2010 was a busy year at Retraction Watch. (Well, actually the first seven months of it weren’t busy at all, since we didn’t launch until August.) We’ve published 88 posts, an average of about four per week.
I confess that when Retraction Watch appeared, I predicted (silently, so nobody could catch me on it later) that it would die a slow death, because there would be too few retractions to justify paying attention to this worthy but misguided endeavor.
For what must surely be the first time in my reporting career, I was wrong.
We have a little more information on the lab-tech case out of the University of Chicago that we reported on last week. A brief summary: The journal Small retracted a 2007 paper on a method of producing insulin-secreting cells after one of the co-authors, a technician named Matthew Connors, was found to have fabricated a key figure. Connors has had a long career as a lab tech and his name has appeared on several published articles.
The European Respiratory Journal (ERJ) is retracting a paper about whether mothers with asthma are more likely to have poor birth outcomes, after the journal found it overlapped with an earlier paper by the same group. The ERJ paper was published online on June 18, 2010.
Earlier this month, we reported that a group led by Jicun Ren, of Shanghai Jiaotong University, had retracted a paper in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) on a way to measure the concentration of gold nanoparticles. Turns out they are also retracting a very similar paper about silver nanoparticles published in the January 18, 2010 issue of Chemistry: A European Journal.
A leading Japanese virologist has received a 10-year publishing ban from the American Society of Microbiology after many of his published articles were found to have evidence of data manipulation.
In its January 2011 issue, Infection and Immunity, an ASM title, is retracting five articles by the researcher, Naoki Mori, of the University of Ryukyus in Okinawa. The articles, published between 2000 and 2009, involve work on Helicobacter pylori which Nori conducted with co-authors from the United States and elsewhere. Some of the studies listed co-authors from drug companies, including Merck and Boehringer Ingelheim, although it’s not clear whether the companies helped support any of the research.
Readers of this blog are aware that many of the retractions we’ve covered involve the misadventures of post-docs. That makes some superficial sense: post-docs, after all, are trainees, and therefore might be more likely to make mistakes. They’re also hungry to break into their chosen specialty, and how better to do that than by producing spectacular results? (None of this is to say that post-docs are by nature incompetent or venal — only that the raw ingredients exist for typecast villainy.)
But one figure about whom we haven’t written (to the best of our knowledge) is the career lab tech — until today.
In fact, their initial public offering (IPO) happened today, and you can follow the price of their stock — listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange as WNT — here. But what we learned when we looked into the IPO was that it was originally scheduled for late November, and was delayed because of the retraction.