When you have 94 retractions, what’s two more?

Attention Joachim Boldt: The 1990s are calling, and they want their papers back.

The Annals of Thoracic Surgery has retracted two papers from the early 1990s on which Boldt was the first author – bringing the retraction tally for the disgraced German anesthesiologist to 96, by our count. Both articles were found to contain manipulated data.

The first paper, from 1990, was titled “Acute Preoperative Plasmapheresis and Established Blood Conservation Techniques,” and was written when Boldt was on the faculty at Justus-Liebig University, in Giessen.

According to the notice:

An institutional investigation at Justus-Liebig Universitat Giessen confirms data fabrication and falsification by J. Boldt. Thus, the research published in this article was misrepresented to The Annals of Thoracic Surgery and the article should be retracted from the scientific record.

The paper has been cited eight times since it was published in 1990, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science, formerly part of Thomson Reuters.

The second article, from 1991, was titled “Six Different Hemofiltration Devices for Blood Conservation in Cardiac Surgery.”

The notice here is a bit more cryptic:

By comparing the results of this article with results reported by Berend Fedderson (Hämofiltration als blutsparendes Verfahren in der Herzchirurgie: sechs verschiedene Hämofilter im Vergleich; Niebüll, Germany; http://d-nb.info/930239350), it has been determined that experimental outcomes have been altered. Thus, the research published in this article was misrepresented to The Annals of Thoracic Surgery and the article should be retracted from the scientific record.

That paper has been cited nine times since 1991.

According to Google translate, the title of the paper referenced in the notice is “Hemofiltration as a blood-conserving procedure in cardiac surgery: six different hemofilters in comparison.”

Annals of Thoracic Surgery has previously retracted two articles by Boldt and colleagues — one from 2003, the other 2001, when the researcher was at the Klinikum Ludwigshafen. In both instances, the reason was lack of ethics approval for the studies.

Boldt published 11 other research papers in the journal, for which he served as a guest reviewer for many years.

A spokesperson for the journal told us:

We were contacted by a researcher who did the data comparison and notified The Annals.  We then tried to contact all authors but could not obtain current contact information. The focus of the retraction was on data manipulation and not duplicate submission; please note that the “other” work was actually a PhD thesis. At this time, we are not anticipating any other retractions of his work.

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3 thoughts on “When you have 94 retractions, what’s two more?”

  1. “Experimental outcomes have been altered” and “data manipulation” are the explanations given for retraction of the second paper on a comparison of six hemofiltration devices in cardiac surgery. Berend Fedderson had his thesis on the same subject accepted by the University of Giessen about the same time, and was also a co-author of the (now) retracted paper. No word on Berend losing his post graduate degree, so are we to assume that the data in the thesis are more correct than the figures in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery paper ?
    No surprise that Fedderson didn’t answer questions from the journal.

  2. At what point does the referee call the game for “piling on”? Maybe a list of papers with real data might be shorter.


  3. When in a lab a measurement setup proved to be unreliable often all previous measurements will be discarded. When a researcher has proven to be repeatably unreliable, should not then all her or his papers, be automatically retracted?

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