But I read it in a sci­en­tific jour­nal!

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS -

One of the many year-end lists Out­liers saw re­cently takes an in­ter­est­ing look back at the past 12 months in sci­ence news—nam­ing the top five re­trac­tions made by sci­ence jour­nals in 2011.

A 2009 pa­per pub­lished in the Pro­ceed­ings of the National Academy of Sciences claimed that the an­ces­tors of modern but­ter­flies may have fer­til­ized their eggs with the sperm of vel­vet worms—a pa­per that Live Sci­ence colum­nist Christo­pher Wan­jek said “got a few laughs among evo­lu­tion­ary sci­en­tists” at the time.

That pa­per wasn’t re­tracted, but a fol­low-up ar­ti­cle, which pub­lished in Sym­bio­sis in 2011, was.

Ac­cord­ing to Wan­jek, some of the other no­table pub­lished- and- then-re­tracted pa­pers of the year in­clude an ar­ti­cle pub­lished by In­dian re­searchers that found an­tibi­otics could serve as an al­ter­na­tive to an ap­pen­dec­tomy and the claim that chronic fa­tigue syn­drome is caused by the xenotropic murine leukemia virus-re­lated virus.

Then there’s the one pub­lished in Sci­ence by a Dutch so­cial psy­chol­o­gist claim­ing to have found that trash and graf­fiti in cities can foster changes in the brain lead­ing to crime, ha­tred and dis­crim­i­na­tion. In­ter­est­ing … un­til it was re­vealed the se­nior author seems to have made up most of the data in that and more than two dozen other pa­pers, and has since been sus­pended from Til­burg Univer­sity in the Nether­lands.

And we prom­ise we won’t have to re­tract that.


Have you heard the one about the but­ter­fly and the vel­vet worm?

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