Anita Bandrowski, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Diego, works on tools to improve the transparency and reproducibility of scientific methods. (Her work on Research Resource Identifiers, or RRIDs, has been previously featured on Retraction Watch.) This week, Bandrowski and colleagues — including Amanda Capes-Davis, who chairs the International Cell Line Authentication Committee — published a paper in eLife that seeks to determine whether these tools are actually influencing the behavior of scientists, in this case by reducing the number of potentially erroneous cell lines used in published studies.
Such issues may affect thousands of papers. Among more than 300,000 cell line names in more than 150,000 articles, Bandrowski and her colleagues “estimate that 8.6% of these cell lines were on the list of problematic cell lines, whereas only 3.3% of the cell lines in the 634 papers that included RRIDs were on the problematic list,” suggesting “that the use of RRIDs is associated with a lower reported use of problematic cell lines.”
Retraction Watch spoke with Bandrowski about the role of these tools in the larger movement to improve transparency and reproducibility in science, and whether meta-scientific text-mining approaches will gain traction in the research community.
A once-prominent bone researcher whose career crumbled after allegations of misconduct has lost her medical license in Canada.
The researcher, Abida Sophina “Sophie” Jamal, formerly of the University of Toronto, had been considered a rising star in the international community of osteoporosis researchers, winning awards and collaborating with some of the leading senior investigators in the field.
A group of researchers based in Italy has had three papers retracted for likely using the same images to represent different experimental conditions.
The retractions, in Diabetes, published by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), follow expressions of concern for the papers in early 2018 and the launch of an investigation by the authors’ institution into the work. The status of that investigation by Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, however, is unclear, as the university has stopped responding to the journal’s inquiries.
Maybe you’re a researcher who likes keeping up with developments in scientific integrity. Maybe you’re a reporter who has found a story idea on the blog. Maybe you’re an ethics instructor who uses the site to find case studies. Or a publisher who uses our blog to screen authors who submit manuscripts — we know at least two who do.
A paper in Contraception that purported to show serious flaws in an earlier study of abortion laws and maternal health has been retracted, after the authors of the original study found what were apparently significant flaws in the study doing the debunking.
That’s the short version of this story. The longer version involves years of back-and-forth, accusations of conflict of interest and poor research practice, and lawyers for at least two parties. Be warned: We have an unusual amount of information to quote from here that’s worth following.
As the editor of Contraception, Carolyn Westhoff, put it:
The authors of a 2017 paper on how chronic inflammation might hasten aging have retracted the work because it turned out to be a collage of previously published articles.
The paper, “Chronic Inflammation: Accelerator of Biological Aging,” appeared in The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, an Oxford University Press title. It has been cited 41 times, earning it a “Highly Cited Paper” designation from Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science, meaning it has earned more citations than 99% of papers published in its field that year. The first author is Bertrand Fougère, of Université de Toulouse III Paul Sabatier and Tours University Hospital.