Crystal unclear? “Business decision” forces retraction of silicon paper

jcgrowthA group of researchers in Tokyo has lost their 2013 article in the Journal of Crystal Growth over commercial interests — which don’t appear to be their own.

We’ll explain.

The article, “Interactions between planar defects in bulk 3C-SiC,” came from a team consisting of a researcher at Keio University and scientists at two companies, HOYA Corporation, an optics firm, and SICOXS Corporation, which makes semiconductor wafers.

According to the abstract:

The distribution of stacking faults (SFs) generated in 3C-SiC heteroepitaxially grown on Si substrates is analyzed. Misfit dislocations at the interface between the SiC and the Si substrate induce extrinsic SFs (ESFs), which result in a semi-coherent interface. The ESF density decreases sharply with increasing distance from the SiC/Si interface. However, the SFs that consist of Shockley-type dislocations increase. The newly generated SF is completely disconnected by an anti-phase boundary (APB), and the higher APB density results in a lower SF density. The interaction between adjoining SFs is observed using cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy. Several interactions between adjoining SFs are revealed, and specific charged core structures are proposed.

But those revelations evidently displeased the corporate types. Here’s the retraction notice:

This article has been retracted at the request of the authors because of a business decision by their employer.

We’re guessing that the “employer” here likely wasn’t Keio University, and that the case may be similar to this one involving Novartis.

What’s unclear here is why a “business decision” would trump the journal’s interest in preserving the publication. Perhaps what the notice really is saying is that the data were owned by the companies, not the university. But if that’s the case, why not say so?

We’ve contacted the editor of the journal for a comment and will update this post if we learn more.


One thought on “Crystal unclear? “Business decision” forces retraction of silicon paper”

  1. The journal’s editor said the paper was retracted because of a business decision. However, according Elsevier’s withdrawal policy (, the article retraction applies in cases of “Infringements of professional ethical codes, such as multiple submission, bogus claims of authorship, plagiarism, fraudulent use of data or the like”. I’ve commented today about this in my post (Portuguese)

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