Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘publisher error’ Category

When publishers mess up, why do authors pay the price?

with one comment

Springer has retracted two papers, which appeared online earlier this year in different journals, after discovering both were published by mistake.

A spokesperson at Springer explained that the retractions are “due to a human error.”

According to one of the retraction notices, published in Archive for Mathematical Logic, the paper had not yet undergone peer review and the author plans to resubmit his paper to the journal. The other retraction notice, published in Arabian Journal of Geosciences, simply states that an “error in the submission system” is to blame. Unfortunately, in both cases the authors now have a retraction on their record, seemingly through no fault of their own.

Neither notice indicates what publisher glitches led to the premature publications. We asked the spokesperson for clarity, but she did not elaborate. When asked whether Springer has made changes to prevent these errors from happening again, the spokesperson said:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Victoria Stern

December 5th, 2017 at 8:00 am

Caught Our Notice: Oops — paper included proofreader’s query

with 2 comments

Via Wikimedia

Title: Concise Review: Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Neurodegenerative Diseases

What Caught Our Attention: Everyone makes mistakes — but some are more amusing than others. In one recent correction, the publisher (Wiley) admitted to including a proofreader’s query in the published manuscript. But didn’t say what the query was.

We looked around, and think we found the added notes in the abstract on the PubMed entry (emphasis ours):  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison Abritis

November 15th, 2017 at 8:00 am

A journal retracted a paper when authors couldn’t pay. Then it retracted the retraction.

with 3 comments

Oops.

A plant journal recently retracted a 2017 paper, saying the authors couldn’t pay the page charges ($110/page). The notice has since disappeared, and the journal announced on Twitter Thursday it was issued in error. The paper is now intact on the journal’s site.

This isn’t the first time the journal has withdrawn a statement that authors couldn’t pay the page charges — we’ve discovered the journal removed a line to that effect from a 2015 retraction notice (although in that case, it left the retraction intact). Page charges, often required by traditional publishers, typically cover printing costs; they differ from article processing charges (APCs) levied by open-access journals, which cover the cost of publishing the paper and making it freely available.

We’ve contacted editors at the journal and its publisher, Taylor & Francis, to try to find out why there are mixed messages about author page charges. A spokesperson for the publisher said it was unable to respond before deadline, but it was looking into the matter:

I can confirm that we are committed to following [Committee on Publication Ethics] guidelines and that we are taking this issue seriously.

In the meantime, here’s what we know.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

November 10th, 2017 at 10:53 am

Caught Our Notice: Is “miscommunication of the rejection” the new euphemism for “paper accepted”?

with one comment

Via Wikimedia

When Retraction Watch began in 2010, our co-founders Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus quickly realized they couldn’t keep up with the hundreds of retractions that appeared each year.  And the problem has only gotten worse — although we’ve added staff, the number of retractions issued each year has increased dramatically. According to our growing database, more than 1,300 retractions were issued last year (and that doesn’t include expressions of concern and errata). So to get new notices in front of readers more quickly, we’ve started a new feature called “Caught our Notice,” where we highlight a recent notice that stood out from the others. If you have any information about what happened, feel free to contact us at retractionwatchteam@gmail.com.

TitleUpregulated Expression of Circulating MicroRNAs in Kidney Transplant Recipients With Interstitial Fibrosis and Tubular Atrophy

What caught our attentionRead the rest of this entry »

Surgery journal retracts two papers it didn’t mean to publish

with 5 comments

The Annals of Surgery has retracted two papers it never intended to publish.

According to journal’s editor, Keith Lillemoe, the papers—published in 2015, two months apart—had undergone full peer review and were rejected, “like 90% of submissions to our journal:”

The decision was clear and the authors were notified.

But somehow, Lillemoe said, “our publishing team mistakenly published the papers and placed them into [e-pub] status totally unbeknownst to the editorial team.”

The authors of one paper told us they were unhappy with how the journal handled the situation.

Lillemoe noted:

Read the rest of this entry »

Elsevier retracts entire issue after mistakenly publishing it online

without comments

Publishing giant Elsevier has retracted an entire issue of one of its journals because the contents — abstracts from a conference about child neurology — were never supposed to make it online.

We discovered the retraction after realizing that every aspect of the issue in Brain & Development had been retracted, including the cover, editorial board, and the contents.

We contacted Elsevier, and a spokesperson told us:

Read the rest of this entry »

Quick: What does fish food have to do with X-rays? In this case, an Elsevier production error

without comments

An MRI of a fish, not involved in this study. (via Wikimedia)

In 2012, a study claiming to show — after some intentional statistical tricks — that a dead salmon had brain activity in an fMRI won a prestigious (and hilarious) Ig Nobel Prize.

So five years later, when Bálint Botz tweeted wryly about a study of fish and plants in a radiology journal, we thought, “Aha, someone is trying to create another red herring!”

But alas, it turns out the reason a journal normally concerned with X-rays would suddenly be interested in aquaponics was far more prosaic: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

June 13th, 2017 at 11:30 am

Dopey dupe retractions: How publisher error hurts researchers

without comments

Adam Etkin

Ivan Oransky

Not all retractions result from researchers’ mistakes — we have an entire category of posts known as “publisher errors,” in which publishers mistakenly post a paper, through no fault of the authors. Yet, those retractions can become a black mark on authors’ record. Our co-founder Ivan Oransky and Adam Etkin, Executive Editor at Springer Publishing Co (unrelated to Springer Nature) propose a new system in the latest issue of the International Society of Managing & Technical Editors newsletter, reprinted with permission below.

Imagine you’re a researcher who is one of 10 candidates being considered for tenure, or a promotion, or perhaps a new job which would significantly advance your career. Now imagine that those making this decision eliminate you as a candidate without even an interview because your record shows you’ve had a paper retracted. But in this particular case, what the decision makers may not be aware of is that the paper was not retracted because you made an honest mistake—which, if you came forward about it, really shouldn’t be a black mark anyway—or even because you did something unethical. It was retracted due to publisher error. Like Han Solo and/or Lando Calrissian, you’d find yourself in utter disbelief while saying “It’s not my fault!”— and you’d be right. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

December 16th, 2016 at 9:30 am

A first for us: Journal retracts obituary (but not for the reasons you think)

with one comment

journalofdigestivediseasesOn December 31st 2014, a pioneer in the study of inflammatory bowel disease passed away. An obituary published in the Journal of Digestive Diseases shortly thereafter is typical enough: It describes his achievements, importance to his patients, and battle with pancreatic cancer.

But “Loss in the Last Day of 2014: a Eulogy for Prof. Bing Xia” has now been retracted.

This is the first time we’ve seen an obituary pulled from a journal. Unfortunately, this was not a case of a premature obituary (which happens more often than you’d think)– the researcher did actually die, but it appears the journal published the obituary in the wrong place.

The retraction notice, published earlier this year, explains:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Shannon Palus

December 5th, 2016 at 9:30 am

Sorry, researchers: That Thomson Reuters “highly cited” designation you received is probably wrong

with 10 comments

clarivateElation, then disappointment.

That was the emotional sequence for some significant number of researchers around the world on Friday. In the space of several hours, they received word that they were among the scientific 1% — the most cited researchers on the planet — then learned that…well, they actually weren’t.

Here’s the letter — subject line, “Congratulations Highly Cited Researcher!” — and the retraction…erm, apology (click to enlarge): Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

November 21st, 2016 at 3:31 pm

Posted in publisher error