Meet Elisabeth Bik, who finds problematic images in scientific papers for free

Courtesy Elisabeth Bik

Retraction Watch readers may know the name Elisabeth Bik, whose painstaking work inspecting tens of thousands of Western blot images has led to dozens of retractions in journals including PLOS ONE. Today in The Scientist, we profile Bik, a microbiologist who calls herself a “super-introvert.”

Bik tells us:

Continue reading Meet Elisabeth Bik, who finds problematic images in scientific papers for free

Authors’ remorse: Researchers retract paper so they can publish it in a journal with a higher impact factor

via Derek Markham/Flickr

Some researchers evidently have never heard the term “no backsies.” The authors of a paper on spine surgery have retracted the article because, well, they were fickle.

We’ll explain.

Continue reading Authors’ remorse: Researchers retract paper so they can publish it in a journal with a higher impact factor

Article retracted after critics say it has “racist ideological underpinnings”

A psychology journal has retracted a controversial article about mental ability in South African women after a petition calling on the publication to withdraw the paper generated more than 5,000 signatures.  

The paper, “Age- and education-related effects on cognitive functioning in Colored South African women,” was published in Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition in March. It quickly drew attention, and outrage, from critics who objected to what they called racist overtones in the work, from the title on down.

According to the abstract:

Continue reading Article retracted after critics say it has “racist ideological underpinnings”

Weekend reads: The Trump administration gets something right about science; a journal refuses a metaphor; should journals use Nazi science?

Before we present this week’s Weekend Reads, a question: Do you enjoy our weekly roundup? If so, we could really use your help. Would you consider a tax-deductible donation to support Weekend Reads, and our daily work? Thanks in advance.

The week at Retraction Watch featured an expression of concern following a journalist’s questions; a kind of plagiarism that software will miss; and researchers who blamed a ghostwriter for plagiarism. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:

Continue reading Weekend reads: The Trump administration gets something right about science; a journal refuses a metaphor; should journals use Nazi science?

Science retracts report on deadly Kumamoto earthquake

Damage from the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake

Science is retracting a 2017 paper about the deadly Kumamoto earthquake about a month after the university announced that the paper’s first author, Aiming Lin, had committed misconduct, including falsification of data and plagiarism.

Science editor in chief Jeremy Berg told us in late March that the journal had been trying to obtain more information in preparation for writing an expression of concern. Here’s today’s retraction notice:

Continue reading Science retracts report on deadly Kumamoto earthquake

“We got scammed:” Authors “sincerely apologize” for plagiarism they blame a ghostwriter for

The journal Cureus is retracting three articles by a mashup of authors from Pakistan and the United States for plagiarism, which the researchers blame on their use of a hired gun to prepare the papers.

The articles were published over a roughly one-month stretch in August and September 2018 and covered an impressively polymathic range of topics, from lupus to heart disease. Although the list of authors varied, a few names remained constant. One, Asad Ali, of Lahore Medical College and Institute of Dentistry, was the first author on all three papers. Another was Malik Qistas Ahmad, whose affiliation is given as the University of Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson although he no longer works there.   

The papers (not in chronological order) are: “Systemic lupus erythematosus: an overview of the disease pathology and its management”;  “Neurogenic stunned myocardium: a literature review”; and “An overview of the pathology and emerging treatment approaches for interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome.”

John R. Adler, the editor (and founder) of Cureus, told us that a reader pointed out the plagiarism, which escaped the journal’s plagiarism detection system.

The retraction notice for the first reads:

Continue reading “We got scammed:” Authors “sincerely apologize” for plagiarism they blame a ghostwriter for

Compression plagiarism: An “under-recognized variety” that software will miss

Michael Dougherty

If you’re interested in plagiarism in the scholarly literature nowadays, you’ve probably come across the name Michael Dougherty. Dougherty’s efforts to root out plagiarism has led to dozens of retractions, including several by a prominent priest. In a new paper in Argumentation, Dougherty, author of the recent book Correcting the Scholarly Record for Research Integrity: In the Aftermath of Plagiarism, has coined a new term: “compression plagiarism.” We asked him more about the phenomenon, which Dougherty says “is invisible to unsuspecting readers and immune to anti-plagiarism software.”

Retraction Watch (RW): You define a term that is new to us: Compression plagiarism. What is compression plagiarism, and why is it particularly problematic? Continue reading Compression plagiarism: An “under-recognized variety” that software will miss

Journalist’s questions lead to expression of concern for paper on melatonin and pistachios

Nicola Kuhrt

A spectroscopy journal has issued an expression of concern over a 2014 paper by researchers in Iran on the amount of the sleep hormone melatonin in pistachios after German authorities — prompted by a journalist’s questions — concluded that the analysis was in error.

The article, “Expression of concern to spectrofluorimetric determination of melatonin in kernels of four different pistacia varieties after ultrasound-assisted solid-liquid extraction,” was published in Spectrochimica Acta A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy, an Elsevier journal.

The authors, from the University of Kerman, reported: Continue reading Journalist’s questions lead to expression of concern for paper on melatonin and pistachios

Should a paper on mindfulness have been retracted? A co-author weighs in

Myriam Hunink

Two weeks ago, we covered the retraction of a PLoS ONE paper on mindfulness following criticism — dating back to 2017 — by James Coyne. At the time, the corresponding author, Maria Hunink, of Erasmus and Harvard, had not responded to a request for comment. Hunink responded late last week, saying that she had been on vacation, and with her permission we are posting her comments — including a correction she and her co-authors had originally drafted –here in the spirit of what she called “a fair and open discussion on Retraction Watch.” 

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.

In spite of its methodological limitations, we feel the paper is a valuable contribution. Continue reading Should a paper on mindfulness have been retracted? A co-author weighs in

Weekend reads: A U.S. gov’t memo on publishing leaves scientists in disbelief; money wasted on flawed research; an eye doctor whose research subjects were at risk

Before we present this week’s Weekend Reads, a question: Do you enjoy our weekly roundup? If so, we could really use your help. Would you consider a tax-deductible donation to support Weekend Reads, and our daily work? Thanks in advance.

The week at Retraction Watch featured the retraction of a paper on red wine, tea, and cancer; a look at why researchers make up co-authors’ names, and how PLOS ONE has become a “major retraction engine.” Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Continue reading Weekend reads: A U.S. gov’t memo on publishing leaves scientists in disbelief; money wasted on flawed research; an eye doctor whose research subjects were at risk