That’ll do it: Physics paper retracted for a “pattern that is unphysical”
Last December, we brought you the story of a math paper that was retracted because it made “no sense mathematically.” Today, we have that retraction’s cousin: A physics paper retracted because some of the data are “unphysical.”
Here’s the notice for “Room temperature ferromagnetism in pure and Co- and Fe-doped CeO2 dilute magnetic oxide: effect of oxygen vacancies and cation valence,” which was published in April 2011 in the Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics:
It has come to the attention of IOP Publishing that some of the data in this paper appears to have been fabricated. The Editorial Board has investigated this and found that the XPS spectra shown in figure 3 all exhibit an identical noise pattern that is unphysical and is inconsistent with the different samples being investigated. Consequently, this paper has been retracted by IOP Publishing.
The following authors have agreed to the publication of this retraction:
Y T Xing
S N Dolia
E Baggio Saitovitch
U P Deshpande
The journal was unable to contact the following authors:
The first author of the paper, R. K. Singhal, appears on neither of those lists. He declined to sign the notice, the IOP tells us. We asked him for comment, and will update with anything we learn.
The paper has been cited seven times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.
Update, 10/1/13: The Brazilian authors of this paper give some details on what happened (in Portuguese).