Painful Retractions


Two pretty rough retractions today in JACS (1, 2). Same group, same authors list, same story - raw NMRs and HPLC traces were edited or fabricated.

It's difficult to figure out how to feel about these thigs. At first, you feel kind of bad for the professor here. Their grad student faked data and now their name has an asterisk beside it.

But it's also not very hard to imagine a lab culture where the only acceptable results are good results, and not getting the right product or a good ee or a high yield is unacceptable. Professors have been known to demand results in failing projects before letting students graduate.

Not every case of data fabrication is a result of a desk-pounding PI. This one probably isn't given the level of investigation that seems to have happened before retraction.

But I bet a lot of them are.