Journal of Cell Science was made aware of several issues raised by readers concerning duplication of data in Fig. 6A, Fig. 10B, Fig. 7A and Fig. 8A,B in J. Cell Sci. (2000) 113, 1127-1138.
After discussion with the corresponding author, Catherine Jessus, the journal referred this matter to Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC, now Sorbonne Université), who investigated and cleared the authors of any wrongdoing. The UPMC committee concluded that no correction was necessary (full reports available at: http://www2.cnrs.fr/sites/communique/fichier/rapport_conclusions.pdf and http://www2.cnrs.fr/sites/communique/fichier/rapport_analyse_detaillee.pdf).
The editorial policies of Journal of Cell Science state that: “Should an error appear in a published article that affects scientific meaning or author credibility but does not affect the overall results and conclusions of the paper, our policy is to publish a Correction…” and that a Retraction should be published when “…a published paper contain[s] one or more significant errors or inaccuracies that change the overall results and conclusions of the paper…”. Journal of Cell Science follows the guidelines of the Committee of Publication Ethics (COPE), whose advice on this case was: “…if the findings as described in the text are unchanged and the conclusion is unchanged, then it is entirely reasonable for the journal to issue a note, alerting readers, from now on, to the issues with the blots.” As the investigating committee at UPMC cleared the authors of wrongdoing and concluded that no Correction was necessary, the appropriate course of action – according to the advice from COPE – is to publish a Publisher's Note, which the journal has made as detailed as possible.
The authors were unable to locate original data for this paper. The policy of the UPMC is that authors should retain original data for 10 years and the paper falls outside this period.
The authors justify the use of the same control data in blots in Fig. 6A and Fig. 10B, and Fig. 7A and Fig. 8A,B since the conditions were exactly the same in each case. They use two alternative phrases, a precise one (‘2 hours later’) and a more global one (‘when 100% GVBD was reached’), to indicate the same time of collection of oocytes and state that: “The re-use of Cyclin B2 and Eg2 blots is fully justified as they arise from one single experiment, using the same oocytes and same conditions, from which different parts are illustrated in different figures. The same controls were re-used each time and are identical despite the slightly different wording [in the figure legends]”.
Readers should also note that there are unmarked splices on some of the blots in the paper. Although such splicing is not acceptable by today's standards, it was a common practice when the paper was published, which was before the journal's policy on figure manipulation was implemented (early in 2013).
Journal of Cell Science refers readers to other notices related to the UPMC investigation: