Leech paper nets expression of concern

via Wikimedia

An article claiming to uproot the evolutionary tree of leeches has received an expression of concern after a reader notified the journal about potential problems with the data. 

The article, “Phylogenomic analysis of a putative missing link sparks reinterpretation of leech evolution,” appeared online in Genome Biology and Evolution, an Oxford University Press title, on June 19 of this year. According to the authors — an international team that includes researchers at the National Museum of Natural History, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Florida State University and University of Gothenburg in Sweden — their results

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Weekend reads: A vaping study gets muddied; the “F-word” in science; prof quits following allegations of cocaine bacchanals

Before we present this week’s Weekend Reads, a question: Do you enjoy our weekly roundup? If so, we could really use your help. Would you consider a tax-deductible donation to support Weekend Reads, and our daily work? Thanks in advance.

The week at Retraction Watch featured an exclusive about a Russian company that claims to have brokered more than 10,000 authorships; a cancer researcher who lost a libel suit against the New York Times; and a criminologist who wrote a 27-page article about why he wants his own paper retracted. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:

Continue reading Weekend reads: A vaping study gets muddied; the “F-word” in science; prof quits following allegations of cocaine bacchanals

OSU cancer researcher Carlo Croce loses appeal of New York Times libel suit

Carlo Croce

Carlo Croce, a prolific cancer researcher at The Ohio State University (OSU) in Columbus who was the subject of a 2017 front page story in The New York Times about allegations of misconduct against him, has lost a libel suit that he filed against the newspaper.

As first reported by Courthouse News Service earlier this week, the Sixth Circuit upheld a lower court’s November 2018 ruling tossing most of Croce’s claims. In the ruling, U.S. Circuit Judge Karen Moore writes:

Continue reading OSU cancer researcher Carlo Croce loses appeal of New York Times libel suit

Forensics Friday: Can you find clues that indicate these two blots have been spliced?

Ever wanted to hone your skills as a scientific sleuth? Now’s your chance.

Thanks to the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), which is committed to educating authors on best practices in publishingfigure preparation, and reproducibility, we’re presenting the ninth in a series, Forensics Friday.

Take a look at the image below, and then take our poll. After that, click on the link below to find out the right answer.

Continue reading Forensics Friday: Can you find clues that indicate these two blots have been spliced?

Exclusive: Russian site says it has brokered authorships for more than 10,000 researchers

Want to be a first author on a scholarly paper? A Russian company has you covered — starting at about $500. The company claims to have added the names of more than 10,000 researchers to more than 2,000 published articles in scholarly journals over the past three years. Think eBay — or perhaps StubHub — for unscrupulous scientists. 

Although we can’t verify the numbers, at least one major journal indexer, from whom we recently learned of the scheme, is concerned enough about the site that it has demanded that it stop doing business. 

According to the Russian outfit’s site (through Google Translate): 

Continue reading Exclusive: Russian site says it has brokered authorships for more than 10,000 researchers

U.S. government watchdog names investigative director

A week after news that the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) would have a new interim director shortly comes news that the agency will also have a new director of its investigative division as of early next month.

Starting August 4, Alexander Runko will be the director of the ORI’s Division of Investigative Oversight (DIO). He is already working at the agency as an investigator.

According to the ORI:

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Criminologist posts 27-page article explaining why he asked for one of his papers to be retracted

via Tony Webster/Flickr

On Sunday, May 5 of this year, Justin Pickett received an email from a “John Smith” with the subject line “Data irregularities and request for data.”

“There seem to be irregularities in the data and findings in five articles that you published together with two surveys,” the anonymous correspondent wrote. “This document outlines those irregularities.”

Pickett was a co-author on only one of the papers, “Ethnic threat and social control: Examining public support for judicial use of ethnicity in punishment,” which was published in 2011 — the year he earned his PhD from Florida State University (FSU) — in the journal Criminology. The other four papers were published from 2015 to 2019 in Criminology, Law & Society Review, and Social Problems. The only author common to all four was Eric A. Stewart, a professor at FSU.

Continue reading Criminologist posts 27-page article explaining why he asked for one of his papers to be retracted

No delight for Turkish surgeon in authorship dispute over case study

A surgeon in Turkey has won a court case in which he argued that he deserved to be named in  a list of authors from his institution who’d published a paper. But even that doesn’t appear to have satisfied the aggrieved medic, as you’ll see. 

The article, “Late onset traumatic diaphragmatic herniation leading to intestinal obstruction and pancreatitis: two separate cases,” was written by a group from the Department of General Surgery at Ankara Numune Training and Research Hospital. The list of authors comprised Tolga Dinc, Selami Ilgaz Kayilioglu and Faruk Coskun … but not Baris Yildiz, a colleague in the department. 

The paper appeared in Case Reports in Emergency Medicine, a Hindawi title, which has issued a rather byzantine expression of concern about the article: 

Continue reading No delight for Turkish surgeon in authorship dispute over case study

Blood pulls deceased star oncologist’s paper after Stanford inquiry

Blood has retracted a 2011 article by a now-deceased Stanford researcher, Holbrook Kohrt,  who earlier this month lost two other papers over concerns about the whereabouts of the data. 

The journal’s move comes about a week after Retraction Watch posted a story on the previous retractions, in the Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI), of Kohrt’s work. As we noted then, Kohrt was a superstar young faculty member who died in 2016 of complications of hemophilia. He was the subject of this 2013 profile in the New York Times, which also wrote an obituary of him. 

The Blood paper was titled “CD137 stimulation enhances the antilymphoma activity of anti-CD20 antibodies.” The paper has been cited 148 times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science.

Continue reading Blood pulls deceased star oncologist’s paper after Stanford inquiry

Weekend reads: Researcher resigns following questions about ties to China; grad student’s suicide sparks misconduct investigation; study of chronic fatigue syndrome corrected

Before we present this week’s Weekend Reads, a question: Do you enjoy our weekly roundup? If so, we could really use your help. Would you consider a tax-deductible donation to support Weekend Reads, and our daily work? Thanks in advance.

The week at Retraction Watch featured retractions and expressions of concern for a prominent cancer researcher; retractions for a deceased star researcher at Stanford; and a new director for a U.S. government watchdog. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:

Continue reading Weekend reads: Researcher resigns following questions about ties to China; grad student’s suicide sparks misconduct investigation; study of chronic fatigue syndrome corrected