On June 9th 2017, the research integrity news website Retraction Watch brought an article titled: „Journal won’t look at allegations about papers more than six years old, nor from “public websites”” . A public outcry followed, protesting about what was perceived an outrageous case of editorial cover-up of research fraud. The journal in question was Molecular & Cellular Biology ( MCB ) , published by the American Society for Microbiology ( ASM ); the vituperative Retraction Watch article was prompted by an editorial in the June issue of this journal. The problem with that name-and-shame Retraction Watch article however was: the accusatory title did not fit their own main text at all, which did actually clarify that evidence on public websites like PubPeer is in fact very much looked at by the MCB journal editors, just not publicly commented upon. And that: “The ASM spokesperson explained that, like the ORI, ASM journals will make exceptions to the six-year statute of limitations, for instance if older papers “provide evidence of an extensive pattern of misconduct.”” MCB, the journal which takes actually a rather uniquely tough stance on data manipulation (see below), was “smeared” (according to its editor, Roger Davis ) […]
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