A regretful retraction for plagiarism and duplication in Proteome Science

proteomescilogoApologies, mea culpas, regrets. Kids, let this be a warning to you: Don’t plagiarize. You will get caught, and you’ll have to come clean.

Just ask a group of Spanish researchers who published a 2011 paper in Proteome Science, then lost it this past April because they’d stolen text and a figure from previously published work — some, but not all of it, their own.

The retraction notice for “Clinical and technical phosphoproteomic research” tells the story:

This article [1] has been regretfully retracted by the Editors because of significant overlap with a figure and text from previously published articles [2-4]. We apologise to all affected parties for the inconvenience caused.


1. Lopez E, Lopez I, Ferreira A, Sequi J: Clinical and technical phosphoproteomic research. Proteome Sci 2011,9(1):27.

2. López E, Matthiesen R, López I, Ashman K, Mendieta J, Wesselink JJ, Gómez-Puertas P, Ferreira A: Functional phosphoproteomics tools for current immunological disorders research.
Journal of integrated omics 2011,1(1):1–16.

3. Ashman K, Villar EL: Phosphoproteomics and cancer research. Clin Transl Oncol 2009, 11(6):356–62.

4. Choudhary C, Mann M: Decoding signalling networks by mass spectrometry-based proteomics. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 2010,11:427–439

The paper has been cited three times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge, including once by first author Elena Lopez.

10 thoughts on “A regretful retraction for plagiarism and duplication in Proteome Science”

    1. You know, I almost wish I *had* used a gmail account on many of my prior papers. I’ve moved places, and my current work has changed e-mail addresses four times in 11 years, of which the first two no longer work. If anyone wants to ask me about a paper from before 2007, they can’t use the e-mail address given on the paper!

      1. I would hope that people have the common sense to check whether the corresponding author on a something-year-old paper is still with the same institution, but yes, there’s definitely a drawback to using institutional e-mail.

          1. Up until a few years ago, either with much difficulty or not at all.

            Nowadays the world is much better equipped through social network sites tailored to academics, and researcher profiles on Web of Knowledge and Google Scholar (I’m not sure about PubMed). Of course it takes some effort from the researcher him-/herself to remain traceable, but it’s not as bad as it used to be.

    2. First authors are usually PhD student or Post-doc researcher, and based on the fact these people move every 3-4 years from a lab to another lab until they get a stable or tenure position (hahaha only in their dream), it is more relevant to have their personal email address instead of their institute email which temporary. If it is the the Principal Investigator/Team Leader who is the corresponding author, the institute email is more relevant.

    3. Dear Nuria, Hospitals in Spain (or at least in Madrid) do not always provide people that are not in hospital payroll with a institutional e-mail account, even if they do research in that hospital. I can say more, even people with that institutional e-mail account avoid using it because the capacity limits that they have for the inbox folder are so ridiculous, that they rather use their personal account for important e-mail communications. I know is weird, but that’s the way it is in Spain. Cheers.

      1. Well, it might be how it works in Madrid. It is not like that in Catalonia for sure. I am from Barcelona. Again, I don’t think it is a big deal (especially when the article is being retracted, I mean you have more important things that the email) but not institutional email does not look good. We are not writers and your work it is not done in 3 months. You had had to be in a place at least for 2 years to get anything done: you get an institutional email for less than that. And as CH pointed out, if nowadays you can’t find the email address, work address, phone (anything) of someone in academia is because you are not really looking too hard.

  1. I use my gmail account for all of my scientific correspondence with both publishers and scientists- and I have two institutional email address. My gmail address is published on the papers I am correspondent author on. This is in part because I’ve never really trusted university email address- not because I think they’ll read my emails (like what happened at Harvard)- but because they frequently crash; and their interfaces are often quite clunky & old-fashioned compared to gmail’s.

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