Magazine article Times Higher Education

'Make Up Analysis': Three Little Words That Cast Doubt on Research Integrity: News

Magazine article Times Higher Education

'Make Up Analysis': Three Little Words That Cast Doubt on Research Integrity: News

Article excerpt

Is author's note to fellow researcher in paper as bad as it looks? Paul Jump writes.

Leaving an informal note to a colleague in the published version of a paper is embarrassing - but it gets worse when that note sparks allegations about research fraud.

The field of organic chemistry has been thrown into uproar after the academic paper in question was published online last month in the American Chemical Society journal Organometallics.

The paper's supporting information - additional material that supplements the main text - contains the words: "Emma, please insert NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy) data here! where are they? and for this compound, just make up an elemental analysis."

The University of Western Australia, which employs the paper's senior author Reto Dorta, is now reviewing the case.

Elemental microanalysis is a common technique used to establish the structure of a compound. Emma Drinkel is the first author of the paper, "Synthesis, structure, and catalytic studies of palladium and platinum bis-sulfoxide complexes".

Critical bloggers have suggested that Dr Dorta put the note in a draft version of the paper and forgot to remove it before submitting the manuscript for publication.

Both authors were based at the University of Zurich when the work described in the paper was carried out. Dr Drinkel, who was then a PhD student, is now a postdoctoral researcher at the Federal University of Santa Catarina in Brazil. Dr Dorta, her thesis supervisor, is now an associate professor at the University of Western Australia. …

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