Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

The case of the three retracted Penises

with 18 comments

Marc Abrahams, of Improbable Research and the Ig Nobels, found something remarkable earlier this evening, as he is wont to do:

von-boningThat’s right, a paper written by two Penises and a von Boning. But much to Abrahams’ chagrin, he notes:

…that citation turned out to be mangled — filled with typos. Here’s the real citation [you can click on the link to get to the study, if that’s your idea of a good time]:

C Perris, W A Arrindell, H Perris,M Eisemann, J van der Ende,and L von Knorring, Perceived depriving parental rearing and depression. BJP February 1986 148:170-5;

Abrahams got as excited as a…lepton when he found another Penis in the literature, A. Delgado Penis. But he was foiled again — or perhaps we should say Boyled again, since it was NBC News Digital’s Alan Boyle who pointed out that this too was a typo. It’s Peris.

However, Abrahams’ loss is our gain. For, dear readers, we now have the case of the three retracted Penises.

None of this should be confused with a detachable penis, however:

Written by Ivan Oransky

September 17th, 2013 at 10:05 pm

  • Irma September 17, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    For what is worth, “Delgado” means “Thin” or “Narrow” so A. Delgado Penis, well, yeah.

    • Efox September 18, 2013 at 5:47 am

      Oh, and one could have mistaken that for a seminal paper in the area!..

      • namnezia September 18, 2013 at 9:27 am

        I guess we’ve become hardened to such mistakes in the literature.

  • J Buck September 18, 2013 at 7:28 am

    A literature search several years ago revealed an author named “Fuck.” I just did a Google Scholar search on the name and received 188,000 hits.

  • Paul Brookes September 18, 2013 at 9:22 am

    King Missile is the bomb! The line about finding it on blanket next to a bunch of broken toasters is one of my favorite lyrics of all time.

    Back on topic though – this does bring up another issue… Searching for errata or corrections (e.g., on PubMed) is easy, because those words are not used very much in a scientific context, other than to indicate the correction of an article. However, searching for retractions brings up all kinds of papers about neuronal projections, retracted penises and what have you. Actually finding papers listed as retracted, is not an easy thing to so (especially of late, since PubMed is lagging behind in updating their listings).

  • alterlego September 18, 2013 at 9:52 am

    a very respectable crystallographic programmer is called Alexei Vagin, Vagin A in Pubmed

    • alterlego September 18, 2013 at 9:56 am

      his sister(s), if he has them, would be called…

      • Devra Marcus September 18, 2013 at 10:35 am


  • Ken Pimple September 18, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Having a readily-mockable last name has one benefit: People tend to remember it..

  • Henry Galveston September 18, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    I can’t help laughing. We need something “funny”.

  • Bernd September 20, 2013 at 9:12 am

    I wonder whether this can be attributed to many people entering “penis” on reCAPTCHA questions, following 4chans hack of the TIME 100 poll …

  • The Iron Chemist September 20, 2013 at 11:40 am

    It’s a pity that there are so many boners being made with these citations.

  • Ros September 20, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    I’ve read of a ‘psychosomatic disorder’ in Malaysia (?) Nigeria (?) where a person is convinced that his penis has disappeared/been stolen.

    • The Iron Chemist September 22, 2013 at 2:29 pm


  • Neuroskeptic (@Neuro_Skeptic) September 21, 2013 at 6:07 am

    Nothing beats Ovarian teratoma in a bitch.” by Headley SA, Fuck EJ, Fuck ET, Curti CE (2006).

    • CR September 21, 2013 at 12:18 pm

      Amazing!!! And guess what, I got to the .pdf, gave it a read, also checked on the authors CVs and dissertations, and the paper seems quite honest!!

      But I will be showing to all of my friends: just too good.

    • CR September 22, 2013 at 1:18 am

      Just thought the following thread on this topic would amuse many:

  • Dr Samuel Furse September 27, 2013 at 1:52 am

    Despite the penises that have been retracted, it looks as though the semen is very much still in there:

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