The Journal of Vinyl and Additive Technology (JVAT) — the official journal of the Society of Plastics Engineers — is retracting a 2012 paper from a group of Chinese researchers who evidently realized at some point that they didn’t know quite what they were doing.
As the notice explains:
The following article from the Journal of Vinyl and Additive Technology, “Thermal degradation and flame retardance of epoxy resins containing a microencapsulated flame retardant,” by Ming Gao, Weihong Wu, and Fachao Wu, published online on 2 February 2012 in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com), has been retracted by agreement among the authors, the journal’s editors, and Wiley Periodicals, Inc. The retraction has been agreed to because a pervasive misattribution of data resulted in fundamentally flawed experimental results, thus rendering the article’s subsequent discussion and conclusions meaningless and misleading.
We asked editor William H. Starnes for more information, particularly about what “misattribution of data” really meant, and whether the authors had come forward or he had gone to them. He told us:
The article was withdrawn at the request of the authors. Their request is summarized in the published retraction. I had not approached the authors about this matter before receiving the request. In the same message where the request was made, the authors stated that they had mistakenly assigned data obtained on one system to another one. I have no reason to believe that anything other than honest error was involved.