Caught Our Notice: Using this research tool? You’d better ask first

Via Wikimedia

Title: Patient Education After CABG: Are We Teaching the Wrong Information?

What Caught Our Attention: We’ve written about the controversy surrounding a commonly used tool to measure whether patients are sticking to their drug regimen, known as the Morisky Medication Adherence Scale (MMAS-8). It can cost thousands of dollars — and using it without payment/permission earns researchers a call from a collector, who has used legal threats to compel multiple teams to withdraw their papers (a phenomenon we wrote about in Science). The creator of the tool argues it’s copyrighted, and demanding fees ensures researchers use it properly, which avoids putting patients at risk. We’ve found a notice (paywalled, tsk-tsk) that reveals another group of authors used the tool without permission and, according to the notice, “incorrectly.”

Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Using this research tool? You’d better ask first

Journal bans author for three years after retracting paper with “serious ethical” problems

An anatomy journal has banned a researcher from submitting papers for three years after determining one of his recently published papers suffered from “serious ethical” issues.

According to Jae Seung Kang, associate editor at the journal Anatomy and Cell Biology (ACB), the paper’s sole authorJae Chul Lee—falsified both his affiliation and approval for conducting animal experiments in the paper, published online in March.

Kang said the journal discovered the issues after Lee submitted other papers to the journal this past August. During the journal’s review process, it discovered “over 70% redundancy”—ie, plagiarism—between the newly submitted papers and two now-retracted papers—the ACB paper as well as a 2015 paper published in the Journal of Pathology and Translational Medicine, on which Jae Chul Lee was corresponding author. The issues prompted the journal to conduct “an in-depth investigation,” Kang said. Continue reading Journal bans author for three years after retracting paper with “serious ethical” problems

So, was it plagiarism? Journal retracts three papers over “citation and attribution errors”

When several recent submissions raised a red flag, a pediatrics journal decided to investigate. The journal, Pediatrics in Review, discovered “citation and attribution errors” in three case studies, which the journal has now retracted.  

Luann Zanzola, the managing editor of the journal, explained that the editors caught the errors when they scanned the three papers—one published in 2014 and two in 2015—using the plagiarism detection software, iThenticate. Zanzola told us that the three case studies “were flagged for high iThenticate scores,” and when the authors could not adequately explain the amount of text overlap, the editors retracted the papers.

The retraction notices for the three papers, published in the journal’s September 2017 issue, are identical: Continue reading So, was it plagiarism? Journal retracts three papers over “citation and attribution errors”

Reader complaints prompt retraction of meta-analysis of heart-failure drug

A cardiology journal has retracted a 2016 meta-analysis after the editors had an, ahem, change of heart about the rigor of the study.

The article, “Ivabradine as adjuvant treatment for chronic heart failure,” was published in the International Journal of Cardiology, an Elsevier title.

The authors, a group at the Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil, concluded that: Continue reading Reader complaints prompt retraction of meta-analysis of heart-failure drug

Given “wrong pathology slides,” heart journal retracts paper

A cardiology journal has retracted a paper after the authors were unable to provide correct pathology slides to replace the wrong ones submitted with the original manuscript.

The paper is titled “Aortic Valve Endocarditis and Coronary Angiography With Cerebral Embolic Protection,” published on April 10, 2017 in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Cardiovascular Interventions (JACC:CI). It has not yet been cited, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science.

JACC:CI retracted the paper on Aug. 14, providing this notice: Continue reading Given “wrong pathology slides,” heart journal retracts paper

Journal knew about problems in a high-profile study before it came out — and did nothing for over a month

In June, Gene Emery, a journalist for Reuters Health, was assigned to write a story about an upcoming paper in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, set to come off embargo and be released to the public in a few days. Pretty quickly, he noticed something seemed off.

Emery saw that the data presented in the tables of the paper — about awareness of the problem of heart disease among women and their doctors — didn’t seem to match the authors’ conclusions. For instance, on a scale of 1 to 5 rating preparedness to assess female patients’ risk (with 5 being the most prepared), 64% of doctors answered 4 or 5; but the paper said “only a minority” of doctors felt well-prepared (findings echoed in an accompanying press release). On Monday June 19, four days before the paper was set to publish, Emery told the corresponding author — C. Noel Bairey Merz, Medical Director of the Women’s Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles — about the discrepancy; she told him to rely on the data in the table.

But the more Emery and his editors looked, the more problems they found with the paper. They alerted the journal hours before it was set to publish, hoping that was enough to halt the process. It wasn’t.

Continue reading Journal knew about problems in a high-profile study before it came out — and did nothing for over a month

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

Yikes: Peer reviewer stole (and published) author’s data

A gastroenterology and hepatology journal has retracted a 2017 review after discovering it included data “accessible only during peer review for another journal.”

Although we don’t know the details of this particular case—for instance, how the editors and publisher of Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics learned about the transgression and which author was responsible—the journal acted quickly to retract the paper, which was published online in March.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Systematic review: benefits and harms of transarterial embolisation for treating hepatocellular adenoma:”

Continue reading Yikes: Peer reviewer stole (and published) author’s data

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

Harvard teaching hospital to pay $10 million to settle research misconduct allegations

Piero Anversa

Brigham and Women’s Hospital and its parent healthcare network have agreed to pay $10 million to the U.S. government to resolve allegations it fraudulently obtained federal funding.

The case, which involves three former Harvard stem cell researchers, dates back several years. In 2014, Circulation retracted a paper by Piero Anversa, Annarosa Leri, and Jan Kajstura, among others, amidst a university investigation into misconduct allegations. Anversa and Leri — whose lab was described as filled with “fear” by one former research fellow — later sued the hospital for notifying journals of that investigation. They lost.

In the agreement announced today by the Department of Justice (DOJ), Partners Healthcare and Brigham and Women’s Hospital have agreed to pay the government $10 million to settle allegations that the researchers fraudulently obtained funding from the National Institutes of Health:

Continue reading Harvard teaching hospital to pay $10 million to settle research misconduct allegations