November 28, 2014

2:30 PM | PubPeer Selections: Male vs. female brains, health care serial killers, corrections on the way
Here’s another installment of PubPeer Selections: A new paper is casting yet more doubt on a 2013 PNAS study of differences between male and female brains. News to us: There is a Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling. A new paper there tries to characterize health care serial killers. A 2005 Nature Genetics paper […]

November 27, 2014

1:30 PM | Retraction appears for social psychologist Jens Förster
A retraction has appeared for Jens Förster, the former University of Amsterdam social psychologist whose work has come under serious scrutiny by two official committees. Here’s the notice for 2012’s “Sense Creative! The Impact of Global and Local Vision, Hearing, Touching, Tasting and Smelling on Creative and Analytic Thought,” a paper which first appeared in […]

November 26, 2014

3:30 PM | The Peer Review Scam: How authors are reviewing their own papers
Yesterday, we reported on the discovery by BioMed Central that there were about 50 papers in their editorial system whose authors had recommended fake peer reviewers. Those “reviewers” had submitted reviews of a number of manuscripts, and five of the papers had been published. (BMC posted a blog examining the case this morning.) For some […]
2:00 PM | “Super-surgeon” who created artificial tracheas facing new misconduct allegations
A one-time media favorite is being accused of serious misconduct in three cases where he inserted artificial windpipes into patients and treated them with stem cells. Two of the patients have died; one survives, but needs her airway cleaned every four hours by hospital staff to keep her alive. A little over two years ago, thoracic […]

November 25, 2014

6:05 PM | Publisher discovers 50 manuscripts involving fake peer reviewers
BioMed Central has uncovered about fifty manuscripts in their editorial system that involved fake peer reviewers, Retraction Watch has learned. Most of the cases were not published because they were discovered by a manuscript editor on a final pre-publication check. The five or so that have been published will go through some sort of re-review, […]
5:02 PM | Controversial editor and patient safety expert had undisclosed COIs in 9 of 10 papers
A new editorial in the Journal of Patient Safety accuses former editor and patient safety expert Charles Denham of having undeclared conflicts of interest in nine out of ten articles he published in the journal. Denham was at the center of massive controversy earlier this year, when the government accused him of taking more than $11 million in […]
2:30 PM | Nanoparticle paper earns retraction for lack of reproducibility
A nanoparticle article published earlier this year has been retracted by RSC Advances for lack of reproducibility, although we haven’t been able to get more details about what happened. Here’s the notice for “Sonochemical synthesis of poly(methyl methacrylate) core–surfactin shell nanoparticles for recyclable removal of heavy metal ions and its cytotoxicity” (freely available but requires sign-in): We, the named […]

November 24, 2014

4:30 PM | “I’m so done with it”: Conservationist speaks out against sexism in science
Last week, we wrote about conservationist Stuart Pimm receiving criticism for casual sexism in a recent book review. The journal did not retract the review, but it released an editor’s note condemning the language Pimm used, including quoting a movie scene in which a man told a woman “I don’t take whores in taxis.” Some […]
2:30 PM | Are lawyers ruining science?
Regular Retraction Watch readers may have noticed that legal issues seem to be popping up more often in the cases we cover. There has been a lawsuit filed against PubPeer commenters, for example, and Nature last month blamed lawyers for delayed and opaque retraction notices. It was those cases and others that prompted us to […]

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 […]
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