What Caught Our Attention: PLOS ONE had a few reasons for retracting a 2015 paper about a treatment for kidney disease due to diabetes: For one, despite what the paper claims, the authors did not obtain ethical approval to conduct the reported animal experiments. In addition, the corresponding author had no idea the paper had been submitted and published. How could a corresponding author be kept in the dark? It turns out, the journal was given an incorrect email address for him, so he didn’t receive any communications around the paper. (One author apparently used a third party editing company.)
Journal: PLOS ONE
Authors: Fenqin Chen, Ning Zhang, Xiaoyu Ma, Ting Huang, Ying Shao, Can Wu, Qiuyue Wang
Affiliations: The First Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, People’s Republic of China; China Medical University, People’s Republic of China;
The PLOS ONE Editors retract this publication  due to ethical concerns raised post-publication.
After publication of this article, the corresponding author notified PLOS ONE that this work had been submitted and published without his knowledge or consent, and that the email address listed on the article was not his own. During subsequent discussions with the authors and the institution, it was confirmed that the manuscript had been submitted without the corresponding author’s knowledge by one of the authors using a third-party that provided editing services.
In addition, the ethics statement included in the article is false. The ethics statement in the Methods section states, “The experiments were approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of China Medical University.” However, the authors did not obtain ethical approval for the reported animal experiments. Hence, this work does not comply with PLOS ONE’s policy on animal research.
These issues were investigated by the First Hospital of China Medical University Professor Committee, who confirmed the above concerns.
In light of the ethical concerns raised, and in line with the institution’s recommendation, the PLOS ONE Editors retract this article.
The journal editors contacted all co-authors on the manuscript by email. QW made the initial request for retraction; all of the authors agreed with the retraction.
Date of Article: November 2015
Times Cited, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science: 13
Date of Notice: February 1, 2018