The spacedino story continues to develop. Yesterday the ACS issued a statement to Nature’s newsblog,
“We are following established procedure to investigate the claim of self-plagiarism. If it is determined that this is case of self-plagiarism, appropriate action will be taken as provided for in our ethical guidelines.”
Then ACS pulled the pdf of the paper! You can still see the title and citation details. But the pdf has been replaced by the message.
This article was removed by the publisher due to possible copyright concerns. The Journal’s Editor is following established procedure to determine whether a violation of ACS Ethical Guidelines to Publication of Chemical Research has occurred.
Its interesting that in one statement the ACS says it is “investigating the claim of self-plagiarism” whilst the other just refers to “copyright concerns”.
So what happens next? Paul at Chembark has pointed out that this is rather an odd step to take. He argues that an addition or correction aught to be published, as is the norm when a paper turns out to have errors. But this case is somewhat different. After all the copyright for the paper belongs to the Isreal Journal of Chemistry or as it now transpires Tetrahedron letters (where, it turns out most the article was originally published). So ACS had little choice but to pull the PDF (and I hope the IJC do the same). Its not like the ACS swept the whole thing under the carpet. They haven’t removed all evidence of the paper, you can still see the title etc. and the statement that remains is a pretty clear. Since Breslow is the only author of the paper, he is clearly being blamed for the infringement and the accusation is right there for everyone to see.
I don’t think this should be the end of the matter. Paul’s excellent reaction to the self-plagiarism allegations suggested two actions from ACS: A retraction of the paper (done) and an updated press release. We are still waiting for that public facing reaction and I hardly think the statement to Nature or the comment that replaces the paper are adequate.
The JACS spacedino paper is no more. Its been replaced by :
This invited Perspective was withdrawn at the request of the
author due to similarity to his previously published reviews,
speciﬁcally those in Tetrahedron Letters and the Israel Journal of
Chemistry. The author stands by the scientiﬁc ﬁndings and
conclusions as published in those reviews.