We’ve been trying to follow the complicated case of Milena Penkowa, who resigned her post at the University of Copenhagen in December amidst allegations that she had committed scientific misconduct and misused grant money. Today, we learned that one of the three papers that Penkowa had coauthored and were subject to Expressions of Concern has been retracted. Here’s the notice:
Retraction:of ‘Exercise induces interleukin-8 expression in human skeletal muscle’, by Thorbjorn CA Akerstrom, Adam Steensberg, Pernille Keller, Charlotte Keller, Milena Penkowa and Bente Klarlund Pedersen, published in The Journal of Physiology 563(2): 507-516. Akerstrom T, Steensberg A, Keller P, Keller C, Penkowa M, Pedersen BK.
The University of Copenhagen.
Text of Retraction:
The following article from The Journal of Physiology, ‘Exercise induces interleukin-8 expression in human skeletal muscle’, by Thorbjorn CA Akerstrom, Adam Steensberg, Pernille Keller, Charlotte Keller, Milena Penkowa and Bente Klarlund Pedersen, published in The Journal of Physiology 563(2): 507-516, and online ahead of print on 23 December 2004 (doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2004.077610), has been retracted by agreement between Thorbjorn CA Akerstrom, Adam Steensberg, Pernille Keller, Charlotte Keller, Bente Klarlund Pedersen, the Editor- in-Chief, David J. Paterson, and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. The retraction has been agreed because:
• Figure 2.A (pre exercise) and Figure 2.G (24-h time-point) represent the same tissue sample but the sections presented have been moved slightly and the level of colouring of the tissue section modified;
• Figure 2.A is identical to Figure 3.D in the article ‘Interleukin-6 receptor expression in contracting human skeletal muscle: regulating role of IL-6’ by Keller P, Penkowa M, Keller C, Steensberg A, Fischer CP, Giralt M, Hidalgo J, Pedersen BK, FASEB Journal 19(9):1181-3.
We apologize to The Journal of Physiology for the inconvenience. We hold The Journal of Physiology in high regard and assure you these errors were not intentional or of deceptive intent. We further apologize to our colleagues for any difficulties caused by the publication of this paper.
The paper has been cited 54 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.
The notice is refreshingly detailed, and gives a clear sense of what was done wrong. We can also report that one of Penkowa’s co-authors, Bente Klarlund Pedersen, has resigned from her post on the editorial board of the journal. That fact was reported weeks ago in a Danish newspaper, but the paper referred to her resignation from two journals — the Journal of Physiology, where this retraction appears, and Experimental Physiology. The journals are linked, but we have only heard confirmation of her resignation from the latter’s publisher.
Hat tip: Virginia Hughes