Weekend reads: A decade after the STAP scandal; more allegations about Francesca Gino; the disappearing journal

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The week at Retraction Watch featured:

Our list of retracted or withdrawn COVID-19 papers is up past 400. There are more than 48,000 retractions in The Retraction Watch Database — which is now part of Crossref. The Retraction Watch Hijacked Journal Checker now contains more than 250 titles. And have you seen our leaderboard of authors with the most retractions lately — or our list of top 10 most highly cited retracted papers? What about The Retraction Watch Mass Resignations List — or our list of nearly 100 papers with evidence they were written by ChatGPT?

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

Like Retraction Watch? You can make a tax-deductible contribution to support our work, subscribe to our free daily digest or paid weekly updatefollow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or add us to your RSS reader. If you find a retraction that’s not in The Retraction Watch Database, you can let us know here. For comments or feedback, email us at team@retractionwatch.com.

Visualize This, Second Edition: Updating a Visualization Guide for My Past Self

A decade and a half ago, I wrote the first edition of Visualize This as a how-to guide to my past self. It was for someone who was familiar with visualization but was stuck on the part where it’s time to make and design charts with your own data.

What tools should you use? How do you use them? How do you get from rough sketch to finished graphic? How do you get the visualization idea in your imagination on to a screen where others can see?

It turns out that you can read and learn a lot about visualization — the chart types, the best visual encodings, design considerations, and purpose — without actually knowing how to follow through with the advice. There’s a technical side to visualizing data that couples with the thinking side. I wrote Visualize This for the person who wants to make the coupling and follow through.

The challenge of writing a book with concrete, how-to examples that rely on software is that some of the software fades. The technology and applications shift.

Flash dies. People consume data through different screen sizes. New tools make it easier to visualize data. Tastes change. The field develops.

Visualize This, Second Edition is an update for the tools, chart types, and overall process that changed over the years. The examples are better balanced and more focused.

The new book is still a practical, easy-to-read guide intended for my past self who wanted to make all the charts for all the data. But this time around, I had a decade and a half more experience analyzing data, making charts, and thinking about process.

Visualize This, Second Edition is out in June, but you can pre-order a copy now. I hope it helps you have fun with data.


Access to nature where you live

NatureQuant processes and analyzes satellite imagery to quantify people’s access to nature. They call it a NatureScore. For the Washington Post, Harry Stevens mapped and charted the scores across the United States. At first glance, the map looks a lot like population density, but the better comparison is in how cities with similar population densities look next to each other.

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✚ Histograms for Regular People

The histogram is my favorite chart type to look at distributions, but it’s a tough sell as a communication method. People need a sense of how distributions work before they can make sense of a histogram. Here’s how I (try to) make these misunderstood charts easier to read.

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People movements during the eclipse

As you might expect, the path of totality brought increased activities as people tried to get in the right spots. For the New York Times, Charlie Smart mapped the movements based on activity data from Mapbox and traffic data from TomTom.

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Exclusive: Wiley journal editor under investigation for duplicate publications

Daniel Joseph Berdida

An academic editor at Wiley who vowed to “uphold publication ethics” is being investigated by the company for allegedly publishing three of his papers twice, in violation of journal policies, Retraction Watch has learned.

One of the duplicates, which appeared last year in Nurse Education in Practice, an Elsevier title, has already been slated for retraction, according to emails we have seen. The other offending articles were published in Wiley journals.

The editor, Daniel Joseph Berdida, is a nurse and faculty member at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, the Philippines. He joined the editorial board of Wiley’s Journal of Nursing Management four months ago, announcing on LinkedIn that he would “be serving with integrity and uphold publication ethics.”

After being confronted about the duplicate publication by Roger Watson, editor-in-chief of Nurse Education in Practice, Berdida acknowledged his transgression, explaining he had been “on health leave” for the past eight months and “a breakdown in communication” with his research assistant had “led to the current situation.”

“I fully acknowledge my responsibility in this matter,” Berdida wrote in a March 13 email. “If it is within your discretion, I would appreciate it if you could consider retracting the manuscript from your journal, given the circumstances.”

But Berdida had made the same excuse to one of the Wiley journals, and Watson was unconvinced. 

“As with all violations of publication ethics, this is a most unfortunate set of duplications,” he told us. “It is doubly unfortunate for the author that the editors-in-chief of three of the publications involved are very close colleagues and regularly consult one another for advice. In this way we were able to tie the three incidences of duplication together. Let’s hope there are no more.”

The three duplicate articles are:

On March 20, Watson wrote to Berdida:

This is to inform you that Elsevier will be retracting your article in Nurse Education in Practice and due to the fact that we are aware of further duplications in other journals we are not satisfied with your response. Under these circumstances we consider that it is necessary to inform your dean.

Mark Hayter, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Clinical Nursing, in which one of the duplicate papers appeared, confirmed his publication was “involved in this matter,” adding, “It is currently being investigated by the Wiley publication ethics team.”

Berdida has not responded to our request for comment. The dean of his university’s College of Nursing, Rowena L. Escolar Chua, declined to comment, explaining, “I do not know the full story and the matter is still being investigated.”

Like Retraction Watch? You can make a tax-deductible contribution to support our work, subscribe to our free daily digest or paid weekly updatefollow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or add us to your RSS reader. If you find a retraction that’s not in The Retraction Watch Database, you can let us know here. For comments or feedback, email us at team@retractionwatch.com.

Thoughts on RNU4-2 Mutation Paper

A new preprint based on Genomics UK data has identified a set of single base insertion mutations (predominantly a specific A insertion)  in a spliceosomal RNA which is responsible for about 0.5% of previously undiagnosed genetic cases of syndromic neurodevelopmental disorders . That's a remarkably high frequency mutation which has gone unnoticed to date, but the fact it was hiding in a non-protein-coding RNA (a spliceosome component called RNU4-2) had much to do with that - this gene won't be in any exome panels. The mutation always appears to be de novo and therefore the pathogenic phenotype is dominant.   I'd like to write down a few other thoughts - mostly in the form of questions --  with the caveat that I've never worked on a rare disease project and to describe me as a detached armchair voyeur of the field would be far too generous.
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Confronting Hazards, Impacts and Risks for a Resilient Planet (CHIRRP)

The Confronting Hazards, Impacts and Risks for a Resilient Planet Program (CHIRRP) invites projects focusing on innovative and transformative research that advances Earth system hazard knowledge and risk mitigation in partnership with affected communities. Hazards compounded by changing climates, rising populations, expanding demands for resources, aging infrastructure, and increasing reliance on technology are putting our economy, well-being, and national security at risk. Researchers, academics, and community leaders will work together to develop community-driven research questions and actionable, science-based solutions that increase community resilience now and in the future.

CHIRRP currently supports planning, conference, RCNs, EAGER, and RAISE proposals that support development of community partnerships, provide training for effective community engagement, catalyze ideas, and/or support the initial conceptualization, planning and collaboration activities aimed at formulating new and sound plans for future large-scale projects.

Target Date: June 6, 2024.

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Ages of the People We Marry

In our earlier years, we tend to date and marry others who are around our age. However, this is not true for everyone. Variation kicks in when you look at the later years, consider multiple marriages, divorce, separation, and opposite-sex versus same-sex relationships. This chart breaks it all down.

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