Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The retraction of a published science article indicates that the article should not have been published and that its data and conclusions should not be used as part of the foundation for future research. The common reasons for the retraction of articles are scientific fraud and serious error.
Examples of retraction
There have been some famous examples of retracted scientific publications.
Retraction for error
- 2003 A. Kugler et al. "Retraction: Regression of human metastatic renal cell carcinoma after vaccination with tumor cell-dendritic cell hybrids" in Nature Medicine (volume 9, page 1221) was a retraction of a year 2000 article by Kugler et al. (Nat. Med. volume 6, pages 332-6). The data concerned patients with metastatic kidney cancer who were treated experimentally by combining their tumour cells with immune system cells. The article was retracted because of negligence in record keeping and sloppiness in the preparation of the manuscript.
- 2003 G. Hawthorne et al "Retraction of paper on maternal diabetes" in the British Medical Journal (volume 327, page 929) was a retraction of a year 2000 article by Hawthorne et al. "Outcome of pregnancy in diabetic women in northeast England and in Norway" (BMJ volume 321, pages 730-1). The authors made a mistaken assumption about the diabetes data from Norway. A correct analysis of the data showed no difference beteeen outcomes in the two countries.
- 2003 Retracted Science article on ecstasy. See the discussion of this retraction at the Science page of Wikipedia.
Retraction for fraud or misconduct
- 2004 G. Struhl retracted the 2002 article "Evidence that Armadillo Transduces Wingless by Mediating Nuclear Export or Cytosolic Activation of Pangolin" because of fabrication of data by first author S. Chan.
- 2003 With retracted articles from both Science and Nature the number of retracted articles with questionable data from physicist Jan Hendrik Schön reaches 12.
- 2002 Retraction of announced discovery of elements 116 and 118. See Ununhexium.
- 2000 Retraction of "Stable RNA/DNA hybrids in the mammalian genome: inducible intermediates in immunoglobulin class switch recombination" and "Transcription-dependent R-loop formation at mammalian class switch sequences" because of fabrication of data by first author R. B. Tracy.
- 1991 Thereza Imanishi-Kari, who worked with David Baltimore, published a 1986 article in the journal Cell. Margot O'Toole, a postdoctoral researcher for Imanishi-Kari publicized Imanishi-Kari's scientific misconduct. After a major investigation, Baltimore was finally forced to issued a retraction in 1991 when the National Institutes of Health concluded that data in the 1986 Imanishi-Kari article had been falsified.
- 1981 Mark Spector, a graduate student in the laboratory of Efraim Racker fabricated and published data in support of a new molecular mechanism of cancer. After researchers in other laboratories were unable to replicate Spector's resuts, it was found that Spector had knowingly incorporated radioactive iodine into proteins rather than radioactive phosphate, allowing him to fabricate an imaginary regulatory cascade.
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