A group of Australian researchers who studied the cat’s meow as a model for urinary incontinence and other motor-neural issues in people have lost a 2015 paper in the wake of a misconduct investigation.
The target of the inquiry was Hari Subramanian, a former senior research fellow at the Queensland Brain Institute, part of the University of Queensland (UQ). Subramanian was leading studies of incontinence in the elderly, for which he sometimes used nerve stimulators on live rodents and cats. As The Australian reported last September, animal rights activists have objected to his research methods — which sometimes involved sticking probes into the brains of living animals.
Recently, the school launched an investigation — prompted by an unknown complainant — into the integrity of Subramanian’s data in two articles, including one, now retracted, that appeared in the Journal of Comparative Neurology.
The case is controversial, to say the least, replete with allegations of unfair attacks. Subramanian’s lawyer told us the journal may be reviewing its decision to retract the paper. (We couldn’t confirm that with the editor.)
A researcher who has received millions in funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health and who runs a lab at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York has confessed to falsifying data in a 2014 paper.
But the study, especially its methodology, met with immediate criticism in the article’s comment section. PLOS ONEnoted in March 2016 that the authors had contacted the journal regarding an error in some of the exposure levels reported in the study, which journal staff were “looking into.” In December 2016, the journal told the authors it was going to retract the paper. Now, more than one year later, it finally has.
A journal retracted a paper about how conflicts of interest might be influencing research into the link between vaccines and autism because — wait for it — the authors failed to disclose conflicts of interest.
According to the retraction notice, the editors retracted the paper without the authors’ agreement, because the authors had a host of personal and professional interests in the field they didn’t declare, such as being associated with organizations involved in autism and vaccine safety. What’s more, the article also contained “a number of errors, and mistakes of various types that raise concerns about the validity of the conclusion.”
What Caught Our Attention: Everyone makes mistakes — but some are more amusing than others. In one recent correction, the publisher (Wiley) admitted to including a proofreader’s query in the published manuscript. But didn’t say what the query was.
A journal is planning to retract a paper that purported to link a component of vaccines to autism in mice.
The paper, about the effects of aluminum adjuvants in vaccines on the immune response in the brains of mice, is the second retraction for co-authors Christopher Shaw and Lucija Tomljenovic, of the University of British Columbia. The journal’s editor told us he and the authors are jointly retracting the paper.
Just over a month old, the paper has already received plenty of criticism. Numerous commenters on PubPeer have allegedly identified image duplications and other problems with the paper. One commenter described “clear and deliberate” removal of control results in the paper, while others suggested gel bands were duplicated within the paper, and appear similar to those from another paperpublished in 2014 by Shaw and Tomljenovic. In a blog post, David Gorski, a professor and surgeon at Wayne State University, called the paper “antivaccine pseudoscience.”
A journal has retracted a recent case report about a stem cell therapy in a child with cerebral palsy, after discovering the study failed to meet “ethical standards.”
According to the journal, Regenerative Medicine, the ethical issue is that the authors failed to report the case to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare of Japan, which violates the country’s guidelines for conducting stem cell research. Unfortunately, we don’t know much more than that about what happened.