Caught Our Notice: Yes, a 20-year-old article is wrong — but it won’t be corrected online

Title: AMPA receptor-mediated regulation of a Gi-protein in cortical neurons

What Caught Our Attention:  Usually, when journals publish corrections to articles, they also correct the original article, except when the original is unavailable online.  When Nature noticed that some figure panels in a 20-year-old paper were duplicated, it flagged the issue for readers — but didn’t correct the online version of the original paper. According to the notice, the duplications don’t disturb the conclusion illustrated by the figure, the original data couldn’t be found, and the last two authors had retired. We contacted a spokesperson at Nature, who told us “the information at the start of the paper clearly links to the corrigendum.”   Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Yes, a 20-year-old article is wrong — but it won’t be corrected online

Caught Our Notice: “The first author cut the thermoprinter paper printout into pieces and reassembled them”

Title: A mitochondrial ferredoxin is essential for biogenesis of cellular iron-sulfur proteins

What Caught Our Attention: Here’s a cut-and-paste issue that gave us pause. The authors of an 18-year-old paper in PNAS corrected it after realizing some bands in a figure were duplicated (an issue raised on PubPeer one year ago). It turns out, the first author had cut the paper into pieces and reassembled them to present the blots in the “desired order,” and some had become duplicated by mistake. The overall results were unaffected, so the journal swapped the image with a corrected version. Continue reading Caught Our Notice: “The first author cut the thermoprinter paper printout into pieces and reassembled them”

Caught Our Notice: Retraction eight as errors in Wansink paper are “too voluminous” for a correction

Title: Shifts in the Enjoyment of Healthy and Unhealthy Behaviors Affect Short- and Long-Term Postbariatric Weight Loss

What Caught Our Attention: Cornell food marketing researcher Brian Wansink, the one-time media darling who has been dogged by mounting criticism of his findings, has lost another paper to retraction. As we’ve noted in the past, corrections for Wansink’s work tend to be long. This time, “the number of errors is too voluminous to be executed by issuing a correction statement,” according to the retraction notice for a paper about behaviors following weight loss surgery. Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Retraction eight as errors in Wansink paper are “too voluminous” for a correction

Caught Our Notice: Voinnet co-author issues another correction

Title: AtsPLA2-α nuclear relocalization by the Arabidopsis transcription factor AtMYB30 leads to repression of the plant defense response

What Caught Our Attention:  A previous collaborator with high-profile plant biologist Olivier Voinnet (who now has eight retractions) has issued an interesting correction to a 2010 PNAS paper. Susana Rivas is last author on the paper, the correction for which notes some images were duplicated, and others were “cropped and/or stretched to match the other blots.” Rivas is currently a group leader at The Laboratory of Plant-Microbe Interactions (LIPM), “a combined INRA-CNRS Research Unit.” Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Voinnet co-author issues another correction

Caught Our Notice: Bioethics article retracted for…ethics violation

Title: Bioethics and Medical Education

What Caught Our Attention: As we’ve said before, you can’t make this stuff up: An article on bioethics had its own ethical issues to deal with. It turns out, the authors had “substantial unreferenced overlap” with another article, that “overlap” including the article’s title. Here’s a side by side comparison of the first page, highlighting the matching text: Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Bioethics article retracted for…ethics violation

Caught Our Notice: No retraction for “likely fraudulent” study

Title: Homocysteine as a predictive factor for hip fracture in elderly women with Parkinson’s disease

What Caught Our Attention:  In a letter to the editor, researchers led by Mark Bolland recently outlined the many reasons why a study by Yoshihiro Sato and colleagues in The American Journal of Medicine was “unreliable,” including evidence that the patient numbers were not achievable as described, and inconsistencies and errors in the study data. And let’s not forget a 2016 analysis (co-authored by Bolland) which cast doubt on Sato’s body of work, suggesting that more than 30 of his papers could be problematic. Continue reading Caught Our Notice: No retraction for “likely fraudulent” study

Caught Our Notice: Should publicly funded research tools be free for researchers to use?

Title: Adherence to Adjuvant Neuropathic Pain Medications in a Palliative Care Clinic

What Caught Our Attention: We’ve found a fourth retraction for the unlicensed use of a common research tool, an issue we explored in depth for Science last year. Quick recap: When researchers use a copyrighted questionnaire (MMAS-8) without permission, they get a call from its creator Donald Morisky (or his representative), asking them to pay up — sometimes thousands of dollars. There’s another option: Retract the paper. That was the choice made by a group of researchers in Arkansas, who — in a nicely detailed notice — note that, since the scale was developed using federal funds, “they dispute the validity and reasonableness of Dr. Morisky’s demands in light of the National Institutes of Health’s Principles and Guidelines for Recipients of NIH Research Grants and Contracts on Obtaining and Disseminating Biomedical Research Resources.” Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Should publicly funded research tools be free for researchers to use?

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

Caught Our Notice: Brian Wansink issues correction that’s longer than original paper

Title: Attractive names sustain increased vegetable intake in schools

What Caught Our Attention: One thing can be said for the corrections for Brian Wansink‘s papers — they aren’t short.  After James Heathers outlined some of his concerns about the highly cited study back in March, 2017, the journal has issued a correction, and it’s longer (1636 words) than the original, highly cited paper (1401 words). Some of the changes include explaining the children studied were preschoolers (3-5 years old), not preteens (8-11), as originally claimed. (It may be hard to imagine how the authors could make such a mistake, but they did it once before, in another retracted paper.) Even with all those words explaining the correction — we’re only including an excerpt of the entire notice below — some concerns still remain: Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Brian Wansink issues correction that’s longer than original paper

Caught Our Notice: Swiss group loses 4th paper for data manipulation

Title: Dysferlin Interacts with Histone Deacetylase 6 and Increases alpha-Tubulin Acetylation

What Caught Our Attention:  After losing three articles for data manipulation, Michael Sinnreich has retracted another paper in PLoS ONE.  All four retractions share some of the same authors, including Bilal Azakir and Sabrina Di Fulvio, who is listed as the first author on the latest retraction. None of the notices have identified a person responsible for the data manipulation. Three years ago, PubPeer user had flagged some of the figures mentioned in the notice — noting that he was “led to this paper by a story on Retraction Watch” — most likely, a 2014 post that flagged an ongoing discussion about one of Sinnreich’s papers on PubPeer. Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Swiss group loses 4th paper for data manipulation