Gel Drama

A mysterious case of proteomics plagiarism leads to an odd timeline for a retraction.

By | February 26, 2013

A damaged protein gelWIKIMEDIA, OPTMIAL TWEEZERSRetractions rarely provide simple answers to the misconduct that precedes them. Such is the case with a retraction highlighted by Retraction Watch last week (February 20), regarding a proteomics gel printed twice in the same journal. The twist is that first article published contained the fake.

The journal Proteomics issued a retraction for a 2005 paper that contained a gel copied from the manuscript of a laboratory that ultimately published its own research containing the same gel image in 2006. This second group, the rightful owners of the image, had first submitted their work in 2002, but faced two rejections before finally getting it published.  

“The sequence suggests the possibility that the 2005 paper’s authors had access to the paper eventually published in 2006—after being rejected, it turns out—but there’s no proof of that,” wrote Ivan Oransky at Retraction Watch. The complete saga, including comments from the authors involved and the editors at Proteomics are described in a feature article in Lab Times, A News Magazine for the Eurpean Life Scientist.

(Hat tip to GenomeWeb)

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