RETRACTED: Authors’ remorse: Researchers retract paper so they can publish it in a journal with a higher impact factor

via Derek Markham/Flickr

It was bound to happen. After more than 4,700 posts, Retraction Watch has a retraction of its own.

Earlier this month, we wrote about the opaque retraction of a paper from an open-access spine journal whose editor told us that the researchers yanked their article so that they could republish it in a more prestigious outlet.

Turns out, that wasn’t the case.

The other day, we received a string of emails from one of the authors — Owowicho Adogwa, who’d ignored our initial request for comment — threatening us with legal action unless we took down our post. The real, if unstated in the notice, reason for the retraction was that he and his colleagues “were notified of an error” in their analysis that rendered their conclusions invalid. (Adogwa declined to say more about the mistake.)

We then heard from Ralph Mobbs, the editor of the Journal of Spine Surgery, who had offered up the retract-and-republish theory. Mobbs admitted that he’d been speculating:

I have investigated the retraction in more detail and the author is correct – the retraction was made due to inaccurate CT data. I was incorrect in my assessment of the authors targeting a higher impact factor journal.

Mobbs added that

JSS in a non-profit, non-conflict of interest journal that relies upon the good will and hard work of persons such as myself to publish high quality material. On this occasion, the retraction was not sinister in nature, and need immediate retraction.

So, we hereby retract our previous post, which will remain available here, watermarked, as per best practices for retractions.

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3 thoughts on “RETRACTED: Authors’ remorse: Researchers retract paper so they can publish it in a journal with a higher impact factor”

  1. Proving that integrity > ego.*

    Thanks for leading by example.

    * I would have said integrity trumps ego, but I didn’t want to bring politics into it.

  2. Good,it is how RetractionWatch report the news and retracted by itself so as to keep the scientific research to go in healthy way.

  3. Wow. So authors detect an error in their study and decide to retract the publication. Instead of publishing a proper retraction note, the editor decides to make up a story about some unsavory author behavior. I would seeks legal counsel in this case.

    Thank you retraction watch for this transparent handling of the situation.

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