November 22, 2014

2:48 PM | Weekend reads: Novartis fires scientist for faking data; journal accepts F-bomb-laden spam paper
The week at Retraction Watch began with a case of a South Korean engineer who had to retract ten studies at once. Here’s what was happening elsewhere, along with an update on a story we covered a few days ago: We have an update on the case of a former Vanderbilt scientist found to have […]

November 21, 2014

4:40 PM | ‘‘I don’t take whores in taxis”: Casual sexism in scientific journal leads to editor’s note
The Elsevier journal Biological Conservation has put out an apology, but not a retraction, after outcry over a bizarre, misogynistic nonsequitor in a book review by Duke conservation biologist Stuart Pimm. Here’s the introduction to Pimm’s review of Keeping the Wild: Against the Domestication of Earth, which went online in October ahead of its December print publication: I confess […]
2:30 PM | Can you hear me now? Neuroscience paper sunk by audio stimulus error
Have you ever noticed that hearing something read aloud as you follow along helps you remember what you’re reading better? Two bioengineers at Trinity College Dublin, Michael Crosse and Edmund Lalor, decided to investigate the underlying reason for the phenomenon. Unfortunately, after they published their findings in the Journal of Neurophysiology earlier this year, they tried […]

November 20, 2014

8:17 PM | Former Vanderbilt scientist faked nearly 70 images, will retract 6 papers: ORI
A former Vanderbilt University biomedical engineer committed fraud on a massive scale, according to a new Office of Research Integrity (ORI) report. Igor Dzhura is banned from receiving federal funding for three years, and is retracting six papers, which have been cited more than 500 times. Since leaving Vanderbilt, he has worked at SUNY Upstate […]
4:35 PM | Journal retracts paper when authors refuse to pay page charges
Taylor & Francis has withdrawn a paper published online after a disagreement with the authors about page charges. Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva, Judit Dobránszki, Jean Carlos Cardoso, and Songjun Zeng had submitted the manuscript, “Genetic transformation of Dendrobium,” to GM Crops and Food: Biotechnology in Agriculture and the Food Chain earlier this year. It was […]
2:30 PM | Tracking down lit crit plagiarism leads to “discourses of madness”
This one brings together a bunch of our favorite topics, including plagiarism, poetry, and predatory publishers. Look, alliteration! Richard Lawrence Etienne Barnett, who often publishes under the name R-L Etienne Barnett, has been accused of plagiarizing at least 18 articles by other scholars, mostly analyses of French poetry, as well as duplicating his own work at least eight […]
10:00 AM | Remembering Joseph Fourier
In the middle of Les Misérables, Victor Hugo pauses for breath and paints a picture of Paris during 1817. ‘There was a celebrated Fourier at the Academy of Science, whom posterity has forgotten; and in some garret an obscure Fourier, whom the future will recall.’ Posterity, playing its favourite game of ‘cheat the prophet’, has [...]

November 19, 2014

7:12 PM | “Conscious fabrication” leads to retraction of diabetes study
Diabetologia has retracted a 2011 meeting abstract from a group in Sweden, indicating that the second author has been found guilty of research misconduct — a charge the scientist denies. The abstract, “Reduced syntaxin-5 in skeletal muscle of patients with type 2 diabetes is linked to increased diacylglycerol, activation of PKCtheta and impaired insulin signalling,” […]
4:30 PM | Second retraction appears for arcade game-like image manipulation
In June, we reported on a retraction in Current Biology that came after a number of PubPeer commenters suggested that the authors had engaged in figure manipulation, memorably comparing watching the published videos to playing the old-school arcade game “Space Invaders.” Now a second paper from the same team has been retracted from Biology Open after the authors “were unable […]
2:30 PM | Physics paper sinks amid accusations of unacceptable “overlap”
A paper in Physical Review Letters has been retracted for “overlap” with two other previously published papers. The notice isn’t available online yet, so we got in touch with American Physical Society (APS) editorial director Dan Kulp for more information. Here’s what he told us about “Anomalous melting scenario of the two-dimensional core-softened system”: As you can […]

November 18, 2014

4:37 PM | PubPeer Selections: From “this comment is clearly unfounded” to “happy to elaborate,” a range of responses
Late last week, Nature reported some details of PubPeer’s fight against a subpoena from a researcher who claims to have lost a job because of comments on the site. (Background here.) Here’s another installment of PubPeer Selections: “This comment is clearly unfounded.” A commenter reacts to a questions about a paper in the Journal of […]
2:30 PM | Leukemia paper retracted for plagiarism — 18 years later
Nearly two decades after a Polish researcher plagiarized the work of a Turkish team, her theft has been exposed and the paper retracted. According to an article in Polish-language paper Gazeta Wyborcza, Jolanta Rzymowska of the Medical University of Lublin was the subject of two disciplinary hearings, the first in February 2014, following the discovery of her plagiarism […]

November 17, 2014

7:22 PM | Fake citations plague some Google Scholar profiles
Last week, microbiologist Enrico Bucci emailed us with concerns that several of the citations listed on his Google Scholar profile were fake. Colleagues of his had noticed the same problem on their pages. The listings seem to be real titles, researchers, and publications, but scrambled. When Bucci first spoke with us, the Scholar citations all […]
4:39 PM | Engineer in South Korea forced to retract ten papers in one fell swoop
Chang-Suk Han, a member of the engineering faculty at Hoseo University in South Korea, has had ten articles retracted at once because of duplicated data. Here are the ten studies from Metals and Materials International: Precipitation Behavior of B2-ordered Aluminide (2006) Dislocation-Particle Interaction in Precipitation Strengthened Ll2-ordered Ni3Al (2007) Microstructure of Carbide Precipitates in L12-Ni3Al […]
2:30 PM | Retraction appears for faked study of Novartis anti-cancer compound
A paper by a former postdoc at MD Anderson Cancer Center who “admitted to knowingly and intentionally falsifying” a figure has been retracted. In August, the Office of Research Integrity announced that it had sanctioned Jun Fu for faking data in a study of the results of a mouse study of NVP-HSP990, a Novartis compound designed […]

November 15, 2014

2:30 PM | Weekend reads: Speed kills in publishing too; studying blank pages; apologies for the Rosetta Shirt
Highlights at Retraction Watch this week included a case of overly honest referencing and the story of how a medical resident flagged up a pseudoscientific study. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: “The publishing world is moving faster and faster,” says Kent Anderson, publisher at AAAS/Science, “and the ledger doesn’t usually seem net positive.” “A systematic […]

November 14, 2014

4:30 PM | Paper on circulating tumor cells taken out of circulation after lab error
A group of researchers at the Guangdong Academy of Medical Sciences in Guangzhou, China have retracted a paper that came out of a clinical trial on transarterial chemoembolization, a targeted kind of chemotherapy. According to the notice, one of the authors mixed up the control samples with the clinical samples, and “could not recall which samples were in the wrong […]
2:30 PM | Univ.: No misconduct, but “poor research practice” in mgt prof’s work now subject to 7 retractions
The Leadership Quarterly has retracted a trio of papers by Frederick Walumbwa, an “ethical leadership” guru at Florida International University, whose work has come under scrutiny for flawed methodology. And another journal  has pulled one of his articles for similar reasons. That brings his count – as far as we can tell — to seven retractions […]
10:30 AM | Celebrating Alan Turing
Alan Mathison Turing (1912-1954) was a mathematician and computer scientist, remembered for his revolutionary Automatic Computing Engine, on which the first personal computer was based, and his crucial role in breaking the ENIGMA code during the Second World War. He continues to be regarded as one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century. The post Celebrating Alan Turing appeared first on OUPblog.         Related StoriesRemembrance DayBioethics […]

November 13, 2014

7:27 PM | Professor defends ripping off his student by insulting him in the media
University of Regina professor Shahid Azam is the kind of thesis advisor that gives prospective grad students nightmares. According to the CBC, Azam lost a paper in Environmental Geotechnics for plagiarizing the work of his student, Arjun Paul, without bothering to cite it. Azam went on to trash the student’s ability to the CBC reporter. He’s got two […]
3:17 PM | Publisher sets high bar: Only articles “with lowest plagiarism” will be accepted
Maybe you can be a little bit pregnant after all. At least, that’s what the editors of the Journal of Innovations in Pharmaceutical and Biological Sciences would have submitters believe. In a rather ham-handed invitation to authors received by a friend of Retraction Watch, the open-access journal “cordially” solicits papers with a helpful illustrated timeline […]
2:30 PM | Lancet journal puts ICU paper on watch after authors acknowledge potentially fatal flaw
Lancet Respiratory Medicine has issued an expression of concern for a meta-analysis on tracheostomy in the intensive care unit that they published earlier this year. The paper, “Effect of early versus late or no tracheostomy on mortality of critically ill patients receiving mechanical ventilation: a systematic review and meta-analysis“, came from a group at Harvard, […]

November 12, 2014

4:30 PM | “Significant” copying forces retraction of sternotomy paper
Interactive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery has yanked a 2005 sternotomy paper by a group of researchers who plagiarized from an earlier article on the subject. The article, “The complications of repeat median sternotomy in paediatrics: six-months follow-up of consecutive cases,” came from a team at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, England, and has been cited eight […]
2:30 PM | “Know how to recognize pseudoscience:” Reader reveals how fish oil paper came to be retracted
After our post yesterday on a fishy retraction from author Brian Peskin, a reader who alerted the journal to problems got in touch to give us the lowdown. Ian Garber is in the last year of medical residency at the University of British Columbia. Here’s the story he told us via email: A few months ago, […]

November 11, 2014

5:35 PM | Overly honest references: “Should we cite the crappy Gabor paper here?”
We never cease to be amazed what can make it through peer review and several levels of editing. In this case, some fish mating researchers wrote a, um, love note to their peers that failed to be edited out by any of the many eyes who must have at least glanced over it. Here’s our […]
4:39 PM | PubPeer Selections: Corrections in PNAS, PLOS Pathogens after PubPeer critiques; how old is too old?
Here’s another installment of PubPeer Selections: The corresponding author of a PNAS paper corrects it in response to critiques on PubPeer. Two months after PubPeer commenters raise questions about figures in a PLOS Pathogens paper, the authors publish a correction of the questioned images. Were claims that a group had visualized hydrogen bonds overconfident? How […]
2:30 PM | “Undeclared competing interest” sinks fish oil takedown by author fined for deceptive claims
The Journal of Lipids has retracted an aggressively negative review article called “Why Fish Oil Fails,” written by one Brian S. Peskin, whose bogus health claims have landed him in plenty of hot water in the past. Here’s the notice: The article titled “Why Fish Oil Fails: A Comprehensive 21st Century Lipids-Based Physiologic Analysis”, published in Journal […]

November 10, 2014

4:30 PM | It’s happened again: Journal “cannot rule out” possibility author did his own peer review
Thomson Reuters’ online peer review system ScholarOne is having quite a year. This summer, a scientist exploited basic security flaws in how the system accepts author suggestions for peer reviewers to review a whole pile of his own manuscripts, ultimately resulting in the retraction of 60 papers and the resignation of the Taiwan minister of […]
2:30 PM | “I kind of like that about science:” Harvard diabetes breakthrough muddied by two new papers
Harvard stem cell researcher Doug Melton got a lot of press last year for research on a hormone he named betatrophin, after its supposed ability to increase production of beta cells, which regulate insulin. Now, the conclusions from that paper, which has been cited 59 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge, have been called […]

November 08, 2014

3:06 PM | Weekend reads: Scientists behaving badly; sexual harassment at Yale; help us find Retraction Watch bugs
First, a housekeeping note: We migrated web hosts this week, and while the move seems to have gone mostly smoothly, we’ve noticed a few issues: Comments aren’t threaded (even though we have them set up to be), categories aren’t properly nesting, and a small percentage of comments didn’t transfer over with the rest, the way […]
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