The problem of Lance retraction

Retraction Watch comments on a provocative case: Should a scientific paper that measured Lance Armstrong’s exercise physiology during his Tour de France days now be retracted in light of revelations about his use of performance-enhancing substances? “Lance Armstrong in the scientific literature: A ‘reconsideration’”. The comment is prompted by an editorial in the Journal of Applied Physiology, which published the initial research Wagner:Armstrong:2013.

Should Coyles paper therefore be retracted? We do not think so; the data are the data, free of author-related ethical concerns. His editorial seems to be the best solution, especially because there can be no definitive answer. How much of the subjects performance was attributable to his genetics and training, compared to how much was contributed by possible doping, may never be known, but that does not constitute grounds for retraction.

Interesting just how often the paper has been cited in the years since its 2005 publication, although I’m not familiar enough with the physiology literature to judge.