Many journals are adopting a recently developed mechanism for correcting the scientific record known as “retract and replace” — usually employed when the original paper has been affected by honest errors. But if an article is retracted and replaced, can readers always tell? To find out, Ana Marušić at the University of Split School of Medicine in Croatia and her colleagues reviewed 29 “Corrected and Republished Articles” issued between January, 2015 and December, 2016, noting how they were marked by Web of Science, Scopus, and the journals themselves. They report their findings today in The Lancet.
Retraction Watch: You found some inconsistencies in how articles are handled by journals and other databases. What were the most surprising and/or troubling to you?
A high-profile food researcher who’s faced heavy criticism about his work has retracted the revised version of an article he’d already retracted last month.
Yes, you read that right: Brian Wansink at Cornell University retracted the original article from JAMA Pediatrics in September, replacing it with a revised version. Now he’s retracting the revised version, citing a major error: The study, which reported children were more likely to choose an apple over a cookie if the apple included an Elmo sticker, was conducted in children 3-5 years old, not 8-11, as the study reported.
The authors of a 2017 paper on emotional and behavioral gaps between boys and girls have retracted the article after discovering a coding error that completely undermined their conclusions.
The revelation prompted the researchers to republish their findings in the same journal, this time with a title that flips the narrative.
The PsychJournal study, first published in March, looked at self-regulation — loosely defined as the ability to get stuff done and keep a lid on it — in boys and girls in German elementary schools. Although previous studies had found girls might do better on this front, the authors, from the University of Leipzig and New York University’s Abu Dhabi campus, initially found the opposite:
Researchers have retracted and replaced a June 2016 paper in JAMA Internal Medicine after discovering errors in their data.
The paper explored whether Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) — groups of health care providers who earn more when they deliver high-quality care without boosting costs — improve care and lower health care costs for Medicare patients. The paper’s corresponding author, Carrie H. Colla, and her colleagues examined Medicare data over five years and found the ACOs provided “ modest savings on average” and less hospital care.
A group of authors have withdrawn a 2011 Journal of Biological Chemistry paper, but then appear to have re-published almost the same paper a month later, only this time with just five of the original nine authors.
One of the papers from a massive heart disease study in China, published in the Lancet, has been retracted and republished after the authors noticed a statistical error.
The article, by authors from Peking Union Medical College in China, Yale University, and elsewhere, presented the results of the China PEACE-Retrospective Acute Myocardial Infarction Study, part of a national initiative to study and improve care for cardiac problems. After being posted online on June 24, 2014, the authors noticed that they’d incorrectly weighed one of the cities in their calculations, which threw off a number of national estimates.
After the corrections were made, the paper was peer-reviewed again, and reviewers stated that despite the mistakes, the original conclusions were sound.
Today is a banner day on Retraction Watch: This is our second excellent example of transparency in 24 hours, and therefore the second entry in our “doing the right thing” category. An editorial lays out exactly what happened, including a timeline, allowing scientists to feel confident they’re basing the next research step on solid and accurate data. (We also appreciate the hat tip to the Committee on Publication Ethics retraction guidelines, which we often send out to editors of bad notices as a gentle reminder.)
If a paper appears online but then is withdrawn — a kinder, gentler version of retracted — before it is “officially” published, did anyone hear it fall?
Oops, mixed metaphors again. And scare quotes! The latter, however, are because publishers seem to have varying opinions of whether or not something that is freely available online is published. And that has ramifications for whether you can retract a paper like that.