Do the right thing: 11 Courageous Retractions

The Authorea Team

Retraction Watch is a blog that tracks retractions in science -- and it's probably a site you never want your research to be on. To many, retracting your work means that you've committed fraud, and in most cases can be the end of a researcher's career. However, that's not always the case: in fact, retracting your work for the right reasons can even be good for your career and good for science (Lu 2013). Retraction Watch highlights cases where scientists did not retract their work due to fraud, but rather because it was "the right thing."  Here we take the opportunity to further highlight these pieces and the courageous scientists that did the right thing despite an enormous stigma.

We believe the future of scholarly communication will be more dynamic than it is today. By definition, this will require more corrections and retractions.  Authorea was built to show the full history of a document, from creation to final publication. We allow annotations of the literature and believe that a more dynamic and robust form of communication is the future -- it's what we're building. Join us!

1. “Immunology: Ways around rejection” (Vaux 1995)
I wish to point out that I no longer stand by the views reported in my News and Views article “Immunology: Ways around rejection” (Vaux 1995), which dealt with a paper in the same issue (“A role for CD95 ligand in preventing graft rejection” by D. Bellgrau et al. — Bellgrau 1995). My colleagues and I have been unable to reproduce some of the results of Bellgrauet al., as reported by J. Allison et al. (Allison 1997).

2. "Mer receptor tyrosine kinase is a novel therapeutic target in pediatric B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia" (Linger 2009)
The authors retract the 24 September 2009 article cited above, prepublished on 30 July 2009. They have recently learned that some of the cell lines used in their paper were inadvertently misidentified. Although the parental 697 and REH cell lines used to generate the Mer knockdown lines were authenticated by short tandem repeat (STR) analysis before publication, the transduced progeny were not analyzed until recently. The results of STR analysis indicate that the 697 shMer1A and 697 shMer1B cell lines are actually derived from the REH parental cell line. Importantly, the identities of the other 6 REH and 697 cell lines published in this study have been verified as authentic.Since this unfortunate discovery, the authors have generated new 697 Mer knockdown cell lines and authenticated their identity. These new cell lines are being used to replicate the original work. Data obtained to date support the overall findings and conclusions of the original report; these data will be described in a new manuscript. The authors sincerely apologize to the readers, reviewers, and editors of Blood for making this honest mistake.

3. "Demographic faultlines: A meta-analysis of the literature" (Demographic faultline...)
Reports the retraction of "Demographic faultlines: A meta-analysis of the literature" by Sherry M. B. Thatcher and Pankaj C. Patel (Journal of Applied Psychology, 2011[Nov], Vol 96[6], 1119-1139). At the request of the editor and in consultation with the American Psychological Association, the article is being retracted. This action is a result of a review by the editor and two additional experts that determined that there are significant errors in Tables 1, 2, and 3 which may affect the overall conclusions of the article. Co-author Pankaj C. Patel led the analysis, and both authors acknowledge that inaccuracies were made. The retraction of this article does not preclude resubmission of a new article that addresses the issues noted in the retraction. (The following abstract of the original article appeared in record 2011-12686-001.) We propose and test a theoretical model focusing on antecedents and consequences of demographic faultlines. We also posit contingencies that affect overall team dynamics in the context of demographic faultlines, such as the study setting and performance measurement. Using meta-analysis structural equation modeling with a final data set consisting of 311 data points (i.e., k [predictor–criterion relationships]), from 39 studies that were obtained from 36 papers with a total sample size of 24,388 individuals in 4,366 teams, we found that sex and racial diversity increased demographic faultline strength more than did diversity on the attributes of functional background, educational background, age, and tenure. Demographic faultline strength was found to increase task and relationship conflict as well as decrease team cohesion. Furthermore, although demographic faultline strength decreased both team satisfaction and team performance, there was a stronger decrease in team performance than in team satisfaction. The strength of these relationships increased when the study was conducted in the lab rather than in the field. We describe the theoretical and practical implications of these findings for advancing the study of faultlines. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)