Two Journal of Bacteriology papers retracted for data duplication spanning five years

j bacteriolA group of bacteria researchers in Spain and Germany has lost two papers in the Journal of Bacteriology after the journal found evidence that they had reused figures.

The two notices, for “Heat Shock Proteome Analysis of Wild-Type Corynebacterium glutamicum ATCC 13032 and a Spontaneous Mutant Lacking GroEL1, a Dispensable Chaperone” and “Transcriptional Analysis of the groES-groEL1, groEL2, and dnaK genes in Corynebacterium glutamicum: Characterization of Heat Shock-Induced Promoters,” say the same thing:

This article has been retracted at the request of the Journal of Bacteriology because identical bands for the 16S rRNA probe controls in the Northern blots were reported to correspond to experiments using different strains and experimental conditions in articles published in this journal and in Microbiology over a period of 5 years, i.e., the following:

C. Barreiro, E. González-Lavado, M. Pátek, and J.-F. Martín, J. Bacteriol. 186:4813–4817, 2004. doi:10.1128/JB.186.14.4813–4817.2004.

C. Barreiro, E. González-Lavado, S. Brand, A. Tauch, and J. F. Martín, J. Bacteriol. 187:884–889, 2005. doi:10.1128/JB.187.3.884–889.2005.

M. Barriuso-Iglesias, C. Barreiro, F. Flechoso, and J. F. Martín, Microbiology 152:11–21, 2006. doi:10.1099/mic.0.28383-0.

C. Barreiro, D. Nakunst, A. T. Hüser, H. D. de Paz, J. Kalinowski, and J. F. Martín, Microbiology 155:359–372, 2009. doi:10.1099/mic.0.019299-0.

Drs. Barreiro and Martín take sole responsibility for these instances of data duplication and would like to apologize to the readers, reviewers, and editors of both the Journal of Bacteriology and Microbiology.

The papers have each been cited 34 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

The American Society for Microbiology (ASM), which publishes the Journal of Bacteriology, tells Retraction Watch:

A reader alerted Dr. Agnès Fouet, Editor in Chief of Microbiology, and Dr. Thomas Silhavy, Editor in Chief of the Journal of Bacteriology about possible problems with the data in the four papers.  ASM production staff examined the figures in the JB papers for evidence of image duplication using ORI forensic tools and confirmed that the images for the control 16S rRNA probe from the 2004 JB paper were reused in the 2005 paper.  The authors were asked to provide a written explanation of this case of apparent data duplication, which ASM found to be unsatisfactory.  Accordingly, ASM asked the authors to retract both the 2004 and 2005 JB articles with a full explanation.

ASM said they were unaware of an institutional investigation into the work, and corresponding author Juan Martín, of Universidad de León, has not responded to our request for comment. We’ve contacted Fouet to find out whether the Microbiology papers will be affected, and will update with anything we learn.

Hat tip: Craig Phelps

5 thoughts on “Two Journal of Bacteriology papers retracted for data duplication spanning five years”

  1. J.F. Martin has apparently retired a few years ago, which may be why he did not reply to your request for more information.

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