For $63 plus tax, you can have a single steak with a side order of fried potatoes and a wedge of crisp iceberg lettuce at the famed Peter Luger steakhouse in Brooklyn. Or you can get a peek at one measly retraction notice from Bentham Science Publishers (at least it’s BYOB).
To be fair, the publisher, based in the United Arab Emirates, does offer a free version of the notice on its own website. But Bentham uses the company Ingenta Connect as a go-between to collect fees — some of which reach $100 per article, according to a company employee — and as far as we can tell, no such gratis access is available through the middleman. Neither does Ingenta direct readers to the free version in its landing page for the notice.
The article in question, “Solubilization and Amorphization of Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug with Low Molecular Weight Chitosan for a New Guar-Based Colon Delivery Formulation,” by Kadria A. Elkhodairy, Nahla S. Barakat and Fars K. Alanazi, appeared in the March 2011 issue of Letters in Drug Design & Discovery. The retraction notice reads:
The above article is a plagiarized version of another article entitled “Low molecular weight chitosan as a vehicle for solubilization and amorphization of nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drug for a new guar gum based column drug delivery formulation” International Journal of Current Research and Review, August 2010, Vol. 2, No. 8, Pp. 62-69 written by the same authors and published in Letters in Drug Design & Discovery, March 2011, Vol. 8, No. 3, Pp 292-301. Bentham Science apologizes to the readers of the journal for not detecting this omission during the publishing process. We thank Professor Kadria A. Elkhodairy for bringing this breach of conduct to our attention.
Elkhodairy is a pharmacy researcher at King Saud University in Riyadh. What’s perhaps more interesting is that the third author on the paper, Alanazi seems to be Elkhodairy’s boss — chairman of the department of pharmaceutics at King Saud, and the Kayyali Scientific Chair for Pharmaceutical Industry in the school’s college of pharmacy.
We’re wondering who (besides the unlucky readers who forked over $63.10 plus tax for the Ingenta version of the notice) ended up getting a novel colon delivery system in all this after all.
By the way, LDDD‘s editor-in-chief is Atta-ur-Rahman, a prominent Pakistani scientist who has been credited with more than 840 publications. Rahman received is A-levels in Karachi 1960, which means that he has published more than a paper per month, on average, for the past 52 years.
In the meantime, we’ll point to the Committee on Publication Ethics’ guidelines, which clearly state that retraction notices should:
be freely available to all readers (i.e. not behind access barriers or available only to subscribers)