A gastroenterology journal has issued an extensive expression of concern about a 2013 paper by Yoshihiro Sato, a Japanese endocrinologist who has posthumously been climbing the Retraction Watch leaderboard. (He’s now ranked number three, ahead of Diederik Stapel.)
To call the statement an “expression of concern” is like calling Charles M. Schulz a talented cartoonist, or Escoffier a pretty good cook. Indeed, the journal expresses so much concern, about, well, so much, that we’re not sure what in the paper would be left unscathed.
Sato, formerly of Hirosaki University, currently has 77 retractions for a range of misconduct-related issues including likely data fabrication and duplication.
The maker of a leading over-the-counter antacid has withdrawn its application for approval of the drug in China because a clinical trial of the product in that country was marred by “major protocol deviations.”
Researchers for the company, Reckitt Benckiser, maker of Gaviscon, had published a report on the study in 2015 in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics. But the journal has now retracted the article, “Randomised clinical trial: The clinical efficacy and safety of an alginate‐antacid (Gaviscon Double Action) versus placebo, for decreasing upper gastrointestinal symptoms in symptomatic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in China,” at the behest of the drug maker.
Last month, the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition pulled an article on fecal transplantation for a reason that, well, doesn’t pass the sniff test.
The paper, by Sonia Michail of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, appeared online in October 2017 and described a randomized controlled trial of fecal transplants to treat kids with ulcerative colitis. (If you’re interested, here’s an overview of how fecal transplantation works.) The trial, or one awfully like it, is listed on ClinicalTrials.gov, and shows Michail as the lone investigator on the study, which is aiming to gather more than 100 participants.
But the journal retracted the article — which was the subject of a laudatory editorial in the journal pointing readers to the findings — with an entirely opaque statement, saying that the work
What Caught Our Attention: Last year, a journal retracted a paper about a child who developed a rare complication related to the inherited disorder Gaucher Disease, after realizing it had inadvertently identified the child. It wasn’t an immediately obvious mistake — the authors listed the drugs the patient was taking, and in the case of one drug, there was only one child in the world taking it. For anyone in the know, that would make the child’s identity clear.
So retracting the paper makes sense — but publishing a retraction notice that spells out the issue in detail, including the name of the drug and the fact the patient was the only pediatric recipient, did not. So last month, the Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology corrected the retraction notice, removing the name of the drug. (Phew.)
What Caught Our Attention: The paper was co-authored by Carmine Finelli, who in the past took responsibility for a dramatic transgression: Stealing material from an unpublished manuscript by one of its reviewers. After the paper that stole from the manuscript was retracted in 2016, Finelli earned a second retraction earlier this year — again, for plagiarism. (He’s also lost another paper from Oncotarget, which was removed without any information.) Now, a fourth retraction has popped up, for using material “published previously.” Unsure of the source of this material, we Googled some of the phrases from the retracted article. While we cannot say for sure, we offer these comparisons for you — the reader — to consider: Continue reading Caught Our Notice: 4th retraction for peer reviewer who stole manuscript
The investigation report by UC Denver, which we obtained earlier this year via a public records request, had recommended one of the two newest retractions, which appears in the journal Hepatology. The other retraction, in the Journal of Immunology, was not flagged by the report — which found, among other conclusions, that Almut Grenz had altered multiple values in research that had already been submitted for peer review.
Here’s the notice for the Journal of Immunology paper:
A patient appears to have had a change of heart about being featured in a case report.
The patient cannot be identified in the paper published in Journal of Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases. However, according to the retraction notice, she threatened to sue if the authors did not withdraw it. After receiving the threat, the paper’s corresponding author, Mariano Sica, told us that the authors immediately asked the journal to retract the paper.
We’ve written about similar cases where patients do not provide informed consent or withdraw it, but in this case we haven’t seen the threat ourselves.
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.