Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

“Goodbye…”?: Editor pulls farewell editorial after deeming it “inappropriate”

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3We’ve unearthed a retraction of an editorial titled “Goodbye…”, pulled from Cognition, Technology & Work by its retiring editor after he decided it was “inappropriate.”

The original text is not online. The note in its place reads, in full:

This article has been retracted due to unintended publication.

The author of the editorial is psychologist Erik Hollnagel, based at the University of Southern Denmark, who left the journal after a decade. Interestingly, his own research includes studies of “When Things Go Wrong” (per the title of one of his book chapters), ranging from financial crises to the Fukushima disaster.

The error that led to this reaction seems tiny, in comparison. Hollnagel explains:

Not sure how you ever found this. But if you read carefully what it says on the Springer page that the URL points to, it was retracted due to unintended publication rather than incorrect contents.

It was an editorial, not an article. I commiserated on the stagnation of the field (Cognition, Technology and Work) in the ten years I had been editor of the journal. But since the same issue, unbeknownst to me, had been dedicated to my own work, I decided that my editorial comment was inappropriate, hence asked for it not to be published.

We asked Hollnagel if he ended up publishing the contents of the piece. He said:

I kept it to myself. No one is interested in critical comments about how their scientific field develops.

Hat tip: Rolf Degen

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