Yesterday we reported that Cell was looking into problematic images in a recent paper on human embryonic stem cell cloning. We’ve now heard from the journal about the nature of the inquiry.
Mary Beth O’Leary, a spokeswoman for Cell Press — an Elsevier title — tells us that:
Based on our own initial in-house assessment of the issues raised in PubPeer and in initial discussions with the authors, it seems that there were some minor errors made by the authors when preparing the figures for initial submission. While we are continuing discussions with the authors, we do not believe these errors impact the scientific findings of the paper in any way.
O’Leary also dismissed the notion that rushing the article into print compromised the review and editorial processes:
A number of comments about these errors in articles and blogs have drawn connections to the speed of the peer review process for this paper. Given the broad interest, importance, anticipated scrutiny of the claims of the paper and the preeminence of the reviewers, we have no reason to doubt the thoroughness or rigor of the review process. The comparatively rapid turnaround for this paper can be attributed to the fact that the reviewers graciously agreed to prioritize attention to reviewing this paper in a timely way. It is a misrepresentation to equate slow peer review with thoroughness or rigor or to use timely peer review as a justification for sloppiness in manuscript preparation.