A real headache: Here’s one from the “What else could go wrong?” files

Researchers in China have retracted a 2016 paper in Oncology Letters on the anti-cancer properties of aspirin because, well, it was a disaster from top to bottom.

In the spirit of showing rather than telling, we’ll let the retraction notice do the work:

We would like to retract our article entitled “Aspirin inhibits growth of ovarian cancer by upregulating caspase‑3 and downregulating bcl‑2”, published in Oncology Letters 12, 93‑96, 2016, for the following reasons. First, we found that certain of the results of the study were too preliminary. Secondly, the p53N236S mice were obtained from an unreliable source, and therefore their genetic background may have been uncertain, which could have added to the lack of confidence in the results. Lastly, the manuscript was completed and submitted by the first author, Lin Li, without the prior consent of the other listed co-authors and the corresponding author. The last three co‑authors (FD, XJ and WZ) have confirmed that they were not aware of being listed as co‑authors, and they were not involved either in the research or in submission process. As a result, we have decided to retract the article from publication. All the named authors agree to this retraction. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience that might result from the retraction of this article.  

Other than that, it was fine. Or something.

The paper has been cited six times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science.

Hat tip: Rolf Degen

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4 thoughts on “A real headache: Here’s one from the “What else could go wrong?” files”

    1. Some journals only ask for the submitting and corresponding authors’ email addresses. If the submitter marks themself as the corresponding author, then they’re the only one to get any emails. Emailing all authors to confirm authorship would be a sensible precaution, but it seems to be practiced by a minority of journals.

  1. quite Big Headache!Not just the case,the journal Oncology Letters shows then works?quite skeptical.I check that the 李琳,Li Lin is the director of her deparment?BUG,How we can infer which author belongs to Affiliations: Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Xiangyan Central Hospital, Hubei University of Arts and Science, Xiangyang, Hubei 441021, P.R. China, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, P.R. China, Dongfang Hospital, The Second Clinical Medical College of Beijing University of Chinese Medicine (BUCM), Beijing 100078, P.R. China, School of Life Sciences, Fudan Univesity, Shanghai 200433, P.R. China

  2. quite strange~if the three auhtors dont know any of the process,how the journal Oncology Letters can know who they are?then connect them to reply they conform the paper not belong to them?Take care, the name in English and in Chinese is some time the same,not to mention the Chinese name can be the same in the same department?
    The last three co‑authors (FD, XJ and WZ) have confirmed that they were not aware of being listed as co‑authors, and they were not involved either in the research or in submission process.

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