Cock and bull story leads to retraction of bovine herpesvirus paper

via Flickr

The ancients had a thing for hybrids (think animals, not cars): half goat-half humans, horses with human torsos, winged horses and lions, you get the picture. But a chicken-cow mix wasn’t on that list … until now. 

A group of researchers in Brazil has lost a paper in a veterinary journal for trying to reuse data from a poultry study in their paper on herpesvirus infections in cattle.  

The article, “Bovine Herpesvirus 5 promotes mitochondrial dysfunction in cultured bovine monocyte-derived macrophages and not affect virus replication,” appeared in February in the journal Veterinary Microbiology.

According to the retraction notice

Fig 1A is a duplicate of a figure that has already been published in da Silva SEL et al. Archives of Virology 2018; 163: 1043–1049; 10.1007/s00705-018-3704-2. These two papers report studies performed with cells from two different animal species (bovine cells for the Veterinary Microbiology paper and chicken cells for the Archives of Virology paper). The reuse of the same figure in the Veterinary Microbiology paper to describe cells that were supposed to be from a different species is thus inappropriate and also puts into question the reliability of the other results presented in this paper.

In addition, the Editors-in-Chief have remaining concerns about the strong similarities of other data presented in the two papers.

Even if these concerns were addressed, the re-use of any data has to be clearly indicated and appropriately cited. As such this article represents a misuse of the scientific publishing system. The scientific community takes a very strong view on this matter and apologies are offered to readers of the journal that this was not detected during the submission process.

In other words, this BS ain’t gonna fly. 

Tereza Cristina Cardoso da Silva, of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of São Paulo State, and the first author of the paper, admitted to us that she had made an error with the images. “I am a human,” and humans can make mistakes, she said.

Like Retraction Watch? You can make a tax-deductible contribution to support our work, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, add us to your RSS reader, sign up for an email every time there’s a new post (look for the “follow” button at the lower right part of your screen), or subscribe to our daily digest. If you find a retraction that’s not in our database, you can let us know here. For comments or feedback, email us at team@retractionwatch.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.