It’s all bad, it’s all good: JCI retracts for made-up data but authors stand behind work
The Journal of Clinical Investigation has retracted a 2010 article after the researchers acknowledged that the paper contained a substantial amount of manipulated or manufactured data.
How much bad data? Enough to sink seven figures. And the authors said they could not produce raw data in another 19 or so figures and four tables.
But, as the notice states, the researcher said that despite the retraction, they stand by the thrust of their article, “Sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor-2 deficiency leads to inhibition of macrophage proinflammatory activities and atherosclerosis in apoE-deficient mice:”
All authors agree to retract the above article due to multiple use of the same images or manipulation of data in Figures 1A, 2D, 5C, 6B, 6C, and 8A and Supplemental Figure 8E. They are also not able to provide some of the raw data that are used in Figures 2A, 2B, 5, 6, 7C, 8, and 9C, Supplemental Tables 1–4, and Supplemental Figures 2C, 3, 4, 5, 7C, 8A–8C, 8E, 8F, 10A, and 10B. The first author, Fei Wang, has admitted his sole responsibility in altering figures. The authors apologize and deeply regret the impact of this action. However, the authors stand behind data showing that genetic deletion of S1pr2 or pharmacological S1PR2 inhibition alleviates atherosclerosis in Apoe–/– mice fed a high-cholesterol diet.
The study has been cited 16 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.
Now, this doesn’t quite constitute a mega-correction — the article has been retracted, after all — but it’s not too far off. If the authors stand by their last claim, then shouldn’t they resubmit it as a separate, untainted publication?
We tried to ask the JCI about that, but the journal told us that
JCI editors don’t comment on manuscripts within the journal.
We pointed out that, technically, the article was no longer in the journal, but were told that
the editors decline to comment on this matter.
So much for transparency.