Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘philosophy’ Category

After 35 years, philosophy journal corrects article…by a cat

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A cat philosopher, via Pixabay

In 1982, Bruce Le Catt wrote a response to a paper in the Australasian Journal of Philosophy critiquing an earlier article about prosthetic vision.

But Le Catt was no ordinary author. No, he was a cat, the beloved pet of David Lewis, a world-class philosopher who just happened to be the author of the article about which Bruce Le Catt was commenting.

Lewis’ inside joke wasn’t lost on those who knew him, and the benign deception seems to have been common knowledge in the field since the Le Catt paper appeared in 1982 (which also happens to be the year Cats began its run on Broadway). The paper has been cited four times since it was published, according to Clarivate Analytics. But 25 years later, the journal has finally decided to put an end to the gag.

The joyless notice states plainly: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by amarcus41

August 1st, 2017 at 2:42 pm

Publisher retracts “conceptual penis” hoax article

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File this under “not a surprise.” After the authors of a paper entitled “The conceptual penis as a social construct” confessed it was a hoax immediately after publication, the publisher has retracted it.

The notice is sparse:

This article has been retracted by the publisher. For more information please see the statement on this article.

In that statement, which we covered last week, the publisher said published the paper after choosing reviewers whose “expertise did not fully align with this subject matter.”

We asked co-author James Lindsay what he thought about that explanation:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

June 2nd, 2017 at 11:14 am

Publisher blames bad choice of reviewer for publication of hoax paper on penis as “social construct” 

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Less than a week after publishing a much-discussed hoax paper, a scholarly publisher has acknowledged that it had chosen reviewers for the paper whose “expertise did not fully align with this subject matter.”

The subject matter: that the penis should not be considered an anatomical organ, but more as a concept – “a gender-performative, highly fluid social construct.” Upon publication, the authors immediately admitted the paper was a prank, arguing that its publication illustrates a lack of intellectual and scientific rigor in some social sciences, especially gender studies. But others have questioned whether it really demonstrates that at all.

In response to the revelation of the hoax, Taylor & Francis associate editorial director Emma Greenword published a statement about the process that led to this entanglement: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Emily Willingham

May 24th, 2017 at 3:20 pm

Does the philosophy literature have a plagiarism problem?

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Michael Dougherty

Philosopher Michael Dougherty doesn’t take plagiarism sitting down. Over the years, the researcher at Ohio Dominican University has tipped us off to numerous instances of plagiarism he’s spotted. And it turns out, he’s done the same thing for publishers, as well. In a new paper in Metaphilosophy, Dougherty describes his experience contacting publishers over an instance of what he terms “serial plagiarism,” and how they responded – or didn’t respond – to his allegations.

Retraction Watch: Your paper focuses on the publications of one author – Martin W. F. Stone – who you claim has plagiarized numerous times. (We’ve reported on 14 retractions for Stone.) What made you decide to undertake this work?

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Written by Alison McCook

May 19th, 2017 at 11:30 am

Surprise! Paper retracted after author tells journal it’s a “pile of dung”

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journal-of-clinical-research-bioethics-logoThis summer, Ottawa Citizen reporter Tom Spears was sitting by a lake on vacation when he opened a spam email from a publisher. Amused to see the sender was a journal focused on bioethics, he got an idea.

I thought, what if I just throw something outrageous at them?

The situation should sound familiar to readers who follow such “sting” operations: Spears submitted a fake paper to the so-called “predatory” journal, it was accepted one month later with no changes, and published.

But after Spears submitted a comment on the paper saying it was “a steaming pile of dung from start to meaningless finish” (which the journal never posted), wrote an article about it (picked up by other outlets, including The Huffington Post Canada) — surprise, surprise! — the paper was retracted.

Most authors don’t celebrate retractions. But Spears told us he felt “sheer triumph:”  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

November 30th, 2016 at 9:30 am

Heir claims part of review about political scientist is defamatory, journal partially retracts

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European Journal of CommunicationA communications journal has retracted parts of a paper about a famous German political scientist after her great-nephew threatened the journal with legal action, claiming bits of the paper were defamatory.

The European Journal of Communication (EJC) retracted the parts of the paper that reviewed a biography of Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann, published in Germany in 2013. The biography was titled Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann: Demoskopin zwischen NS-Ideologie und Konservatismus;” a Google-translate of that title gives “Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann: pollster between Nazi ideology and conservatism.”

Noelle-Neumann is most well known for her mass communication theory, the “Spiral of Silence,” which refers to the tendency to remain silent on a subject when your view opposes that of the masses. Because parts of the paper are now redacted, it is unclear what statements were potentially defamatory. Read the rest of this entry »

Philosopher earns 14th retraction for plagiarism

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978-1-4020-3001-7Today, we bring you a case of a serial plagiarizer.

Martin W. F. Stone was a philosophy professor at the University of Leuven — by one account “widely admired and highly respected” — until 2010, when an investigation at the school concluded that his work is “highly questionable in terms of scientific integrity.” Over the past several years, he has racked up retractions, earning his 14th this spring, and spot #30 on our leaderboard.

Stone’s retractions were brought to our attention by philosopher Michael Dougherty, who found a notice for “Michael Baius (1513–89) and the Debate on ‘Pure Nature’: Grace and Moral Agency in Sixteenth-Century Scholasticism,” a chapter in Springer’s Moral Philosophy on the Threshold of Modernity.

The retraction notice says that the chapter Read the rest of this entry »