In October, we noted the apparent record holder for longest time between publication and retraction: 25 years, for “Retention of the 4-pro-R hydrogen atom of mevalonate at C-2,2′ of bacterioruberin in Halobacterium halobium,” published in the Biochemical Journal in 1980 and retracted in 2005. (Although an author requested that another 52-year-old paper be retracted, it remains untouched in the literature.)
That record has now been broken. Congratulations to the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the authors of a December 1985 paper, “Increasing the response rate to cytotoxic chemotherapy by endocrine means.” Here’s the notice, which appears in the January 2013 issue of the journal, making 27 years — and a month, if you’re counting:
Retraction due to duplication of data publication and text re-cycling by the authors: The Proceedings article has been retracted at the request of the authors as most of the data presented and text had already appeared in the author’s previous paper entitled “A randomized attempt to increase the efficacy of cytotoxic chemotherapy in metastatic breast cancer by hormonal synchronization”. M.E. Lippman, J. Cassidy, M. Wesley and R.C. Young, J Clin Oncol, 2 (1984) 28–36. This was due to their misunderstanding of the respective publishing and copyright policies of the journals and the implications of publishing in a conference proceedings.
The study has been cited just nine times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.
Its first author, Marc Lippman, is chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. A 2007 release about his appointment notes that Miller is “a pioneering breast cancer researcher” who has been chair of the University of Michigan’s department of internal medicine, director of the Vincent T. Lombardi Cancer Research Center and chair of oncology at Georgetown, and “spent 18 years as a senior investigator at the National Cancer Institute.” Two of his other papers have been cited more than 1,000 times.
Could this herald a new era of housekeeping at journals? As we’ve noted in our “You’ve been dupe’d” feature, there are a lot of duplication retractions lately. Will language such as “misunderstanding of the respective publishing and copyright policies of the journals and the implications of publishing in a conference proceedings” become more common? We’ll keep an eye on this.