Editor in chief Marcia McNutt told us that the journal will make a decision about whether to retract or correct the paper by February 5th.
We are not certain that what he submitted changes anything, but we wanted to consider this new information before acting.
In the meantime, today the journal issued an Expression of Concern for the paper.
The journal’s initial decision to retract the paper stemmed from an investigation at the National Science Foundation, which concluded that co-authors Bruce Eaton and Dan Feldheim — currently at the University of Colorado at Boulder — engaged in “a significant departure from standard research practices,” and cut them off from NSF funding unless they took specific actions. When the report on the investigation came to light earlier this month, Science editor in chief Marcia McNutt told us that she planned to issue a retraction:
We are checking to see how soon we can get it published.
McNutt explained what changed:
Just as we were going to press with the retraction, one of the authors, Feldheim, submitted a correction of the paper as stipulated by NSF as a requirement to be reinstated for funding (according to him). In order to give us some time to consider what he submitted, we changed the retraction to an Editorial Expression of Concern. Science believes that authors are allowed some degree of due process. We are not certain that what he submitted changes anything, but we wanted to consider this new information before acting. We will resolve this matter in the February 5 issue of Science.
It’s not clear which actions NSF laid out for Feldheim and Eaton to get their funding back, since that part of the report was blacked out.
The paper has been cited 138 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. (That count has stayed the same since we last reported on this paper on January 8th.)
Here’s the expression of concern:
The Report “RNA-Mediated Metal-Metal Bond Formation in the Synthesis of Hexagonal Palladium Nanoparticles” by Lina A. Gugliotti et al. published online in the 7 May 2004 issue of Science reported using a complex mix of RNA and water to create crystals of palladium. An ongoing investigation into this study by the U.S. National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Office of Inspector General determined that the authors falsified research data. Although the NSF did not find that the authors’ actions constituted misconduct, it nonetheless concluded that they “were a significant departure from research practices.” Science is working with the authors to understand their response to the NSF final ruling. Depending on the outcome of this discussion, Science will issue either a Retraction or a (further) correction to the paper. In the meantime, Science is publishing this Editorial Expression of Concern to al ert our readers that serious concerns have been raised about the validity of the findings in this Report.
We’ve reached out to Feldheim and Eaton for comment.
Like Retraction Watch? Consider making a tax-deductible contribution to support our growth. You can also follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, add us to your RSS reader, and sign up on our homepage for an email every time there’s a new post. Click here to review our Comments Policy.