A cluster of papers by different authors has been retracted for sharing text, even though some papers were submitted at the same time.
How is that possible? A spokesperson for Springer told us that they have reason to believe a third-party company may have helped prepare the papers for publication, and in the process might have spread the material around to multiple manuscripts.
The details of the cluster are a bit perplexing, so bear with us. Two of the papers — that were published only months apart — have already been retracted, as we reported in April. Now, two other papers have been retracted from Molecular Biology Reports — and both notices cite the previously retracted papers. The new notices also say that there’s reason to believe that the peer-review process was compromised.
All papers conclude that a certain polymorphism could signal a risk for coronary artery disease among Chinese people.
We’ll start with the retraction notice for “Fibroblast growth factor receptor 4 polymorphisms and coronary artery disease: a case control study,” which cites the two papers that were retracted previously:
Continue reading A retraction cluster? Two papers retracted for overlap with other retractions
A PhD student has been expelled from a university in China after publishing a paper in PLOS ONE without the permission of her co-authors, and using an external company to complete some of the work.
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
The author of a paper about insulin has retracted it due to “extensive text and data overlap” with another paper.
In November 2015, MedChemComm issued an expression of concern (EOC) for the same paper. According to the EOC, the author of the paper, Yong Yang, flagged the paper to the journal, citing problems with authorship and portions of text overlap, which Yang attributed to an editing company.
The editor-in-chief of the journal told us Yang’s institution — China Medical University — carried out an investigation into the case at the journal’s request.
We’ve also found a 2015 retraction for Yang, after he published a paper without the okay of his previous institution in Texas.
Here’s the retraction notice: Continue reading Author pulls study for duplication, blames editing company
A plant sciences journal has pulled a 2016 paper for manipulated images after the study came under question at PubPeer.
According to the notice, the authors claim that the images were supplied by a “service provider;” the editor-in-chief of the journal told us he doesn’t have any details on this third party’s identity.
The first author of the retracted paper in Plant Science Today — Dibyendu Talukdar, from the University of Calcutta in West Bengal, India — has several other papers being questioned on PubPeer. His co-author, Tulika Talukdar, who is based at Acharya Prafulla Chandra Roy Government College in West Bengal, India, according to her ResearchGate page, is a co-author on three of these papers. According to the present paper, however, Tulika Talukdar is affiliated with Raja Peary Mohan College, which is part of the University of Calcutta.
Here’s the retraction notice: Continue reading Botanist pair’s paper retracted, others questioned on PubPeer
A PhD student who was supposed to complete part of an experiment passed the job on to a third party company, which in turn provided figures that were plagiarized and fabricated. That’s according to the corresponding author of the paper, which has now been retracted.
Hong Ren, affiliated with Xi’an Jiao Tong University in China, told us that he decided to delay the student’s graduation after he discovered that the student had passed off the work.
It’s not at all obvious that a third party was involved from the brief retraction notice for “EMT phenotype is induced by increased Src kinase activity via Src-mediated caspase-8 phosphorylation:”
Continue reading Third party company botched student’s doctoral work, says biologist
The editors of a journal that recently retracted a paper after the peer-review process was “compromised” have published the fake reviews, along with additional details about the case.
In the editorial titled “Organised crime against the academic peer review system,” Adam Cohen and other editors at the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology say they missed “several fairly obvious clues that should have set alarm bells ringing.” For instance, the glowing reviews from supposed high-profile researchers at Ivy League institutions were returned within a few days, were riddled with grammar problems, and the authors had no previous publications.
The case is one of many we’ve recently seen in which papers are pulled due to actions of a third party.
The paper was submitted on August 5, 2015. From the beginning, the timing was suspect, Cohen — the director for the Centre for Human Drug Research in The Netherlands — and his colleagues note: Continue reading Editors say they missed “fairly obvious clues” of third party tampering, publish fake peer reviews
The Open Automation and Control Systems Journal has published five items this calendar year — and all of those are retraction notices.
That’s what we’re sure about. Now to what we’re not clear on in this story, which is one of a growing number of cases we’ve seen in which so-called “predatory” publishers are starting to retract papers, perhaps because they hope the practice suggests they are rigorous. Four of the papers have been pulled for “compromised” peer review, some of which are due to the actions of an “external agent,” according to the journal. A co-author of one of these manuscripts, however, claims the paper has been pulled for using material from another researcher’s paper without acknowledgement but the journal has retracted it for issues with peer review.
The remaining paper has been pulled for plagiarizing from another published paper.
Let’s take a look at the retraction notice for the four papers felled by rigged peer review, which are all similar. They read: Continue reading Confusion reigns: Are these four retractions for compromised peer review, or not?
Here’s an interesting case: We’ve found two retracted papers that describe the same gene, and both have nearly identical retraction notices. What’s unusual is that the two papers don’t have any authors in common, and appeared in two different journals published by two different companies.
The cause of both papers’ demise: Plagiarism, and use of unpublished data without permission “from an unnamed source,” who wishes to remain that way. The author of one of the papers confirmed to us that the unnamed source is a “3rd party service company.” Springer told us that the third party in the other paper, however, is another researcher.
It’s a puzzling case, to be sure. We think we have uncovered some of what happened, but remain slightly fuzzy on the details.
Here’s the first retraction, for “KDM3A interacted with p53K372me1 and regulated p53 binding to PUMA in gastric cancer,” originally published online September 30 by Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications:
Continue reading How did two papers on same gene with different authors, publishers, end up with identical retraction notices?
The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (BJCP) has retracted a 2015 paper about treating heart failure after deciding its peer review process had been compromised.
This paper is one of the many we’ve noticed lately that have been felled by the actions of a “third party” — in this case, a manuscript editing company called EditPub.
The newly retracted paper, “rhBNP therapy can improve clinical outcomes and reduce in-hospital mortality compared with dobutamine in heart failure patients: a meta-analysis,” has not yet been cited, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science.
Here’s the retraction note, which tells us a bit more: Continue reading Pharmacology journal pulls paper because third party “compromised” peer review