In January, PLOS ONE published an article which in several statements revealed itself as expressing creationist values. When discovered last week comments poured in to PLOS ONE and other online media, pointing to the numerous shortcomings of the article, including the references to intelligent design and specifically the design of the human hand by a Creator. I also commented on this case as follow up on an earlier blog post.
Eventually, and conspicuously, PLOS ONE concluded that the article had to be retracted, the obvious conclusion of the scientists commenting on the article.
The PLOS ONE editors have followed up on the concerns raised about this publication. We have completed an evaluation of the history of the submission and received advice from two experts in our editorial board. Our internal review and the advice we have received have confirmed the concerns about the article and revealed that the peer review process did not adequately evaluate several aspects of the work.
In light of the concerns identified, the PLOS ONE editors have decided to retract the article, the retraction is being processed and will be posted as soon as possible. We apologize for the errors and oversight leading to the publication of this paper.
Although there is still no explanation how it could happen, PLOS ONE is to be credited for taking a resolute action. It is interesting and reassuring also to experience that the scientific community is actually an alert and active watchdog, playing a significant role in defending science from scams.
Case closed while still hot. What will happen next!?