What Caught Our Attention: PLOS ONE had a few reasons for retracting a 2015 paper about a treatment for kidney disease due to diabetes: For one, despite what the paper claims, the authors did not obtain ethical approval to conduct the reported animal experiments. In addition, the corresponding author had no idea the paper had been submitted and published. How could a corresponding author be kept in the dark? It turns out, the journal was given an incorrect email address for him, so he didn’t receive any communications around the paper. (One author apparently used a third party editing company.) Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Forged email for corresponding author dooms diabetes paper
What Caught Our Attention: One would think that the corresponding author would have to be aware that they are submitting an article for publication — but apparently not, as this retraction demonstrates. The 2016 paper listed two corresponding authors — along with both of their emails and mailing addresses — but according to the retraction notice, one of them did not give consent “in any form” to the publication. Often, we see authors unaware of the use of their name when their email has been faked, but here, it’s possible the journal simply relied on the other corresponding author for all correspondence. Continue reading Caught Our Notice: How can a publication be a surprise to a corresponding author?
What Caught Our Notice: We’ve seen researchers dinged for adding authors to papers who didn’t participate in the research, but it’s rare to have a notice say co-author signatures were forged. In a recent retraction, the first two authors said the signatures on the the approval document received by the journal do not belong to them. The notice does not indicate which of the remaining two co-authors might be responsible for the forgery. Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Wait…we wrote WHAT paper?
In other words, it had nothing.
A 2015 paper is the latest retraction stemming from an investigation into fake peer review by Springer, which has now netted more than a hundred papers.
According to a spokesperson at Springer: Continue reading Fake peer review, forged authors, fake funding: Everything’s wrong with brain cancer paper
A material science journal has retracted a paper after learning the authors took most of the content from a master’s thesis – and added the author as a co-author without his knowledge.
The authors must have really liked this thesis – they lost another paper in 2015 for copying from the same document.
Both retracted articles were co-authored by three researchers in the Department of Civil Engineering at Shahid Rajaee Teacher Training University in Tehran, Iran. The first author, Saeed Ghaffarpour Jahromi, serves as the University’s Dean of Faculty in the School of Civil Engineering.
Simon Hesp, a professor in the Department of Chemistry at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, told Retraction Watch that he had notified both journals about the plagiarism when he recognized the thesis of Benjamin James Smith, who was a master’s student in his lab from 1998 to 2000. Hesp told us: Continue reading Lesson not learned: Researchers copied a master’s thesis — twice
Recently, the editors of a journal about management science received a submission from a prominent Dutch economist. But something didn’t feel right about it.
For one, the author submitted the paper using a Yahoo email address. So the editors contacted the author via his institutional email; immediately, the researcher denied having submitted the paper — and said it had happened before. And then things got really interesting.
The editors — Yves Crama, Michel Grabisch, and Silvano Martello — decided to run a “sting” operation, pretending to consider the paper, and even submitted their own fake reviews, posing as referees. They accepted the paper via the electronic submissions system, then lo and behold:
A bone researcher based in Japan with 10 retractions under his belt has retracted two more papers for similar reasons — problems with the underlying data, and including co-authors who didn’t participate in the project.
Here’s the first notice, issued by the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research: Continue reading Two more retractions bring bone researcher’s total to 12
A researcher has pulled a paper about uranium oxide fuel pellets after notifying the journal the data had been falsified — and, what’s more, the publisher can’t verify the identities of the co-authors.
Originally, the Journal of the European Ceramic Society paper suggested a way to increase the compatibility of uranium oxide fuel pellets, which are usually used in nuclear reactors, at high temperatures.
PLOS ONE has retracted three papers after the first author admitted to submitting the manuscripts without co-authors’ consent, and an investigation suggested that two out of the three papers had received faked reviews.
Last August, the same author — Lishan Wang of the Shanghai Jiao Tong University — lost two more papers (one in Tumor Biology and the other in Gene), also after the peer review process was found to be compromised. All five papers — which share other authors in common — were originally published in 2013, and four list Wang as the first author. The retractions follow an investigation by Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
Here’s the retraction notice for two of the PLOS ONE papers, issued on July 26: Continue reading Author loses five papers, most for “compromised” peer review
PLOS ONE has now retracted the paper, noting that they were tipped off to the problems by a reader who raised concerns about some of the figures. The notice states that the study’s first author, Zhenni Zhang, takes full responsibility.
The last author of the paper — Zongfang Li from the Xi’an Jiaotong University in China — told us Zhang was his PhD student who was close to completing her PhD, but has now been expelled.
Here’s the retraction notice, issued on July 25: Continue reading PhD student expelled for submitting paper without co-authors’ consent