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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

‘Science by tweet’ prompts expression of concern, irking authors – Retraction Watch (Adam Marcus | October 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on November 29, 2019
 

The leader of an international team of genetics researchers is seething after a journal responded to critical tweets about their paper by issuing an expression of concern.

Really useful debate about who should be the arbiter of scientific debate. Can science be called out through public fora?

The article, “Exome sequencing in multiple sclerosis families identifies 12 candidate genes and nominates biological pathways for the genesis of disease,” was published in PLOS Genetics in early June 2019 by a group led by Carles Vilariño-Güell, of the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
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Less than a week after publication, according to Vilariño-Güell, the journal notified him that:

There are 93 tweets in the conversation about the paper started by Daniel MacArthur. It is overwhelmingly negative towards the journal and paper. In addition to MacArthur (32.9k followers) weighing in, other names and influencers including Jeffrey Ross-Ibarrra (UC Davis, 6.2k followers), Heidi Rehm (Mass General, 4.4k followers), Manuel Rivas (Stanford, 2.2k followers), etc. One positive tweet appears responding to PLOS Genetics’ own coverage of this paper.

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Examination of CIs in health and medical journals from 1976 to 2019: an observational study (Papers: Adrian Gerard Barnett, Jonathan D Wren | November 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on November 26, 2019
 

Abstract

Objectives
Previous research has shown clear biases in the distribution of published p values, with an excess below the 0.05 threshold due to a combination of p-hacking and publication bias. We aimed to examine the bias for statistical significance using published confidence intervals.

Design Observational study.

Setting
Papers published in Medline since 1976.

Participants
Over 968 000 confidence intervals extracted from abstracts and over 350 000 intervals extracted from the full-text.

Outcome measures
Cumulative distributions of lower and upper confidence interval limits for ratio estimates.

Results
We found an excess of statistically significant results with a glut of lower intervals just above one and upper intervals just below 1. These excesses have not improved in recent years. The excesses did not appear in a set of over 100 000 confidence intervals that were not subject to p-hacking or publication bias.

Conclusions
The huge excesses of published confidence intervals that are just below the statistically significant threshold are not statistically plausible. Large improvements in research practice are needed to provide more results that better reflect the truth.

Barnett, A.G., Wren, J.D. (2019)  Examination of CIs in health and medical journals from 1976 to 2019: an observational study. 

(Australia) Skin cancer doctor in hot water after papers retracted – The Age (Liam Mannix and Tom Cowie | November 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on November 24, 2019
 

For most, sailing the Mediterranean on a luxury cruise ship is a relaxing escape. But skin cancer expert Professor Anthony Dixon was working. And a storm was about to hit the credibility of his research.

Over the 12-day cruise, the professor spent nine hours teaching doctors and nurses how to recognise skin cancer. A prominent educator, Professor Dixon has trained dozens of health professionals in his methods, many of them on cruise ships.

But two of his journal articles were about to be retracted after complaints from other cancer experts that they contained factual errors. Such retractions are considered rare and necessary to prevent inaccurate information being available to other practitioners.

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‘Misunderstanding of the academic rules’ leads to retraction of arthritis paper – Retraction Watch (Adam Marcus | October 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on November 19, 2019
 

A group of arthritis researchers in China have lost a 2019 paper which was effectively an English-language reprint of an earlier article in a Chinese journal. Two of the authors blamed a “misunderstanding of the academic rules” on the part of their colleagues for the duplication.

A painful reminder about language, multiple publications and mentoring.  This case also highlights the real problem we have with the publish at any price mentality that is so completely pervasive.

The article, “The clinical significance of serum sCD25 as a sensitive disease activity marker for rheumatoid arthritis,” appeared in the Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology. But, as the retraction notice explains, the work wasn’t original:
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We, the Editor and Publishers of the Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology, have retracted the following article:
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H Sun, Y Wang, H Yao, L Wang, S Wu, Y Si, Y Meng, J Xu, Q Wang, X Sun & Z Li (2019). The clinical significance of serum sCD25 as a sensitive disease activity marker for rheumatoid arthritis. Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology 48(5). DOI: 10.1080/03009742.2019.1574890.

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