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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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July 8, 2013

19 Years to a Retraction. Bonus Midnight Camera Footage Included.

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Posted by Derek

This Retraction Watch post details the longest correction/retraction saga I've heard of yet. A 1994 paper in Nature has finally been pulled back, after years and years of wrangling. And by "wrangling" I mean multiple attempted repeats, blinded samples, fraught exchanges over scientific ethics with one of the most high-profile professors in the Czech Republic and hidden camera footage from the lab freezer. Yep, it got to that point - midnight break-ins to alter the stored samples. Read the post for more; it's really something.

Comments (4) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: The Dark Side | The Scientific Literature


1. dearieme on July 8, 2013 3:37 PM writes...

Breaking into the freezer? And people claim they never see slapstick nowadays.

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2. Anonymous on July 8, 2013 5:55 PM writes...

Freeze Cam - sounds like an Alton Brown 'Good Eats' episode

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3. eugene on July 9, 2013 6:03 AM writes...

The ending of the Czech document optimistically states:

"The Ethics Committee expressed the belief that this case of "bad behavior in science" was a unique event in the Czech science and will not happen again"

Which sounds a bit like circling the wagons to me. Sure, maybe this guy is the only Czech fraud, but he was caught after concerns about him were blown off for more than 10 years. So, this could read as "it won't happen again, because we intend to keep on doing the usual and ignoring allegations unless forced to by a huge amount of evidence". It's never a good idea to make these sorts of 'final' statements or you might end up with a lot of egg on your face. There are a lot of scientists in Czech. A lot of them are good, but the statistics are against the Czech Ethics Committee even if only a fraction of one percent are up to shenanigans.

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4. Sili on July 10, 2013 6:10 PM writes...

Sounds a bit the samples that disappeared here in Denmark, and then were rediscovered in a departmental move (I think).

I'm not up to date on the whole mess, so I'll abstain from employing names.

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