“The results were so perfect” — and now they’re being retracted

journal-of-photochemistry-and-photobiologyRecently, François-Xavier Coudert, a researcher at the Research Institute of Chemistry of Paris in France, noticed something strange: A nearly perfect image in a chemistry paper, with none of the typically expected “noise.”

Last week, he started a thread on PubPeer, alerting readers to his concerns — namely, that a microscopy image showed hexagons with crisp edges. The author responded that the students had been working to obtain a “perfect hexagonal structure,” and had adjusted the contrast of the image to make it seamless. But, the author noted, the paper was being retracted for other reasons.

Indeed, a spokesperson for Elsevier, which publishes the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology (JPB), has confirmed to us the paper will be retracted. Here’s the upcoming notice for “Influence of humic acid on the stability and bacterial toxicity of zinc oxide nanoparticles in water,” which cites image duplication as the reason: Continue reading “The results were so perfect” — and now they’re being retracted