Journals published by the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) have retracted a handful of figures in two papers with the same last and first authors.
After some figures in the 2005 and 2007 papers were flagged on PubPeer and the authors couldn’t provide the original data, the journals decided to retract parts of the papers, since other data supported the remaining conclusions, according to the Head of Scientific Publications at EMBO.
The partial retractions are labeled as corrigenda by the journals. Earlier this year, the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) announced it would be classifying partial retractions as errata, noting they had been used so rarely by journals.
According to the authors, Voinnet was responsible for some of the errors; all papers have been questioned on PubPeer.
The EMBO J, the flagship publication of the European Molecular Biology Organization, posted four notices earlier today and told Retraction Watch that the notice for the fifth paper would be posted by tomorrow.
Jens Christian Schwamborn, a stem cell researcher at the University of Luxembourg, is retracting a 2007 paper on how to grow brain cells.
The paper, “Ubiquitination of the GTPase Rap1B by the ubiquitin ligase Smurf2 is required for the establishment of neuronal polarity,” was published while Schwamborn was at Westfälische Wilhelms‐Universität Münster in Germany. An anonymous critic had sent questions about the study to Germany’s DFG in the middle of last year, and later to Paul Brookes, who posted them on PubMed Commons.
Former University of Tokyo researcher Shigeaki Kato continues to put big numbers on the board.
Last month, we reported on his 26th, 27th, and 28th retractions, all in Nature Cell Biology and cited close to 700 times. Yesterday, EMBO Journal and EMBO Reports published a total of five more retractions for the endocrinology researcher, who resigned from the university in 2012 following investigations found he had faked images.
As Retraction Watch readers know, we’re big fans of transparency. Today, for example, The Scientist published an opinion piece we wrote calling for a Transparency Index for journals. So perhaps it’s no surprise that we’re also big fans of open peer review, in which all of a papers’ reviews are made available to readers once a study is published.
Alan G. Hinnebusch, of the U.S. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, submitted a paper on behalf of his co-authors on November 2, 2011, at which point it went out for peer review. The editors sent those reviews back to the author on January 2, 2012, and Hinnebusch responded with revisions on April 4. So far, the process looks much like that any scientist goes through — questions about methods, presentation, and conclusions, followed by answers from the authors.