Cancer research pioneer Robert Weinberg corrected Oncogene paper

onc_cimageRobert Weinberg, a prominent cancer researcher at the Whitehead Institute, issued a correction to a paper in Oncogene in May, fixing two errors missed during proofing.

We found this one a little late, obviously. It also appears to be a relatively minor correction, not one that appears worthy of retraction. We’ve gotten feedback from readers asking why we cover corrections; we chose to flag this one because Weinberg has had such an impact on his field — he discovered the first tumor-causing gene in humans, as well as the first tumor-suppressor gene — and his papers are often highly cited. He also has issued five retractions in the past, most of which for papers whose first author was a member of his lab, who is not a co-author on the Oncogene paper.

Here’s the correction note for “Thrombospondin-1 repression is mediated via distinct mechanisms in fibroblasts and epithelial cells:”

The authors wish to make the readers aware of two errors that were missed at proof stage.

The first is the inclusion of an actin loading blot in Figure 4c. In fact, no loading control was needed as the purpose of this figure is merely to show that the protein is expressed in both cell lines and not to compare its expression between the two lines. The corrected figure is shown below.

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 11.02.53 AM

The second is with regard to Figure 5f. This panel was intended to be replaced but was overlooked in review.

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 11.08.37 AM

The authors apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Click through to the full correction to see the figure legends.

This particular paper has only been cited once, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

We’ve reached out to Weinberg, and the Editor in Chief of Oncogene, and will update this post with anything else we learn.

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4 thoughts on “Cancer research pioneer Robert Weinberg corrected Oncogene paper”

  1. i have been noticing that after every retraction or correction, you write at the end – “We’ve reached out to Weinberg (the author), and the Editor in Chief of Oncogene(journal), and will update this post with anything else we learn”. Most of the times, it doesn’t get updated at all – I am sorry i don’t have a percentage (it takes sometime for me to do the calculation though) – does it mean that RW doesn’t often get a response from the author or the journal?

    1. Thanks for the question. When we hear back from relevant people before the post goes live, those comments are in the body of the text. If we hear back afterward, they’re added as an update at the end. So if you’re seeing that kind of language, without an update, it means we haven’t heard back. We haven’t done an analysis of what happens how often, but that would be an interesting exercise.

  2. “We’ve gotten feedback from readers asking why we cover corrections.” My feedback is that it is perfectly reasonable for you to cover corrections, although it wouldn’t be appropriate to report EVERY correction. It’s appropriate because it’s (usually) a sign that authors and editors are behaving well in correcting the research record; as you say, some corrections are by highly-influential researchers and deserve to be widely known because their work is likely to be widely used. But, it’s also useful because we do occasionally see instances of the term “correction” pushed to its limit (what you sometimes call “mega-corrections”) and I think that helps all of us to calibrate the line between correction and retraction.

  3. Oncogene. 2015 May 28;34(22):2823-35. doi: 10.1038/onc.2014.228. Epub 2014 Aug 11.
    Thrombospondin-1 repression is mediated via distinct mechanisms in fibroblasts and epithelial cells.
    Watnick RS1, Rodriguez RK2, Wang S3, Blois AL4, Rangarajan A5, Ince T5, Weinberg RA6.

    Figure 5.

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