Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘biophysical journal’ Category

“Stupid, it should not be done that way”: Researcher explains how duplications led to a retraction

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Rienk van Grondelle, via VU

More than two years ago, we wrote about a retraction for duplication in Biophysical Journal prompted by an email from pseudonymous whistleblower Clare Francis. That post generated a robust discussion, including one comment from someone calling himself or herself “Double Dutch.”

This past weekend, the last author of that paper, Rienk van Grondelle, left a lengthy response to that comment in which he explained how the duplication happened. We’ve confirmed that it was van Grondelle who left the comment, which we reproduce here in full (we’ve added paragraph breaks for readability): Read the rest of this entry »

You’ve been dupe’d: Catching up on authors who liked their work enough to use it again

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photo by Mark Turnauckas via Flickr

As we’ve noted before, we generally let duplication retractions make their way to the bottom of our to-do pile, since there’s often less of an interesting story behind them, duplication is hardly the worst of publishing sins, and the notices usually tell the story. (These are often referred to — imprecisely — as “self-plagiarism.”)

But that skews what’s represented here — boy, are there a lot of duplication retractions we haven’t covered! — and we might as well be more comprehensive. Plus, our eagle-eyed readers may find issues that we won’t see on a quick scan.

So with this post, we’re inaugurating a new feature here at Retraction Watch, “You’ve been dupe’d.” Every now and then, we’ll gather five of these duplication retractions at a time, and post them so they get into the mix, and into our category listing (see drop-down menu in right-hand column if you haven’t already). Here are the first five: Read the rest of this entry »

Why editors should stop ignoring anonymous whistleblowers: Our latest LabTimes column

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A retraction notice appeared a few months ago in the Biophysical Journal:

This article has been retracted: please see Elsevier Policy on Article Withdrawal (

This article has been retracted at the request of Edward Egelman, Editor-in-Chief.

The editors have noted that there is a substantial overlap of figures and text between this Biophysical Journal article and D. Rutkauskas, V. Novoderezkhin, R.J. Cogdell and R. van Grondelle. Fluorescence spectral fluctuations of single LH2 complexes from Rhodopseudomonas acidophila strain 10050. Biochemistry, 43 (2004) 4431–4438, doi:10.1021/bi0497648. The submission of this paper was inconsistent with the Biophysical Journal policy which states: “Manuscripts submitted to Biophysical Journal (BJ) must be original; papers that have already been published or are concurrently submitted elsewhere for publication are not acceptable for submission. This includes manuscripts previously submitted to BJ, as well as material that has been submitted to other journals while BJ is considering the manuscript. If some part of the work has appeared or will appear elsewhere, the authors must give the specific details of such appearances in the cover letter accompanying the BJ submission. If previously published illustrative material, such as figures or tables, must be included, the authors are responsible for obtaining the appropriate permissions from the publisher(s) before the material may be published in BJ”. We are therefore retracting the publication of the Biophysical Journal article.

Ordinarily, such duplications go to the bottom of our list of retractions to cover, despite how common they are. There’s usually less of a story behind them than there is behind a completely opaque notice, or behind one that sports a whiff of fraud. But they’re still important, as Bruce Chabner, the editor of The Oncologist, pointed out in a recent issue of his journal in which a duplication retraction appeared: Read the rest of this entry »