NYTimes discusses retraction of articles at Journal of the American Chemical Society
Dr. Stang noted that it was Dr. Sames, not other researchers, who
raised concerns about the papers with the journal. ''This is a perfect example
of science being self-correcting,'' he said.
As I have published previously, JACS has a policy of not publishing criticisms by third parties. They do allow authors to correct/retract (and seem to be more liberal than Science, which requires ALL authors to consent). Thus Dr. Stang should have noted that "other researchers" would have been powerless to publish a criticism in JACS. A difference between this and the Hwang matter is that the problem in the Hwang matter first was disclosed on internet boards, and then percolated up; Schatten's attempt to remove Schatten's name was unsuccessful, and did not, by itself, cause the journal Science to retract the 2005 paper of Woo Suk Hwang.
from the New York Times, March 16, 2006, section A, page 23:
The senior author of all three papers, which were published in
2004 and 2005 in The Journal of the American Chemical Society, was Prof. Dalibor
Sames; the graduate student, listed as an author on each, was Bengu Sezen, who
left the university after getting her doctorate last year.
The research was part of efforts by chemists to devise ways to
transform simple hydrocarbon molecules like methane into more complex and useful
molecules like those in plastic. Such manipulations are difficult to perform with
precision, because the bonds between the carbon and hydrogen atoms are
All three retractions said key findings could not be reproduced
after Dr. Sezen's departure. The journal noted the retractions on its Web site on
March 1, and they were reported this month on two chemistry blogs.
Dr. Stang said he did not know the underlying reasons for the
retractions or whether any misconduct had occurred. ''What I know is what the
author said in those additions and corrections, that they could not reproduce their
data and so they are withdrawing their papers,'' he said. ''We don't have the
resources, and we don't have the means to investigate them.''
UPI picked up the story:
NEW YORK, March 16 (UPI) -- Columbia University has retracted three published papers because experiments allegedly performed by a graduate student author couldn't be replicated.
The studies were published during 2004 and 2005 in The Journal of the American Chemical Society. The senior author of the papers was Chemistry Professor Dalibor Sames; the graduate student listed as an author on each, was Bengu Sezen, who left the university after receiving her doctorate last year, The New York Times reported Thursday.
The retractions said key findings in the research that involved transforming simple hydrocarbon molecules into more complex and useful molecules could not be replicated.
The journal officially noted all three retractions on its Web site March 1, and they were reported this month on two chemistry blogs, the Times said, noting attempts to located Sezen were unsuccessful.
Columbia officials said an internal panel was also in the process of reviewing the research.