JACS makes it official, retracting Breslow “space dinosaurs” paper for “similarity to his previously published reviews”

Last month, we (and others) reported that the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) had temporarily withdrawn a paper by a former president of the society after a number of chemists pointed out similarities between the March 25 article and previous ones by the author, Ronald Breslow.

The paper had drawn puzzled looks thanks to an April 11 press release — since deleted — headlined “Could ‘advanced’ dinosaurs rule other planets?” In its note last month, the journal said:

This article was removed by the publisher due to possible copyright concerns. The Journal’s Editor is following established procedure to determine whether a violation of ACS Ethical Guidelines to Publication of Chemical Research has occurred.

That investigation has apparently concluded, so the page now reads, in a note dated May 16:

This invited perspective was withdrawn at the request of the author due to similarity to his previously published reviews, specifically those in Tetrahedron Letters and the Israel Journal of Chemistry. The author stands by the scientific findings and conclusions as published in those reviews.

The Tetrahedron Letters paper is available here and the Israel Journal of Chemistry paper is available here.

Breslow had told Nature, in a piece that highlighted similarities between the papers, that he had done nothing wrong.

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