Canada’s Memorial U says “substantial data misrepresentation” described by retraction notice was unintentional
Yesterday, we reported on a retraction in the Journal of Neuroscience for “substantial data misrepresentation.” When we posted, the authors’ institution, Memorial University in Newfoundland, Canada, had not been able to respond to our questions yet, because of the long Canada Day weekend. This morning, they sent us the following statement, which describes the errors that led to the retraction as unintentional:
The Journal of Neuroscience has issued a retraction for a Memorial University paper that was published in the Sept. 27, 2006, issue.
The article, “Bidirectional Dopaminergic Modulation of Excitatory Synaptic Transmission in Orexin Neurons” by Christian O. Alberto, Robert B. Trask, Michelle E. Quinlan, and Michiru Hirasawa, was found to have illustrative errors in two figures.
One error was an unintentional duplication of electrophysiological traces shown as an example of the experiment and the other error was in the x-axis labeling of the graph.
Memorial University of Newfoundland conducted an investigation, which concluded that these errors were unintentional and affected neither the conclusion of the specific experiments shown in the figures nor the overall conclusion of the paper. No disciplinary action was taken against the authors.
No other papers have been retracted.
Memorial University is committed unequivocally to integrity in research. To this end, the university has stringent policies and procedures in place to protect research integrity, and we initiate prompt investigations into any allegation of misconduct in research.
We’re glad to have more detail on the reasons for the retraction. But if these results were truly unintentional, this seems like another good argument for more detailed retraction notices. Does “misrepresentation” sound unintentional? If the Journal of Neuroscience agrees with the conclusions of the Memorial report, why not include the word “unintentional” in the notice?