Walk (back) an Egyptian (vulture): Another paper by Spanish vet under scrutiny retracted
With apologies to the Bangles for this post’s title, we have another vulture-related retraction from Jesús A. Lemus, the Spanish veterinary researcher whose results have come into question.
This one involves a paper that appeared in PLoS ONE in 2009, titled “Susceptibility to Infection and Immune Response in Insular and Continental Populations of Egyptian Vulture: Implications for Conservation.”
According to the notice:
The authors wish to retract the article “Susceptibility to Infection and Immune Response in Insular and Continental Populations of Egyptian Vulture: Implications for Conservation”.
The Ethics Committee of the Spanish Superior Council of Scientific Research (CSIC) has carried out a formal investigation in relation to concerns about potential scientific misconduct by Dr. Lemus, a co-author of this article.
Although the field and statistical procedures, as well as the immune assays, reported in the article are correct, the investigation carried out by the Ethics Committee of CSIC has not been able to clarify in which external laboratories Dr. Lemus conducted the microbiological isolation, which raises concerns regarding the validity of the analyses contributed by Dr. Lemus. During the institutional investigation, concerns were also raised about the existence of co-author Javier Grande.
Due to the ephemeral nature of the material used (bacterial microflora isolated from the cloaca, choana, and nares using microbiological swabs and Amies transport medium), we are unable to repeat the analyses with the same samples employed in the original study. As a result, the authors wish to retract this article.
The paper has been cited five times, according to Google Scholar. One of the citing papers was another by Lemus in PLoS ONE, “Livestock Drugs and Disease: The Fatal Combination behind Breeding Failure in Endangered Bearded Vultures.” A comment from the editors on that study, dated April 2, 2012, reads:
The PLoS ONE editorial team has become aware that the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) is carrying out an investigation into the research by Dr Jesús Ángel Lemus. The PLoS ONE editors have contacted the CSIC and requested to be informed of the outcome of the ongoing investigation. The PLoS ONE editors will consider whether any specific action is required in relation to Dr Lemus’ publications at PLoS ONE as soon as we are notified of the outcome of the institutional investigation.
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