Our bad! Researchers take colleagues’ data, lose paper

aamick_v005i012.inddA pair of chemists from China who published their colleagues’ data without knowledge or permission have lost the article to retraction. They also have another retraction on a similar topic, which we covered before.

The article, which appeared in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces in 2012,  was titled “Nanoporous PtCo Surface Alloy Architecture with Enhanced Properties for Methanol Electrooxidation.” The authors, Huajun Qiu and Feixue Zou, are listed as being with the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Shandong University, in Jinan, China.

As the retraction notice states:

The authors retract the above article for violations of the ACS Ethical Guidelines to Publication of Chemical Research. This article was published without the knowledge or consent of the researchers primarily responsible for obtaining the data and without acknowledging their contribution. As a result, the authors retract this manuscript based on similarities to another article by the researchers who generated the data: Xu, C.; Hou, J.; Pang, X.; Li, X.; Zhu, M.; Tang, B. Nanoporous PtCo and PtNi alloy ribbons for methanol electrooxidation. Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 2012, 37, 10489–10498, DOI: 10.1016/j.ijhydene.2012.04.041.

Not only do the two papers have remarkably similar titles, the affiliations of their authors also are quite close. Xu’s group hails from the China Key Laboratory of Chemical Sensing & Analysis at the University of Shandong and the University of Jinan.

The study has been cited eight times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

The reason for the other retraction, of a paper titled “Aligned nanoporous PtNi nanorod-like structures for electrocatalysis and biosensing,” involved unreliable results. According to the notice:

We, the named authors, hereby wholly retract this RSC Advances article, due to unreliable experimental results which cannot be repeated.

Signed: Huajun Qiu, Liang Li, Qiaolin Lang, Feixue Zou and Xirong Huang, China, September 2012.

Retraction endorsed by Sarah Ruthven, Managing Editor. Retraction published 26 September 2012.

At time, Qiu told us that:

The unreliable result came to our attention because the ternary alloy we used contains many different alloy phases. After dealloying, by detailed analysis, we found the dealloyed sample had nonuniform morphology. These porous metals may be very useful for catalysis; however, for sensing application, uniform structure is necessary.

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