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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

“Breach of warranties” leads to retraction of literacy paper

with 4 comments

langideneduYou’d have to be fairly literate to understand the phrase “breach of warranties,” so it’s a good thing it appears in a retraction notice for paper on literacy itself.

The 2012 article, “Information Literacy in Croatia: An Ideological Approach,” appeared in the Journal of Language, Identity & Education, a Taylor & Francis title. The authors were Melita Poler Kovačič, Nada Zgrabljić Rotar and Karmen Erjavec.

Here’s what the abstract had to say:

New information and communication technologies were widely perceived as something that would lead post-socialist European countries towards the technologically developed information society. In this paper, a critical perspective is taken in examining information literacy as an ideological form. The deconstruction of ideological practice was performed using a text-based examination of the genealogy of justifying discourse, as found in official documents and policy statements regarding information literacy in Croatia. Croatian information literacy is too narrowly conceptualized as a means of preparing students for the demands of the EU and the global market, assuring their employability and increasing the country’s economic competitiveness. Further, in-depth interviews with 25 Croatian grammar school professors showed how the ideology of information literacy is embodied in their beliefs. They aligned themselves with the neo-liberal imperative of ongoing retraining and saw information literacy as a means of providing students with technical skills.

That sounds interesting enough. Trouble is, the authors seemed to have done a little deconstruction of ideological practice — at least, insofar as publishing ethics is concerned — of their own. According to the retraction notice:

<We, the Editors and Publishers of the Journal of Language, Identity & Education, are retracting the following article:
Kovačič, M.P., Rotar, N.Z., Erjavec, K. (2012). Information literacy in Croatia: An ideological approach. Journal of Language, Identity & Education, 11(3), 151–166. DOI: 10.1080/15348458.2012.686372

We are now cognizant of an extended and substantially similar version of this article which was concurrently submitted to, and published in, Journal of Children and Media:

Erjavec, K., Volčič, Z. (2010). Information literacy: A means of preparing the students in Slovenia for the information society. Journal of Children and Media,4(1), 59–76. DOI: 10.1080/17482790903407325

This action constitutes a breach of warranties made by the authors with respect to originality. We note we received, peer-reviewed, accepted, and published the article in good faith based on these warranties, and censure this action.

The retracted article will remain online to maintain the scholarly record, but it will be digitally watermarked on each page as RETRACTED.

The common author on the earlier paper is Karmen Erjavec. of the University of Ljubjana in Slovenia. Here’s its abstract:

Today, some of the most prominent policies in schools throughout the (post)industrialized world, and especially in developing Central and Eastern European countries, relate to the rapid introduction of information and communication technologies (ICTs). The concept of “information literacy” is the most common rationale for introducing educational ICTs. This concept is so poorly defined that it may best be investigated as a form of ideology. The arguments in justification of the presence of ICTs in classrooms are primarily vocational and market servitism. They are based on the assumption that ICTs will be pervasive in the workplace of the future and are soon going to be everywhere. Therefore, information literacy will prepare the students for living and working in the information society and increase a country’s competitiveness on the global market. The more purely pedagogical arguments are secondary. By talking directly to 25 students from five Slovenian secondary schools, the research found an overall acceptance of this message.

The paper has yet to be cited, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

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4 Responses

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  1. “This action constitutes a breach of warranties made by the authors with respect to originality”

    Duplicate publication by any other name?

    Deidentified

    July 26, 2013 at 11:42 am

  2. I always appreciate humor in these posts, given their serious nature. Seems like some form of plagiarism to me, and they are going out of their way to avoid the p word.

    JG

    July 26, 2013 at 2:11 pm

  3. I would like to give the Editors and Publishers of the Journal of Language, Identity & Education a tip of my hat for their originality and superb use of the English Language

    Schmuck

    July 26, 2013 at 2:25 pm

  4. Something odd about this retraction. I assume for purposes of this discussion that the abstracts correctly reflect the contents.

    The 2010 article is based on a sample of Slovenian students, who were interviewed for their acceptance of an “ideology.” The 2012 article is based in part on interviews with a totally different group, Croatian teachers. It dealt, not only with their acceptance of the “ideology” but with some asserted relationship between ICT concepts and a raft of other economic and social ideas. In addition, the guts and feathers of the 2012 article wasn’t the interviews at all, but the “deconstruction” of specifically Croatian documents which could not have been included in the 2010 Slovenian study.

    Could these two studies really have had all that much in common, other than a consistent research program and predictably repetitive political jargon? What I’m suggesting is that there is either more here than meets the eye, or much less. That is, either there was outright fraud (e.g. Slovenian students perhaps re-cast as Croatian teachers), or the 2012 editors just didn’t want to be associated with such a ridiculous thesis and seized on some repetitive discussion to jettison the article. It isn’t easy to see how these could be “substantially similar version(s)” of the same article.

    Toby White

    July 31, 2013 at 11:25 am


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