You’ll remember the life-extending fullerenes paper that I blogged about here, and the various problems with it that sharp-eyed readers here spotted. (These drew comments from the lead author here and here). Now the journal has issued a correction that covers some of these issues, along with the following Editor’s Note:
It should be noted that one of these errors, referring to the inadvertent duplication of the same image within two panels of Fig 4, was pointed out to the Editor-in-Chief by several readers. The authors contacted the Editor-in-Chief with an explanation of this error and an error in Figure 3 before he requested an explanation from the authors. This paper draws conclusions that appear counter-intuitive. The Editor-in-Chief received two very detailed reports from referees who indicated that the methodology appeared sound and they both recommended acceptance after some revision. Neither referee nor the Editor-in-Chief noticed either error, and the revised paper was published. Due consideration has been given to the potential effect of these errors on the overall results and conclusions drawn, and so it has been decided the conclusions are still valid. The authors have provided explanations of how the errors were made during the preparation of graphics and images.
The big questions remain – can these results be duplicated, and is anyone willing to try?