Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Journal: Here’s why we didn’t retract this duplicated paper

with 2 comments

Here’s something we don’t see every day: A journal explains in an erratum notice why it chose not to retract a paper that contains data published elsewhere.

According to the Journal of Business and Psychology, the authors violated the journal’s transparency policy by failing to disclose that they’d used the same data in their 2014 in three others. However, the editors ultimately concluded the current paper was different enough from the other three to save it from being retracted.

Here’s the erratum:

The authors of the paper below did not disclose that the data reported were also used in three additional papers. This omission violates journal policy around transparency in the editorial/review process. After review, the paper in question has been deemed sufficiently different from the other 3 papers to not warrant retraction.

Work Passion Through the Lens of Culture: Harmonious Work Passion, Obsessive Work Passion, and Work Outcomes in Russia and China” has been cited three times since 2014, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science, formerly part of Thomson Reuters.

A representative at Springer, which publishes the journal, told us:

The journal’s Editor became aware of the issue after a meta-analysis was done.

We reached out to the three authors— first author Ronald J. Burke, middle and corresponding author Marina N. Astakhova, and last author Hongli Hang—and will update the post if we hear back.

Although it’s rare for us to spot such “non-retraction retraction notices,” they have come across our desk before: Last year, we covered why Abdominal Radiology decided not to pull papers that had also shared data.

Hat tip: Rolf Degen

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Comments
  • John H Noble Jr May 15, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    We need more than the publisher’s decision and general reason. Precisely, how was the article at issues “sufficiently different from the other 3 papers to not warrant retraction?” Were the theory and hypotheses different? Were the data the same but tabled or analyzed differently? Were the conclusions different? Was there no self-plagiarism? So much to explain since the decision not to retract is so strikingly different than what Retraction Watch typically reports.

  • Miguel Roig May 16, 2017 at 7:37 am

    What bothers me most about these types of notices is that the scientific record may not have been sufficiently clarified: Which data from the new paper come from which of the previously published papers? Time to repeat my mantra: Data should be treated as if they were sacred objects. It’s fine to reuse them, but their provenance should never, EVER be in question.

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