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‘Space dinosaurs’ paper withdrawn amid self-plagiarism allegations

The American Chemical Society has withdrawn a paper that prompted self-plagiarism allegations against one of its former presidents.

Published online in the society’s journal on 25 March, the paper initially attracted attention after it was press released under the heading ‘Could “advanced” dinosaurs rule other planets?’. Later it emerged that significant portions of the paper were identical or highly similar to previously published papers by the same author, Ronald Breslow. Breslow has denied doing anything wrong in a statement to Nature. (See: Eminent chemist denies self-plagiarism in ‘space dinosaurs’ paper.)

However, the paper has now been removed from the ACS website, with the following statement left in its place:

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.

UPDATE: On 16 May the paper was withdrawn and replaced with the following statement:

This invited Perspective was withdrawn at the request of the author due to similarity to his previously published reviews, specifically those in Tetrahedron Letters and the Israel Journal of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.


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