Eyes wide shut at vision journal as retraction notice misses the point

Photo by Steve H.

Molecular Vision appears to have been flying blind when it retracted a 2013 paper by Rajendra Kadam and colleagues.

In December 2018, Kadam, a former “golden boy” in pharmaceutical research at the University of Colorado, Denver, was the subject of a finding from the U.S. Office of Research Integrity, which stated that he had fabricated his data. As part of the agreement, Kadam agreed to retract a paper in Molecular Vision. .

Kadam, who in 2016 had his doctoral degree revoked by UC Denver, two years after the university completed an investigation and sent its finding to the Office of Research Integrity (ORI), now has eight retractions, two expressions of concern and a correction. Seven of them mention fabrication of data. But Molecular Vision, the most recent addition to the list, does not.

The paper was titled “Suprachoroidal delivery in a rabbit ex vivo eye model: influence of drug properties, regional differences in delivery, and comparison with intravitreal and intracameral routes.” Its retraction notice, issued February 18, states:

The corresponding author and some coauthors have requested that this article be retracted. On this basis, the Editors formally retract this article from Molecular Vision.


The Editors of Molecular Vision

Jeffrey Boatright, the top editor at the journal and a professor of ophthalmology at Emory University in Atlanta, told us:

We retracted the paper based on the suggestion of NIH. I don’t know that there’s much more to discuss, but thanks for the interest.

Although Kadam may have satisfied the letter of the ORI settlement — which required him to request the retraction of the paper in Molecular Vision — we wondered whether the agency thought he would submit such a blurry notice.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, of which ORI is a part, told us:

While ORI encourages institutions to be transparent and request retractions to correct the scientific record, the actual retraction notices are between the institution and the journal.

If it’s any consolation to the folks at Molecular Vision, they aren’t the only journal that has lost sight of the ball in these sorts of cases.

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