Researchers have retracted a 2017 paper exploring a novel approach to treat kidney injury, because three images were “constructed inappropriately.”
That’s about as much as we know: The retraction notice provides few details about the nature of the issue, only that the authors—most of whom work at Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine in Hershey—could not provide the original data for the recently published figures.
When Retraction Watch began in 2010, our co-founders Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus quickly realized they couldn’t keep up with the hundreds of retractions that appeared each year. And the problem has only gotten worse — although we’ve added staff, the number of retractions issued each year has increased dramatically. According to our growing database, more than 1,300 retractions were issued last year (and that doesn’t include expressions of concern and errata). So to get new notices in front of readers more quickly, we’ve started a new feature called “Caught our Notice,” where we highlight a recent notice that stood out from the others. If you have any information about what happened, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Starting to get bored of stings designed to expose the well-documented flaws in scientific publishing? Yeah, sometimes we are too. But another one just came across our desks, and we couldn’t help ourselves.
John McCool is neither a researcher nor a urologist. When received an unsolicited invitation to submit a paper to an open-access urology journal, however, he just couldn’t resist: He is the owner of a freelance scientific editing company, and has long been concerned about so-called predatory journals, which often publish sub-par papers as long as authors pay. And he loves the TV show “Seinfeld.”
Like many others before him, McCool decided to punk the journal by submitting a fake paper. He told us:
Circumcision is a hot topic. So hot, questions about a reviewer’s potential conflict with the author of an article promoting circumcision prompted a journal editor to resign, and one academic to call another a “fanatic.”
It began in August, when Brian Morris, professor emeritus of molecular medicine at the University of Sydney, published a critique of a paper that itself had critiqued the practice of circumcision. But the sole reviewer of Morris’s article was a frequent co-author of his, Aaron Tobian of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. In his reference section, Morrislisted five papers on which he and Tobian were co-authors.
A tipster forwarded us emails from Eduardo Garin, editor in chief of the journal, saying he had resigned from the journal after it refused to retract the paper, despite the fact that its sole reviewer was a frequent collaborator of the author. However, Garin is still listed as editor in chief on the journal’s site.
Garin confirmed to us that he resigned after the publisher refused to retract or correct the Morris article; however, Xiu-Xia Song, vice director of the editorial office at Baishideng, told us by email that Garin is still the journal’s editor.
A publisher in the Netherlands has retracted 13 published studies and withdrawn 52 that were under consideration (but not yet published) after learning that someone illegally accessed its workflows to add fake authors and manipulate text.
According to Seyyed Mohammad Miri, the founder, CEO, and managing director of Kowsar Publishing, the 13 retracted papers all included extra authors added by the same Internet Protocol (IP) address. Cyber police in Iran found the same IP address had also accessed the 52 other papers, which were in various stages of the publishing process (such as peer review) and not yet online, Miri told Retraction Watch.
Most of the authors on the 13 retracted papers are based in institutions in Iran; some were co-authors on the 58 retractions recently issued as part of a mass clean-up by publishers BioMed Central and Springer, citing fake reviews, adding inappropriate authors, and plagiarism.
Sometimes, the best way to expose a problem with the publishing process is to put it to a test — perhaps by performing a Sokal-style hoax, or submitting a paper with obvious flaws.
In 2014, that’s just what a researcher in Kosovo did. Suspicious that a journal wasn’t doing a thorough job of vetting submissions, she decided to send them an article of hers that had already appeared in another journal. Her thinking was that any journal with an honest and thorough peer review process would hesitate to publish the work. But this journal didn’t — at least at first. Though they retracted the paper this summer, it took a few twists and turns to get there.
A journal has retracted the results of a clinical trial comparing strategies for bladder tumors after the authors mischaracterized the way patients were assigned to each procedure.
In addition, the journal European Urology has pulled a string of correspondence between author Harry Herr at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and an outside expert, who had questioned aspects of the study totally unrelated to the methodology, such as its generalizability.
A medical journal in Romania has issued a lifetime ban for a researcher after retracting four of his papers.
Since April, the Romanian Journal of Internal Medicine (RJIM) retracted nine papers (eight for plagiarism, one for duplication); four of these were co-authored by Manole Cojocaru, a researcher at the Titu Maiorescu University (TMU) in Bucharest, Romania. Subsequently, the journal has banned Cojocaru from submitting manuscripts, and has also informed the ethics committee at his institution.
falsified and/or fabricated quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) data to demonstrate a statistically significant or “trend” of statistical difference in the expression of renal or bladder urothelium and muscle developmental markers between control and experimental (mutant) mice, when there was none.
The ORI report said that Walker has agreed to retract or correct a 2013 PLOS ONE paper and a 2015 study published in American Journal of Physiology – Renal Physiology (AJPRP).