Retracted studies and papers

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by wegs, Sep 27, 2022.

  1. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    I had posted this interesting article in the Science Stories of the Week thread, but thought I'd create a separate topic, to discuss ''retractions,'' in general.

    First, do you think that the physicist of this retracted study should face any legal penalties? Not sure if that is customary or if one's reputation simply goes down a few notches. His peers are accusing him of misconduct, but what do you think? Of course, it's necessary that checks and balances exist, but odd that these flaws weren't caught before the study was published. Are retractions seemingly rare?

    https://www.science.org/content/art...temperature-superconductivity-study-retracted
     
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  3. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    No laws (that I know of) were broken. I assume retractions are rare but others have more knowledge there and about this subject in general.

    Questions are being raised but it's not a fact that they did anything wrong.

    It's an interesting article though.
     
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  5. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    As Seattle says, no laws have been broken and it has not even been established beyond doubt that the magnetic susceptibility data were fabricated. It just seems that the paper is too doubtful to meet Nature's standards. But, whether it is in Nature or not, the alleged finding are out there now. Someone may come back to it and have another go. The prize, if room temperature superconductivity can be achieved, is enormous.

    It is quite normal for research findings to be published that cause controversy - heated at times. This is why science progresses on the basis of reproducible observations. If no one can reproduce them, it will be a dead end, cf. cold fusion.

    It would be tremendously counterproductive if researchers went in fear of legal action all the time. Better to let the science community enforce probity via the reputation that people acquire. If these guys have a track record of dodgy results, people will treat them with suspicion, they won't get promoted, and the research grants will dry up.
     
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  7. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Surely this is science working at its best? Nature, nor any publication, isn't the arbiter of what is correct, real, truthful etc. They publish articles, presumably after someone/group has reviewed the paper to some degree. In this case, though, given the topic, there was probably an urgency on the part of the publication to publish and so might have skipped some/all of that review process so as not to be beaten to the punch. But otherwise, the study has now been reviewed, and will continue to be reviewed, and issues raised, resulting in the retraction. If anything this could be worse for the publication than the authors, as it is showing flaws in their screening process that may deter others from using them, but it depends on the nature of the issues.

    As for the author, it depends, again, on what the errors / flaws were as to whether his reputation will suffer. Deliberate falsification can ruin a career, but accidental transposition, or a "+" instead of a "-" etc, while not great, are more understandable and possibly just laughed off (by everyone other than those footing the bill for the research!).

    The only thing I can think of that the author/researchers might be guilty of is fraud: trying to secure research grants / funding through false means. Fraud can be either criminal or civil in nature (no pun intended), depending on circumstance - likely civil in this case, if such can be proven. But otherwise, what has the author/researcher actually done wrong other than, possibly, not be particularly good at their job?
     
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  8. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Thanks, everyone. Because the article stated that Dias' peers considered what he did to be ''scientific misconduct,'' I'd wondered if there was any legal repercussions, if that could be proven. The retraction tells me that it wasn't a mere ''difference of opinion.''

    In other industries, for example financial planning or insurance, there is something known as ''errors and omissions,'' which basically is in place for when financial planners or insurance agents mistakenly present false information to their clients, and in turn, the clients sue. This doesn't cover knowingly misleading clients. I was thinking maybe the publication in this case would have grounds to sue, but not sure how that would work. I suppose they could refuse to publish any future studies or papers from Dias.

    You're right though, Sarkus - this is science ''doing its job,'' and we should want such scrutiny when it comes to publishing new studies that have the potential to impact the future of science.
     
  9. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Kudos for starting it. Any forum wallowing around in idealized conceptions of _X_ needs to be ___ slapped out of that reality impairment. Of course, that's not a reference to SF, just the general possibility of such.

    Here's Retraction Watch, if there's a desire to continue feeding this topic with new ones. The site is temporarily down right now due to host server maintenance: https://retractionwatch.com/

    Retraction Watch's twitter account: https://twitter.com/RetractionWatch

    Jerry Coyne's blog is also a good place to keep abreast of additional factors that are turning science into a joke plaguing science. Beyond just replication crisis, publish or perish, publication bias, sloppy peer review, predatory publishing and predatory conferences, statistical errors and fallacies, fraud, etc the erosion of academic integrity in general.

    Nature: Manuscripts that are ideologically impure and “harmful” will be rejected
    https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2022...ogically-impure-and-harmful-will-be-rejected/

    Another STEM field, particle physics, gets Woke
    https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2022/09/05/another-stem-field-particle-physics-gets-woke/

    _
     
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  10. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Thanks CC!

    This may actually be more interesting reading, than if these papers and studies weren't retracted.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    (Sorry scientists, sometimes these studies can be a bit dry.)
     
  11. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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  12. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Wow! “Peer review rings.” Shady characters exist in all industries, sadly.

    From the article:


    Hindawi’s research integrity team found several signs of manipulated peer reviews for the affected papers, including reviews that contained duplicated text, a few individuals who did a lot of reviews, reviewers who turned in their reviews extremely quickly, and misuse of databases that publishers use to vet potential reviewers.

    Richard Bennett, vice president of researcher and publishing services for Hindawi, told us that the publisher suspects “coordinated peer review rings” consisting of reviewers and editors working together to advance manuscripts through to publication. Some of the manuscripts appeared to come from paper mills, he said.
     
  13. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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  14. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Is that you being skeptical, Seattle?

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  15. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    No, I'm just adding some visuals. That image actually came from an article talking about what you are talking about.

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  16. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Hmm, in the article CC posted? I didn't see it. I was thinking it was symbolic... that you don't ''believe'' these retractions are really happening. I'm having PTSD from the UAP thread, I think. lol

    Carry on. . .
     
  17. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

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    Gives me the impression of somebody thinking

    " Lord give me strength"

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  18. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    It wasn't the same article. Initially I thought, peer review rings, let me see if I can find a meme or something that would be funny. Most of the images, as you can imagine, weren't funny until that one came up. When I clicked on it, it actually was attached to an article about what you are talking about so I used it.
     
  19. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah, it's like "the thinker" doing a faceplant.
     
  20. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    In reading further about retractions, it seems like they happen for mainly egregious reasons, not for simply writing a poorly written study. Perhaps this is why they’re rare in comparison to how many aren’t retracted. I had thought if a study were published, it served as “gospel truth” in terms of the science world, so it’s eye opening to see that’s not the case.

    Some retractions are due to minor errors that weren’t picked up by the publishers at first, but major enough to warrant a “recall” which tells me that it’s not ready for be general public.

    But, can retractions happen simply over a difference of opinion?
     
  21. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    When failure to correct a flawed paper could put patients’ lives at risk
    https://retractionwatch.com/2022/10...could-put-patients-lives-at-risk/#more-125745

    EXCERPT: So, if doctors based their treatment decisions on the Cell paper, they’d be depriving patients of an important regimen. MB sent a list of the inaccuracies in the Cell paper to the editor of the journal. Six weeks later, having received no response, he sent a copy of his correspondence to a group of approximately 30 experts in the field of renin-angiotensin system research, including one of us (RS). Unsurprisingly, his concerns received near unanimous affirmation from the group.

    Seven weeks after MB attempted to contact Cell, the editor responded. He suggested that MB contact the authors of the paper to apprise them of their errors. Subsequently the editor forwarded the list of challenges to the authors of the paper. The authors responded to the letter with a total rebuttal, denying any mistakes... (MORE - missing details)

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Frankincense extract paper is 30th retracted by former MD Anderson researcher who once threatened to sue Retraction Watch
    https://retractionwatch.com/2022/10...reatened-to-sue-retraction-watch/#more-125742

    EXCERPT: The paper, “Boswellic Acid Suppresses Growth and Metastasis of Human Pancreatic Tumors in an Orthotopic Nude Mouse Model through Modulation of Multiple Targets,” came from the lab of Baharat Aggarwal, formerly of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, in Houston.

    The paper, which was corrected in 2012, has received 50 citations, according to Clarivate’s Web of Science, all of which came after the correction. The latest of these references appears to be a recent preprint claiming to find that frankincense extract helps treat breast cancer... (MORE - missing details)

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Weekend reads: Troubles in Romania; an erroneous erratum about fraud; Nature and discriminatory science
    https://retractionwatch.com/2022/10...ature-and-discriminatory-science/#more-125737

    EXCERPT: Here’s what was happening elsewhere (some of these items may be paywalled, metered access, or require free registration to read):

    • Romania to “introduce effective amnesty on doctoral plagiarism and loosen rules on candidates’ relatives from serving on hiring and promotion committees.”
    • Romania’s education minister resigns following accusations of plagiarism.
    • “Erroneous Erratum to Accounting Fraud Article.”
    • “How Nature contributed to science’s discriminatory legacy.”
    • “Case Study in Research Integrity: You Can Disagree, Without Being Disagreeable.”
    • etc ... long list (MORE - missing details)
     
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  22. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Hopefully the topic allows a little leeway for occasional items dealing in the incremental erosion of, or accumulating threats to, academic integrity that go beyond just retractions (with respect to when the latter stem from invalid science factors).
    - - - - - - - -

    After students protest, NYU chemistry professor fired for grading too hard
    https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2022...emistry-professor-fired-for-grading-too-hard/

    EXCERPTS: Why was he fired? Apparently because he graded too hard and was not as “available” to students as they wanted. The students circulated a petition, and NYU canned Jones [...]

    Click on the screenshot to read: Here are the details from the NYT. Note the article notes that Jones had considerable support from the chemistry faculty and some students, and that even the students who petitioned against his teaching neither asked for nor expected his firing.

    [...] Firm hand extended to the students? It sounds like a warm handshake to me! And, of course, the handshake also went to “those who pay the tuition bills”—the parents. What the school is doing here is to further a decades long movement to regard students not as humans to be exposed to one’s specialized knowledge, as well as taught critical thinking and a respect and thirst for knowledge, but as consumers... (MORE - missing details)

    _
     
  23. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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