Can a “nudge” stop researchers from using the wrong cell lines?

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.

Retraction Watch (RW): Your study presents RRID as a behavioral “nudge,” beyond its primary goal of standardizing method reporting. What other nudges can you envision to prevent misuse of cell lines in scientific research? Continue reading Can a “nudge” stop researchers from using the wrong cell lines?

Researcher banned from federal Canadian funding after misconduct loses medical license

via WCH

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.

But on March 6, 2018, Jamal was summoned by a disciplinary committee of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario to hear the following letter: Continue reading Researcher banned from federal Canadian funding after misconduct loses medical license

Biochemist in Spain retracts eight papers at once

Carlos López-Otín

A high-profile researcher at the Universidad de Oviedo in Spain has retracted eight papers from the Journal of Biological Chemistry for figure issues.

All of the papers were co-authored by Carlos López-Otín, who studies a group of enzymes that break down proteins, cancer genomics and aging, and whose lab web site boasts that

His works have been collected in more than 400 articles in international journals and have been cited to date more than 44.000 times, with an aggregate Hirsch index of h=100.

A representative notice: Continue reading Biochemist in Spain retracts eight papers at once

Weekend reads: Sokal on Sokal Squared hoax; is open access enough?; replication in the humanities

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 a showdown over a paper on abortion laws that left no one happy; the retraction of a highly cited paper for “overlap;” and three retractions for researchers whose university stopped responding to a publisher. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Continue reading Weekend reads: Sokal on Sokal Squared hoax; is open access enough?; replication in the humanities

After university goes silent, diabetes journal retracts three papers

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.

Here are the three now-retracted papers: Continue reading After university goes silent, diabetes journal retracts three papers

“Evidence of fabricated data” leads to retraction of paper on software engineering

A group of software engineers from academia and industry has lost a 2017 paper on web-based applications over concerns that the data were fabricated.

The article, “Facilitating debugging of web applications through recording reduction,” appeared online in May 2017 in Empirical Software Engineering, a Springer publication.

According to the retraction notice, which was released in December: Continue reading “Evidence of fabricated data” leads to retraction of paper on software engineering

Retraction Watch readers, we need your help to be able to continue our work

Dear Retraction Watch readers:

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.

Whether you fall into one of those categories or another, we need your help. Continue reading Retraction Watch readers, we need your help to be able to continue our work

Showdown over a study of abortion policy leads to a retraction, and leaves no one happy

Elard Koch

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:

I got to make everybody angry.

Continue reading Showdown over a study of abortion policy leads to a retraction, and leaves no one happy

“We were very uncomfortable with this situation:” French group loses aging paper for “overlap”

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.

Here’s the notice (which we’ve reformatted for readability): Continue reading “We were very uncomfortable with this situation:” French group loses aging paper for “overlap”

Weekend reads: #MeToo in a political science journal; 15 articles that challenged dogma in 2018; an entire editorial board resigns

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 a sixth retraction for a researcher cleared of misconduct; a retraction for “something that we have never seen before in any study;” and two retractions that took more than four years. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Continue reading Weekend reads: #MeToo in a political science journal; 15 articles that challenged dogma in 2018; an entire editorial board resigns