The Scientific American blog has the scoop. Here's an excerpt, but go to the post for many links, and for more details:
[O]n Tuesday, over at the ScienceBlog Retrospectacle, neuroscience PhD student Shelley Batts ... posted an analysis of a study appearing in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, which suggested that the antioxidants properties in fruits were boosted by alcohol. In other words, as this UPI article exclaims: Strawberry daiquiris, a healthier cocktail.
Great news, right? Although Batts -- bravely eschewing the press release -- did a thorough read of the article and found that, sure, co-mingling ethanol with strawberries and blueberries both better preserves fruit and heightens its anti-oxidant effect, but that among the other compounds tested, ethanol was neither the most effective at staving off decay nor the best at boosting anti-oxidants. Surprise, the findings were overstated by the mainstream press (as well as in the press release, courtesy of the Society of Chemical Industry.)
On Wednesday, Batts received a letter from the journal's publisher, John Wiley & Sons, demanding that she pull a single graph and a single chart that were included in the paper, and which she'd posted in her explanation of the work. The letter read:
The above article contains copyrighted material in the form of a table and graphs taken from a recently published paper in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. If these figures are not removed immediately, lawyers from John Wiley & Sons will contact you with further action.
As Batts then pulled down the graph and table -- she's since reposted both -- she sent out the Bat-signal in the blogosphere and a swarm of citizen journalists angry at the man flocked to her side, brandishing much invective. Long story short, big dogs like Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing weighed in, and, wham! -- within 24 hours, Wiley had tucked its tail between its legs and proved that Lars Ulrich of Metallica, it was not....
Thanks to Steve Erickson for the pointer.