University of Queensland requests paper retraction

A university has asked for a journal paper to be retracted after an investigation found no evidence that the study it described had been carried out.

September 3, 2013

The paper, which describes a new treatment for the speech difficulties associated with Parkinson’s disease, was published online in October 2011 in the European Journal of Neurology.

Its first and corresponding author, Bruce Murdoch, was until recently director of Queensland’s Centre for Neurogenic Communication Disorders Research.

In a statement issued on 3 September, Queensland president and vice-chancellor Peter Høj says that, following an investigation, the university has asked the journal to retract the paper on the grounds that “no primary data can be located, and no evidence has been found that the study described in the article was conducted”.

He says the journal has agreed to the request.

He says the university has also returned a A$20,000 (£11,600) grant from a non-governmental organisation “due to our concerns it had been allocated on the basis of information from the discredited paper.”
He says the university has informed Queensland’s Crime and Misconduct Commission of its findings, and is awaiting further advice.

“[The university] places the highest importance on upholding the integrity of our research and will not only continue to do so with vigilance but will seek to identify further measures to strengthen that endeavour,” he says.

“By having the paper retracted, the university enables the global scientific community to learn that the research reported in the paper has no place in the body of scientific knowledge, and so cannot be used as a basis for further research.”

Professor Murdoch has published several hundred papers on neurologically-acquired speech and language disorders. According to Google Scholar they have amassed more than 4,000 citations. His current whereabouts are unknown.

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