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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Update on “greatly enhanced” photonics paper, with two corrections — one by journal, one by us

with 2 comments

nature photonicsLast month we wrote about a paper in Nature Photonics that, because of a measurement error, had to be retracted.

It turns out that wasn’t the only problem with the article — but we’re afraid that the glitch requires us to issue a correction.

The article, “Greatly enhanced continuous-wave terahertz emission by nano-electrodes in a photoconductive photomixer,” has listed Aaron Danner as the last — and, we’d assumed — senior author of the paper. But as Danner pointed out to us, that was a mistake by Nature Photonics.

As Danner complained to the journal:

There is a retraction notice printed on the Nature Photonics website at http://www.nature.com/nphoton/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nphoton.2013.81.html

But there seems to be a serious error – the author order on the website is incorrect and does not match the author order of the downloadable pdf retraction notice, and also does not include all authors.

Please can you correct this immediately?  It is having repercussions for my team:

Since my name is printed last and the authors after my name are missing from the list, news reporters monitoring retractions (like this one http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/findings-of-greatly-enhanced-optics-turn-out-to-be-well-greatly-enhanced/) are assuming that I was leading the team or that I was corresponding author of the original work.  My student and I were middle-of-the-list authors and were neither leading nor corresponding authors.  Please correct the website error so that the names on the website match the pdf retraction notice signed by all co-authors.

The journal promptly corrected the error, and now lists Danner as the penultimate author on the retraction notice.

Danner rightly told us that we should not have assumed that he was the lead author of the article simply because his name came last on the list of authors. For that, we apologize, and we’re glad to see the journal correct the error that led us to make ours.

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Written by Adam Marcus

April 9, 2013 at 1:15 pm

2 Responses

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  1. “….we’re glad to see the journal correct the error that led us to make ours.”

    No, the error did not “lead” you, you led yourselves. Yes, the PI is commonly the last author, but I can give you lots of examples in very short order, as can most of your readers.

    John Spevacek

    April 10, 2013 at 9:57 am

    • I second this: the error is entirely yours. You assumed that Danner was the lead author, but you should have checked. This was easily avoidable.

      Robert McNees

      May 12, 2013 at 11:11 am

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