Retraction Watch readers may have been following the case of Silvia Bulfone-Paus, whose lab has been forced to retract 12 papers amid allegations of scientific misconduct. As is often true in such cases, the story doesn’t end with those retractions. We’ve just become aware of a fascinating exchange in March and April between Bulfone-Paus’s supporters and her home institution, Germany’s Research Center Borstel.
First, some background: Karin Wiebauer, a former post-doc in Bulfone-Paus’s lab, flagged the potential misconduct, in great detail, for Bulfone-Paus in a November 2009 email. (In fact, she had brought it to her attention years earlier.) But Bulfone-Paus did not tell Borstel officials about the allegations until late February 2010. Borstel’s investigation into Bulfone-Paus’s lab began in July 2010.
Once that began, a person referring to himself as “Marco Berns” began emailing officials, journalists, and others about the situation. Nature called that move a “smear campaign,” and the emails “libellous,” but in retrospect they — and Wiebauer’s analysis — appear to have been spot-on, based on the eventual report of the Borstel committee. That report — which found data manipulation by two of Bulfone-Paus’s post-docs — led the institute’s Scientific Advisory Board to ask for Bulfone-Paus’s resignation. She only tendered that a month later, after more pressure.
Psychology Today has apparently yanked a blog post by London School of Economics evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa that wondered why black women were considered less attractive than other women.
The post, titled “Why Are Black Women Rated Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women, But Black Men Are Rated Better Looking Than Other Men?” was posted yesterday and available here, but that page now returns a 503 error.
A number of people have archived the post, however, including a communications and media professional who blogs at Chic.Seven. Her pdf is available here.
Add Health was developed in response to a mandate from the U.S. Congress to fund a study of adolescent health, and Waves I and II focus on the forces that may influence adolescents’ health and risk behaviors, including personal traits, families, friendships, romantic relationships, peer groups, schools, neighborhoods, and communities. As participants have aged into adulthood, however, the scientific goals of the study have expanded and evolved. Wave III, conducted when respondents were between 18 and 26 years old, focuses on how adolescent experiences and behaviors are related to decisions, behavior, and health outcomes in the transition to adulthood.
Last month, we brought you news of two retractions in math journals for duplicate publication and apparent guest authorship. Last week, we learned that the lead author of one of those papers, Amir Mahmood, has retracted another paper, this one in Nonlinear Analysis: Real World Applications.
According to the retraction notice, the paper was an “accidental duplication of an article that has already been published” in Communications in Nonlinear Science and Numerical Simulation.
The papers share two authors: Mahmood, of the department of mathematics at COMSATS Institute of Information Technology and the Abdus Salam School of Mathematical Sciences of GC University, both in Lahore, Pakistan; and N.A. Khan, of the University of Karachi’s math department. Khan was also on one of the two papers we wrote about last month, but not the one Mahmood co-authored. Those two papers’ shared author was M. Jamil.
Mahmood told Retraction Watch by email that the papers are not duplicates, and that the journal editors could not explain to him why they were.
Readers may recall a recent post on a study purporting to show that one of the best insurance policies against a retraction is to employ a medical writer. Well, a group of Iranian surgeons did just that. How’d it work out for them?
Of course, since you’re reading about this on Retraction Watch, you already know the answer to that one, don’t you?
The World Journal of Surgery has retracted a 2010 article written by hired guns who apparently decided to perform wordthievery rather than wordsmithery.
At a time when you can set up a Google alert to find out when your name appears anywhere on the Web — not that we’d know, of course — it puzzles us that some researchers are trying to get away with using others’ names on papers without their knowledge.
But they’re not just trying. Our recent experience suggests they’re actually getting away with it and seeing those papers in print. We’ve found at least six cases of that in the past few months. Of course, some eventually get caught.
That’s the world’s most harvested crab species and a particular favorite in Asia. But don’t confuse it with the Chesapeake Bay blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, of William Warner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Beautiful Swimmers.
The problem with such elemental tracers, it seems, is that crabs moult repeatedly, shedding their shells, along with the elements that build up inside them. According to researchers from the Research Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and the Osaka Prefectural Fisheries Experimental Station, however, a volatile form of cobalt, previously undetected, could be a suitable element for tracing the growth of both crabs and prawns — another important aquaculture species in Asia — over time.
In her CSE presentation, she discusses what editors can and can’t do to ferret out fraud. Make sure to read through to the end, where she discusses a study of how journal editors are much more likely to think that fraudulent results are appearing in other journals. (Hint: If you’re right that it’s happening in someone else’s journal, and the editor of that journal thinks it’s happening in yours, well…)
have recently discovered that the cell lines used in their paper were inadvertently misidentified. The cell lines utilized in the paper have now been found to contain the bcr/abl translocation and most likely represent the K562 CML cell line, instead of MMS1 and RPM1 myeloma cell lines. Due to this issue, the relevance of the findings to myeloma and thus, the conclusions of the paper, are not supported by the data. The authors apologize to the readers, reviewers, and editors of Blood for publishing these erroneous data.
That seems straightforward enough, and we couldn’t find any evidence that this problem affected other publications.