Journal editor resigns over firestorm from circumcision article

10-5409-logoCircumcision is a hot topic. So hot, questions about a reviewer’s potential conflict with the author of an article promoting circumcision prompted a journal editor to resign, and one academic to call another a “fanatic.”

It began in August, when Brian Morris, professor emeritus of molecular medicine at the University of Sydney, published a critique of a paper that itself had critiqued the practice of circumcision. But the sole reviewer of Morris’s article was a frequent co-author of his, Aaron Tobian of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. In his reference section, Morris listed five papers on which he and Tobian were co-authors.

A tipster forwarded us emails from Eduardo Garin, editor in chief of the journal, saying he had resigned from the journal after it refused to retract the paper, despite the fact that its sole reviewer was a frequent collaborator of the author. However, Garin is still listed as editor in chief on the journal’s site.  

Garin confirmed to us that he resigned after the publisher refused to retract or correct the Morris article; however, Xiu-Xia Song, vice director of the editorial office at Baishideng, told us by email that Garin is still the journal’s editor.

Here are some specifics:

Continue reading Journal editor resigns over firestorm from circumcision article

Second paper about major blood pressure drug trial in Japan to be retracted

hr_cimageA second paper about a major randomized trial in Japanese patients with heart disease is being retracted, after an investigation reportedly found multiple problems with the paper.

As predicted by Pharma JapanHypertension Research is retracting a 2011 paper, already the subject of two errata. Although a spokesperson said she couldn’t say why the paper was being retracted, as the notice was still in production, editor Toshihiko Ishimitsu told us: Continue reading Second paper about major blood pressure drug trial in Japan to be retracted

Journal to retract study declaring safety of asbestos roofs: Report

joehOnly a few months after publication, an environmental journal has told an activist group it plans to retract a paper about the safety of roofing products containing asbestos after facing heavy criticism.

This summer, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (JOEH) received multiple letters asking the to retract the paper. Critics of the paper — which concluded that exposures to asbestos-containing roofing products were within safety limits — argued the article provided misleading information, grouped different materials with different asbestos exposures together, and failed to note the approving editor’s ties to the asbestos industry.

The article was published as a case study, which is considered a type of “column” by the journal, thereby bypassing its peer-review system; according to an email the journal sent to the organization Right on Canada (which a representative forwarded to Retraction Watch), this served as the basis for the journal’s decision to pull the paper.

According to the email, the journal’s editorial board decided on August 10 to retract “Airborne asbestos exposures associated with the installation and removal of roofing products” due to

Continue reading Journal to retract study declaring safety of asbestos roofs: Report

Should a paper be retracted if an author omits a conflict of interest?

s-cover-yvs1606A JAMA journal has quickly issued a correction for a 2016 paper after the author failed to mention several relevant conflicts of interest. Normally, we’d see this as a run-of-the-mill correction notice, but since we reported last week that a journal retracted a paper for omitting pharma funding, we got to wondering: Is failure to disclose a conflict of interest a retractable offense?

Guidelines from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) do say that retractions are used for “failure to disclose a major competing interest likely to influence interpretations or recommendations.” But most of the time when we see corrections to the literature for such omissions, they’re corrections, not retractions.

On Friday, JAMA Ophthalmology issued a correction notice for an invited commentary published in April, which addressed two papers in the journal about melanoma of the eye (uveal melanoma). However, the original commentary failed to note that author Arun D. Singh at the Cleveland Clinic had some relevant conflicts to mention, as the notice explains: Continue reading Should a paper be retracted if an author omits a conflict of interest?

Crow’s feet filler study omitted pharma funding, gets retracted

JKMSA paper on a filler for eye wrinkles did not disclose that it was funded by a pharmaceutical company that produces the cosmetic.

The paper explicitly noted that the authors do not have any financial conflicts of interest, and that a government program supported the study. According to the journal, a reader alerted them to the conflict of interest.

The cooperate tie wasn’t a secret, though — one of the authors was listed as affiliated with the  company, Pharma Research Products, based in Korea.

Here’s the retraction notice for “A Phase III, Randomized, Double-Blind, Matched-Pairs, Active-Controlled Clinical Trial and Preclinical Animal Study to Compare the Durability, Efficacy and Safety between Polynucleotide Filler and Hyaluronic Acid Filler in the Correction of Crow’s Feet: A New Concept of Regenerative Filler:”

Continue reading Crow’s feet filler study omitted pharma funding, gets retracted

JAMA: No plan to retract article on fetal pain, despite outcry from anti-abortion activists

JAMAJAMA has announced it does not intend to retract a 2005 review article about fetal pain, despite requests from anti-abortion activists who claim it has been misused in debates about the procedure.

Earlier this month, JAMA told one anti-abortion critic that it would take a look at the paper, which suggested that fetuses can’t feel pain before the third trimester. Critics have argued that newer findings have shown pain sensation appears earlier in gestation, yet the 2005 data continue to be cited in the discussion around abortion. What’s more, critics have lamented that some of the authors failed to mention their ties to the abortion industry.

But in a letter sent yesterday to James Agresti, Howard Bauchner, Editor in Chief at JAMA and The JAMA Network, writes: Continue reading JAMA: No plan to retract article on fetal pain, despite outcry from anti-abortion activists

Pro-lifers call for JAMA to retract 2005 paper about fetal pain

JAMAPro-life activists have asked JAMA to retract a 2005 paper that suggested fetuses can’t feel pain before the third trimester.

Critics are arguing that newer findings have shown pain sensation appears earlier in gestation, yet the 2005 data continue to be cited in the discussion around abortion. What’s more, they note, some of the authors failed to mention their ties to the abortion industry.

The 2005 paper has been cited 191 times, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science. We spoke with Howard Bauchner, Editor in Chief at JAMA and The JAMA Network, who told us something similar to what he said last week, when PETA asked to retract a paper they claim could be harmful to elephants: Continue reading Pro-lifers call for JAMA to retract 2005 paper about fetal pain

In precedent break, BMJ explains why it rejected controversial “weekend effect” paper

After the reviewer of a rejected paper was publicly outed, the BMJ has taken the unusual step of explaining why it chose not to publish the paper.

The paper — eventually published in another journal — raised hackles for suggesting that there is no “weekend effect,” or a higher mortality rate in hospitals on Saturday and Sunday. This caught the attention of UK policy makers, who have proposed changing policies to compensate for any supposed “weekend effect.”

Amidst the heated discussion about the research, one of the reviewers was identified, along with suggestions that he may have been conflicted because he had published a study showing the opposite finding. Yesterday, the BMJ posted a blog explaining that it was the editors — and not one sole reviewer — who decided to reject the paper: Continue reading In precedent break, BMJ explains why it rejected controversial “weekend effect” paper

NEJM quickly corrects disclosure statement, errors in diabetes paper

NEJM LogoAfter publishing a paper about neuropathy in diabetic patients last week, The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) immediately corrected it after editors learned of errors and some missing disclosures within the article.

The notice explains that the sole author of the paper, “Diabetic Sensory and Motor Neuropathy,” reported incorrect doses for several medications, and received royalties for the tool to measure quality of life used in the paper. The author told us all the declarations were “discussed in detail” between him and the journal, and both parties agreed to the final decision. 

Let’s take a look at the lengthy correction notice — what some of our readers might call a “mega-correction:” Continue reading NEJM quickly corrects disclosure statement, errors in diabetes paper

Scientists call for retraction of “seriously misleading” paper with asbestos industry ties

EBPHEleven scientists are asking a journal to consider retracting an asbestos paper with industry ties for including “seriously misleading information,” “several wrong statements,” and thrice citing a journal that doesn’t appear to exist.

Editors of the journal, Epidemiology Biostatistics and Public Health, however, say they will not retract the article, based on the advice of two external reviewers.

An earlier correction for the paper,  “Further Studies of Bolivian Crocidolite – Part IV: Fibre Width, Fibre Drift and their relation to Mesothelioma Induction: Preliminary Findings,” cited previously undisclosed competing interests for four of the paper’s five authors.

Earlier this year, scientists criticized “gross mistakes” in another paper from three of the same authors: Edward Ilgren, Yumi Kamiya, and John Hoskins. EBPH subsequently issued two corrections but did not retract that paper. Read our full coverage here. Continue reading Scientists call for retraction of “seriously misleading” paper with asbestos industry ties