A researcher has retracted two 2014 papers, after discovering they had not gone through the proper approval process before being submitted.
The papers were part of a collaboration funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, which focused on solving protein structures. Adam Godzik, the senior author, told Retraction Watch that all papers had to be approved by a special committee before being submitted to a journal. Given the scale of the collaboration, the committee for the Joint Center for Structural Genomics (JCSG) would assess whether researchers who had made a previous contribution to the work should be added as authors.
Originally published June 17, 2016, the paper was retracted Jan. 15. Led by corresponding author Xavier Altafaj, of the University of Barcelona (UB) and Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), researchers described using an amino acid, D-serine, to treat a child with a rare genetic disorder that affects neurons.
According to the notice, the researchers did use D-serine in lab work used as proof-of-concept; however, when it came time to try it in the patient, as a result of a “communication error:”
A patient’s “unusual” brain cyst excited several researchers in China so much they published a paper about it in a major journal. Soon a reader identified a glaring mistake: the authors had described the cause of the cyst incorrectly.
A month after the paper appeared online in November 2016, the reader — a neurologist — published a letter in the journal, pointing out the incorrect diagnosis. In their response, the authors acknowledged the mistake but said it had occurred not because they had misdiagnosed the patient, but because the diagnosis had been mistranslated from Chinese to English.
The editors of Neurology retracted the paper because of the error and published a new version with the correct diagnosis on the same day, June 6.
Although we did not hear back from the paper’s two corresponding authors—Jun Guo and Guan Sun—the journal published a string of letters that chronicles the case.
The authors of a 2014 study about asthma in Norwegian athletes have retracted it after realizing they hadn’t obtained proper approval from an ethical committee.
The study’s first and corresponding author of the study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine — Julie Stang from the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences in Oslo — told us the authors had struggled to obtain ethical approval for the research, but believed the issue had been resolved.
However, earlier this year, a member of an ethical committee wrote an article in the Norwegian press about his concerns regarding the study, which tested the effects of three drugs on top athletes’ breathing. In it, he said the Regional Committees for medical and health professional research ethics (REC) had not approved the study, as members were concerned the presumably healthy athletes were being exposed to drugs used to treat asthma, which could enhance their performance.
Stang has denied that the study had anything to do with boosting athletic performance.
An electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) journal has retracted two 2016 papers after uncovering problems in the data analyses, which the author says were due to language barriers.
Interestingly, two authors of the newly retracted papers — Yu-Tao Xiang from the University of Macau in China and Gabor Ungvari from the University of Western Australia — also recently co-authored another paper on an entirely different topic that has received a lengthy correction. That paper — on the use of organs from executed prisoners in China — raised controversy for allegedly reporting a “sanitized” account of the practice. The correction notice, in the Journal of Medical Ethics, was accompanied by a critics’ rebuttal to the paper.
According to Xiang, the newly retracted papers in The Journal of ECT — which examined the efficacy of ECT in treating schizophrenia — were pulled due to “genuine errors” resulting from differences in language. All the authors agree with the retraction, Xiang noted.
A journal has retracted a case report after discovering it had already been reported.
The paper — about an “extremely rare” instance where a fetus was diagnosed with both a form of dwarfism and a chromosomal condition known as Klinefelter syndrome — was retracted from Case Reports in Obstetrics and Gynecology (CROG).
The first author of the paper told us the report was the result of a “big misunderstanding” between her and a former colleague, and she alerted the journal as soon as she noticed the case had already been reported in BMC Pediatrics.
It might not be a first – although we can’t find another example — but a mental health journal has reinstated an article it retracted four years ago.
The retracted retraction notice appears in the August issue of the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, a BMJ title, and refers to a 2005 article describing an alarming case of treatment-related emotional problems in a patient with cluster headaches.
These headaches, which often strike behind the eyes, are akin to migraines and have been dubbed “suicide headaches” because they are so intensely painful that many sufferers have said that death would be a preferable fate. (Think: “It beats a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.”)