Physics journal removes study for breach of confidentiality

applied-physics-lettersA physics journal has retracted a 2016 study after learning that the author published it without the knowledge or permission of the funder, which had a confidentiality agreement in place for the work.

According to the retraction notice in Applied Physics Letters, the paper also lifted content from other researchers without due credit. Given the “legal issue” associated with the breach of confidentiality, the journal has decided to remove the paper entirely. 

Here’s the retraction notice:

The Editor and publisher have retracted the referenced publication.1 This action is taken because the paper includes ideas, processes, and results of colleagues without giving them proper credit. In addition, the work was covered under a confidentiality agreement with a funding organization, published without the organization’s knowledge or permission, and without acknowledging the source of the funding. Because of the latter legal issue, the electronic version of the paper has been removed from the website.

The original paper, “Manipulating fluorescence color and intensity with regular metal nanoparticle-based composite materials,” was published in February.

According to the study, its sole listed author, Andrey G. Nikitin, is affiliated with Aix-Marseille University (AMU) in France and Al-Farabi Kazakh National University in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Our email to Nikitin’s AMU email address bounced; we couldn’t find any other contact details for Nikitin.

Guidelines from the Committee on Publication Ethics suggest that retracted papers should not be removed completely; a spokesperson from the American Institute of Physics, which publishes Applied Physics Letters, reiterated the reasons for retraction listed in the notice, and added:

As a general rule, when papers are retracted, the decision to do so is made jointly by our journal editors and management staff at AIP Publishing. Specific decisions are made on a case-by-case basis after carefully reviewing the facts, and any actions taken always strictly adhere to our existing retraction policy.

We’ve asked the spokesperson to reveal the name of the funder in question, and will update the post if we hear back.

Hat tip: Rolf Degen

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One thought on “Physics journal removes study for breach of confidentiality”

  1. I believe that to publish without permission of a funder is a private issue between the author and the funder and journals should not take down a paper over it. After all, in some cases funders try to bury results unfavorable to them or their products, in which case it is often in the public interest for the results to be published.

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