It’s no secret that retractions have a stigma, which is very likely part of why authors often resist the move — even when honest error is involved. There have been at least a few proposals to change the nomenclature for some retractions over the years, from turning them into “amendments” to a new taxonomy.
Erica Boxheimer, data integrity analyst at EMBO Press, and Bernd Pulverer, chief editor of The EMBO Journal and head of scientific publications for the Press, have suggested a related solution, which builds on a 2015 proposal:
We proposed to use the term “withdrawal” instead of the canonical “retraction” for an author‐initiated retraction based on “honest mistakes”. We are now using the terms “retraction” and “withdrawal” as formally distinct content types across EMBO Press in the hope that “withdrawal” attracts less stigma and encourages self‐correction.
In a move to add transparency in a more systematic manner, we have begun trialing a “process file” for corrections—similar to the “review process files” on our published papers, which capture the review and editorial process at the journal—for corrigenda and retractions.
Here’s one such “process file.” We asked Pulverer and Boxheimer to describe how the approach would work.
The University of Kentucky has started termination proceedings against a pair of scientists found guilty of “significant departures from accepted practices of research,” according to the institution.
The scientists, Xianglin Shi, who up until now had held the William A. Marquard Chair in Cancer Research and served as associate dean for research integration in the UK College of Medicine, and Zhuo Zhang in the Department of Toxicology and Cancer Biology in the College of Medicine, have lost access to their laboratories, which are shuttered, and other university equipment, UK said in a statement. A third researcher, Donghern Kim, who worked under Zhang, already has been fired in the scandal.
In October, the university told us that it was aware of the retractions but “not able to provide more information at this time.” The ongoing investigation was first reported in April by the Lexington Herald-Leader.
According to the UK’s announcement today, the inquiry, which began in June 2018, into Shi, Zhang and Kim found that:
A week after news that the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) would have a new interim director shortly comes news that the agency will also have a new director of its investigative division as of early next month.
Starting August 4, Alexander Runko will be the director of the ORI’s Division of Investigative Oversight (DIO). He is already working at the agency as an investigator.
We sent an email to PLoS ONE in response to their intention to retract our paper explaining why we disagree with retraction but it seems they did not change their statement and went ahead with retraction. We suggested that discussing the methodological issues is a more rational approach and beneficial than retraction but received no response.
On Wednesday, we reported that a month after media reports of undisclosed conflicts of interest by top brass at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, a researcher there had corrected two papers to include financial conflicts of interest.
Brian Wansink, the Cornell food marketing researcher who announced his resignation yesterday and has been found to have committed misconduct by the university, admits to mistakes and poor record-keeping in a statement released today.
A day after the JAMA family of journals retracted six of his studies, Cornell food marketing researcher Brian Wansink tells Retraction Watch that he will be retiring next year.
And Cornell said today that it found that Wansink “committed academic misconduct in his research and scholarship, including misreporting of research data, problematic statistical techniques, failure to properly document and preserve research results, and inappropriate authorship.”
[See an update with a new statement by Wansink here.]