I’ve received email from one of the authors of that bafflingly bizarre paper on mitochondria. I’m still confused.
Dear Dr. Myers
First of all, I am very sorry for that trouble for you.
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 order to rectify an error, I requested to retract the paper to the editorial office of Proteomics.
Thank you very much for indicating this carelessness.
Based on this good experience, I will study science and prepare a manuscript with caution.
Again, I am very sorry for that trouble for you.
With best regards,
The author is clearly not a native speaker of English, but I can’t criticize that — his English is far better than my Korean. The explanation that this was just a confusion of an early draft simply doesn’t work. We are talking about a peculiar title and a specific, grammatically correct assertion made in the abstract that is not supported in the text, except by a claim of a “mighty creator”. Where did that come from? One of the authors? Someone who assisted them in polishing the language? The instance of plagiarism are also left dangling.
It also doesn’t address the other concern here. If we accept the idea that Warda and Han made a clumsy mistake and submitted the wrong draft, one that was full of errors, we’re still left with the question of how that mess made it through peer review to the stage just prior to publication. Something broke somewhere, and one unfortunate consequence of the retraction of the paper by the authors is that we may not find out what.
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.