Three HER2-cancer review papers tagged with expressions of concern

The Oncologist Her 2 expression of concern

The Oncologist has tagged three review papers that share a first author with an expression of concern. The three papers, which have together been cited more than 1,000 times, focus on HER2, a gene that can contribute to breast cancer.

Though the papers contain errors, the conclusions — about how the HER2 gene serves as a predictive factor for breast cancer, and a target for therapies — remain unchanged, according to the EOC. The editor of the journal notes that the conclusions of the papers have been confirmed by other publications. Two of the papers are more than 10 years old, and today many patients continue to be treated with medications that target HER2, such as Herceptin.

Here’s the expression of concern:

Continue reading Three HER2-cancer review papers tagged with expressions of concern

Why editors should stop ignoring anonymous whistleblowers: Our latest LabTimes column

A retraction notice appeared a few months ago in the Biophysical Journal:

This article has been retracted: please see Elsevier Policy on Article Withdrawal (

This article has been retracted at the request of Edward Egelman, Editor-in-Chief.

The editors have noted that there is a substantial overlap of figures and text between this Biophysical Journal article and D. Rutkauskas, V. Novoderezkhin, R.J. Cogdell and R. van Grondelle. Fluorescence spectral fluctuations of single LH2 complexes from Rhodopseudomonas acidophila strain 10050. Biochemistry, 43 (2004) 4431–4438, doi:10.1021/bi0497648. The submission of this paper was inconsistent with the Biophysical Journal policy which states: “Manuscripts submitted to Biophysical Journal (BJ) must be original; papers that have already been published or are concurrently submitted elsewhere for publication are not acceptable for submission. This includes manuscripts previously submitted to BJ, as well as material that has been submitted to other journals while BJ is considering the manuscript. If some part of the work has appeared or will appear elsewhere, the authors must give the specific details of such appearances in the cover letter accompanying the BJ submission. If previously published illustrative material, such as figures or tables, must be included, the authors are responsible for obtaining the appropriate permissions from the publisher(s) before the material may be published in BJ”. We are therefore retracting the publication of the Biophysical Journal article.

Ordinarily, such duplications go to the bottom of our list of retractions to cover, despite how common they are. There’s usually less of a story behind them than there is behind a completely opaque notice, or behind one that sports a whiff of fraud. But they’re still important, as Bruce Chabner, the editor of The Oncologist, pointed out in a recent issue of his journal in which a duplication retraction appeared: Continue reading Why editors should stop ignoring anonymous whistleblowers: Our latest LabTimes column