Over the objections of the authors, PLOS ONE has retracted a paper linking a diet designed to restore healthy gut bacteria to weight loss and other benefits.
The study, published in June 2017, claimed to show that a “Microbiome restoration diet improves digestion, cognition and physical and emotional wellbeing.” The diet was one championed by The Gut Makeover, whose author, Jeannette Hyde, is also a co-author on the paper (which the paper clearly disclosed). The diet is “designed to improve the health and diversity of the microbiome,” the microbiota that live within us.
Last October, David Hawkes read a letter to the editor that shocked him: It alleged Hawkes and a colleague had lied about their professional affiliations.
Hawkes told Retraction Watch that he contacted the journal Toxicology on October 19 to complain that the letter contained “numerous factual errors that could adversely affect our professional standing,” and requested the journal retract it as soon as possible. Hawkes told the editors of Toxicology:
…the claims about both myself and Joanne Benhamu are factually incorrect and we have received professional advice that they could be considered slanderous.
A former NIH postdoc recruited to a tenure-track position last year committed multiple acts of misconduct in two papers, according to the U.S. Office of Research Integrity.
According to the new notice, issued by the ORI, Colleen Skau altered results and multiple figures across the papers, published in Cell and PNAS.
The misconduct occurred while she was completing a postdoc in the Cell Biology and Physiology Center at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Last year, The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) announced that Skau was among eight targets of a recruitment grant; the grant, totaling $2 million USD, was designed to help entice her to accept a tenure-track position at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. We’ve been unable to find a faculty page for Skau at UT Southwestern, and have contacted the university to determine whether she accepted a position there.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health is closing PubMed Commons, the feature that enabled readers to post comments on abstracts indexed in PubMed.
NIH announced it will be discontinuing the service — which allowed only signed comments from authors with papers indexed in PubMed, among other restrictions — after more than four years, due to a lack of interest.
According to the statement, the last day to post a comment will be February 15:
Here at Retraction Watch, we constantly receive emails from readers who are frustrated with a particular journal — perhaps it has ignored obvious problems in a published paper, performed only a cursory peer review, or takes months (or years) to take action on a problematic article. Many whistleblowers bring their concerns to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), which provides guidelines for best practices in publishing. But sometimes, those same whistleblowers complain to us that there aren’t adequate punishments for journals that ignore allegations or maintain improper practices — and COPE, though an important standard-bearer for the industry, lacks teeth. Did you know COPE can revoke a journal’s membership if it doesn’t uphold the organization’s ethical standards? This has always been possible, and a recently released COPE statement about its sanctions policy has tried to clarify its position. We spoke with COPE co-chairs Geri Pearson and Chris Graf about this and other recently announced changes.