November 2023 Update on Our Ongoing Investigations in to Structures Associated with a Pre-print on a Papermill in Crystallography
November 1, 2023
Our investigations by our Data Integrity team following the pre-print on a prolific papermill in crystallography began in April 2022. In May 2022 we provided an update to say that we had found 992 structures in the Cambridge Structural Database (CSD) linked to publications named there. At this point, we also added a note to all impacted structures in the CSD which read “This structure is currently under review following a 2022 study of a prolific papermill https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-1537438/v1.”
Although the pre-print claims that the publications were fabricated, it did not claim that the data was fraudulent. So, shortly after the pre-print was published, we started more extensive investigations and discussions with publishers. For publications to be retracted evidence is required; obtaining definitive proof can vary depending on the dataset and this can be a complex situation.
In April 2023 we provided an update to confirm 209 of the implicated structures had been retracted from the CSD following the retraction of 125 associated publications. These retractions left 783 implicated structures under investigation.
Working closely with publishers and our community, we are following COPE guidelines as our investigations progress. We continue to add editorial comments to entries to highlight information that may be relevant so users can select fit for purpose data. The CSD portfolio also enables researchers to critically evaluate the data in the context of the >1.25 million structures in the CSD. Our collaborations with publishers on investigations have also led to retractions in the scientific literature as well as the CSD. In addition, we work closely with the IUCr and other data repositories in this field.
November 2023 Status
In our last data release of 2023, scheduled for later this year, a further 152 entries implicated by the pre-print will be retracted. These retractions are already visible to users accessing the CSD via our web platforms and takes the total number of retractions related to the papermill pre-print in the CSD to 361.
We have updated the comments for 39 structures related to the papermill pre-print to say that following extensive review by the publishers and the CCDC there are currently no concerns on the data. A further 36 structures related to the papermill pre-print have been updated where our investigations have identified the entry has almost identical reflection data with another entry in the CSD with a different structural formula.
Investigations are continuing for the remaining 556 structures implicated by the pre-print. Cases where reflection data has not yet been made available can be especially challenging to assess. We will continue to work with publishers, reviewers and depositors and are grateful for how the community has come together to tackle the issues so far.
Work to broaden the automated data integrity checks and processes, conversations with publishers on how we can support their peer review processes as well as collaborations with the community remain a key priority for the CCDC.
Keep up to date with further developments here.
CSD Database (40)