According to the notice, the authors claim that the images were supplied by a “service provider;” the editor-in-chief of the journal told us he doesn’t have any details on this third party’s identity.
The first author of the retracted paper in Plant Science Today — Dibyendu Talukdar, from the University of Calcutta in West Bengal, India — has several other papers being questioned on PubPeer. His co-author, Tulika Talukdar, who is based at Acharya Prafulla Chandra Roy Government College in West Bengal, India, according to her ResearchGate page, is a co-author on three of these papers. According to the present paper, however, Tulika Talukdar is affiliated with Raja Peary Mohan College, which is part of the University of Calcutta.
Here’s the retraction notice:
RAPD gel images given in the paper seems manipulated. According to the authors, the images were provided by a service provider. The authors failed to provide the original/raw images to prove their innocence. Since the paper is centred around these gel images, the publisher has no other way than to retract the article. The corresponding author had agreed for the retraction.
The 2016 paper, “RAPD-based DNA fingerprinting in Lantana camara L. ecotypes and development of a digital database platform ‘LANRAD’,” is yet to be cited, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science.
K. K. Sabu, editor-in-chief of Plant Science Today from the Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute in Kerala, India, told us the case has resulted in changes to the editorial policy of the journal:
We will [insist] the authors to keep the original (raw) files of the images submitted to our journal and in case for verification, they need to submit the same to the concerned Editor.
Sabu added that the issues with the paper came to light after a reader informed him that a PubPeer thread had been started about the paper, noting some irregularities in the bands.
Many of Dibyendu Talukdar’s papers are also being questioned on PubPeer.
We’ve reached out to Dibyendu and Tulika Talukdar (we’re not sure if there’s a relation between the two), and will update the post with anything else we learn.
Hat tip: Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva
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