Will scientific error checkers become as ubiquitous as spell-checkers?

How common are calculation errors in the scientific literature? And can they be caught by an algorithm?  James Heathers and Nick Brown came up with two methods — GRIM and SPRITE — to find such mistakes. And a 2017 study of which we just became aware offers another approach. Jonathan Wren and Constantin Georgescu of the … Continue reading Will scientific error checkers become as ubiquitous as spell-checkers?

Study claiming hate cuts 12 years off gay lives retracted

After years of back and forth, a highly cited paper that appeared to show that gay people who live in areas where people were highly prejudiced against them had a significantly shorter life expectancy has been retracted. The paper, “Structural stigma and all-cause mortality in sexual minority populations,”  was published in 2014 by Mark Hatzenbuehler … Continue reading Study claiming hate cuts 12 years off gay lives retracted

Showdown over a study of abortion policy leads to a retraction, and leaves no one happy

A paper in Contraception that purported to show serious flaws in an earlier study of abortion laws and maternal health has been retracted, after the authors of the original study found what were apparently significant flaws in the study doing the debunking. That’s the short version of this story. The longer version involves years of … Continue reading Showdown over a study of abortion policy leads to a retraction, and leaves no one happy

A 2015 PNAS paper is six pages long. Its correction is four pages long.

Sometimes, corrections are so extensive, they can only be called one thing: Mega-corrections. Recently, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) issued a four-page correction notice to a paper about a compound that appeared to reduce the chances a cancer will recur. The notice describes figure duplication, problems with error bars and figure … Continue reading A 2015 PNAS paper is six pages long. Its correction is four pages long.

Distraction paper pulled for clerical error

The authors of a 2018 paper on how noisy distractions disrupt memory are retracting the article after finding a flaw in their study. The paper, “Unexpected events disrupt visuomotor working memory and increase guessing,” appeared in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, a publication of the Psychonomic Society. (For those keeping score at home, psychonomics is the … Continue reading Distraction paper pulled for clerical error

A journal decided to correct, rather than retract, a paper that contained “potentially contentious advice.” Do you agree with their call?

In March, a journal published a paper about blood sugar levels in newborns that caused an immediate outcry from outside experts, who were concerned it contained a sentence that could be potentially harmful if misinterpreted by doctors. Recently, the journal explained — in impressive detail — why it’s not retracting the paper. That, of course, … Continue reading A journal decided to correct, rather than retract, a paper that contained “potentially contentious advice.” Do you agree with their call?

Does the Mediterranean diet prevent heart attacks? NEJM retracts (and replaces) high-profile paper

The New England Journal of Medicine has retracted a 2013 paper that provided some proof that the Mediterranean diet can directly prevent heart attacks, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems. The original paper, “Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet,” has been cited 1,759 times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science. But the findings haven’t … Continue reading Does the Mediterranean diet prevent heart attacks? NEJM retracts (and replaces) high-profile paper

How much cancer stems from diabetes, obesity? Lancet journal swaps high-profile paper

Six months ago, the media was ablaze with the findings of a new paper, showing that nearly six percent of cancer cases are caused, at least in part, by obesity and diabetes. But this week, the journal retracted that paper — and replaced it with a revised version. The new paper doesn’t change the main … Continue reading How much cancer stems from diabetes, obesity? Lancet journal swaps high-profile paper

That study reporting worrisome levels of zinc in tuna? It’s being retracted

Recently, a rash of news outlets posted concerns that canned tuna and other products may contain potentially dangerous levels of zinc. They were all wrong. News outlets such as The Daily Mail and The Sun reported findings from a recent study, which showed that canned foods such as tuna may contain 100 times the daily limit … Continue reading That study reporting worrisome levels of zinc in tuna? It’s being retracted

Whoops: Authors didn’t mean to include new data in article about transgender identity

Here’s something we don’t see that often — authors retracting one of their articles because it included new data. But that is the case with a 2017 review exploring the potential genetic and hormonal underpinnings of gender identity.  The authors Rosa Fernández García and Eduardo Pásaro Mendez told Retraction Watch that they asked bioethics journal … Continue reading Whoops: Authors didn’t mean to include new data in article about transgender identity