Environmental engineer loses paper after co-authors say he didn’t have permission to publish it

j chem tech biotechAn environmental engineer at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University has been forced to retract a paper amid an ethics committee investigation into whether he had the right to publish it.

The Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology retracted a study from the Vitaly Gitis lab just months after its publication:

The following article from the Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology, Efficient separation of Nannochloropsis salina using minerals to optimize algae sedimentation by Razi Epsztein, Amichai Felder, Alex Mishelevitz and Vitaly Gitis, published online on 20 March, 2012 in WileyOnlineLibrary (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com; doi: 10.1002/jctb.3754), has been retracted by agreement between the authors, the journal Editor-in-Chief, Jack Melling and John Wiley & Sons. The retraction has been agreed following an investigation by the academic ethics code committee of Ben-Gurion University which decided that the corresponding author had no right to publish the results of the study without permission from the other authors (decision from 21 June 2012).

When we first reached Gitis at his home in Be’er Sheva on November 16, Israel was in the midst of an escalating missile exchange with Hamas, and Ben-Gurion was closed, so understandably, there were other priorities. Gitis told us at that time:

I still don’t have an answer from the ethics committee if I’m allowed to tell more than what’s been said on the paper [retraction]. I don’t know because it’s not over yet.

Gitis said he could not discuss whether other papers were being questioned, and said he hoped to be able to tell us more in a few weeks.

We followed up with him yesterday, now that there has been a cease-fire and things have started to return to normal. Gitis told us:

I have no idea what’s going on. I have nothing to tell you at the moment.

One thought on “Environmental engineer loses paper after co-authors say he didn’t have permission to publish it”

  1. No idea, eh? After the ethics code committee investigated and made a decision, he has “no idea” what is going on? *grins* Okaaaaay.

    The first two authors appear to be graduate students in the Gitis lab. Alex Mishelevitz is not listed as a current or former lab member. I can’t find Alex Mishelevitz listed on the Ben-Gurion University site, but I don’t read Hebrew and many of the pages on that site are only in Hebrew. I don’t see him listed as an author on the other publications shown on the Gitis lab web site.

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