Recently, an ecology journal received a submission that made them pause. In order to conduct their research, the authors had to kill thousands of fish. The study had been approved by conservation authorities, but it still wasn’t sitting well with the journal.
So it rejected the paper, on ethical grounds.
Biological Conservation explained its decision in a recent paper, noting the killing of thousands of vertebrates (marine and freshwater fish) in a protected area was “unnecessary and inappropriate,” and adds the journal will continue questioning and rejecting papers that “do not meet reasonable standards of practice.”
This is not a universal practice, however — years ago, The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published the results of a research project that resulted in 90 people becoming infected with HIV. Again, that study had obtained the necessary ethical approvals — but should the journal act as the final judge?
According to the editors of Biological Conservation, yes. In “Field work ethics in biological research,” they write: Continue reading Should journals reject papers solely on ethical grounds?
A paper claiming genetically modified corn may be toxic over long periods has disappeared one day after it was presented at a press conference, after the journal’s domain name expired.
The paper, co-authored by Gilles Seralini — who has published controversial research showing harms of GM food — appeared in the Scholarly Journal of Agricultural Sciences (SJAS). On Tuesday, the Committee for Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering (Criigen) scheduled a press conference about the findings, noting the finding presented
new scientific data on Bt toxins and a thorough study of the records show that this GMO Bt maize is most probably toxic over the long term.
But on Wednesday January 27, the journal’s domain name expired. This isn’t a retraction per se, but a disappearance. Now, any link to the study “Pathology reports on the first cows fed with Bt176 maize (1997–2002)” goes to this page, which says in the bottom right corner: Continue reading Seralini paper claiming GMO toxicity disappears after journal domain expires
A researcher who studies how to turn dairy cattle manure into natural gas falsified and fabricated data in a journal article and failed to declare a commercial conflict of interest, a Washington State University investigation has found.
The study “Evaluation of Co-Digestion at a Commercial Dairy Anaerobic Digester” was published in 2011 in the journal CLEAN: Soil, Air, Water. First author Craig Frear was a Ph.D. student at WSU Pullman when the study was carried out and an assistant professor at the time of the investigation. The editor-in-chief of CLEAN, Prisca Henheik, told us that the retraction is a done deal even though it has not been posted online: Continue reading A bullshit excuse? My lab notebook “was blown into a manure pit”
A journal is pulling a paper that reported a grain sample in Texas tested positive for mad cow disease after the authors asked to change the results to say the sample contained “animal protein prohibited for use in ruminant feed.”
Shortly after the paper was published in October, the authors contacted the Journal of Food Protection to retract the finding that the grain sample tested positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). After review, the journal decided to retract the entire paper, with the authors’ agreement, citing changes that “significantly affect” the findings.
JFP scientific editor Lauren Jackson filled us in on some details: Continue reading Paper pulled when authors backtrack on identifying mad cow disease in Texas
A 13th retraction has been published for Jesús Ángel Lemus, the Spanish veterinary researcher whose work colleagues have had trouble verifying.
This paper was pulled for similar reasons as his other retractions: After retrying the experiments in two independent labs, fellow authors were “unable to arrive to any sound conclusion about the validity of his analyses.”
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences posted the notice September 16, three years after the paper received an expression of concern.
The retraction notice, signed by every co-author but Lemus, reads:
Continue reading 13th retraction issued for Jesús Ángel Lemus
The Veterinary Journal has retracted a 2014 paper that found that sheep eat more when their food is supplemented with urea (yes, the same compound found in urine).
The notice was published after a “complaint which raised serious concerns.”
Here’s more from the notice:
Continue reading Sheep study pulled for issues with “the validity of data” and “attribution of authorship”
The authors of a paper on parasitic nematodes have retracted the article because they misidentified the organism in question, so “the possibility of misleading readers was high.”
The paper, “Histopathological features of Capillaria hepatica infection in laboratory rabbits,” appeared in Toxicologic Pathology in 2009 and came from a lab at Huntingdon Life Sciences, in Cambridgeshire, England.
According to the abstract: Continue reading The worm has turned: Nematode study retracted for misidentification
Evidence of poorly treated lab animals has led researchers to retract a 2014 article in Veterinary Pathology that explored the neurological effects of dehydration in squirrel monkeys.
The study was pulled after Frederick Wang, the former director of the New England Primate Research Center, unveiled reports of a dozen squirrel monkeys that were found dehydrated and dead in their cages or euthanized between 1999 and 2011.
Wang told the Boston Globe in April that “human error” and “inadequate animal care” might have compromised the results of the study:
Continue reading Retraction of monkey paper linked to problems at shuttered research institute
A pair of animal nutrition researchers in India have now had a second paper on the nutritional value of a fungal treatment for wheat straw retracted, and one of the authors is very unhappy about it.
M.S. Mahesh of the National Dairy Research Institute at Deemed University claims a co-author issued “abusive letters” to an editor of the journal where the first paper was retracted (which said co-author denies), and that editors responsible for the second retraction removed the paper “unscientifically and unethically.”
The second paper, in Livestock Science, describes the treatment of wheat straw, a wheat by-product, with a fungus in an effort to improve the nutritional worth of the straw. It has a similar title, subject, and conclusions to those of a 2013 paper from the journal Tropical Animal Health and Production, which was retracted because the authors “had no permission to use the data presented in the Table 1.”
We described that earlier retraction from TAHP, and the similarity with this most recently retracted paper, in a post from early last year.
Here is the LS retraction notice for “Nutritional evaluation of wheat straw treated with white-rot fungus Crinipellis sp. RCK-SC in Sahiwal calves”: Continue reading Food fight: Animal nutrition author disputes two retractions
The authors of recent article about the rabbit hepatitis E virus have pulled the paper after discovering an unexpected mutation in their viral clone that likely affected the analysis.
They realized their mistake soon after the article, “RNA transcripts of full-length cDNA clones of rabbit hepatitis E virus are infectious in rabbits,” was published online in the Journal of General Virology in November, 2014. They withdrew the article before it made it into print.
The article came from a group led by Xiang-Jin Meng, of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, an offshoot of Virginia Tech and the University of Maryland.
Here’s the notice, which — tsk tsk — sits behind a pay wall: Continue reading Rabbit redo: Paper on lepus hepatitis pulled for mutation that “was not supposed to be present”