Infighting at journal prompts retraction of editorial “full of misinformation”

An editor thought she did a great job running an anesthesiology journal. But her colleagues— including the new editor who took over for her—heartily disagree.

During her tenure at the journal, the outgoing editor penned an editorial taking credit for the journal’s rise to success. But, according to a new commentary published in the journal, the former editor’s article presented wrong statistics, and minimized the contributions of those who had come before her. So when the new editor took office, he retracted it—and published the lengthy commentary explaining why. Continue reading Infighting at journal prompts retraction of editorial “full of misinformation”

A retraction gets retracted

Last year, an emergency medicine journal retracted a letter to the editor because it didn’t include the author’s potential conflict of interest. Now, it’s had a change of heart.

Earlier this month, the Canadian Journal of Emergency Medicine withdrew the retraction after determining the author, Guy Weinberg, had, in fact, provided information about his potential conflict  with his initial submission. Continue reading A retraction gets retracted

Caught Our Notice: 54 problems in three scientific images equals one expression of concern

Title: Effects of microRNA-223 on morphine analgesic tolerance by targeting NLRP3 in a rat model of neuropathic pain

What Caught Our Attention: Usually, an Expression of Concern (EOC) offers general language about “concerns regarding the validity of the data” or “concerns regarding the integrity of the study.” Here the language is anything but, saying that 54 Western blot bands within three figures have problems such as “visible pasted joints,” “square border,” and numerous “appear to be the same band.”  According to the notice, the authors have not responded to requests for the original blots, so the editors are allowing the article to remain intact, choosing instead “to alert readers to these issues and allow them to arrive at their own conclusions regarding the figures.” Continue reading Caught Our Notice: 54 problems in three scientific images equals one expression of concern

Caught Our Notice: Big journal, big correction

Title: Tranexamic Acid in Patients Undergoing Coronary-Artery Surgery

What Caught Our Attention: When the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) publishes a correction that is more than a misspelling of a name, we take a look. When NEJM publishes a 500-word correction to the data in a highly cited article, we take notice. This study tested the effects of a drug to prevent blood loss in patients undergoing heart surgery; it’s been the subject of correspondence between the authors and outside experts. The correction involved tweaks — lots of tweaks — to the text and tables, which did not change the outcomes.   Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Big journal, big correction

Society recommends 9 retractions for co-author of researcher with record number of retractions

The Japanese Society of Anesthesiologists (JSA) has requested the retraction of nine additional papers by a co-author of fraudster Yoshitaka Fujii, after investigating allegations of fraud in dozens of papers.

According to the report, a committee investigated approximately 40 publications by Yuhji Saitoh of Yachiyo Medical Center and Tokyo Women’s Medical University and “identified ten publications with clear ethics violations, one of which has already been retracted.”

Saitoh has collaborated on many papers with Fujii, an anesthesia researcher with more than 180 retractions. As we reported, Saitoh resigned from the JSA when the investigation began, and the society permanently banned him. Continue reading Society recommends 9 retractions for co-author of researcher with record number of retractions

Lancet retracts (and replaces) paper a year after authors report error that changes “all numbers”

In March 2016, researchers in Switzerland and Canada published a meta-analysis in The Lancet, exploring the optimal painkiller and dose for treating pain in knee and hip osteoarthritis. Soon after, the authors were informed of an error that would change “all numbers” in a paper that may influence clinical practice.

The authors contacted The Lancet immediately, in July 2016, to inform them of the issue. Sven Trelle, the paper’s corresponding author, also told us: Continue reading Lancet retracts (and replaces) paper a year after authors report error that changes “all numbers”

Former prof fudged dozens of images, says university

On Dec. 2, 2013, Alison Lakin, the research integrity officer at the University of Colorado Denver, received a concerning email.

The emailer was alleging several problems in a 2012 paper in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, co-authored by one of its high-profile faculty members. Lakin discussed the allegations with some administrators and agreed they had merit; Lakin sequestered an author’s laptop and other materials. Over the next few months, the university learned of additional allegations affecting other papers — and discovered even more serious problems in the JCI paper. Namely, the first author had inserted changes to 21 figures in the paper after submitting it, without alerting the other authors, journal, or reviewers.

That journal retracted the paper this month, citing numerous problems:

Continue reading Former prof fudged dozens of images, says university

Anesthesiology society bans co-author of researcher with record-number of retractions

The Japanese Society of Anesthesiologists has permanently banned a co-author of notorious fraudster Yoshitaka Fujii, after investigating many of his publications for alleged fraud.

According to the announcement last month (in Japanese), a committee investigated approximately 40 publications by Yuhji Saitoh of Yachiyo Medical Center and Tokyo Women’s Medical University in Japan. Saitoh resigned from the society once the investigation started; after the committee found evidence of data manipulation and fraud, the society decided it would permanently ban him as a member.

Saitoh was a frequent co-author of Yoshitaka Fujii, an anesthesia researcher with a record-breaking number of retractions (more than 180). Last year, anesthesia fraud sleuth John Carlisle and a co-author analyzed Saitoh’s papers — including many he didn’t co-author with Fujii — and concluded there was very low likelihood the sampling had been conducted randomly, among other potential concerns.

On May 9, the Japanese Society of Anesthesiologists issued the following statement, which we translated:

Continue reading Anesthesiology society bans co-author of researcher with record-number of retractions

Two in 100 clinical trials in eight major journals likely contain inaccurate data: Study

A sweeping analysis of more than 5,000 papers in eight leading medical journals has found compelling evidence of suspect data in roughly 2% of randomized controlled clinical trials in those journals.

Although the analysis, by John Carlisle, an anesthetist in the United Kingdom, could not determine whether the concerning data were tainted by misconduct or sloppiness, it suggests that editors of the journals have some investigating to do. Of the 98 studies identified by the method, only 16 have already been retracted. [See update at end.]

The types of studies analyzed — randomized controlled clinical trials — are considered the gold standard of medical evidence, and tend to be the basis for drug approvals and changes in clinical practice. Carlisle, according to an editorial by John Loadsman and Tim McCulloch accompanying the new study published today in Anesthesia, Continue reading Two in 100 clinical trials in eight major journals likely contain inaccurate data: Study

Researchers mistakenly administer three-fold higher dose of anesthesia

Researchers have retracted a 2016 paper after discovering that they accidentally administered three times the reported dose of anesthesia to rats.

In the Experimental Physiology paper, the authors set out to mathematically map how rats’ blood pressure changes under different conditions, which required the rats to be anesthetized. But their findings were called into question when they found the rats had received a much higher concentration of anesthesia than intended. According to the notice, this higher dose compromised the “objectives of the experiment.”

The corresponding author Karol Ondrias, from the Institute of Molecular Physiology and Genetics at the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Bratislava, told us how the dosing error occurred: Continue reading Researchers mistakenly administer three-fold higher dose of anesthesia