Journal retracts paper when authors refuse to pay page charges

gm cropsTaylor & Francis has withdrawn a paper published online after a disagreement with the authors about page charges.

Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva, Judit Dobránszki, Jean Carlos Cardoso, and Songjun Zeng had submitted the manuscript, “Genetic transformation of Dendrobium,” to GM Crops and Food: Biotechnology in Agriculture and the Food Chain earlier this year. It was accepted on July 29, and posted online on October 30.

Taylor and Francis — who recently took over the journal from Landes Biosciences — had requested $1,000 in page charges, and $340 in color charges. But Teixeira da Silva — who has been made persona non grata by an Elsevier journal following “personal attacks and threats,” and had a paper retracted by a Springer journal after he demanded the editors’ resignations — insisted in an email to the publisher that

Review papers had no page charges, only open access fees, certainly not at the time when our paper was submitted to CM Crops and Food, and before the transfer of this journal – and our paper – from Landes Bioscience to Taylor and Francis.

He provided Retraction Watch with this set of screenshots to back up his claim.

But Anthony Trioli, editorial director of Taylor & Francis’s US Science, Technology, Medicine & Health Journals Program, responded to Teixeira da Silva saying he was incorrect and instead offering the authors a discount on the page fees:

We have reviewed your allegations and have confirmed with the Editor that your submission was indeed accepted as a Review paper, and is therefore subject to page charges as noted in the Author Guidelines under “Manuscript Preparation: Reviews.”

Also, you will note that on the Journal Publication Costs Form, there is a check box under the color charges estimate noting “Check if you wish the publisher to convert color figures to black and white in the print edition and remove the color charge.” If you do not wish to accept the charges for color printing, you will need to check this box and discount this fee from the total charges.

 Again, we do apologize for any misunderstanding as a result of the omission of “Reviews” from the initial page charge language in the Author Guidelines. We would be happy to offer you and your co-authors a partial waiver of 30% on the page charges for your accepted article. As a result, your total page charges due will be $700.00. We will notify our Production team and ask that they send you a revised Journal Publication Costs Form reflecting this partial waiver.

Please feel free to respond to me directly with any questions.

Trioli clarified in a later email:

Per my attached response to you dated September 29, 2014, page charges for Review papers accepted to GM Crops and Food: Biotechnology in Agriculture and the Food Chain do indeed apply (see “Reviews” in the Instructions for Authors), and we have kindly offered you a 30% discount on those charges resulting in a total of US$700 due. I ask that you please re-read the attached.

With regard to the Landes Bioscience website, clear notification was made as to when the site would be closed down (October 31, 2014). All GM Crops and Food content, including the information for authors are available at

We have deliberately maintained the policies and pricing structures that were established by Landes Bioscience throughout the transition to Taylor & Francis. All page charges, optional color fees, and optional open access fees and scales have not been changed/increased.

Please do let me know if you have further questions. Otherwise, I do expect that you will submit the required payment, so that we may proceed with publishing your paper. If payment is not received promptly, we shall disregard your submission and remove the author accepted manuscript from the Journal’s website.

That did not satisfy Teixeira da Silva, who said the team would not pay the fees. Trioli responded:

As a result of your refusal to submit payment of the discounted page fees that apply to your accepted submission, “Genetic transformation of Dendrobium”, to GM Crops and Food: Biotechnology in Agriculture and the Food Chain (see previous email from me dated September 29, 2014), we have removed your paper from our production workflow and shall not proceed with publication. Also, the Author Accepted Manuscript that is currently available on the Journal website shall be removed immediately.

You are free to submit your paper for publication elsewhere.

The paper was formerly available here.

Regardless of whether there should or shouldn’t have been a charge to publish the manuscript, it seems odd that Taylor & Francis would put the paper online before receiving the fees.

For those interested in the distinction between a withdrawal and a retraction — which we believe is nonexistent, hence our headline — here’s some background.

49 thoughts on “Journal retracts paper when authors refuse to pay page charges”

  1. I feel really sad (and exhausted) to be the subject of discussion again at RW, when in fact I feel that I and my colleagues were the victims. Allow me to offer my perspectives, and I am quite happy to respond publically to any queries about this. When we first submitted this review to GM Crops and Food, while it was still published by Landes Bioscience, one of the most attractive features was precisely the fact that reviews had no publication charges, as is clearly indicated on the previous Landes Bioscience web-page (see my screen-shots in the PDF file that RW has kindly attached). Not only, even 2 months after our paper was accepted, there were still no publication charges listed for reviews on the Landes Bioscience web-page.

    I believe that we were cheated by Taylor and Francis, because demanding payment of 1340 US$ for an article that had in fact no publication charges originally is plain and simple dishonest. And of course, not fair. What astonished me the most was the fact that Mr. Trioli admitted that Taylor and Francis had made a mistake, but still tried to barter with me dangling the 30% discount carrot. As if this were a flea market. What Mr. Trioli fails to understand, however, in trying to incorrectly extract 700 US$, as if this were some sort of a bargain, is that:

    a) Taylor and Francis have in effect wasted many months of our precious time.

    b) Taylor and Francis are fundamentally wrong: there were no charges, so therefore, there was absolutely no reason to pay, not even a dime. In my opinion, it shows how greedy corporate publishers like this are. They are not even satisfied in receiving intellectual content any longer, they simply want the money and keep the copyright at the same time.

    c) Taylor and Francis have caused tremendous psychological stress in our lives, and combined with so many other conflicts and problems in plant science publishing, this is starting to make being a scientist unbearable. Not only do we have to deal with research and analysis-related stresses, and regular paper-related pressures, now we have to deal with publishers who cannot operate honestly. And this is not some OA journal on Beall’s list of “predatory” journals, it is one of the publishing world’s Big 5.

    d) In essence, the public display of this information and withdrawal (the official term used by Taylor and Francis; Retraction Watch has called it a retraction) of an accepted paper that was already online with the corrected proof, but not paginated, has irrevocably damaged our chances of having the paper published elsewhere in any respectable journal, for one reason: when the editors of the next journal do a Google or data-base search for our title, they will identify an identical title that was the previously accepted paper in GM Crops and Food. In fact, yesterday, after Mr. Trioli formally conveyed the decision to withdraw our online first paper because I flatly refused to pay his “extortionary” fees, we decided to submit elsewhere. During the submission process, I had to explain the full situation to the Editor-in-Chief of that journal even while the accepted paper was still online. Thus, it was an extremely embarrassing situation for us, but to avoid false declarations of hidden truths upon submission, I felt that informing the journal, editors and publisher was the correct thing to do. Let’s see what happens now that the web-page where the paper existed has disappeared. I hope that Taylor and Francis also removed the DOI associated with that paper.

    Actually I feel really sick. When Elsevier twiddled its ethical guidelines, chopping and changing them, and when the Scientia Horticulturae editors tried to frame me, I exposed many truths about the problems with their journal and editor board publically. I believe in that case, I was made persona non grata because I broke the truth publically. I believe that their claims were unfounded, but in a game between a lion and a mouse, how is the mouse to win? In that case, I felt victimized, too. That terrible experience aged me a lot, and caused tremendous stress, even more so because my reputation was soiled forever being the focus here at RW.

    The second time I became the focus at RW, was with my complaints to Dr. Bird and Dr. Spier about their 20-month “peer review”. In that case, I felt that I was a victim of editorial incompetence and lack of professionalism. I therefore requested the resignation of the two Editors-in-Chief. What happened, my paper was rejected a few days later.

    So, I do feel victimized. And, being publically vocal about my concerns and complaints does not help. At a certain point, one just feels like throwing in the towel.

    I wish to conclude my statement with an analogy: Imagine I go to the supermarket and among all the expensive fruit, one of them is labelled as free. Of course, I am going to take that fruit and expect to pass by the cash register without paying because the sign above that fruit, and that fruit alone, says clearly “it is free”. However, as I pass by the teller, an alarm rings, and I freeze in my tracks, perplexed. The store manager calls me over and says, “we are terribly sorry, the sign above the fruit that said it was free was incorrect, and we are cancelling that deal. This is because the store changed management between the time you were looking at the fruit and moving towards the check-out counter. However, can I interest you in a small deal. How about I give you a 30% discount. That way, the fruit is still yours, but you get a bargain. Once again, we are sorry about our mistake.”

    So, if you were the person purchasing that fruit, would you pay the 70% when it was supposed to be free? Or do you storm out of the store in indignation?

    Ultimately, I believe that this case indicates how scientists rights are non-existent. We are the true under-dogs in this aggressive battle by publishers to secure profits and market share. I am glad that Taylor and Francis did not get my 700 US$ which, with an extremely weak yen, would have cost me a full two months’ rent, food and gasoline costs. What people like Mr. Trioli don’t understand is that some of us work like dogs for science, we get paid zilch, we receive as much appreciation for our efforts to conduct post-publication peer review, and, in my case, we live very close to the poverty line. So, while 700 US$ may appear to be loose change for Mr. Trioli or for Taylor and Francis, it is food on the table for 60 days for me and my family. And for that reason alone, I am happy to have had my paper withdrawn even after acceptance.

  2. PS: I forgot to add, I feel even more sorry for my co-authors, whose names are exposed publically now for something that they are innocent about. These are hard-working scientists who slave away, day and night, and who never want to be in the public lime-light. They just want to work, dedicate their effort to science, publish the frits of their efforts, and live peacefully, avoiding conflicts, like almost every scientist I know. It is for them that I truly weep today, because standing up for what is right has such terrible after-effects. To my colleagues, I am really sorry if this decision not to pay Taylor and Francis 700 US$ has caused any problems or pain.

  3. Due to Dr. da Silva’s prolixity, I suggest that he install spell-checking on his computer system. As you may know, “publically” is spelled “publicly.” I don’t know how it got on my computer, but it is there and it underlines in red any words not in its dictionary.
    Otherwise, I am extremely sympathetic to him and his concerns. These enormous charges are obscene, particularly when the author is forced to give away his copyright. The publishers must think everyone has access to unlimited quantities of money from those generous grants (you know, the ones that support the global warming conspiracy) [warning: heavy sarcasm.]

    1. He uses English as a second language just like me, and such mistakes do not glow to our eyes as they do to highly educated native speakers… But I personally appreciate they being eventually pointed out.

  4. Conrad, it is now 3:47 am, so I am sure that one could forgive me for a spelling mistake or two. This is a blog, not a scientific journal, so we can be a little flexible, I think. I was a little taken aback by your harsh criticism of the spelling of publicly. The 2010 version of Word I have has no red underline, neither for publically, nor for publicly, which indicates that the version of Word would be the culprit. The current document is set in US English. I did a quick search on the web, and found several web-sites that support your theory and also some that support the equal use of both forms, claiming that the two words can be used interchangeably:
    “The Columbia Guide to Standard English says there is no difference between the two words; they are just two different spellings, with “publicly” being the most common and accepted form.”
    “The Oxford English Dictionary defines both publically and publicly in the same way, i.e. as the adverb for ‘public’. They are simply alternate spellings.”
    This comes from:;_ylt=AwrTHR3KNG5U.mIAi5NXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEzYmJnb2xvBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMgRjb2xvA2dxMQR2dGlkA1ZJUDU0OV8x?qid=20081113001235AAhO2kd
    I don’t have access to these dictionaries to verify this, but it appears to be a matter of debate. And a tiny issue relative to this story about Taylor and Francis.

    Regarding the issue of grants, I wish to declare the following:

    a) I am now officially retired and have been so for almost 18 months. I thus receive no salary from any institute or publisher. I pay my rent through other jobs that give me the flexibility to write papers, provide pro bono consultation, and to conduct PPPR.

    b) I have zero grants, and unfortunately, in my line of research, I have not had grants for over 7 years. In many cases, I even funded chemicals with my own personal money to complete my research projects. Those were terrible days.

    c) I derive absolutely no financial benefit from my papers, and have not ever derived financial benefit from my publications. For example, I have never received any grants, awards, or positions based on my impact factor score, or number of publications. I have always published and researched from the heart, with passion, and desire. I love to write, I love to explore the literature, and the review paper of this discussion was the fruit of more than a year’s work (of course, not exclusively this paper).

    d) When one works voluntarily for science as I have basically done for the past 10 years, it becomes exhausting to have these conflictual situations occurring again and again. Some are minor like unfair rejections, errors on online submission systems, non-sensical peer reviewers, delayed peer review, etc. but collectively, these problems with traditional peer review, editors and publishers can start to take their toll on an individual’s patience.

    Because I don’t want to be slammed for making spelling mistakes on this blog, I have copied the text into Word. There are no underlines, except for non-sensical, which Word’s spell check is advising I change to non-sensual.

    1. Please don’t be mortified, Jaime, I wasn’t trying to give you a hard time. I had no idea there was so much material on the spelling of the adjective (or is it adverbial?) form of “public.” Thanks for the amplification.
      I think that because of the trauma you have undoubtedly undergone over the last few years, it is important to keep your sense of humor, and if morbid humor does it for you, I don’t think that should be condemned, either.
      I must say, since I now feel free to match your output, that my introduction to the Internet since I retired in 2008 has really “blown” my mind. For instance, yesterday I learned that the conversation ending with “It’s turtles all the way down” has been attributed to at least a half dozen famous cosmologists and students of the theory of science over the last hundred years. Even before that, there was a similar exchange attributed to early nineteenth century philosophers.
      So remember, Jaime, “It’s turtles all the way down!” and keep your outrage.

  5. Regardless of whether there should or shouldn’t have been a charge to publish the manuscript, it seems odd that Taylor & Francis would put the paper online before receiving the fees.

    Quite. Moreover, where’s the EIC in all this?

  6. The publisher admits that it wasn’t part of the original author guidelines (‘the omission of “Reviews” from the initial page charge language in the Author Guidelines’). I would have thought that, legally, a journal makes an offer to accept papers for peer review and possible publication. By submitting a paper, that offer is accepted by the author. Right there and then, an agreement is formed already. The publisher cannot one-sidedly change conditions (unless the author should reasonably have suspected that the offer could not have been right).
    This reminds me of the example where a shopkeeper has put a wrong price tag on an item in the shop. Unless it is held to be obvious that a reasonable customer should have suspected a mistake, the item has to be sold at the advertised price AFAIK. Somewhat similar to the fruit market example given above.
    Of course this is more complicated. Perhaps the author guidelines should be seen as an offer to enter peer-review only, not publication. Perhaps the accidental omission of Reviews should have been reasonably suspected. And likely the law differs from country to country (I’m Dutch). Finally, I am not a lawyer.
    Still, based on the admission that the publisher did not advertise conditions correctly originally, JTdS certainly seems to be “morally right”.

    1. That’s not quite what the publisher is saying, though. It was omitted from that particular paragraph, but was included elsewhere in the author guidelines (under the description of “Reviews”, as mentioned in main post). In particular, taking out the specific line from the description of reviews:

      “Submitted reviews are subject to the same page charges as full-length reports—whether and how page charges will apply for commissioned reviews will be determined upon each commission. ”

      From that, it seems reviews were excluded from page charges paragraph because some (commissioned) reviews are exempt, rather than because all reviews are exempt. Obviously it could be confusing if you only read the charges section rather than the full instructions, but claims that this is something along the lines of a bait-and-switch seems a bit harsh on the publisher. Assume negligence rather than malice, and all that.

      1. Aha, I misunderstood that. I withdraw my earlier opinion.
        If this *was* listed elsewhere in the guidelines, then the publisher seems correct in enforcing that, I would say. (See also Jennifer Page’s comment dated 20 Nov 6:53pm below.) It still is confusing that they were not listed elsewhere, and I agree that the explicit listing of manuscript categories suggests reviews were exempt, but it would be hard to argue that an author could not have suspected that that omission was unintentional (given that the author must be aware of what is written in the Review section). Moreover, it was nowhere said that Reviews where exempt; this is only implicit.
        The offered discount seems a fair compromise as well.

  7. Dave Langers
    The publisher admits that it wasn’t part of the original author guidelines

    Moreover, the earlier omission seems intentional. If you have five classes of submission, and list four of them as having page charges (rather than simply state the page charges as applying in general), I think you are intentionally singling out the fifth class as charge-free.

  8. BTW, the page in the screen shots has been archived by the Wayback Machine. The full version is even more damning, IMHO, as it breaks out paper types. Check out the 2014 July 7 version: “Commentaries” are listed as a separate category under OA charges and “Manuscript Preparation” and omitted from “Page Charges.”

  9. Thank you for that hint to the Internet archive, Narad. I have checked the 7 July and 27 March versions, which are the same concerning page and color charges. Based on the information on that pages, unless I am completely stupid, I am of the opinion that review articles had and have been subject to page charges, even under the wings of Landes Bioscience.

    The instructions state the following regarding reviews:
    “Submitted reviews are subject to the same page charges as full-length reports—whether and how page charges will apply for commissioned reviews will be determined upon each commission.”

    Concerning the page charges of “full-length reports”, the instructions read:
    “Page charges apply at a rate of $100 per page or partial page used for articles classified as Reports, Research Papers, Technical Papers, Brief Reports and Short Communications.”

    Regarding the color charges:
    “Color charges are assessed separately from page charges and will be added to the total amount of page charges assessed. Publication of color images is free for the online version of the journal, but carries a page charge of $340 US dollars for the initial page and $150 for each additional page in the print edition.”
    If the authors requested “online only color”, or if the journal does not appear in print anymore (which I do not know), then the color charges seem unjustified indeed.

    Anyway, I believe that Taylor and Francis may not be completely wrong here. At least page charges need to be paid for review articles, unless some other agreement has been reached (which does not seem to be the case here).

    1. The instructions state the following regarding reviews:
      “Submitted reviews are subject to the same page charges as full-length reports—whether and how page charges will apply for commissioned reviews will be determined upon each commission.”

      Ah, see, that’s what I get for just skimming it.

  10. I agree with other commenters that not mentioning reviews explicitly in the page charges section is not a good choice. However, I disagree with herr doktor bimler: I do not think this constitutes intentionally misleading behavior by Taylor and Francis. Page charges for reviews become quite clear from reading the author instructions on reviews alone. I do not think that JaTdS is right here, not even morally right, even if I am not a fan of page charges myself. It seems that the authors were the ones who wanted to change the contract, not the publisher.

    1. What contract are you talking about? A contract exists when a signature is provided. A web-site is not a contract. Because, if it is, then the Talor and Francis and Landes Bioscience contract is flawed. Is then, a flawed contract, a legally or morally binding one?

      1. Contracts or agreements don’t require signatures. I’m no lawyer, and laws will differ between countries, so I trusted to wikipedia for this one: “Proof of some or all of these elements may be done in writing, though contracts may be made entirely orally or by conduct.” [] I would assume that submitting a manuscript through a publisher’s website forms the initial contract already.

        1. Yes, Dave, but does that same Wikipedia page indicate that if the web-page has errors, if that contract is valid, or not? I am also no lawyer, but I could argue that the Landes Bioscience web-site was flawed at the time of submission and throughout the entire manuscript and proof handling period and that therefore, the public contract was flawed, and hence invalid. If a contract is in any way flawed or invalid, how can it be respected?

        2. A fundamental tenet of contract law is that there must be a meeting of the minds. Clearly, that condition was not met here.

  11. An oddly harsh and cruel assessment, Jennifer Page (I would appreciate seeing a disclaimer indicating that you do not represent any commercial publisher). Thanks Narad for the way-back machine. The fact that Landes Bioscience slipped in that tiny phase in some odd section of the instructions for authors, which is massive, is dishonest, or just plain unprofessional. Unfortunately, there is no Landes Bioscience management around to take resonsibility for this. Any information related to page charges should be listed under page charges. That seems logical to me and a pretty easy rule to follow. Why would a publisher slip in a note about page charges in some unknow section of the instructions to authors unrelated to page charges? That seems as poorly devised as some of the “predatory” publishers listed on Beall’s blog: intentional misinformation with the purpose of cashing in down the line.

    Regarding the three editors-in-chief, Naglaa A Abdallah 1, Vivian Moses 2 and CS Prakash 3, of course, they just sit in silence. Because they are the puppets to the commercial publisher, as most EICs are. Not once did they have the courtesy of responding to my concerns about this switched payment policy. I think they should because ultimately their journal’s web-site was faulty. At least Mr. Tivoli responded, despite his differences, but the EICs…
    1 Cairo University; Cairo, Egypt
    2 King’s College; London, UK
    3 Tuskegee University; Tuskegee, AL USA

    No need to cry over spilt milk or even to flog a dead horse. The story is out, the conflicts are more than openly disclosed, and somewhere here there maybe something can be learnt. Time to move on to the next issue. One thing can be said, however, there are no winners here: I and my colleagues lost and got bruised Taylor and Francis got a public slap in the face, and science became just a fraction more untrustworthy and bitter.

    1. The statement “submitted reviews are subject to the same page charges” is in the section Manuscript Preparation/Types of Papers/Reviews. It is not “slipped in” to “some odd section”, it is in the one brief paragraph specifically about preparing review papers. I don’t consider it “harsh and cruel” to expect the authors of a review paper to actually read the section on preparing a review paper. I’ll agree that they should have listed reviews in the section on page charges, and not doing so was sloppy and unprofessional, but overlooking a clear statement in a section you should have read was also sloppy. I do not see justification for alleging that either action was intentional.

      On the other hand, publishing it and then withdrawing it over page charges was clearly intentional and, in my opinion, utterly disgraceful. I would have liked to see more forbearance from the publisher, but I would not expect it from most commercial publishers.

      I do not in any way represent a commercial publisher. If you look around at my other comments here and at Scholarly OA, you will find that I’m no fan of commercial publishers either. Any other disclaimers you’d like to see?

    2. Why do you think my comment is “oddly harsh and cruel”? I merely cited the terms and conditions from the Landes Bioscience website. We obviously disagree on the matter here, but that’s how it is sometimes…

      You wanted a disclaimer (I do not know why that is so important) that I am not a representative of some publisher: correct, I am not, I am just a reader, just like most others here.

      Contracts do not always require a certain form (e.g. a signature). By submitting a manuscript, you exlicitly accept the terms and conditions that apply at that time.

      1. Jennifer, that is really kind of you to respond. I repeat my question to you as I did to Dave, because I feel that your interpretation is somewhat biased, or one-sided. If the web-page has errors, is a contract valid, or not? I believe that the Landes Bioscience web-site was flawed at the time of submission and throughout the entire manuscript and proof handling period and that therefore, the public contract was flawed, and hence invalid. If a contract is in any way flawed or invalid, how can it be respected? Therefore, if a contract is invalid, as I see it, then with what right does Taylor and Francis have to impose a payment rule using an invalid public contract?

        1. Therefore, if a contract is invalid, as I see it, then with what right does Taylor and Francis have to impose a payment rule using an invalid public contract?

          Jaime, if the contract is invalid, then you have no basis to suggest that you can compel performance of T&F’s half of it.

  12. Dan, point taken. Indeed, seeing this information now, shows some oversight on our part as we would have expected an issue related to fees to be in the fees section, and since preparation of the review manuscript followed the online sample. The acceptance letter also indicated nothing about making payment. I guess one lesson here is that authors really have to read the Instructions for Authors thoroughly, even if they are dozens of pages long (have you seen the sheer size of the former Landes Bioscience GM Crops and Food IFA? It goes on and on forever. And the other lesson is that the publisher has to make sure that its web content is accurate and not ambiguous, to avoid misleading the authorship. So, for the sake of fair argument, let us and Taylor and Francis assume some oversight and sloppiness, respectively. Each experience, especially the bad ones, serve as a lesson learnt. And may this one be useful for others. Regarding the COIs, I was not requesting one from you, but instead from Jennifer Page.

  13. Jaime, “Under exceptional circumstances, where there are no funds to cover page charges and articles cannot be reduced in size, authors may appeal directly to the Editor for page charges to be waived.” So why not use this rule to ask the editor to waive the page charge? I tend to think you could always try to use the argument ‘exceptional circumstances’ to get your paper published.
    “Landes Bioscience Open Access License Agreement. Once a manuscript has been accepted for publication, authors may let the Managing Editor know that they wish to purchase open access for their paper. Otherwise, all authors will receive an order form with their galley proofs.”
    So one needs to pay an extra amount of money for open access?

  14. Klaas, that is correct, in addition to a publishing page charge, there is a charge for open access, which can make fees exorbitant. From my experience in publishing, it takes perhaps one to two days to set a small review like that and only a few seconds, with all the right settings, to pump out the PDF file. It takes another few clicks to post that online as open access, and perhaps a little more work to get things linked to data-bases, DOI, etc. Even so, the actual cost of making a PDF file open access is a tiny fraction of the real cost. The bulk of the money that we pay is not for posting a PDF file, which any of us could do for 10-20 US$, all costs included, but to pay the excessive salaries of CEOs, and gazillion managers, lawyers, and redundant pseudo-specialists that line the top rank of these commercial publishers. That means, in theory, had I agreed to pay the publishing fee, the colour fee and the open access fee for this paper, it would have cost me almost 2000 US$. If this is not the classical definition of greed and corporate exploitation of scientists, then I am not sure what is. So, throwing some crumbs like a 30% discount after the publisher has admitted to making a mistake sounds insulting (and abusive) to me.

    When one reaches such a cross-road, does one say, “OK, take our 700 US$”, or does one say, “We will not pay”? There are no more choices. This is not about trying to bargain for a price, like for fish in a fresh market. Because we feel that this is not right. That was the point that was reached. And, because I felt that this was about principle, I did not allow any of my co-authors to pay, even if at least one of them could have, if they wanted to. Finally, how could I get a response about fees (had I actually felt that they existed) when the three editors-in-chief failed even in their very basic duty of responding to e-mails. For example, allow me to give more insight about the pseudo peer review of this journal. In two follow-up comments, part 1, and part 2, I will share all official communications to give insight about the frank lack of professionalism by not only the three editors-in-chief, but also by Landes Bioscience and Taylor and Francis.

    What you will be able to appreciate, after I show the history of exchanges, is that this is not some random fight. I believe that this is a case of true harassment and victimization.

    Conrad, the last phrase was key, but rage is not the only emotion. There is a Russian salad of sadness, disappointment, confusion, and loss of humour. The man you would meet now, and the one you would have known 5, or 10 years ago, are extremely different: opposite poles, perhaps. I have had so many negative experiences with publishers, including my own that became defunct, I have seen too many dishonest scientists in my lifetime, and I have seen far too many scientists gaining advantage over others with only a fraction of the experience, or mental capacity. So, when such experiences tend to become the norm, when we see the system so heavily manipulated, and when we see those we know and those who are strangers gaming the system to their advantage, the glowing inspiration that once formed the core of the hard work in the laboratory – and the basis of that scientific discovery – somewhat melts away, as we see that we are nothing more than a tiny cog in the profitable publishing machinery. It’s not by choice that I wish to be here, and it’s not by choice that I wish to battling so much. It is circumstance that put me in this defensive position. But, frankly-speaking, I see 99% of my colleagues, peers and “superior” leaders in plant science – including almost every editor and editor-in-chief – actively ignoring the problems. Not to mention the turn-the-other way and let’s-make-his-life-tougher mentality of the publishers I have had to deal with for years, particularly in the past 5 years, or so. For one simple reason; they sit with comfortable positions, salaries, grants, so for them, rocking the boat and making waves is not an option. And who can blame them? The world is splitting into the haves vs the have-nots, and the divide is widening frighteningly quickly. So, to have some form of security and peace seems to be more of a luxury nowadays than a basic human right. So, when we see these injustices, then for people like me, it causes deep pain. So, there is little room for humour under these circumstances. You are right: “It’s turtles all the way down!”

  15. PART 1: submission to proof revision.

    On April, 17, 2014, the paper was submitted, and received:
    “Dear Dr. Teixeira da Silva,
    On April 16, 2014, we received your manuscript entitled “Genetic transformation of Dendrobium” by Jaime Teixeira da Silva, Judit Dobránszki, Jean Carlos Cardoso, and Songjun Zeng.
    Your manuscript has been assigned the Manuscript #: 2014GMC0041.
    [links redacted]
    Thank you for submitting your work to the GM Crops.
    Andrew Thompson
    Managing Editor
    Landes Bioscience

    On July 23, 2014, the revision was submitted, and received:
    “Dear Dr. Teixeira da Silva,
    On July 23, 2014, we received your revised manuscript entitled “Genetic transformation of Dendrobium” by authors:
    Jaime Teixeira da Silva, Judit Dobránszki, Jean Carlos Cardoso, Songjun Zeng
    We will contact you as soon as this revision has been evaluated. In the interim, you may check on the status of this manuscript by selecting the “Check Manuscript Status” link under the following URL:
    [link redacted]
    (Press/Click on the above link to be automatically sent to the web page.)
    Naglaa Abdallah, Cairo Univeristy, Editor-in-Chief,
    CS Prakash, Tuskegee University, Editors-in-Chief,
    Vivian Moses, King’s College London, Co-Editor,

    July 14, 2014, the expert peer review reports by this high-class peer-reviewed journal that Taylor and Francis purchased:
    “Dear Dr. Teixeira da Silva,
    The peer review process for your manuscript “Genetic transformation of Dendrobium” is now complete. It has been determined that your manuscript may be acceptable for publication in GM Crops pending some requested revisions. Please be sure to share this information with all coauthors. Please review the peer review comments and requests carefully and edit the manuscript to respond to them. Please attach to your revised manuscript a point-by-point response to the reviewers’ comments along with an explanation of any request of the editor or the reviewers that you do NOT address in your revised manuscript. Please make every effort to address the remaining concerns and to resubmit your manuscript within two months. If you anticipate an additional delay or do not plan to resubmit your manuscript please notify us as soon as possible. Please verify the placement and accuracy of each reference in your manuscript as well as the accuracy of all of the values in your tables and figures. Also, please provide complete and up-to-date contact information for all authors, including titles, credentials, mail addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses. In the meantime, please keep your coauthors apprised of the status of the article. Please click the link below to submit your revised manuscript with cover letter:
    [link redacted]
    If you have any questions regarding this process, please feel free to contact the managing editor at:
    If I can answer any questions or you wish to discuss any aspect of the review of your manuscript, please do not hesitate to contact me directly. Thank you once again for submitting your manuscript to GM Crops.
    Naglaa Abdallah, Cairo Univeristy, Editor-in-Chief,
    CS Prakash, Tuskegee University, Editors-in-Chief,
    Vivian Moses, King’s College London, Co-Editor,
    Reviewer #2 (Remarks to the Author):
    Please correct the spelling of ‘traits’ in line 26.”

    That’s right. That is the total of the “peer reviewer” report: one sentence, and 3 months and 6 days to achieve it. Shocked by this, I then wrote the following letter.

    I sent a query to the editors-in-chief on the very same day, i.e., July 14, 2014:
    “Dear Dr. Abdallah, Prakash and Moses,
    We are very pleased to learn of this provisional acceptance, but we are unsure about the peer comments. You make reference to changes to the text, table and figure, yet we can only see a single request by reviewer 2. Could you please indicate if in fact there is only one tiny request by reviewer 2, or if you have perhaps forgotten to attach or show the required edits by reviewer 1. As soon as we receive your confirmation, we will edit our review, add any new literature (if available), and re-submit.
    Thank you in advance,
    Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva”

    On Monday, July 21, 2014, I wrote:
    “Dear Dr. Abdallah, Dr. Prakash and Dr. Moses,
    Kindly note that we still have not received a response about our query made one week ago. We wish to resubmit but we need to know the full content of the peer reviewers’ comments (surely it is impossible to have one request to correct only one spelling mistake?).
    Thank you in advance,
    Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva”

    On Thursday, July 24, 2014 4:42 PM, Naglaa Abdalla wrote:
    “Dear Laime [sic],
    You MS was sent to two reviewers, one of them did not write any comment to the author but in other comments he wrote “This is only a comparison of all the studies that was done on genetic transformation of Dendrodium. I would like to have seen suggestion and recommendations of the authors on how to improve the protocol of the transformation effeciency and future progress”. The other one, only gave one spelling mistake and his other comment was “The paper is a good short review, which is well presented. To my surprise, the first author has not given his affiliation (he writes PO Box…)! and there are 4 corresponding authors. I feel the article is a subset of a larger review on “Transgenic Orchids” and therefore should be published after checking with respect to copyright issues.”
    Best wishes,

    It’s always nice when the Editor-in-Chief can spell an author’s name.

    2014-07-24 11:57 GMT+02:00 I wrote:
    “Dear Prof. Naglaa Abdallah,
    Thank you very much for responding. After waiting for about a week without receiving a response, I decided to re-submit. Despite this, we have addressed these issues. Allow me to explain why. In response to reviewer 1, indeed this topic has been partially covered as part of a wider perspective on orchids in Hossain et al. (2013) Crit Rev Plant Sciences and in Teixeira da Silva et al. (2011) Sci Hortic. However, as correctly pointed out by the reviewer, this is the first such review on Dendrobium, which is why we wanted to select this very specific journal. One will notice that there is a much wider representation of the literature, an expansion of three years’ literature, as well as the inclusion of new literature that was difficult to detect on major data-bases, including in other languages, such as in Chinese. So, the review is unique. It is difficult to know how to increase the expression levels and genetic transformation efficiency, because, as with most crops, this is based largely on trial and error. Our personal experience indicates, however, that the transformation protocol is in fact useless unless the in vitro regeneration protocol is not effective, so we have emphasized this rather than providing a list of possible techniques that could potentially increase transgene expression. We have another review in review in another leading plant science journal that deals with the tissue culture of Dendrobium, and once that is published, orchidologists will be able to appreciate the links. We also updated the literature with two new studies that emerged or were detected since. Finally, regarding the copyright issue of figure 1, which was already published in a Chinese journal, we have already obtained copyright permission, and have also clearly indicated this in the figure legend, including the source. Thus, even though we resubmitted before receiving these additional comments, we have in fact already addressed these issues. We very much look forward to seeing our final decision and hopefully seeing our mini-review published in GM Crops and Food.
    Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva (on behalf of all co-authors)”

    On July 28, 2014:
    “Dear Dr. Teixeira da Silva:
    I am delighted to inform you that your manuscript, “Genetic transformation of Dendrobium,” has been accepted for publication in GM Crops. Please be sure to share this information with all coauthors. Within 1-2 weeks we will post Provisional Full Text of your article online and submit the “Epub ahead of print citation” of your article to Medline. Provisional Full-Text corresponds to the article as it appeared upon acceptance and will be, for this period, open access. You can expect galley proofs (formatted PDF) from the Managing Editor within 3-4 weeks. Once you have returned your proofs to the Managing Editor and updates have been made, the formatted PDF and updated HTML (with any galley changes) will be posted online. At this point, the article continues as open access only if you choose to purchase this option. GM Crops offers highly competitive (optional) fees for making your paper open access (original research papers are $750; reviews or brief reports are $500, and Extra Views are $250). Optional Cover Image Submission The cover illustration should be scientifically interesting and visually attractive. The illustration need not be a figure from the paper but should be closely related to the subject of the paper. Please submit caption of 2-3 sentences along with your image(s).
    – Minimum size: 2 in. x 8 in., 300 dpi resolution
    – Acceptable file types: PSD, TIF, EPS, AI
    – Please remove all text, captions, etc. from the image
    Thank you once again for submitting your manuscript to GM Crops & Food and we hope you will consider sending other manuscripts in the future.
    Naglaa Abdallah, Cairo Univeristy, Editor-in-Chief,
    CS Prakash, Tuskegee University, Editors-in-Chief,
    Vivian Moses, King’s College London, Co-Editor,

    Until this date, all e-mails had been received from Landes Bioscience using and

    On Thursday, September 25, 2014 10:20 PM, “” wrote:
    “25 Sep 2014
    Proofs of your article(s) listed below are now available for review through the Central Article Tracking System (CATS) website:
    • Journal: KGMC: GM Crops & Food
    • Manuscript ID: 950541 (2014GMC0041R)
    • Manuscript Title: Genetic transformation of Dendrobium
    • By: Teixeira da Silva; Dobránszki; Cardoso; Zeng
    Please approve these proofs, or return any corrections by 30 Sep 2014. Failure to do so may result in delay of your publication, reallocation to a later issue, or review and approval of your article by the journal’s Editor-in-Chief.
    • Please follow the link below to view the manuscript through the CATS system.
    • If you do not know your password, you may reset it here:
    Once logged into CATS you will be able to view the ‘My Manuscripts’ page with the article(s) currently in production where you are listed as an author. Clicking on ‘Review Proofs’ will allow you to access your article. Please use the web form (if the corrections are fewer than 50 in number) to return any corrections to me. Instructions on how to use the web form can be found by clicking on the ‘Proofing Guidelines for Authors’ link located at the bottom of the window in which your proofs appear. Alternatively, send your corrections in an email to me or you can print the article and fax or post it to the address listed below.
    The corresponding author of the article will receive one complete copy of the issue in which the article appears. Reprints of an individual article also may be ordered at this time through our partner Rightslink (links appear on our Central Article Tracking System website and below). A discount on reprint orders is available to authors who order before 10 Oct 2014 .
    PLEASE NOTE: The CATS system only supports Internet Explorer 6 (and later), or Firefox 3 (and later) browser software. Popup blockers should be disabled. If you have any difficulty using CATS, please contact me.
    Thank you,
    Tyler Williams
    Taylor & Francis, 530 Walnut Street, Suite 850, Philadelphia, PA, 19106, USA
    Phone:(215) 606-4234, Fax:215-207-0047”

    On September 29, 2014, I wrote:
    “Dear Tyler Williams,
    Attached please find the revised proof.
    If any of the requested edits are unclear, please inform me and my colleagues so that we may clarify. I should emphasize that the peer review at this journals was absolutely horrific, and had it been conducted professionally, I am confident that all of these minor errors could have been detected, and/or avoided. Kindly confirm when you receive the proof edits and if possible, please send us the revised proof for verification prior to assigning page numbers.
    Thanks in advance,
    Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva”

    Notice carefully that from April 17 until September 29, not a single mention was made about having to make any payment. The only mention was whether my co-authors and I wanted to pay for open access fees.

    Moreover, given the lack of depth, professionalism and transparency, I simply cannot understand what exactly would have cost 1000 US$. This fee is purely exploratory, because it certainly isn’t for professional scientific services.

  16. Jaime, thanks for your friendly and extensive response. I was wondering about the ideas and opinions of your co-authors what to do now.
    I tend to think that it is not a good idea that this paper would somehow get a status like ‘lost in cyber’. So why not submit the manuscript to another journal? Just explain in the cover letter as well as in the manuscript clearly and concise that ‘a former version of this paper was already accepted to be published in ‘GM Crops and Food: Biotechnology in Agriculture and the Food Chain’ (or something like that).
    Taylor & Francis / Trioli told you : “You are free to submit your paper for publication elsewhere.” So no need to worry anymore about sending a formal request to T&F that you are allowed to submit the paper to another journal. Be honest to the editors of the other journal about the history of this manuscript, that’s all.

  17. Klaas, as I indicated above, no need to waste time with Taylor and Francis. Fortunately, on the same day that T&F withdrew the paper, we resubmitted immediately. Please see my explanation about how we did explain to the editors of the situation, so the “honesty” part was covered. Time is a precious asset for scientists, and fortunately, there are dozens of suitable alternatives. The case is out there, publically, transparently, with all information that is required to reach a conclusion. I am confident that we will receive a fair and professional peer review elsewhere. The problem relates to the DOI that was originally assigned, and which we requested T&F to remove permanently. Assuming that the paper is published elsewhere, how do we now deal with this unprecedented situation? Are we supposed to make some sort of a declaration in the COI statement that the paper had previously had a DOI? It is this grey zone that nobody wants to provide advice about, because, frankly-speaking, nobody knows exactly what to do in such a situation?

    1. The problem relates to the DOI that was originally assigned, and which we requested T&F to remove permanently. Assuming that the paper is published elsewhere, how do we now deal with this unprecedented situation?

      I’m not sure what you perceive the problem to be here; who’s ever going to see the original DOI?

      1. Thanks for the input, Narad. Just because people can’t see it doesn’t mean that it didn’t exist. Which is why this may be unprecedented. Do I have to declare a lost DOI in a COI statement in the final published paper?

        1. Just because people can’t see it doesn’t mean that it didn’t exist. Which is why this may be unprecedented.

          Despite what cheerleaders for Crossref would have you believe, there are plenty of DOIs that don’t resolve.

          Do I have to declare a lost DOI in a COI statement in the final published paper?

          No. The service is merely a pay-to-play link shortener (or lengthener). DOIs have no intrinsic meaning whatever.

          1. Narad, good comments that indicate that you seem to know what you’re talking about, so let me ask two questions that are not getting suitable responses from the appropriate authorities. Maybe your responses will be useful for others, too:

            a) If this paper doesn’t exist, not even a DOI, then why should I have to make any declaration from now on to any editor upon submission that it was even accepted, then withdrawn based on differences in payment perceptions? In this case, it is equivalent to a rejection, as I see it. What the retraction-trigger crowd would have one believe is that just because this paper was withdrawn (for whatever reason) is that I have to have some sort of a self-conscious apology everytime I resubmit now. If the paper was labelled as retracted by the publisher (and not by RW, whose clumping together I disagree with because it leads to potentially false and confusing characterizations), then I would agree that resubmission requires a statement of COI with each resubmission, but in this case, I think it is not necessary. I believe that when there was doubt, I had to declare the potential COI to the EIC, but now that the DOI has ceased to exist and the paper does not actually exist per se, because it was actually never published, simply posted online, I think I can simply resubmit now to any journal without worrying about this declaration, because Taylor and Francis has already returned the paper to me.

            b) I signed a copyright in late August, but T&F did not actually return the copyright formally, or send me a cancelled copyright. Is the copyright automatically cancelled if Mr. Trioli states that we are free to submit the paper elsewhere, i.e., is an e-mail a legal enough document, or is Taylor and Francis required to legally provide a physical document that not only formally cancels the signed copyright, but also indicates clearly that copyright has been returned to the authors upon withdrawal? I should add that I already requested such a document from Mr. Trioli, but it would be good to get an opinion from someone who appears to be deeply involved with these issues, but who is not on the inside.

          2. If this paper doesn’t exist, not even a DOI, then why should I have to make any declaration from now on to any editor upon submission that it was even accepted, then withdrawn based on differences in payment perceptions?

            I think the concern here is that a submission generally requires that one state that the work has not been published previously. Thanks to T&F’s strangely posting the paper before the charges were settled, one could say that it technically has, albeit briefly. It seems prudent to disclose this situation at the outset.

            I signed a copyright in late August, but T&F did not actually return the copyright formally, or send me a cancelled copyright. Is the copyright automatically cancelled if Mr. Trioli states that we are free to submit the paper elsewhere….

            The form that I posted above is a license, not a copyright transfer, but that’s an interesting question. The “consideration” underlying the agreement is “Landes[‘] agreeing to publish the Contribution” (emphasis added). I’d be inclined to obtain a specific statement from Mr. Trioli not just that you are “free to submit” elsewhere, but that the license itself is void.

        2. hi Jaime – i can’t respond to the correct comment as the “reply” button doesn’t show up on it. For your second question below about copyright, the publisher cancels the copyright when he says “you’re free to submit elsewhere” (they will probably officially confirm that in some form, but it’s absolutely implied in “you’re free to resubmit”).

          For a), I also do not believed your paper was actually published (even though publisher put in online). Their e-mail specifically says “removed from publication workflow”, “shall not proceed with publication”, etc. The DOI doesn’t matter in that sense (as Narad says). Since your paper was in fact not published, I don’t think you should have to constantly explain the situation, however I think you may have to only because the case was covered online and it will appear in a search result if someone at the new journal searches for the title of your paper .. which is not ideal, but it’s the reality. I am a little puzzled about the idea that there’s no difference between a withdrawal and a retraction, as I know of colleagues who withdrew papers for non-nefarious reasons (albeit from conferences rather than journals), whereas retractions have a negative connotation overall.

  18. Jaime, thanks for your quick response and good to read that you have already submitted the manuscript to another journal. I would not bother about the DOI at T&F. Explain the situation to the editors of the new journal and let them decide how to cope with this situation. I am quite sure a journal will find a way how to solve this problem (IMO a non-issue).

  19. A curious case of a Landes Bioscience paper that was transferred to Taylor and Francis and then retracted:
    Regulation of activity and function of the p52 NF-κB subunit following DNA damage
    Benjamin Barré, Olivier Coqueret, Neil D Perkins, Cell Cycle, 9 (2010) (paper intact and open access, easy to continue to reference)

    And the retracted pages: (only a retraction notice)

    Curious because:
    a) the traditional peer review at Landes Bioscience in this case was apparently not robust enough to see the figure problems;
    b) The PDF file that Taylor and Francis has online is open access, but has no red stamp indicating “RETRACTED”, as is suggested by COPE.
    c) The PDF file that Taylor and Francis has online and that is open access has a watermark that says “Copyright 2011 Landes Bioscience. Do not distribute.” So, this is a curious point, does this mean that because Taylor and Francis is now distributing the PDF file that the previous accord by Landes Bioscience becomes null and void automatically? When a journal transfers like this, how are authors’ rights and contracts influenced? I do not see much discussion about this issue.

    Interestingly, Cell Cycle is not a COPE member (incidentally, neither is GM Crops and Food), but many other journals at Taylor and Francis are: (Cell Cycle) (GM Crops and Food) (incl. Taylor and Francis journals that are COPE members)

    So, this implies (at least) two things:
    a) Authors at Cell Cycle, GM Crops and Food as well as at other Taylor and Francis journals that are not formal members of COPE do NOT have to comply with any COPE-related guidelines.
    b) How can a publisher have in essence a double stratum of standards for its fleet of journals. By having some journals that are COPE members but others that are not is like saying, literally: there are two tiers of publishing ethics among our journals. At least, that’s how I see and read it, and why it concerns me more.

    Incidentally, the GM Crops and Food instructions for authors has an outdated definition for authorship (outdated now for about 4 months) that states:
    “Manuscripts should conform to the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals (URMSBJ), which can be found in full at This is in addition to their need to conform to our general guidelines about layout, etc. In particular, the attention of authors is drawn to the following conditions (which are extracted from the URMSBJ):

    Authorship (Informed Consent) Authorship credit should be based on 1) substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data or analysis and interpretation of data; 2) drafting the article or reviewing/revising it critically for important intellectual content and 3) final approval of the version to be published. Each author should meet all three of these criteria. Acquisition of funding, or general supervision of a research group, are not valid criteria for authorship. Individuals who have a lesser involvement should be thanked in the acknowledgements. If meeting these requirements causes problems for a particular manuscript, authors are encouraged to contact the Editor-in-Chief for advice on alternative ways other contributors can be listed.”

    For those RW readers who are unclear about what I am referring to, please see my “predicted” concerns about the change in ICMJE definitions and how, ultimately, it is us, the authorship and scientists, who are the victims of these floated and casually edited (or not) policies:

    Perhaps Mr. Trioli and/or Taylor and Francis need to spend more of the money he receives on checking the fine-scale details of his site.

    Oh, and just for the record, I made sure I took the most relevant screen-shots of the discussed pages just in case Taylor and Francis decides to quickly clean up and not acknowledge that there were these issues in the first place.

  20. “For those interested in the distinction between a withdrawal and a retraction — which we believe is nonexistent, hence our headline” This is Retraction Watch’s position. However, RW should be aware that retractions and withdrawals are not considered by some publishers, like Elsevier, to be the same thing, and are clearly categorized into separate categories [1]. I would tend to side with Elsevier on this one, and keep the terms clearly separate, so as not to confuse issues associated with each one, although I respect that each one is entitled t their interpretation. I cannot find any clear explanation on Taylor and Francis pages that differentiates these terms, or even provides a definition. I have searched, albeit unsuccessfully. If anyone knows where the T&F policies on withdrawals and retractions are clearly stated, with definitions, please provide some links for analysis.


  21. E-mail dated September 2, 2014, with reference to another paper, also a review, that was published in GM Crops and Food:
    “Dear Dr. Silva,

    As an author, you will always have free access (whether or not you or your institution subscribe) to your papers published in GM Crops & Food. You will also have free access to all other papers published in that issue. If you have not yet established a login and password for our website, please click on “login” in the top right corner of any page on the Landes Bioscience website. Enter your email address and click ‘lost password’. You will be sent an email with instructions for establishing a password.

    If you have any questions, please let me know.

    Andrew Thompson
    Managing Editor
    Landes Bioscience
    1806 Rio Grande
    Austin, TX 78701
    512.637.6050 ext. 200 (ph)
    512.861.2323 (fax)

    I wonder, Mr. Thompson and Mr. Trioli, if this fact remains true, even after Landes Bioscience transferred to Taylor and Francis. This is actually extremely important because no doubt that you were already awre of the transfer of your publishing company to Taylor and Francis while, we, the authors, were not (at least not yet).

  22. I wish to make a public call for the editor-in-chief (representing therefore the communal voice of ALL editors on this editor board) of Taylor and Francis’ GM Food and Crops (and in fact the EICs and editors of all of Taylor and Francis’ journal fleet), especially since Taylor and Francis is a COPE-paying publisher, and including those Taylor and Francis journals that are ICMJE-enforcing journals, to make a voluntary public commitment to editorial quality and editor ethics, as defined by the UNCC, and to post such a declaration publically on their web-pages.

    This will go a very long way to ensure editor accountability, openness in manuscript processing, transparency when there are publisher- and editor-related issues. It will ensure, ultimately, that editors are held up to the exact same standards that authors are held up to, in a fair, equal, unbiased and equally scrutinous way. (Dec 2014) (verbatim quotation)

    “Ethical Practices of Journal Editors: Voluntary Code of Conduct
    I __________as an Editor or Associate Editor of____________, already bound by the ethical standards of my respective journal(s), professional association(s), and discipline, affirm [as an individual and not on behalf of my journal(s) or sponsoring association] the importance of the following practices:
    Article I. Refraining from coercive citation practices, inappropriate citation inflation practices, and citation cartels (whereby editors link together and encourage authors to cite work published in the journals with whom they have partnered).
    In both public submission guidelines, and well as within the peer review process, authors will be encouraged to omit citations that are irrelevant to a paper’s main thesis. Specifically, I will refrain from encouraging authors to cite my journal, or those of my colleagues, unless the papers suggested are pertinent to specific issues raised within the context of the review. In other words, it should never be a requirement to cite papers from a particular journal unless the work is directly relevant and germane to the scientific conversation of the paper itself. I acknowledge that any blanket request to cite a particular journal, as well as the suggestion of citations without a clear explanation of how the additions address a specific gap in the paper, is coercive and unethical.
    I will monitor for, refrain from, and discourage the practice of citation cartels, reviewer/action editor self-serving citation advisement, and editorial regimes and partnerships. As for the latter, this could include serving as a guest editor (or having one of my associate editors serve in this capacity) of another journal with the intent of using it as a mechanism to cite articles from one’s principal journal.
    As an editor, I recognize that metrics such as impact factors are one of many imperfect methods of measuring the impact of published papers, and will not engage in efforts to game or influence these calculations (such as those listed above). I also recognize that, although all journals are entitled to aspire to certain acceptance rate levels and determine their own threshold for what is acceptable work to be published, journals should not artificially reduce the number of papers accepted so as to increase the probability of creating a more favorable impact factor.
    I will also consider the ethical implications of how editorial material is presented, and ensure that the use of editorials or the citations therein are in no way used to game citation counts or impact factor computations.
    Article II. Promotion of ethical research practices.
    In recognizing the global dialog regarding data fraud, research integrity, and implicit pressures on authors to manipulate findings, hide results, etc., I will, whenever possible and appropriate given the scope of my journal, encourage:
    22. data transparency including identifying potential conflicts of interest
    23. the citing of archival data sources properly, and for one-off data collections, revealing to action editors the full set of variables (if reasonable) and other papers emerging from the data sample under review (or for larger-scale investigations, involving publicly available, representative datasets, providing adequate context with which to assess the unique contribution of the reported study).
    24. the reporting (and publishing) of theoretically/methodologically relevant null results
    25. substantive and important replication efforts and the use of both (quality) inductive and deductive research.
    26. the refraining from opportunistic post-hoc hypothesizing under the guise of deductive research.
    27. compliance to journal policy, and discipline-specific ethical standards surrounding data sharing, data retention (to permit colleagues to verify results), and the reporting of results.
    28. careful monitoring for plagiarism, self-plagiarism, and the re-submission of papers rejected by previous editorial teams.
    Article III. Fairness to authors.
    I will encourage:
    16. the providing of clear feedback to authors about what is required to make a paper publishable.
    17. the keeping of commitments made in decision letters.
    18. the keeping of the revision process timely and/or not overly cumbersome or unduly prolonged.
    19. the holding of action editors and reviewers accountable to a high level of due diligence. I recognize that reviewers are expected to prepare high quality reviews that may require additional work beyond reading the manuscript, and that they should not review papers for which they are unqualified. I will monitor review quality and consider returning poor quality reviews, providing such reviewers feedback and/or flagging poor reviewers in the reviewer database. I also recognize that editors and reviewers have an obligation to justify, with relevant citations as appropriate, any recommendations for substantial change in the substantive focus or analytic methods of a paper.
    20. the timely dissemination of published work. I recognize the need to make authors’ published work publicly available as quickly as possible (e.g., through the immediate production of papers and posting on early view, online first, and other web-based listings of in press papers. These papers should be fully formatted and contain a permanent doi code.
    Article IV. The handling of investigations into potential errors and/or potential unethical research practices.
    I recognize that an investigation into alleged errors and/or unethical research practices is a very sensitive matter which involves the protection of the rights of multiple stakeholder groups, including but not limited to authors, accusers, reviewers, action editors, journals, and publishers. In instances where appeals or accusations require an investigation, I commit to handle such situations in a way that maximizes procedural justice and professionalism toward all involved. In many cases this may involve following a standard procedure for handling such issues, such as those put out by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE; who provides flowcharts for handling ethical problems and guidelines on retractions) or other governing bodies (American Psychological Association, Academy of Management, etc.). In other instances, it may involve following practices established by the journal publisher which are designed to uphold professional ethical standards.
    Article V. Communicating ethical standards.
    I commit to communicate these and other relevant ethical standards to associate editors, board members, and authors; and to convey these principles within appropriate public forums (e.g., editors’ panels at professional conferences). I will encourage reviewers and action editors to report to the Editor (or to the Editor Ethics Advisory Board) when they feel
    the articles herein have been violated. I will encourage action editors to similarly report occasions when reviewers are seen as engaging in unethical practices.
    Article VI. Dissemination of this code.
    I approve of this Code and its signatories being posted on a public Internet site.
    Affirming names are in ABC order by date of the affirmation.”

  23. On December 21, I submitted a paper to a Taylor and Francis journal. I was quite surprised to read the following on the “Authors and Institutions” page of the online submission system: “It is important that all co-authors are listed at this stage and that you are using valid email addresses and correct affiliations. The author listing, as it is in the non-anonymous version of the manuscript, should exactly match the details entered here.”
    It is the first time I have seen this message, for any publisher. And it links in perfectly with what appears to be taking place more widely in STM publishers:

  24. I appear to have missed reporting one official document, which was the official return of copyright to the original authors, of the originaly submitted manuscript. The content, dated November 25, 2014, states:
    “RE: Cancellation of Copyright Assignment
    Dear Drs. Teixeira da Silva, Dobránszki, Cardoso, and Zeng:
    On behalf of Taylor & Francis Group, we confirm that, as a result of our decision not to publish your article “Genetic transformation of Dendrobium” in our journal GM Crops & Food: Biotechnology in Agriculture and the Food Chain, we are cancelling the copyright assignment made by you on August 25, 2014 in respect of your article “Genetic transformation of Dendrobium.”
    As a consequence, we confirm that copyright and all related publishing rights in the article therefore revert to you.
    Anthony F. Trioli
    Anthony F. Trioli, MBA Editorial Director
    Science, Technology, Medicine & Health Science Journals
    Taylor & Francis Group LLC”

    It is very important that other scientists who face similar situations, or even retractions, obtain such a document.

  25. The clauses for authorship as stated on the GM Food and Crops web-page continue to be out of sync with what is stated on the ICMJE web-page, months after having indicated this inconsistency. The GM Food and Crops web-page lists three clauses/conditions for authorship. There are four actual current ICMJE authorship clauses.

  26. Following strict peer review, a much improved version of this paper has now been published in a Springer journal:

    Teixeira da Silva, J.A., Dobránszki, J., Cardoso, J.C., Chandler, S.F., Zeng, S-J. (2015) Review: Methods for genetic transformation in Dendrobium. Plant Cell Reports
    DOI: 10.1007/s00299-015-1917-3

    Of the three editors-in-chief at that time, Naglaa A Abdallah, Vivian Moses or Channapatna S Prakash, one (Vivian Moses) no longer appears on the list of editors-in-chief:

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