Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, health researchers worldwide began studying the new virus with the hope to find insights that could result in finding the cure of the disease or reducing its fatality rate.
As Pakistani researchers also followed suit, they produced several research papers on the contagious disease but not all of them were according to international standards, due to which, they were retracted after their publication in research journals.
In the field of research, retraction of a research paper means that the publisher has withdrawn that paper after its publication due to reasons such as plagiarism, errors in data collection, stolen data, copyrights issues, wrong conclusions and duplication, which happens when researchers get their papers published in more than one journals.
As many as four papers produced by Pakistani researchers on Covid-19 have so far been retracted as identified by the Retraction Watch, an international research watchdog that compiles information about retracted papers worldwide.
According to the watchdog, the number of retracted papers on Covid-19 has been 190 across the globe. “We have been tracking retractions of papers about COVID-19 as part of our database. The running list will be updated as needed,” reads the website of Retraction Watch.
According to the website, a paper titled ‘Clinical characteristics and outcomes of patients with COVID-19 pneumonia admitted to an intensive care unit in Faisalabad, Pakistan’ was authored by Noor Gul, Umer Usman, Umair Ahmed, Majid Ali, Aamir Shaukat and Mehar Muhammad Imran.
After it was published by in the Issue 6 of the International Journal of Clinical Practice— Volume 75, it was later retracted on the on the basis of stolen data. The authors belonged to the Faisalabad Medical University and Allied Hospital.
“The above article from the International Journal of Clinical Practice, published online on March 17, 2021, in Wiley Online Library, has been retracted by agreement between the authors, the journal’s Editor in Chief, Dr Charles Young, and John Wiley and Sons Ltd. The retraction has been agreed following a disclosure by the authors that the data in their article was not original and was sourced from two previously published articles,” reads the website.
The retraction statement on the Wiley Online Library mentions that the paper was retracted after the Pakistani researchers reached an agreement with the publisher, in which they disclosed that the data used in their was not original but they had taken it from two papers produced by Chinese researchers.
Another retracted Pakistani paper was titled ‘Forensic case-work analysis and legal challenges during pandemic: An update from Pakistan’. It was produced by Bairia Wahid of the Department of Life Sciences, School of Sciences, University of Management and Technology, Lahore, and published in Legal Medicine in October 2020. However, the reason for its retraction has not been clearly stated by the publisher.
“This article has been withdrawn at the request of the author(s) and/or editor. The Publisher apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause,” reads the website of the publisher. Likewise, another paper titled ‘How perceived threat of Covid-19 causes turnover intention among Pakistani nurses: A moderation and mediation analysis’ has been retracted by the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing over the copyright issue.
Muhammad Irshad, Sana Aroos Khattak, Muhammad Mubbashar Hassan, Mehwish Majeed and Sajid Bashir were the authors of the paper that was published online on August 10, 2020, in Wiley Online Library. It was retracted after the authors reached an agreement with the journal’s editor in-chief, Prof Kim Usher, and John Wiley and Sons Ltd because it contained copyright material for which permission had not been obtained.
The authors were from the University of Lahore, Bahria University Islamabad, Capital University of Science and Technology, International Islamic University Islamabad and Namal Institute, Mianwali.
Another retracted paper on Covid-19 that was produced by Pakistani researchers was ‘Implementation of a telemedicine service during COVID-19 pandemic in Pakistan’. It was published on May 1, 2021 in the International Journal of Clinical Practice and retracted on October 12, 2021.
The authors of the paper were Muhammad Haneef Nagra, Sumaira Ehsan, Umair Ahmad, Majid Ali, Hafiz Amjad Hussain, and Abu Bakar. The reason for retraction was an error in results and conclusions. The researchers belong to the Faisalabad Medical University and Allied Hospital Faisalabad.