A retracted retraction: Backsies for an anti-terrorism paper
The other day, we wrote about a puzzling situation that appeared to involve the ninth retraction for an anti-terrorism researcher. A book chapter by Nasrullah Memon, of the University of Southern Denmark, was marked “Retracted,” both in the abstract’s title and on the PDF. But Memon forwarded us an email from Springer, the book’s publisher, saying that they had decided to publish an erratum rather than retract.
And indeed, sometime after we published our post, the retraction was changed to an erratum, with the following notice:
Table 1 of the paper starting on page 430 of this volume was copied, without permission, from the paper “Countering Terrorism through Information and Privacy Protection Technologies” by R. Popp and J. Poindexter, published in Security & Privacy, IEEE (Volume 4, Issue 6), 2006.
Springer’s Anna Kramer tells Retraction Watch:
This shouldn’t have been a retraction and this has now been corrected. An Erratum was inserted, which was intentional and is still there. The paper is not being corrected.
Now, some Retraction Watch readers may be familiar with the distinction between an Erratum and a correction, but if others of you aren’t, that’s understandable. Here’s what the National Library of Medicine, which produces PubMed (Medline), has to say:
Corrections or corrigenda for previously-published articles are all uniformly considered by NLM to be errata. NLM does not differentiate between errors that originate in the publication process and those that result from errors of scientific logic or methodology, because journal editors do not make this distinction consistently or clearly.
We’ve covered a few retracted retractions, although we can’t remember one that happened because of an error. Or wait, is that a Corrigendum?
Update, 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 1/13/14: We asked Springer’s Kramer how this happened:
I am afraid that the team who were instructed to upload an erratum, performed a retraction as well. To my knowledge, this is the first time that this has happened!