Researchers asked to retract a Science paper have finally conceded to retraction more than a year after it was published. The much-criticised paper, published by researchers from Spanish National Research Council’s Institute of Catalysis and UK’s Bangor University, described the synthesis of 1676 quenched fluorescent dye-metabolite compounds.

Soon after publication of the paper, the work was heavily criticised by scientists around the world. They also pointed it to be a failure of Science‘s peer-review system which made it the topic of an editorial in Science in December 2009.

In August the authors had vowed to validate their much-criticised work but seemed to have failed to. ‘Given the errors in the paper, and the skepticism about the array that they have generated, we retract the paper’, the note said.

The authors took the final decision of the retraction after an investigation by the ethics committee of the Spanish Institute recommended the retraction of the paper. ’To our profound regret, peer inspection of the paper after publication revealed errors and omissions in the information provided on the chemistry underlying array compound synthesis, and the array data obtained’ said the authors in their retraction note.

In the mean time, after researchers expressed their technical concerns, Science has published another ‘Editorial Expression of Concern’ about a paper published in July. The paper is titled ‘Genetic signatures of exceptional longevity in humans’ and the authors of the paper are now performing ‘quality-control analysis of the original raw data’. Science will, upon completion of the statistical analysis, re-valuate the paper.

Akshat Rathi

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