Retraction Watch readers, we need your help to be able to continue our work

Dear Retraction Watch readers:

Have you seen our database of retractions?

While we’re still putting finishing touches on it before an official launch, with more than 18,000 retractions, it’s already the most comprehensive collection of retractions anywhere. We have learned a great deal as we’ve gathered those retractions, which we look forward to sharing quite soon, along with ways that the database can help cut down on waste in research, but — and this is key — it has been painstaking work.

Because of how scattered, incomplete, and sometimes even wrong retraction notices are, every retraction must be located, double-checked, and entered by hand. That means all 18,129, at the time of this writing — and growing every day. Our full-time researcher spends much of her time curating the database, assisted at various points by a small army of terrific librarians, graduate students, and others interested in cleaning up the literature.

As you can guess, this effort requires resources. We have been fortunate to have this and other work funded by generous grants over the years, going back to 2014, but those grants have ended. We are always in discussions with past and potential funders — and would be grateful to hear suggestions on that front — but as is the case for most non-profits, our future depends on maintaining sufficient financial support. We’re therefore asking you to consider a tax-deductible financial contribution to our parent non-profit organization, The Center For Scientific Integrity. Continue reading Retraction Watch readers, we need your help to be able to continue our work

Weekend reads: The study that never existed; turmoil at Cochrane; a plagiarist is appointed professor

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 a lot of news about Brian Wansink — six new retractions, his resignation, and findings of misconduct. There was other news, too, including a dozen new retractions of work by a scientist who once went to court to try to sue his critics. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Continue reading Weekend reads: The study that never existed; turmoil at Cochrane; a plagiarist is appointed professor

Wansink admits mistakes, but says there was “no fraud, no intentional misreporting”

Brian Wansink (far left)

Brian Wansink, the Cornell food marketing researcher who announced his resignation yesterday and has been found to have committed misconduct by the university, admits to mistakes and poor record-keeping in a statement released today.

But he insists that there was “no fraud, no intentional misreporting, no plagiarism, or no misappropriation.” (See entire statement below.) Continue reading Wansink admits mistakes, but says there was “no fraud, no intentional misreporting”

Cornell finds that food marketing researcher Brian Wansink committed misconduct, as he announces retirement

A day after the JAMA family of journals retracted six of his studies, Cornell food marketing researcher Brian Wansink tells Retraction Watch that he will be retiring next year.

And Cornell said today that it found that Wansink “committed academic misconduct in his research and scholarship, including misreporting of research data, problematic statistical techniques, failure to properly document and preserve research results, and inappropriate authorship.”

[See an update with a new statement by Wansink here.]

In a statement, Wansink said: Continue reading Cornell finds that food marketing researcher Brian Wansink committed misconduct, as he announces retirement

JAMA journals retract six papers by food marketing researcher Brian Wansink

Brian Wansink (far left), via USDA

Brian Wansink, the much-beleaguered food marketing researcher at Cornell whose work has fallen under intense scrutiny, has just had six more papers retracted, all from the JAMA family of journals.

[See an update on this post; Wansink has resigned, and Cornell has found that he “committed academic misconduct.”]

JAMA warned readers about the six studies in April, by subjecting them all to expressions of concern, and followed up with print notices in May. Howard Bauchner, editor in chief of JAMA and the JAMA Network journals, told us at the time,

Given the large number of retractions of articles with Dr. Wansink as an author there is uncertainty that the results of his publications are valid.

Today, JAMA announced it was retracting the six articles: Continue reading JAMA journals retract six papers by food marketing researcher Brian Wansink

Four years after readers raise concerns, journal finally retracts climate paper

The wheels of scientific publishing turn slowly … but they do (sometimes) turn.

In January, we reported on the case of a paper on global warming marred by several problems, including allegations of plagiarism and “false claims” by the authors — which readers had raised as early as 2014, with no result. (Find a discussion of those allegations here.)

Now, the journal, Elsevier’s Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews (ironic on multiple levels, when you think about it), is retracting the paper.

According to the long-time-in-coming retraction notice: Continue reading Four years after readers raise concerns, journal finally retracts climate paper

What really happened when two mathematicians tried to publish a paper on gender differences? The tale of the emails

Quillette

Retraction Watch readers may be familiar with the story of a paper about gender differences by two mathematicians. Last month, in Weekend Reads, we highlighted an account of that story, which appeared in Quillette.

The piece, by one of the paper’s authors — titled “Academic Activists Send a Published Paper Down the Memory Hole” — touches on issues familiar to those who follow the culture wars, which isn’t all that surprising given the controversial topic, one once discussed by then-Harvard president Larry Summers.

The piece has generated a great deal of conversation, some of it quite heated, and a number of participants in those conversations have suggested that seeing the emails that the author of the Quillette piece says support his account would be useful. That’s what this post is mostly designed to do: Surface those emails. Continue reading What really happened when two mathematicians tried to publish a paper on gender differences? The tale of the emails

Researcher who once tried to sue critics has another dozen papers retracted

Fazlul Sarkar

A cancer researcher who went to court — unsuccessfully — claiming that commenters on PubPeer had cost him a new job has just lost another 12 papers.

The twelve now-retracted papers by Fazlul Sarkar and colleagues — as well as another by Sarkar that is now subject to an editor’s note — all appeared in Cancer Research, which made for a long table of contents in its September 15 issue. Continue reading Researcher who once tried to sue critics has another dozen papers retracted

Weekend reads: Top researchers resign over publishing issues; organized crime meets publishing; infamous fraudster rides in on a horse

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 a look at authors who publish once every five days, a revoked PhD following a retraction, and a case of what sounds like irony. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Continue reading Weekend reads: Top researchers resign over publishing issues; organized crime meets publishing; infamous fraudster rides in on a horse

Irony? The Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention retracts a paper

Irony machine, start your engine: A pair of engineers have lost a 2017 paper in the Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention over a failure to determine who owned the data.

The article, “Solder selection for reflowing large ceramic substrates during PCB assembly,” was written by Prashant Reddy Gangidi and Noy Souriyasak, both listed as working at a semiconductor firm called FormFactor Inc., based in Livermore, Calif.

Evidently, at least one of the authors lacked the okay to publish the data.

According to the retraction notice: Continue reading Irony? The Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention retracts a paper

High-profile health policy researcher Gilbert Welch out at Dartmouth after plagiarism charge

H. Gilbert Welch

H. Gilbert Welch, a leading researcher in the field of health policy, has resigned from his faculty post at Dartmouth College after the institution concluded that he had plagiarized from a colleague in a 2016 paper.

As we reported in STAT earlier this summer, a Dartmouth committee found that Welch had misused a figure from a colleague, Samir Soneji, who had provided him the data after a 2015 presentation. At the time, Soneji had requested that he be part of any paper that would include the data — but Welch said he had no intention of publishing it. However, the information appeared in a 2016 article in the New England Journal of Medicine, which has declined to retract or even correct the paper. Continue reading High-profile health policy researcher Gilbert Welch out at Dartmouth after plagiarism charge