Correcting the record of structural publications requires joint effort of the community and journal editors

FEBS J. 2016 Dec;283(24):4452-4457. doi: 10.1111/febs.13765. Epub 2016 Jun 10.


Seriously flawed and even fictional models of biomolecular crystal structures, although rare, still persist in the record of structural repositories and databases. The ensuing problems of database contamination and persistence of publications based on incorrect structure models must be effectively addressed. The burden cannot be simply left to the critical voices who take the effort to contribute dissenting comments that are mostly ignored. The entire structural biology community, and particularly the journal editors who exercise significant power in this respect, must engage in a constructive dialog lest structural biology lose its credibility as an evidence-based empirical science.

Keywords: X-ray crystal structure models; biomolecular crystallography; database integrity; error correction; structural databases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Databases, Protein / standards
  • Databases, Protein / statistics & numerical data*
  • Editorial Policies
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Periodicals as Topic / standards
  • Periodicals as Topic / statistics & numerical data
  • Protein Conformation*
  • Proteins / chemistry*
  • Publications / standards
  • Publications / statistics & numerical data


  • Proteins