Last week, we reported on the retraction of a paper by Benjamin Jacob Hayempour, a researcher who had threatened to sue us last month for even reporting on another of his retractions.
The journal, Cureus, told us at the time that the retraction — in which the article disappeared, without a notice — didn’t have anything to do with fraud or plagiarism. Hayempour said that “In the pursuit of excellent science, I personally withdrew the article temporarily in order to add an extra section which will make the paper more clinically relevant.”
But we now have the whole story, which reads a bit differently. According to a comment left on our post by journal editor-in-chief John Adler, it was intellectual property issues that forced the retraction:
Thanks for being curious and Cureus! As editor in chief I now have permission from the aggrieved party, Oxford University, to be more open about the reason for Hayenpour’s retraction. We will now be posting on the journal page the following statement:
‘The paper entitled “Novel Determinants of Tumour Radiosensitivity Post Large Scale Compound Library 13 January 2013” has been retracted because it was published without the consent of the study’s Principal Investigator, Dr Geoffrey Higgins of Oxford University, and included data that is commercially sensitive.
Higgins, we should note, was not one of paper’s authors.
Hopefully this will allay your concerns that Cureus had some nefarious interest in this retraction. The fact that this process has taken a few days to sort out and for Cureus to arrive at a formal statement reflects the rather peculiar nature of this retraction and the fact that this is the first retraction our young journal has had to deal with. Despite statements to the contrary, I think if you check our Cureus you will come away convinced that we are attempting to be more transparent and less political than any other medical journal…..& FREE.
We’ve contacted Hayempour to ask about the apparent contradiction, and will update with anything we learn.