Phys.org.
Pritchard appears to have improperly used a particular data set — an error that was reported to the journal by two outside experts within weeks after the paper was published. Continue reading Nature tags glacier paper with note of concern due to data mix-up
The Journal of Biological Chemistry has added an expression of concern to a 2003 paper that arose from the PhD thesis of a once-prominent — and controversial — science journalist in Australia.
The first author of the paper is Maryanne Demasi, a journalist whose reporting created unintentional headlines in recent years. In 2013, she produced a controversial series about cholesterol and fat (and even cast doubt on cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins); in 2016, she was fired from the science program Catalyst, after it aired an episode alleging wi-fi could cause brain tumors.
Now, it appears the research community is taking a second look at some of the work underlying her PhD in rheumatology from Royal Adelaide Hospital. Here’s the notice from the journal:
Continue reading Controversial Australian journalist’s paper flagged by journal
Science has issued an expression of concern for a widely covered materials science paper published on Friday, citing issues with the supplementary data.
The paper — which caught the attention of multiple news outlets — added properties to cotton fibers in vitro, potentially enabling researchers to manufacture fabric that can fluoresce or carry magnetic properties.
The move to issue an expression of concern was unusually quick. According to the journal, an expert who received the paper from a journalist under a media embargo contacted Science to flag issues in some of the supplementary data. At the time of this post, the paper does not yet have an entry on PubPeer.
Here’s the full expression of concern:
Continue reading Post-publication peer review in action: Science flags paper just days after publication
A chemistry journal has issued expressions of concern for three papers after a reader notified the editors of “unexplained discrepancies” in the data.
According to the notices, after the editors of Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry confirmed the problems, they contacted the corresponding author on the three papers, Pradeep Kumar—who works at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-National Chemical Laboratory in Pune, India—as well as the director of CSIR, Ashwini Kumar Nangia. The institution conducted its own internal review of the spectra and concluded the authors did not intentionally alter them.
Still, the journal and institution could not confirm the accuracy of the data, and the journal published expressions of concern to warn readers about the issues.
Here’s the expression of concern for “A general and concise asymmetric synthesis of sphingosine, safingol and phytosphingosines via tethered aminohydroxylation:”
Continue reading Chem journal cautions readers about data in three papers
A psychology journal plans to issue an editor’s note about a controversial paper exploring what the author called “the biggest scandal to hit” the American Psychological Association (APA) in years.
The note cautions readers that the subject of the paper, published in the SAGE journal Teaching of Psychology, is part of a pending lawsuit, and that “teachers considering using the article in their classrooms” should watch for developments in the case. Continue reading Amid legal battle, psych journal issuing caution about torture paper
A publisher has issued an expression of concern (EoC) about a study that claimed children with same-sex parents were at greater risk of depression and abuse, after posters using statistics from the paper to support a homophobic message appeared in Australia and the US.
On Aug. 21, several news websites reported that these posters were appearing in Melbourne, Australia, citing claims from a 2016 paper published in Depression Research and Treatment, which said that children with same-sex parents are more at risk for depression, abuse, and obesity than children with opposite-sex parents. The poster had also appeared previously in Minneapolis and has been traced to a neo-Nazi group, as reported by HuffPost Australia. Australia is preparing for a national, non-binding, mail-in vote on whether to provide marriage equality for same-sex couples.
The EoC mechanism, which was chosen by the journal’s publisher, Hindawi, is an unusual choice here. The paper’s author, D. Paul Sullins, a sociology professor at The Catholic University of America and the paper’s author, told Retraction Watch that Hindawi contacted him Aug. 21 about the decision. Initially, he told us he didn’t have any “particular objection to it,” but later told us he changed his mind after he read more about COPE’s guidelines for EoCs: Continue reading Publisher flags paper on same-sex parenting after neo-Nazi group cites it
Against the authors’ objections, Nature Methods has added an expression of concern to a 2017 paper that drew fire for suggesting a common gene editing technique could cause widespread collateral damage to the genome. The latest note — the second to be added in two months — alerts readers to an alternative interpretation of the findings.
When “Unexpected mutations after CRISPR–Cas9 editing in vivo” was published May 30, it immediately drew criticism from many of the top scientists working with CRISPR, including those associated with companies seeking to develop CRISPR-based therapies for humans. Share prices for the two largest companies pursuing CRISPR therapies, Editas Medicine and Intellia Therapeutics, dropped following publication of the article.
On June 14, the journal published a notice to alert readers to “technical criticisms” of the paper. Apparently, that wasn’t sufficient, because the journal is now providing more details on the nature of the criticisms, despite the objections of the paper’s authors:
Continue reading Controversial CRISPR paper earns second editorial note