How To Write A Retraction

December 11, 2008

From this week’s Nature:

Portions of the work repeated with respect to abscisic acid (ABA) binding have revealed errors in the calculations associated with Fig. 1, with the result that the molar ratio of ABA bound to FCA is substantially lower than claimed. There are also difficulties with the data in Fig. 2a, b that arose from the preparation of FY. We conclude that there is no effect of ABA on the FCA-FY interaction, and therefore requested to retract this paper on 14 July 2008. See the Brief Communication Arising in this issue.

See how easy it is to explain what is wrong with the data, but without attributing blame or personal responsibility?

A recent post observing a lack of gender diversity in a scientific venue sparked rather a lot of discussion. For this blog, 158 Screechy Monkeys (at writing) is quite a conversation.
The conversation here is only part of a discussion that spans several blogs. While I’m sure most of you have been playing in all the comment threads, in case you missed a few.
drdrA’s post initiated the original discussion: This Just In: Pipeline Broken Before First R01
Isis the Scientist: Science and Motherhood are Not for the Faint of Heart…
Stephanie Z at Almost Diamonds: How to Hijack a Thread
River Tam at Professor Chaos: She was just invited because…
Please drop a comment if there are blog posts that I’ve missed.

I ran across the Prof-like Substance blog a little while ago and thought you might enjoy it as well, Dear Readers. The author, Prof-like Substance (inaugural post here), is:

a faculty member at a northeastern university who started in August 2008.

and the eponymous blog is dedicated to:

Sharing the highs and lows of becoming a new faculty member in a university science department

If that’s not enough to induce you to click, read on.

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