Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

E pluribus unum (oops!) forces retraction of social justice article

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thirdworldIrony alert: If you’re going to publish a paper on the importance of hearing from many voice in a debate, better make sure every voice is heard.

Here’s a case where some got muted.

Third World Quarterly, a Taylor & Francis title, has retracted a paper it published recently because only one of the authors — a co-editor of the special issue in which the paper appeared — was listed on the final article. Here’s the retraction notice, which explains the publisher’s mishap:

The Editors of special issue 34.4, Susanne Soederberg and Gavin Fridell, the Editor of Third World Quarterly, Shahid Qadir and Routledge wish to apologize for an article published in Third World Quarterly–‘Politicising Debt and Development: activist voices on social justice in the new millennium’, by G. Fridell, Volume 34, pages 726–745, 2013.

In the process of finalising the compilation of the issue, an honest error was introduced. Molly Kane, Tim Jones, Dan Beeton and Peter Gillespie were not listed as co-authors of the article. Contributions from all authors will now be published separately in the next available issue of Third World Quarterly, linked to the page of the retracted article.

It is Routledge’s policy that the Third World Quarterly article be kept online, but also state that the paper has been retracted, together with a link to this Retraction.

This is to ensure the integrity of scientific record, whilst highlighting the honest error introduced at compilation stage.

Comments
  • Jamie Rosen (@dollarbinblues) August 20, 2013 at 12:54 am

    Is there not a better way to fix this than a retraction? A correction, perhaps?

  • Karen Shashok August 20, 2013 at 4:01 am

    How confusing. A correction would have been more appropriate than a retraction. A retraction unfairly stigmatizes all the coauthors for something that was in no way their fault, according to the information in this RW entry.

    If this was a failure by Taylor & Francis personnel to ensure proper checking, will there be a more explicit, publicly available indication that this was a publisher error and that the publisher is taking appropriate measures to ensure this type of error doesn’t happen again? Even if checks are reduced to a bare minimum, the one thing that should receive particular attention is the names of the authors.

    Special issues that require handling by guest editors create opportunities for miscommunication and misunderstanding. Who is responsible for what needs to be spelled out in advance for everyone.

    “Contributions from all authors will now be published separately in the next available issue of Third World Quarterly, linked to the page of the retracted article.” That’s a new one! Does this mean that each of the coauthors will get to publish a separate article by way of “compensation”? How long will the delay be until “the next available issue”?

    It’s an odd situation and the solution seems to be even more odd.

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