Weekend reads: A new publishing scam; reproducibility as a political weapon; prosecuting predatory publishers

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…

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…

After issuing dozens of corrections to high-profile book, historian shuts down his blog

A historian has shuttered his personal blog, which he created to respond to critics of his high-profile book. Columbia University professor Charles Armstrong launched the blog in order to address the criticisms of his book about North Korea during the Cold War. Soon after Tyranny…

Political science has a #metoo moment

Many political scientists are up in arms over an editor’s decision to use his journal as a platform to defend himself from allegations of sexual harassment. The editor, William Jacoby of Michigan State University, has since removed a statement denying the allegations from the American…

Research problems at Australian university hit the news

A university in Australia that’s made headlines before over allegations of research misconduct has found itself in the news once again. Last week, the University of Queensland (UQ) announced some of its authors were retracting a paper after discovering data were missing. Just days later,…

Caught Our Notice: Why did Reuters remove a 3.5-year-old story?

Title: Oil producer Afren fires CEO, 3 other executives in scandal What Caught Our Attention: Two days ago, the news organization Reuters mysteriously withdrew a 2014 story about the firing of four people from now-defunct oil company Afren, including its CEO. The only explanation: “it…

Nutrition paper claims intervention cuts child obesity. Experts disagree.

Does incorporating gardens and their harvest into school-based nutrition programs help children get healthier? A 2017 paper claims it does, but a group of outside experts disagrees — strongly. The 2017 paper reported that adding gardens to schools and teaching kids how to cook the…

“Youth Guru” loses turkey-neck paper that overlapped with book chapter

A prominent cosmetic surgeon and his daughter have lost a 2017 paper on treating men with excessive neck flab — otherwise known as “turkey neck” — because much of the work appears to have duplicated a book chapter he co-authored about the topic. The first…

Don’t like a paper, but don’t want to retract it? Just issue an “editorial statement”

Last April, the American Journal of Epidemiology and the American Journal of Public Health published a rare joint editorial statement. It concerned a pair of papers on the topic of mortality and obesity. Several complaints had prompted the journals to investigate. Their assessment: These papers…

Caught Our Notice: Forged email for corresponding author dooms diabetes paper

Title: Naringin Alleviates Diabetic Kidney Disease through Inhibiting Oxidative Stress and Inflammatory Reaction What Caught Our Attention: PLOS ONE had a few reasons for retracting a 2015 paper about a treatment for kidney disease due to diabetes: For one, despite what the paper claims, the…

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