April 23, 2014

3:30 PM | Retractions appear in case of former Kansas water scientist rebuked for misconduct
Back in December, the University of Kansas issued a public censure of a former water researcher who, the school says, engaged in a pattern of plagiarism and other shoddy publishing practices. Marios Sophocleous, who’d held the position of senior scientist at the Kansas Geological Survey: has been found to have engaged in scholarly misconduct, relating […]
1:30 PM | Crystal unclear? “Business decision” forces retraction of silicon paper
A group of researchers in Tokyo has lost their 2013 article in the Journal of Crystal Growth over commercial interests — which don’t appear to be their own. We’ll explain. The article, “Interactions between planar defects in bulk 3C-SiC,” came from a team consisting of a researcher at Keio University and scientists at two companies, […]

April 22, 2014

3:30 PM | Plant paper retracted when new species turns out not to be so new
In December, a group of biologists in Thailand published a paper in the Nordic Journal of Botany heralding the discovery of a new species of plant: Bauhinia saksuwaniae, a new species from northeastern Thailand is described and illustrated. It appears to be an endemic and endangered species. The new species is obviously distinct from all […]
1:30 PM | Scientist found to have falsified data in thesis sues to keep her PhD
In August 2012, the authors of “Novel Approach to the Lundurine Alkaloids: Synthesis of the Tetracyclic Core,” a paper in Organic Letters, retracted it: The authors retract this Organic Letters communication on the basis that the RCM of 24 to give 25 (Scheme 6) is not reproducible; thus, the reduction of 25 to give 26 […]

April 21, 2014

5:00 PM | Faulty model forces rapid retraction of paper on sea ice and climate change
Last month, researchers published a paper whose conclusions suggested that looking at Arctic sea ice in the autumn offers clues to winter temperatures in Europe. The letter appeared — briefly, as this post will demonstrate — in Nature Geoscience. The letter, titled “High predictability of the winter Euro–Atlantic climate from cryospheric variability,” was written by […]
3:30 PM | Springer fake paper tally up to 18
We have some updates on the case of more than 120 fake SCIgen conference proceedings papers that slipped into IEEE and Springer journals. A month ago, Springer said it would be retracting the 16 such papers it found, instead of just removing them: On 27 February, we said that we would *remove* the articles, not […]
1:30 PM | Retraction Watch is hiring an intern: Here’s how to apply
Retraction Watch readers: We need help. As many of our loyal tipsters know, the list of retractions and related stories that we can’t get to just keeps getting longer. And as we grow, we want to groom a stable of paid freelance — and perhaps one day full-time — Retraction Watch contributors. So with that […]

April 20, 2014

11:41 PM | Brutal honesty: Author takes to PubPeer to announce retraction — and tells us she’ll lose PhD, professorship
Over the past week, there have been a number of comments on PubPeer — a site of which we’re big fans — about a 2007 paper in Oncogene. The comments suggested that the figures in the paper had problems. Some bands seemed to be duplicated, and one of the images looked very much like that […]

April 19, 2014

2:11 PM | Weekend reads: How to rescue science, what “censorship” really means, worst paper of the year?
Another very busy week at Retraction Watch. There were a lot of gems elsewhere. Here’s a sampling: Biomedical research in the U.S. must be rescued, write four heavy hitters in PNAS. It’s “time to confront the dangers at hand and rethink some fundamental features of the US biomedical research ecosystem.” “If you’re yelled at, boycotted, […]

April 18, 2014

5:00 PM | Authors retract study suggesting magnesium prevents Alzheimer’s in mice
The authors of a 2013 Journal of Neuroscience study suggesting that “elevation of brain magnesium…may have therapeutic potential for treating [Alzheimer's disease] in humans” have retracted it after finding errors in the work. Here’s the original abstract: Profound synapse loss is one of the major pathological hallmarks associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and might underlie […]
1:30 PM | Doing the right thing: Physicists retract paper after becoming aware of “a fundamental error”
The authors of a paper in Physical Review Letters have retracted it, after another researcher pointed out a mistake. F. Sattin and D.F. Escande write in the notice for “Alfvénic Propagation: A Key to Nonlocal Effects in Magnetized Plasmas” (which is behind a paywall) that after the paper was published, they “we became aware of […]
3:24 AM | Stem cell researcher in Korea up to half a dozen retractions
Almost two years ago, we brought you — with the help of Trevor Stokes — the story of a stem cell researcher in Korea whose publication record, and career, unraveled after evidence of image manipulation surfaced in her work. We’ve reported on four retractions, all in Antioxidants & Redox Signaling, by Soo-Kyung Kang, formerly of Seoul […]

April 17, 2014

7:13 PM | Publisher to pulp existing copies of science communication book because of plagiarism
The publisher Taylor & Francis has decided to pulp all existing copies of a 2012 book on science communication, and suspend electronic copies indefinitely, after it became clear that the text was plagiarized from the work of another author. The book, Clear and Concise Communications for Scientists and Engineers, was written by energy and environmental […]
3:30 PM | Heart study retracted because it was submitted without permission of most of the authors
A group of authors in South Korea has lost their 2012 paper in Clinical Cardiology because, well, they weren’t a group after all. The paper, “Correlation of Electrocardiographic Changes and Myocardial Fibrosis in Patients With Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Detected by Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging,” came from corresponding author Hyun Suk Yang, of Konkuk University School of […]
1:30 PM | Data highjinx forces retraction of tumor paper in JBC
The Journal of Biological Chemistry has an illuminating retraction notice — we’re happy to be able to say — about a 2001 article from a group of researchers at the National University of Singapore. The paper, “Intracellular acidification triggered by mitochondrial-derived hydrogen peroxide is an effector mechanism for drug-induced apoptosis in tumor cells,” was written […]

April 16, 2014

6:00 PM | Expression of Concern tarnishes copper oxide paper
Articles, like lawn furniture, aren’t supposed to rust after just two months. But the Journal of Materials Chemistry A has issued an Expression of Concern for a February 2014 paper by a group of chemists from India over possible problems with several figures in the article. The paper, “Hierarchically macro/mesostructured porous copper oxide: Facile synthesis, […]
3:30 PM | Integrity of data “undisputed” in paper pulled for plagiarism
I shot the sheriff But I didn’t shoot no deputy, oh no! Oh! I shot the sheriff But I didn’t shoot no deputy, ooh, ooh, oo-ooh. —Bob Marley A group of pharmacologists in Japan has retracted their 2004 article in the International Journal of Pharmaceutics for plagiarism. But not, they note, for any other reason. […]
1:30 PM | Multiple data errors force retraction of paper about preemies
A group of neonatal researchers in Caen has lost their 2013 review article in Archives of Disease in Childhood Fetal & Neonatal Edition for a variety of problems with their analysis of the data. The article was titled “NIDCAP in preterm infants and the neurodevelopmental effect in the first 2 years,” and its first author was […]

April 15, 2014

3:15 PM | NIH/Harvard team loses aging study to manipulated data
Age has retracted a 2012 article by a group of scientists from the National Institutes of Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston after an NIH inquiry turned up evidence of data manipulation in the work. The article, “Aging decreases rate of docosahexaenoic acid synthesis-secretion from circulating unesterified α-linolenic acid by rat liver,” came […]
1:30 PM | How common is scientific misconduct in Nigeria?
We’ve only covered one retraction from Nigeria. But as we’ve often noted, retraction rates don’t necessarily correlate with rates of problematic research, so the low number doesn’t really answer the question in this post’s title. Lucky for us, a group of authors have started publishing surveys of Nigerian scientists on the subject. In a new […]

April 14, 2014

3:30 PM | Anonymous blog comment suggests lack of confidentiality in peer review — and plays role in a new paper
A new paper in Intelligence is offering some, well, intel into the peer review process at one prestigious neuroscience journal. The new paper is about another paper, a December 2012 study, “Fractionating Human Intelligence,” published in Neuron by Adam Hampshire and colleagues in December 2012. The Neuron study has been cited 16 times, according to Thomson […]
1:30 PM | Nature corrects a correction
Last year, we reported on a Nature correction of a paper for what a McGill University committee had earlier called “intentionally contrived and falsified” figures. It turns out that the correction — like the original paper — left some Nature readers puzzled, so the journal has run a correction of the correction: Owing to an […]

April 12, 2014

2:59 PM | Weekend reads: Problems with a Science paper, how to cite properly (and improperly)
Another super-busy week at Retraction Watch. Here’s what was happening in around the web in scientific publishing, misconduct, and related issues: Derek Lowe takes a look at a paper in Science, and finds an awful lot of problems. Science says it’s looking into the study. A guide to proper citation — and how to respond […]

April 11, 2014

5:25 PM | “[W]e did not succeed:” Frontiers editor on handling of controversial retraction
Controversy continues to swirl around the retraction of a Frontiers paper linking climate skepticism to conspiratorial ideation, with three editors resigning from various Frontiers journals, and competing narratives. The authors say the journal retracted the paper because of a fear of legal threats, while the journal, and critics of the study, has said it was […]
2:57 PM | Fraud fells Alzheimer’s “made to order” neurons paper in Cell
In 2011, a group of researchers at Columbia University reported in Cell that they had been able to convert skin cells from patients with Alzheimer’s disease into functioning neurons — a finding that raised the exciting prospect of “made to order” brain cells for patients with the degenerative disease. As one researcher not involved with […]
1:53 PM | La serie infinita del triangolo aureo
Un triangolo aureo è un triangolo isoscele in cui il rapporto tra uno dei lati uguali con la base è pari alla sezione aurea $\varphi$. Utilizzando un triangolo aureo di lato 1, è possibile dimostrare che \[1 + \frac{1}{\varphi^2} + \frac{1}{\varphi^4} + \cdots = \varphi\] \[\frac{1}{\varphi} + \frac{1}{\varphi^3} + \cdots = \1] \[\frac{1}{\varphi} + \frac{1}{\varphi^2} + \frac{1}{\varphi^3} + \cdots = \varphi\] Il triangolo aureo qui sopra è lo screenshot della applet realizzata da Irina […]

Edwards S. (2014). Proof Without Words: An Infinite Series Using Golden Triangles, The College Mathematics Journal, 45 (2) 120-120. DOI:

10:44 AM | Harvard-Brigham heart researcher under investigation earns Lancet Expression of Concern
On Tuesday, we broke the news of the retraction in Circulation of a paper on cardiac stem cells by a group of researchers being investigated by Harvard Medical School and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Today, The Lancet has issued an Expression of Concern about another paper led by Piero Anversa, the last author of […]

April 10, 2014

5:52 PM | Following “personal attacks and threats,” Elsevier plant journal makes author persona non grata
An Elsevier journal has taken “the exceptional step of ceasing to communicate” with a scientist-critic after a series of “unfounded personal attacks and threats.” The move means that the journal, Scientia Horticulturae, will not review any papers that include the critic, Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva, as an author. Here is the text of the letter […]
1:30 PM | Lack of citation prompts correction in Nature journal
It’s not unusual to hear authors bemoan the fact that a new paper doesn’t cite their work that set the stage for a scientific advance. “The journal limited me to [a seemingly abitrary number of] references,” authors sometimes shrug, with or without apology. This week, however, we found a case of that which seems to […]
11:16 AM | Retraction four appears for Dirk Smeesters
Dirk Smeesters, the former psychology professor at Erasmus University found to have committed misconduct, has had another paper retracted. Here’s the notice: The following article has been retracted by the Editor and publishers of Psychological Science: Liu, J. (E.), Vohs, K. D., & Smeesters, D. (2011). Money and mimicry: When being mimicked makes people feel […]
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