A meta-analysis published in the journal Heart has been retracted. As Adam Marcus writes in Retraction Watch, the retraction occurred when the journal editors learned “that two of the six studies included in the review contained duplicated data. Those studies, it so happens, were conducted by one of the co-authors [of the meta-analysis].”
The article, “Low sodium versus normal sodium diets in systolic heart failure: systematic review and meta-analysis,” was published online in August 2012. In their attempt to investigate the duplicate data, the Heart editors reported “that the raw data are no longer available having been lost as a result of computer failure.”
The authors of the meta-analysis were James J DiNicolantonio (Wegmans Pharmacy, Ithaca, NY), Pietro Di Pasquale (Chief Division of Cardiology, “Paolo Borsellino”, G.F. Ingrassia Hospital, Palermo, Italy), Rod S Taylor (Peninsula Medical School, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK), and Daniel G Hackam (University of Western Ontario and the London Health Sciences Centre, London, Ontario, Canada).
It was the second author, De Pasquale, who was the co-author of the duplicated papers that also contained the missing data.
You can read the entire story in Retraction Watch. Don’t miss the comments. Here’s one:
“computer failure” is the scientist’s version of “the dog ate my homework”