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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Fernández genetics paper in limbo over data concerns

with 7 comments

annrevgenAriel Fernández, the protein researcher whose theories of drug design lately have come in for questioning, has lost a paper, at least for the moment.

The article, “Supramolecular Evolution of Protein Organization,” appeared online in Annual Reviews of Genetics prior to print. It lists Fernández’s affiliation as ProWD Sciences, in Madison, Wisc. Not much exists on the web about that company, however, except an under-construction site. (ProWD, by the way, is short for PROtein-Water-Dehydron, Fernández’s area of interest.)

Here’s the notice:

It has come to our attention that some key concepts reviewed in the manuscript entitled “Supramolecular Evolution of Protein Organization” by Ariel Fernández derive from at least one article in the primary research literature currently under dispute due to unsettled anomalies in the data and/or interpretation. Annual Reviews, with concurrence of the review’s author, has decided to withhold final publication pending satisfactory resolution.

Fernández threatened to sue us when we wrote about an expression of concern for one of his articles.

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7 Responses

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  1. See also this discussion in pubpeer re: another paper. Very odd patterns in the supplemental data. https://pubpeer.com/publications/18208334

    Alug

    October 24, 2013 at 10:19 am

    • Very odd indeed. I’d encourage data-minded Retraction Watchers to follow that link and see if they can shed light on the issue…

    • I don’t know how the “under-wrapping of the data” works… :(

      Irene

      October 24, 2013 at 8:42 pm

  2. I’ve been getting your blog for years while working on a different documentary. We ended up switching gears and going in a different direction, but that also led us back to Pharma. Came across this last night and thought of you guys. Not sure if you could use it, but thought I’d send it to you because his charts and graphs (way over my head) say something completely different than the literature. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3YB59EKMKw

    Please keep up the good work.

    CPSdoc

    Pala

    October 24, 2013 at 10:50 am

  3. Watch out, Retraction Watch…El Gran Hombre might threaten to sue you in civil and criminal court for reporting that one of his papers is being “with[e]ld [from] final publication.”

    D Cameron

    October 24, 2013 at 3:09 pm

  4. Dr. Ariel Fernandez is a deep original thinker, highly regarded in the scientific community. It is not surprising that some of his work may have been challenged because it is interdisciplinary, often difficult to read and certainly not for beginners. I have never read a serious challenge to Dr. Fernandez work, though. If people feel they want to challenge his work, why don’t they try to publish their critique, subjecting their own work to peer review and enabling Dr. Fernandez to respond in the same venue? That is the way science has dealt with challenges for centuries.

    Xi Han Wang

    October 29, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    • Ah, the “misunderstood genius” defence: we only think that his work is bogus because we fail to understand it, not being as brilliant and broadly-educated as the great Dr. Fernandez. Bollocks!

      Few scientists would describe Fernandez as a “deep original thinker”, apart from Fernandez himself. Those familiar with him generally regard him as a shameless and transparent self-promoter, or worse.

      If you have never read a serious challenge to his work, you must not have read these comments:

      https://pubpeer.com/publications/22168623
      https://pubpeer.com/publications/18208334

      These concerns do not turn on any deep points on which Fernandez might have special insights; they are based on the fact that the data appear, in various ways, to have been produced artificially.

      The accepted way in which such cases are handled is for the author’s institutions to investigate (which some have done in this author’s case) and for journals, based in part on those investigations, to issue retractions, expressions of concern, etc., where appropriate (which two have done, as reported on RW).

      Are you disagreeing with the decision of Annual Review of Genetics to withhold publication? How do you know what they know? Or do you think that it is wrong for a blog to discuss this?

      FLR

      October 29, 2013 at 6:19 pm


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