Stunner: Researchers retract paper because company complains it’s hurting profits
It’s not unusual for us to hear allegations that journals have caved to corporate demands that they retract papers. And companies have certainly objected to the publication of results that painted their products in an unflattering light.
But what we’ve never explicitly seen is a retraction notice that comes right out and says that the only reason a paper is being removed from the literature is that a company complained. That’s the jaw-dropping case with “Visual defects among consumers of processed cassava (gari),” a paper published earlier this year in the African Journal of Food Sciences:
The authors, Yusuf A. Z., Zakir A., Shemau Z., Abdullahi M., Halima S. A. Abubakar U., Sani Kassim and Nuhu Mohammed, have requested the retraction of their article titled “Visual defects among consumers of processed cassava (gari)” which was published in Vol. 8(1), pp. 25-29, January 2014, DOI: 10.5897/AJFS2013.1093 from the journal’s website and publisher’s database.
The retraction is based on the fact that a Gari processing company has requested the retraction this paper from journal’s website and publisher’s database since it is crumbling their business inputs to their competitors leading to a drastic reduction in customers and consumers hence affecting their productivity and profitability.
Yusuf A. Z and all co-authors are deeply sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused to the editorial staff, readers and other researchers.
Yusuf is an employee of the Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation, according to the paper, which does not say which Gari processing companies’ products were studied. Here’s the abstract of the paper:
The incidence and degree of visual defects was studied among 180 subjects (100 consumers and another 80 non-consumers of gari at Zaria metropolis town). Visual acuity and color vision tests were accessed using the Snellen’s chart and the Ishihara’s chart, respectively. The visual acuity of consumers of gari showed a significant decrease (P<0.05) when compared with that of the non consumers of gari. The incidence of color blindness is higher in gari consumers than the non consumers. Visual defects are correlated to the frequency of eating gari, for how long gari has been eaten and age. The high prevalence of visual defects among the consumers of gari may be due to the exposure to unsafe amount of cyanide in gari that was consumed over a long period of time. This may consequently contribute to high prevalence of blindness and severe visual impairment especially among those aged ≥ 40 years.
We’ve asked Yusuf and the journal’s editors for details, including whether there were any problems with the paper itself, which you can find here. The publisher, Academic Journals, is on Jeffrey Beall’s list of possible predatory publishers. We’ll update with anything we learn.
Hat tip: Rolf Degen
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