The PZ effect?

Writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education, the news source of record for higher education, Lila Guterman reported that PZ Myers, of Pharyngula had influence in the retraction of a creationist paper that appeared in Proteomics, a biological sciences journal. Under the title “Author of Peer-Reviewed Creationist Paper Seeks Retraction,” Ms. Guterman provides an account of what’s happened. Here’s the first few paragraphs:

Last week saw one blog explode [six] with comments about a paper espousing creationism that had appeared in Proteomics, a peer-reviewed biology journal. This week, one of the paper’s authors sent the blogger an e-mail apology, and said he had asked that the paper be retracted.

Paul Z. Myers, an associate professor of biology at the University of Minnesota at Morris, posted on his blog the message from the author, Jin Han, of Inje University, in South Korea. Unfortunately, not much became clear, in part because of the message’s broken English.

Mr. Myers’s readers posted numerous examples last week of potentially plagiarized sections of Mr. Han’s paper. In his message to Mr. Myers, Mr. Han wrote, “I found the serious mistakes in the paper during the process of edits, which I confused between the early drafts and the latest versions: I did not check the use of the sentences in the references (more than 200 references). Finally I made serious error to make the final version.”

In her post, Ms. Guterman explained that Professor Myers has received correspondence about the article; there doesn’t appear to be any accounting for how the creationist content got through review. Some things are still amiss, here, mayhaps? As professor Myers noted in a post this AM:

The authors don’t need to apologize, especially not to me. All I’m interested in is tracking down how a paper that is so thick with warning signs could get so far through the review process.

Mostly, I’d like to know how that review process worked.


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