A group of hematology researchers in Canada lost a publication to the merger of two medical device makers, after the acquiring company apparently decided not to pursue marketing the product in question.
An April 23 retraction notice in the International Journal of Laboratory Hematology about the article, “Enhanced flagging and improved clinical sensitivity on the new DxH 300TM Coulter® cellular analysis system,” originally published in February, tells the tale:
The following article from the International Journal of Laboratory Hematology, published online in Wiley Online Library (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1751-553X.2012.01411.x/abstract) on 23 February 2012 has been retracted by agreement between the authors, the Journal’s Editors, Dr Steve Kitchen and Dr Szu-Hee Lee, and Blackwell Publishing Ltd, based on the determination that the instrument listed in the paper had not been commercially released at the time of publication.
We reached Mike Keeney, the senior author on the paper, who told us that his group had agreed to conduct the analysis for Beckman Coulter when that company stood alone. But BC was bought by Danaher Corporation last year, and the new firm evidently decided not to market the DxH 300.
Danaher contacted the researchers and asked them to request a retraction, said Keeney, and they agreed.
Co-author Ben Hedley said the article had already gone live on the publisher’s website when the request came in:
The paper had been accepted for publication, the proofs sent back and the publisher … had the paper in their Early View Online very quickly and that is when we were contacted by the company about the delay in releasing the instrument. Hence the retraction notice that was printed in the journal, it is a shame as this is a good instrument.
Although Keeney acknowledged that the situation is unusual, he said the article ceased to be worth reading:
There was no data in it that on its own had value in it. There was no going to be no product; it was going to be a pointless paper.
Hat tip: Clare Francis