September 16, 2014

6:15 PM | Another retraction for Diederik Stapel, this one from Dutch drama festival on “truth and reality”
Here’s a case of art imitating science. The organizers of a Dutch drama festival have put a halt to a play about the disgraced social psychologist Diederik Stapel, prompting protests from the authors of the skit — one of whom is Stapel himself. According to an article in NRC Handelsblad: The Amsterdam Discovery Festival on […]
3:30 PM | PubPeer Selections: “Meta-rant” about Science paper; posting raw data satisfies critics; was gel splicing ever OK?
Here’s another installment of PubPeer Selections: A reminder that correlation is not causation, using a paper from Science as the basis for “a meta-rant.“ Gel splicing used to be OK, right? So all those older papers were just following standard operating procedure. Uh, no, says a commenter. Commenters question figures in a Cancer paper, and […]
1:30 PM | What should an ideal retraction notice look like? We (and COPE) want your input
Last week, we announced a new partnership with PRE (Peer Review Evaluation) “to improve access to information about retraction policies.” The first step, we and PRE said, was that Retraction Watch would create guidelines for retraction notices, to which PRE’s flagship product, PRE-val, would link. Well, it turns out that great minds think alike, or […]

September 15, 2014

3:30 PM | Hayabusa Science retraction made official, but behind a paywall
Science has published the retraction of a 2006 paper about an asteroid, following a report in its news pages that the study’s authors had requested the move. Here’s the paywalled — tsk, tsk — notice: In our report “X-ray fluorescence spectrometry of asteroid Itokawa by Hayabusa” (1), we analyzed the major elemental ratios of asteroid […]
1:30 PM | Scientist in Ireland notches two mysterious retractions and a correction
Sinead Miggin, a biologist at the National University of Ireland Maynooth, has withdrawn two papers from the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) and has corrected another paper, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Here’s the opaque JBC notice for “14-3-3ϵ and 14-3-3σ inhibit Toll-like receptor (TLR)-mediated proinflammatory cytokine induction,” a paper […]
10:30 AM | Montenegro’s science minister accused of plagiarism
Sanja Vlahovic, science minister of Montenegro, copied two-thirds of a 2010 paper on tourism from previously published work by other academics, according to the national daily newspaper Vijesti. The newspaper compared her paper, “Destinations’ Competitiveness in Modern Tourism,” presented at the Tourism & Hospitality Management 2010 conference in Opatija, Croatia, to three previously published papers […]

September 13, 2014

2:18 PM | Weekend reads: A scientific impostor, Retraction Watch comments lead to retractions
Here at Retraction Watch, the week featured the revelations of the peer reviews of an early version of the STAP stem cell paper, and an announcement about a new partnership. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Anoop Shankar is “a charming, bright-minded impostor who built a career on a base of lies.” An amazing story of […]

September 12, 2014

2:30 PM | Wrong in the tooth: Faked data, authorship issues force retraction of dental paper
Case Reports in Dentistry has pulled a 2014 article about an oral parasitic infection (caution: not pretty) after learning that the authors were not exactly honest about their work. Here’s the abstract of the paper, “Rhinosporidiosis of the Parotid Duct”: Rhinosporidiosis is a benign chronic granulomatous infection caused by Rhinosporidiosis seeberi (R. seeberi). Rhinosporidiosis is […]
12:30 PM | A new partner for Retraction Watch: PRE (Peer Review Evaluation)
We’re very pleased to announce that we’ve partnered with PRE (Peer Review Evaluation) to improve access to information about retraction policies. In the coming months, we’ll be publishing guidelines for what we think should be included in retraction notices, and on how those notices should be publicized. As a release describing the new partnership notes: […]

September 11, 2014

1:57 PM | “Potentially groundbreaking,” “highly provocative:” Nature STAP stem cell peer reviews published
A day after we published the cover letter and peer review reports about the STAP stem cell paper rejected by Science, Science‘s news section has published the same material for the version rejected by Nature. From Science‘s news story about the document: The Nature reviewers call the manuscripts and the results they describe “very interesting,” […]
1:30 PM | Dissertation in transition: Plagiarism leads to delisting of education thesis, lost PhD
The author of a doctoral dissertation on veterans education has lost the paper — and a mention of the work in a roster of theses — because he lifted text from a previously published dissertation from a student at another institution. Here’s the notice: We, the Editor and Publisher of the Community College Journal of […]

September 10, 2014

3:00 PM | Chemical engineering journal retracts paper with unknowing author
AIChemE’s website promises, “Subscribing to the AIChE Journal is like having access to nine topical journals in the field.” Without a subscription, though, you might miss out on some valuable topical information – like why a paper you want to cite has been retracted, something the Committee on Publication Ethics recommends be freely available. Here’s […]
12:30 PM | “Truly extraordinary,” “simply not credible,” “suspiciously sharp:” A STAP stem cell peer review report revealed
Retraction Watch readers are of course familiar with the STAP stem cell saga, which was punctuated by tragedy last month when one of the authors of the two now-retracted papers in Nature committed suicide. In June, Science‘s news section reported: Sources in the scientific community confirm that early versions of the STAP work were rejected […]
9:54 AM | Se trovi cattivo questo mondo, dovresti vedere gli altri!
In effetti questa è (o dovrebbe essere) la versione estesa di una conferenza di Philip K. Dick alla convention fantascientifica di Metz, in Francia, nel 1977. Non sono riuscito a trovare trascrizioni dell'intervento realmente fatto dallo scrittore a Metz, ma il video (via Open Culture) è abbastanza differente (non troppo rispetto ai contenuti) rispetto al testo (archive.org) successivamente pubblicato sulla Philip K. Dick Society Newsletter #27.Innanzitutto Dick esprime l'idea alla base di […]

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Bousso R. (2002). The holographic principle, Reviews of Modern Physics, 74 (3) 825-874. DOI:

Bekenstein J. (2008). Bekenstein-Hawking entropy, Scholarpedia, 3 (10) 7375. DOI:


September 09, 2014

3:30 PM | PubPeer Selections: Retracted papers, published elsewhere
Here’s another installment of PubPeer Selections: A paper by Rui Curi, who has two retractions and three corrections and threatened to sue Science-Fraud.org, looks a lot like one that was retracted, says one commenter. And Gizem Donmez, who has retracted two papers, has essentially republished one of them in a Frontiers journal, notes Paul Brookes. […]
1:30 PM | Two-timing sinks papers on ships in journal shaken by major scandal
When we heard about this retraction, we were forced to ask: Are there any articles left in Journal of Vibration & Control? The publication was forced to retract 60 papers by the same author in July, after he was caught exploiting a technological loophole to review his own papers. Now, papers on loading cargo ships […]

September 08, 2014

3:30 PM | Fudged figures sink breast cancer paper
A prestigious cancer journal has pulled an article over “concerns” regarding some of the figures, which PubPeer commenters had tagged as suspect. A few weeks after the paper was published on June 9, comments on PubPeer began accumulating. Commenters called out both potentially manipulated and repeated images. The exact timeline is not clear, because Oncogene does not list […]
1:30 PM | 87% of bugs resistant to antibiotics? Not so fast, as staph paper yanked after staff mistake
What could have been a truly scary study about drug resistant staph infections in hospitals has been retracted due to a lab error. Researchers at a community hospital in Pittsburgh claimed that the commonly quoted 3% rate of staph that is resistant to ceftriaxone and sensitive to methicillin was drastically understated. However, an “honest error […]

September 07, 2014

7:30 AM | Why study paradoxes?
Why study paradoxes? The easiest way to answer this question is with a story: In 2002 I was attending a conference on self-reference in Copenhagen, Denmark. During one of the breaks I got a chance to chat with Raymond Smullyan, who is amongst other things an accomplished magician, a distinguished mathematical logician, and perhaps the most well-known popularizer of `Knight and Knave’ (K&K) puzzles. The post Why study paradoxes? appeared first on […]

September 06, 2014

2:04 PM | Weekend reads: Nature’s torrent of retractions, peer review’s Golden Rule
Another busy week at Retraction Watch. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Could Nature‘s 2-year torrent of paper retractions be a good thing? asks Paul Knoepfler. “An Ecclesiastical Approach To Peer Review” in The Scientist: “do not abuse the single-blind peer review system in order to exact revenge or waylay a competitor.” “Replication and reputation: Whose […]

September 05, 2014

3:39 PM | Authors retract PNAS brain genetics paper for statistical issues
The authors of a paper on brain genetics published online in June in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) are retracting it for “a potential confound relating to statistical inference.” Here’s the notice for “Identification of gene ontologies linked to prefrontal–hippocampal functional coupling in the human brain:” The authors wish to note […]
1:30 PM | White House takes notice of reproducibility in science, and wants your opinion
The White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is taking a look at innovation and scientific research, and issues of reproducibility have made it onto its radar. Here’s the description of the project from the Federal Register: The Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Economic Council request public comments to […]

September 04, 2014

3:30 PM | Tonic-clonic stats error sinks epilepsy paper
A brain imaging study in children with epilepsy has been retracted by the Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging due to a statistics error. Here’s the notice for “Microstructural Brain Abnormalities of Children of Idiopathic Generalized Epilepsy With Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizure: A Voxel-Based Diffusional Kurtosis Imaging Study”: The above article, published online on 3 May 2014 in Wiley […]
1:30 PM | Retraction appears for psychiatrist sought for arrest in alleged fraud scheme
Want bogus data, million-dollar fraud allegations and a scientist on the lam? We give you Alain Malafosse. The British Journal of Psychiatry has retracted a June 2013 paper by Malafosse and his colleagues on the genetics of bipolar disorder in children because Malafosse allegedly fabricated key data in the study. The article, “Childhood maltreatment and […]

September 03, 2014

3:30 PM | Structure fumble sinks second of author’s JACS papers
Proof that organic chemistry is hard for everyone, not just pre-meds: A paper in the Journal of the American Chemical Society was retracted after the structures of compounds being studied were “misassigned.” Another study by author Doo Ok Jang, also in JACS, was retracted in 2013 for the same reason; you can read our coverage here. Jang […]
1:30 PM | First author blamed for retraction in prestigious medical journal
The authors of a Journal of Experimental Medicine have retracted it, blaming the first author for data and figure manipulation. The paper, “The requirements for natural Th17 cell development are distinct from those of conventional Th17 cells,” was initially published in September 2011 and has been cited 25 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. […]

September 02, 2014

6:26 PM | Authors ask Science to retract Hayabusa asteroid paper
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has requested that Science retract a 2006 paper about the makeup of asteroid Itokawa as observed from the spacecraft Hayabusa, the news section of Science reports. Instead of calibrating their equipment on Earth, the scientists assumed they’d see both magnesium and silicon in the x-ray spectra, and used that assumption to assess […]
3:30 PM | PubPeer Selections: Boosting memory in Science, extending lifespan in Nature, quantum anesthesia in PNAS
As Retraction Watch readers probably know, we’re big fans of PubPeer, the post-publication peer review site that allows comments on papers. Discussions there have led to a number of corrections and retractions, and even more importantly, authors are starting to respond to clarify results, acknowledge errors, or otherwise advance knowledge. After all, as we often […]
1:30 PM | Diabetes researcher Cory Toth now up to nine retractions
Cory Toth is up to nine retractions. The University of Calgary researcher who told us earlier this year that he “will not be publishing in the world of science in the future” has retracted two papers from Neuroscience. Here’s the notice for “Local erythropoietin signaling enhances regeneration in peripheral axons:” This article has been retracted: […]

September 01, 2014

12:56 PM | Danish committee rejects much of Klarlund Pedersen’s appeal of misconduct findings
The Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD, Danish acronym UVVU) has partially reversed a December 2013 finding of misconduct against a scientist in Denmark, but has upheld most of its ruling. Bente Klarlund Pedersen, whose case was tied up with that of Milena Penkowa, another scientist in Denmark found guilty of misconduct, committed misconduct in […]
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