Last week, we noted a Nature editorial in which the journal came clean about its higher-than-average number of retractions this year — four. What we missed was the fact that the fourth retraction of the year also appeared in last week’s issue.
The journal Cell has retracted a paper on fruit fly genetics over concerns that the first author, a postdoc in a German laboratory, might have manipulated dozens of electron micrographs in the manuscript.
This week’s Nature includes a refreshing and soul-searching editorial about retractions. Excerpt (we added links and corrected a misspelling and wrong country in the editorial after a reader noted the errors below):
This year, Nature has published four retractions, an unusually large number. In 2009 we published one. Throughout the past decade, we have averaged about two per year, compared with about one per year in the 1990s, excluding the pulse of retractions of papers co-authored by [Austrian German physicist Jan Hendrick Hendrik Schön].
Given that Nature publishes about 800 papers a year, the total is not particularly alarming, especially because only some of the retractions are due to proven misconduct. A few of the Nature research journals have also had to retract papers in recent years, but the combined data do no more than hint at a trend. A broader survey revealed even smaller proportions: in 2009, Times Higher Education commissioned a survey by Thomson Reuters that counted 95 retractions among 1.4 million papers published in 2008. But the same survey showed that, since 1990 — during which time the number of published papers doubled — the proportion of retractions increased tenfold (see http://go.nature.com/vphd17).
a Duke researcher who posed as a Rhodes Scholar and appears to have invented key statistical analyses in a study of how breast cancer responds to chemotherapy[.The case] has sent ripples of angst through the cancer community. Potti’s antics prompted editors of The Lancet Oncology to issue an “expression of concern” — a Britishism that might be better expressed as “Holy Shit!” — about the validity of a 2007 paper in their journal by Potti and others.
There hasn’t been any further movement on The Lancet Oncology study, as far as we know, but on Friday the Raleigh News & Observerreported that one of Potti’s co-authors on a 2007 Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO) paper had requested a retraction: Continue reading A retraction in the Potti case?
A leading German anesthesiologist with more than 200 papers to his name has been accused of misrepresenting critical aspects of a paper — possibly including the data itself — published late last year in the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia.
Both Retraction Watch bloggers are all too familiar with the artwork in dermatology journals. One of us, AM, used to write for Skin & Aging, while the other, IO, waited eagerly for issues of Cutissent to his pediatrician father to show up on the coffee table. And IO recently broke the incredibly important story of “Mexican beer dermatitis.”
Yesterday, we noted that Axel Ullrich, a decorated cancer researcher, had retracted two papers in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The journal gave no explanation for the retractions, and our conversation with the publication director for the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, which puts out the journal, was less than illuminating. This morning, Ullrich responded to all of the questions we sent him by email, and our follow-ups. The picture is now a lot more clear.