Souder L. A rhetorical analysis of apologies for scientific misconduct: do they really mean it? Science and Engineering Ethics 2010;16:175-184. http://www.springerlink.com/content/695602346198p00j
Published acknowledgements of scientific misconduct can be sincere or ritualistic. By comparing published retractions and letters of apology with the letters that charge misconduct, it's possible to assess whether the apology was sincere or ritualistic. Although most published acknowledgements of misconduct do use language strategically to minimise culpability, they often still satisfy to some degree the concerns raised.