The National Institutes of Health earlier this month notified the scientists it funds that, thanks to the sequester, many may soon face cuts in those grants as the agency tries to deal with a reduction in its $30.9 billion budget. In her March 4 letter to grantees, NIH’s Sally Rockey, deputy director for extramural research, wrote:
At this time, the Department of Health and Human Services and NIH are taking every step to mitigate the effects of these cuts, but based on our initial analysis, it is possible that your grants or cooperative agreement awards may be affected. Examples of this impact could include: not issuing continuation awards, or negotiating a reduction in the scope of your awards to meet the constraints imposed by sequestration. Additionally, plans for new grants or cooperative agreements may be re-scoped, delayed, or canceled depending on the nature of the work and the availability of resources. Read the rest of this entry »
In an editorial titled “Scientific misconduct occurs, but is rare,” Boston University’s Richard Primack, editor of Biological Conservation, highlights a Corrigendum of a paper by Jesus Angel Lemus, the veterinary researcher who has retracted seven papers: Read the rest of this entry »
Partial retractions — as opposed corrections or the full monty — are unusual events in scientific publishing. But they appear to come in twos.
The article in question, by a group from the University of Kentucky in Lexington led by Susan Straley, appeared online in 2007. It was titled “yadBC of Yersinia pestis, a New Virulence Determinant for Bubonic Plague,” and, as the words suggest, involved a gene marker for the virulence of plague. Or so it initially seemed.
Regular Retraction Watch readers may have noticed that many of the people whose fraud we write about are men. Certainly, the top retraction earners — Yoshitaka Fujii, Joachim Boldt, Diederik Stapel, and Naoki Mori, to name a few — all have a Y chromosome. But that doesn’t necessarily mean our sample size is representative.
Now along comes a study of U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) reports suggesting that men are in fact overrepresented among scientists who commit fraud. In a study published online today in mBio, Ferric Fang and Arturo Casadevall — whose names will also be familiar to Retraction Watch readers for their previous work — along with Joan Bennett analyzed 228 ORI reports since 1994, and found that 149 — or 65% — were male. (The vast majority of the 228 cases — 94% — involved fraud such as falsification or fabrication, while the others presumably involved misconduct such as plagiarism.)
And it’s not just that there are more men in the life sciences. At every stage of a life science career, the percentage of males found by the ORI to have committed misconduct was higher than the percentage of male life scientists overall: Read the rest of this entry »
We have a few follow-ups from stories we’ve recently covered:
Terry Elton case initially chalked up to “disorganization,” not misconduct
Ohio State University (OSU), which along with the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) recently sanctioned a pharmacy professor for image manipulation, “failed at first to recognize his deception,” according to an investigation by The Columbus Dispatch based on university documents.
The piece, which quotes Ivan, reveals that OSU needed some prompting from the ORI before it concluded that Terry Elton was guilty of misconduct, and not just unintentional errors that he at one point blamed on a research technician who lost her job in October 2011: Read the rest of this entry »
We’re not generally — or ever — in the habit of running job ads here on Retraction Watch. But the purpose of this post is to highlight a new position available at the American Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (ASBMB) that we think is a great opportunity and a step forward for the society.
As regular Retraction Watch readers know, we frequently beat up on one of the ASBMB’s journals, the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC), for publishing retraction notices that say simply “This article has been withdrawn by the authors.” We’re not the only ones; Ferric Fang and colleagues name-checked the journal’s policy when they wrote about factors that Read the rest of this entry »
October, apparently, is “studies of retractions month.” First there was a groundbreaking study in PNAS, then an NBER working paper, and yesterday PLoS Medicine alerted us to a paper their sister journal, PLoS ONE, published last week, “A Comprehensive Survey of Retracted Articles from the Scholarly Literature.”
The study, by Michael L. Grieneisen and Minghua Zhang, is comprehensive indeed, reaching further back into the literature than others we’ve seen, and also including more disciplines: Read the rest of this entry »
Majority of retractions are due to misconduct: Study confirms opaque notices distort the scientific record
A new study out in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) today finds that two-thirds of retractions are because of some form of misconduct — a figure that’s higher than previously thought, thanks to unhelpful retraction notices that cause us to beat our heads against the wall here at Retraction Watch.
The study of 2,047 retractions in biomedical and life-science research articles in PubMed from 1973 until May 3, 2012 brings together three retraction researchers whose names may be familiar to Retraction Watch readers: Ferric Fang, Grant Steen, and Arturo Casadevall. Fang and Casadevall have published together, including on their Retraction Index, but this is the first paper by the trio.
The paper is Read the rest of this entry »
There has been plenty of interest in scientific fraud and misconduct lately — and not just on Retraction Watch — from major news outlets and government agencies, among other parties. The rate of retractions is increasing, and some fraudsters are even setting new records. That has focused attention on how institutions can prevent misconduct — not something anyone thinks is easy to do.
To try to figure it out, Columbia University’s Donald Kornfeld decided to review 146 U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) cases from 1992 to 2003, “based on 50 years of clinical experience in psychiatry and 19 years as the chairman of two institutional review boards.” (Of note, these only represent cases in which ORI concluded there was misconduct, as the agency doesn’t report on negative cases.) Here’s what he found, reported last month in Academic Medicine: Read the rest of this entry »