Retraction Watch

Weekend reads: The editor who’s a dog; the fake author; a monument to peer review

The week at Retraction Watch featured the retraction of a much-discussed paper on using blockchain to prevent scientific misconduct, and a researcher who lost nine studies at once from a single journal. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Ollie’s on the editorial board of seven journals, maybe because she always obeys a “sit” command. She’s a dog, […]

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“There is an injustice in this article”

The editors of a plant biology journal have retracted a 2007 paper because of “an injustice.” According to the notice, the editors of Cytologia found evidence of “apparent figure manipulation,” and decided to retract the paper. This marks the 10th retraction for plant biologist Dibyendu Talukdar. Talukdar, who is first and corresponding author on the 2007 paper and listed at the University of […]

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Paper with duplicated image “sequentially builds” on neuroscience work, authors argue

A neurochemistry journal has retracted a paper from a group in China over a duplicated image. According to the notice, the authors used the same image in the two papers to represent different experimental conditions. The only distinguishing feature between the images: “apparent brightness changes.” The authors defended their actions, explaining that the research published in Journal of […]

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Would-be Johns Hopkins whistleblower loses appeal in case involving Nature retraction

A former researcher at Johns Hopkins who voiced concerns about a now-retracted paper in Nature has lost another bid for whistleblower protection. Daniel Yuan, a longtime statistician for former Hopkins yeast geneticist Jef Boeke, was dismissed in 2011, after he’d spent years raising concerns about research coming out of the lab. Yuan’s criticisms, which continued […]

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Journal retracts nine papers in one day by author under investigation at the Weizmann Institute

On April 27, the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) retracted nine papers by a researcher based in Israel, including some dating back to 2000. The reason: Image manipulation. Michal Neeman, vice president of The Weizmann Institute of Science, told us that the researcher, Rony Seger, is under investigation following an allegation of misconduct affecting papers in multiple […]

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Publisher blames bad choice of reviewer for publication of hoax paper on penis as “social construct” 

Less than a week after publishing a much-discussed hoax paper, a scholarly publisher has acknowledged that it had chosen reviewers for the paper whose “expertise did not fully align with this subject matter.” The subject matter: that the penis should not be considered an anatomical organ, but more as a concept – “a gender-performative, highly fluid social […]

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Authors retract much-debated blockchain paper from F1000

The authors of a popular — and heavily debated — F1000Research paper proposing a method to prevent scientific misconduct have decided to retract it. The paper was initially criticized for allegedly plagiarizing from a graduate student’s blog — and revised to try to “rectify the overlap.” But according to F1000, it is now being retracted after an additional […]

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Author retracts nanotechnology paper over doubts about key results

The corresponding author of a 2015 nanotechnology paper has penned a lengthy — and revealing — retraction notice, explaining why he is not certain about the findings. In the notice, Chang Ming Li from the Institute for Clean Energy & Advanced Materials (ICEAM) at Southwest University in China, states that there is “insufficient evidence to conclusively” identify […]

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Reuters removes story on gender confirmation surgery because firm mistakenly released data

Reuters has removed a story about gender confirmation surgery, saying it included problematic data. The public relations firm representing the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) — which generated the data in the report  — took responsibility, saying it supplied Reuters with data the ASPS did not want released. Yesterday, Reuters pulled its version of a widely-reported story about […]

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Researchers mistakenly administer three-fold higher dose of anesthesia

Researchers have retracted a 2016 paper after discovering that they accidentally administered three times the reported dose of anesthesia to rats. In the Experimental Physiology paper, the authors set out to mathematically map how rats’ blood pressure changes under different conditions, which required the rats to be anesthetized. But their findings were called into question when […]

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Ex-PhD candidate sues advisor, school: Colorado prof “poisoned the well” after research dispute

A former University of Colorado Boulder graduate student is suing his ex-advisor for defamation after being shooed out midway through his doctoral program. Robert Roscow says he had to leave CU Boulder’s department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EBIO) in the fall of 2016 with only a master’s degree after fish evolution researcher David Stock dropped […]

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When misconduct occurs, how should journals and institutions work together?

When the World Conference on Research Integrity kicks off at the end of this month, one topic that will be on attendees’ minds is how journals and research institutions should collaborate when investigating the integrity of individual publications. That’s because this week, a group of stakeholders from institutions and the publishing world released draft guidelines […]

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Weekend reads: A hoax involving a “conceptual penis;” fake reagents; plagiarism irony

The week at Retraction Watch featured a survey of researchers in China with an alarming result, and asked whether philosophy has a plagiarism problem. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: There’s a new paper hoax in town, this one involving the “conceptual penis as a social construct.” The authors, Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay, explain. (Skeptic) […]

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Does the philosophy literature have a plagiarism problem?

Philosopher Michael Dougherty doesn’t take plagiarism sitting down. Over the years, the researcher at Ohio Dominican University has tipped us off to numerous instances of plagiarism he’s spotted. And it turns out, he’s done the same thing for publishers, as well. In a new paper in Metaphilosophy, Dougherty describes his experience contacting publishers over an […]

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Denmark to institute sweeping changes in handling misconduct

In six weeks, new policies for handling misconduct in Denmark will go into effect, which alter the definition of misconduct and establish clear policies for who handles such allegations. Starting July 1, research misconduct will be limited to how it’s typically defined elsewhere — fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism (the previous definition included serious breaches of […]

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Journal flags two more papers by diabetes researcher who sued to stop retractions (and now has 12)

A diabetes journal has issued two notices of concern for papers co-authored by a researcher who took another publisher to court after it did the same thing — but ultimately lost. The notices are for two papers co-authored by Mario Saad — who, after losing his legal battle with the American Diabetes Association, has since […]

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Four in 10 biomedical papers out of China are tainted by misconduct, says new survey

Chinese biomedical researchers estimate that 40% of research in their country has been affected in some way by misconduct, according to a new survey. The authors are quick to caution against putting too much stock in this figure due to the subjective nature of the survey, published in Science and Engineering Ethics. The estimates also […]

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Could bogus scientific results be considered false advertising?

Could a scientific paper ever be considered an advertisement? That was the question posed to a Tokyo court, in a criminal case where prosecutors argued — at the behest of Japan’s ministry of health — that a peer-reviewed paper containing faked data should be considered “fraudulent or exaggerated advertising” under that country’s laws. In that case, […]

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Gender-based violence researcher now up to 10 retractions for plagiarism

A publisher has retracted all of the papers it published by a researcher in Nigeria, citing plagiarism. The papers, all about terrorism and gender-based violence, were written by Oluwaseun Bamidele. The journal editors and the publisher, Taylor & Francis, decided to retract nine papers by Bamidele because of the overlap to other works — which he also […]

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Journal retracts paper eight months after U.S. Feds announce findings of misconduct

In August, the U.S. Office of Research Integrity announced that a former postdoctoral fellow at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) doctored data in two published papers. It took one journal a little longer than five months to remove the researcher’s name from the co-author list, and replace one figure. It took the second […]

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