Data-images are increasingly a cause of retraction and correction of articles published in biomedical journals. Although journals publish retraction and correction statements about problems with data-images, these statements often raise more questions than they answer. Some retraction statements merely say that the article is retracted because of questions about figures; others are ambiguous.
A striking example of an unenlightening statement is the retraction by De Domenico et al., in Cell Metabolism, as reported by Retraction Watch.Even less informative are the 2009 retraction statements by four of the same authors in Cell Biology.
This lack of transparency is not useful to readers or anyone who studies the integrity of data-images in science. Readers need to know more because they relied on the published images when assessing the value of the published article; when an article is retracted, they need to know what was wrong with that data. People who track problems with image integrity cannot understand what is happening if they do not know the type and extent of the problem that led to the retraction.
The Council of Science Editors and leading professional societies need to promote more-informative retraction notices.