Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Ladies and gentlemen, we have an apparent retraction record holder: Joachim Boldt, at 89

with 4 comments

It’s official.* Joachim Boldt now holds the record for the most retractions by a single author.

As we reported the other day, a group of anesthesia journals was on the verge of revealing a list of 89 articles by Joachim Boldt that would require retraction because the German researcher had failed to receive proper approval from ethics officials for his studies. Today, the coalition issued a letter making the retractions official.

The 89 papers join an earlier retraction in October.

Of note: One editor has yet to sign the document. His name should ring a bell to followers of this blog — it’s L. Henry Edmunds, Jr., editor of the Annals of Thoracic Surgery, whose journal published one of Boldt’s tainted studies. We’ve been told that Edmunds — who once told us that the reasons for a particular retraction were “none of your damn business,” has been out of town and is likely to sign the letter.

Now about that asterisk: This “record” is a bit like weather records in that we should tell you we’ve only been “officially” keeping them since August 2010. We thought, for example, that Boldt had already set a record with 23, but a helpful commenter reminded us of the case of Andrzej Jendryczko, who in 1998 retracted 45 papers for plagiarism. At 89 — and likely soon 90 — Boldt blows him out of the water.

  • Davie Yoon March 2, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    Don’t forget Jon Darsee. Wikipedia puts him at 82, which puts him in the same neighborhood.

    When the numbers get this high, is there just a single bad apple, or is the whole barrel rotten?

    • Chris B March 3, 2011 at 5:05 pm

      If the issue is IRB approval, then in this case its pretty clear: the Principal Investigator holds the responsibility for making sure all necessary approvals are obtained prior to study start. Boldt’s colleagues, co-workers and trainees all would have relied on him – one bad apple

  • ktwop March 4, 2011 at 1:38 am

    This case has now reached the front page of The Telegraph with the headline “Millions of surgery patients at risk in drug research fraud scandal”.

  • Neuroskeptic March 4, 2011 at 9:29 am

    It’s not just IRB approval – there are suggestions he invented data, and/or altered data so that the conclusions in the paper were the opposite of what the data really showed.

    IRB approval is part of it.

    According to the Telegraph.

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