|"We're not concerned about these retractions... move along..."|
The funding question is a little complicated. The authors acknowledged NSF and NIH funding for the Nano Letters paper and NIH funding for the ACSNano paper. However, the authors subsequently determined that federal funds were not used for the work reported in the NanoLetters paper and were not used for the work under question in the ACSNano paper.
An internal investigation confirmed that federal dollars were not used and the annual progress reports to NSF and NIH for the relevant grants do not refer to the work in question. University of Utah funds were used to support the research. Therefore the acknowledgements in the Nano Letters paper were inappropriate.
NSF and NIH were notified about the investigation when it began and both agencies (actually ORI and OIG) were provided the final reports of the investigation and our information regarding use of federal funds. I do not know the status of any discussion of the case at either ORI or OIG.I'm not an expert in the research integrity bureaucracy, but it appears that NIH ORI and NSF can only investigate when their research funding is involved. To avoid a federal investigation, is it really simple enough to say "your research dollars were not involved here" to get them to go away?