Last year, we covered the case of Robert Schwarzenbacher, formerly of Salzburg University. Schwarzenbacher had provided the crystallographic data for a paper in the Journal of Immunology, but those results raised questions with another crystallographer and prompted an investigation by the university. Schwarzenbacher admitted he’d committed misconduct, although he recanted at one point, and was eventually fired.
Now, the authors have retracted the crystallographic data from the Journal of Immunology paper. Here’s the partial retraction, which is listed as a correction:
Zaborsky, N., M. Brunner, M. Wallner, M. Himly, T. Karl, R. Schwarzenbacher, F. Ferreira, and G. Achatz. 2010. Antigen aggregation decides the fate of the allergic immune response. J. Immunol. 184: 725–735.
The authors wish to retract the crystallographic section of this article, in particular Fig. 8A (ribbon diagram of the crystal structure of Bet v 1d) and Fig. 8B (electrostatic surface potential map of Bet v 1a, left, and Bet v 1d, right).
An analysis published in Acta Crystallographica Section F. 68: 4, p. 366–376 resulted in an investigation by the Austrian Agency for Research Integrity. The Austrian Agency for Research Integrity has confirmed that Robert Schwarzenbacher concedes he committed scientific misconduct concerning the crystallographic data in this article. Furthermore, the Austrian Agency for Research Integrity confirms that the other data in the article are valid and that there is no suspicion of scientific misconduct apart from that in Fig. 8A and Fig. 8B.
The Protein Data Bank has been informed and has retracted the 3K78 entry.
Retraction of the crystallographic section does not affect the major conclusions of the article.
The paper has been cited 18 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.
We asked the Austrian Agency for Research Integrity for a copy of their investigational report, but they said their rules only allowed them to release the report to the university and the researchers involved. Salzburg has not responded to our requests for the report