If you’re going to run retractions, you might as well do them right. That’s the story from the editors of Cancer Biology & Therapy in response to a 2008 paper that appeared in their journal.
1) Dr. Wei Jia Kong’s name was used as the corresponding author without his knowledge or consent. Furthermore, Dr. Cai Pengcheng was unaware of his status as an author of the manuscript.
2) A fake email address for Dr. Kong was constructed and used by the authors to intercept any information that would be sent to the corresponding author.
3) Dr. Zhang Song and Ms. Yang Juhong have modified their accounts of the events several times during the investigation, making it difficult to determine exactly what occurred with respect to the data in question. However, The Editors have determined that Figure 4 of this manuscript is a re-publication of data in Cancer Letters (2007) 253:108-114 [“Gene silencing of TKTL1 by RNAi inhibits cell proliferation in human hepatoma cells”, by Song Zhang, Ju-Hong Yang, Chang-Kai Guo and Peng-cheng Cai]. The authors have misrepresented their data as being from 2 separate cell lines.
As Retraction Watch notes:
For those keeping score at home, that’s hitting for the cycle! Misleading authorship, plagiarism, data manipulation. And let’s not forget tampering with email.