JACS and the Publication of Corrections

March 7th, 2006

This post originally appeared on www.paulbracher.com/blog

Since the only people that come to this blog are Daliwatchers, did anyone else think it was kind of weird how JACS handled the retractions? I say this because there was/is absolutely no record of these retractions on the JACS ASAP Web site. I would guess that a large share of JACS’s readership follows the publication on a daily basis, via the ASAP site or ASAP e-mail alerts. Not only were the retractions never posted to the ASAP page, they were never included in the daily e-mail update. Incidentally, the info was included in the e-mail update for the full issue, which I am not in the habit of reading because I figured it’s pointless if you faithfully read the daily updates.

Anyway, the conspiracy theorist in me wonders whether JACS was trying to slip these in under the radar. Alternately, the journal may have been acting in an impeccable manner by posting the retractions in print as quickly as possible. While I hope the answer is the latter, one must consider the conflicting evidence. The retractions were submitted at least a week ago and they could have been posted immediately on ASAP instead of waiting for the next issue to be released on March 1st. Furthermore, there are examples of short corrections that have been posted to ASAP and not put in the next print edition of the journal. Thus, without even getting posted on ASAP, Sames’s retractions leap-frogged other corrections that were already in the ASAP queue. So, if they were that important, why not post them on ASAP as soon as possible instead of waiting, and why wait to publish any correction when they essentially take up almost zero space?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Previous Comments

  1. eugene Says:
    March 7th, 2006 at 8:25 pm Well okay, since no one is answering I’ll jump in.I didn’t think it was weird the way JACS handled the retractions. I thought they followed the procedures on this. I follow the journal via the weekly issues and try to leave the ASAP alone — I’m strange in that way. So, I learned about the retractions during my weekly browsing of the journals. They are not trying to slip them in under the radar and since they have no room for news stories, it was not commented on. Unless the editor solicits a response from somebody, or someone writes in a letter, there is usually no correspondence.

    See the ongoing feud in ‘Organometallics’ between Bercaw/Labinger/Tilset and Peter Chen on that. Speaking of that… does any platinum C-H activation chemist (or somebody who knows the field) have any third angle on that? It seems so specific, and to me it appears that both groups make valid points. Chen basically says: read all the articles of both groups and decide who is right. Well I have, and I’m still not sure who’s right.

    I still say you’ve got to wait a week before this will be commented on in the chemistry press.

  2. Paul Says:
    March 7th, 2006 at 9:41 pm I think no one in the press will write about it unless Columbia, Sames, or Sezen is willing to speak. Everything in the rumor mill and the retractions themselves are so abstract–there’s no concrete story unless one of these parties verifies something. The people who should be pushing the issue are the editors of the journals in question–they should realize that their readership deserves to know exactly what went on. But JACS is the top-dog journal in chemistry and that won’t change regardless of what happens, so the only thing that could possibly motivate them to investigate is recognition of their ethical obligation to do so.
  3. eugene Says:
    March 7th, 2006 at 10:47 pm They’ll do whatever they think is right. But…. there is another angle to this.If enough people comment on this and make allegations in unofficial places, like this blog, this discontent will snowball and it may cause ACS to address this issue sooner, or with a longer answer. That’s what happened to the South Korean stem cell guy. A bunch of young scientists from Korea posted at length on a message board before the media picked it up. The message board even got a mention from Science.

    Who knows, maybe Sames will write an answer himself here if enough people are upset. To vent off the pressure so to speak, and to stop damaging allegations. So, until that happens, I’m going to say that it looks like Sames was taken in by a smart and calculating person. Once you establish that somebody can make a few complexes, are you really going to be checking every single thing they did from then on? You’re like a reviewer I guess; it’s impossible to catch somebody who willfully misrepresents data.

    I’m not too content to wait for the ‘powers that be’ to get their act together. So, even if I have no say in anything, at least I can post what I think here. To tell the truth, this affair is pretty much all I can think about for the last two days. I have to do work! I can’t be thinking about some stupid retractions every second minute. I forgot to stop my reaction when I was supposed to today and to vacuum dry something else before I took an NMR because of all this. I’m giving group meeting tomorrow and I haven’t even prepared properly (which I would have done during another week). Somebody has to pay for my absent-mindedness! The stem cell guy I don’t care about, but this research has to do with me.

  4. eugene Says:
    March 8th, 2006 at 12:15 am Actually, I think I’m over it now. Epiphany or some such. I don’t care anymore.Scandals. They happen all the time.
  5. The Super Terrific Happy Fun Blog » Blog Archive » Sames-Sezen Round-up Says:
    March 14th, 2006 at 9:06 pm[…] The correction notices completely bypassed the ACS Publications’ ASAP alert system […]

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