Authors retract Science papers based on Schon’s work

Nov. 1, 2002 — The authors of eight research projects conducted with Bell Labs’ former superstar Jan Hendrik Schon retracted eight of their published research papers today in the journal Science. Five of the papers had appeared in Science in 2000 and three in 2001. An independent committee had questioned the validity of Schon’s contributions to the research in a report released last month.

“As a result of the committee’s findings, we feel obligated to the scientific community to issue a retraction of the above articles,” the group wrote. “We note that although these papers may contain some legitimate ideas and contributions, we think it is best to make a complete retraction.”

The investigation, spearheaded by Lucent Technologies, into Schon’s work concluded that he had broken a variety of scientific practices, but cleared his co-authors of any wrongdoing. The report determined that Schon had not kept proper lab records, deleted some of the raw electronics data associated with the experiments and papers and used the same set of data to represent different materials or devices.

In an appendix to the 127-page report, Schon disagreed with several of the findings and conclusions but admitted he had made mistakes.


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