Mark Palko points us to this news article by George Dvorsky:
A Harvard research team led by biologist Douglas Melton has retracted a promising research paper following multiple failed attempts to reproduce the original findings. . . .
In June 2016, the authors published an article in the open access journal PLOS One stating that the original study had deficiencies. Yet this peer-reviewed admission was not accompanied by a retraction. Until now.
Melton told Retraction Watch that he finally decided to issue the retraction to ensure zero confusion about the status of the paper, saying, “I thought it would be most unfortunate if a lab missed the PLOS ONE paper, then wasted time and effort trying to replicate our results.”
He said the experience was a valuable one, telling Retraction Watch, “It’s an example of how scientists can work together when they disagree, and come together to move the field forward . . . The history of science shows it is not a linear path.”
True enough. Each experiment, successful or not, takes us a step closer to an actual cure.
Are you listening, John Bargh? Roy Baumeister?? Andy Yap??? Editors of the Lancet???? Ted talk people????? NPR??????
I guess the above could never happen in a field like psychology, where the experts assure us that the replication rate is “statistically indistinguishable from 100%.”
In all seriousness, I’m glad that Melton and their colleagues recognize that there’s a cost to presenting shaky work as solid and thus sending other research teams down blind alleys for years or even decades. I don’t recall any apologies on those grounds ever coming from the usual never-admit-error crowd.