Bharat B. Aggarwal, the MD Anderson researcher under investigation at his institution over concerns of image manipulation, has withdrawn a second paper, although you’d never know why from the statement.
The notice for the article, “Evidence for the critical roles of NF-κB p65 and specificity proteins in the apoptosis-inducing activity of proteasome inhibitors in leukemia cells,” is pretty minimal:
This article has been withdrawn at the request of the author(s) and/or editor. The Publisher apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause. The full Elsevier Policy on Article Withdrawal can be found at http://www.elsevier.com/locate/withdrawalpolicy.
Does Elsevier’s policy help? The answer is, a little, and not much. According to Elsevier, it withdraws
Articles in Press (articles that have been accepted for publication but which have not been formally published and will not yet have the complete volume/issue/page information) that include errors, or are discovered to be accidental duplicates of other published article(s), or are determined to violate our journal publishing ethics guidelines in the view of the editors, may be “Withdrawn” from ScienceDirect. Withdrawn means that the article content (HTML and PDF) is removed and replaced with a HTML page and PDF simply stating that the article has been withdrawn according to the Elsevier Policy on Article in Press Withdrawal with a link to the current policy document.
As for retractions:
The retraction of an article by its authors or the editor under the advice of members of the scholarly community has long been an occasional feature of the learned world. Standards for dealing with retractions have been developed by a number of library and scholarly bodies, and this best practice is adopted for article retraction by Elsevier:
- A retraction note titled “Retraction: [article title]” signed by the authors and/or the editor is published in the paginated part of a subsequent issue of the journal and listed in the contents list.
- In the electronic version, a link is made to the original article.
- The online article is preceded by a screen containing the retraction note. It is to this screen that the link resolves; the reader can then proceed to the article itself.
- The original article is retained unchanged save for a watermark on the .pdf indicating on each page that it is “retracted.”
- The HTML version of the document is removed.
So assuming this policy applies, the Aggarwal paper, which was accepted into BBA’s Molecular Basis of Disease unit, never made it into print. However, there’s some ambiguity about the publication dates here.
We reported on Aggarwal’s first withdrawal, in Cancer Letters, also an Elsevier journal, last month.
We left word for journal editor Jeffrey Keller and will update with anything we learn.
Ironically, the journal involved, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, goes by Aggarwal’s initials (we trust this sort of thing never happened to Norbert Edward James Madison).