The mysterious case of the missing — and urgent — retraction

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 5.09.59 PMOn January 12, we got hold of a retraction at AGRIVITA Journal of Agricultural Science a small journal published by the University of Brawijaya in Indonesia.

We went about our usual process, emailing authors and editors looking for more details. The retraction mentioned a double publication. It gave enough details that we’re fairly sure the earlier publication was this one, “Performance of Korean Soybean Varieties in Indonesia,” in the Journal of the Korean Society of International Agriculture. 

However, when we went back to write up this post, we noticed something odd. The retraction notice of “Expressions of Introduced Soybean Varieties from Korea” was no longer to be found! And the link to the paper itself now forwards you on to the main page for Agrivita.

It still shows up in Google:

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 4.54.51 PM

But when you click the link you get an error.

It could just be a mistake with the page, but it seems like something more than that. We happened to still have the main page as it looked on January 12, where you can see the retraction posted on December 24:

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 2.03.31 PM

Here’s what the Announcements section of the page looks now:

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 2.05.03 PM

We’ve reached out to Agrivita — which no doubt refers to plant life, but is also remarkably similar to “aggravation” — to try and get to the bottom of this mystery. In the meantime, hold your loved ones – and retractions – close, there might be a monster on the loose!

9 thoughts on “The mysterious case of the missing — and urgent — retraction”

  1. if you tickle google a little, the following can be reconstructed:

    News: Urgent announcement of article retraction. Editorial team of Agrivita Journal of Agricultural Science Retracted. Posted: 2014-12-24, More.

    Editorial team of Agrivita Journal of Agricultural Science Retracted the following manucript that published on Agrivita vol 36 number 3 on 24th DEcember 2014.
    Title : EXPRESSIONS OF INTRODUCED SOYBEAN VARIETIES FROM KOREA IN THE TROPICAL CLIMATE OF INDONESIA. Authors : Heru Kuswantoro, Sutrisno, Won Young Han, Poong Yeon Lee, Yang Hee Cho and In Youl Baek. Editorial team rectracted those manuscript because it indicated double publishing between Agrivita Journal of Agricultural Science and of The Korean Society of International Agriculture.

  2. This is an important case for Indonesia.

    Agrivita was accepted to be indexed in Elsevier’s Scopus in 2013:

    The ethical guidelines follow COPE’s policies:

    “An author should not in general publish manuscripts describing essentially the same research in more than one journal or primary publication. Submitting the same manuscript to more than one journal concurrently constitutes unethical publishing behaviour and is unacceptable. In general, an author should not submit for consideration in another journal a previously published paper.”

    The KJIA paper states:
    “Received Feb. 18, 2014 / Revised Apr. 30, 2014 / Accepted May. 28, 2014″

    1. Thomas. Brilliant! I wonder if there is no web-site that actualy archived the paper? Scopus thus provides proof, as a fact, that the paper existed in Agrivita in the last volume of 2014, so this is something that cannot be negated. However, if new page numbers were assigned to the first paper (pp. 201-209), does that mean that new pages were also assigned to all the other papers in that volume? Can Elsevier not be kind enough to provide a copy of the “old” PDF file for pp. 201-209, which led to the Scopus entry? Oddly, even though the Agrivity page already lists Volume 37, Issue 1, of 2015, DOAJ still only has the June, 36(2) issue of Agrivita listed:

      The plot thus thickens even further.

      Finally, although not probably related, it is curious to notice the wide range in download times between papers of that issue, from 1 to 57 times:

      1. I can’t find an archived copy via google scholar or The page numbers for several other papers in that issue still match the Scopus records, which seem to be incomplete, which complicates matters. Also of interest are the URLs for the article PDFs in that issue. From p. 217 onwards, the article numbers rise from 405 to 421. But article 422 is back on p. 201, suggesting it was added after the others in that issue. The new article on p. 209 has not been indexed in google scholar, which is odd for something purportedly published in October.

  3. The same publisher also has “The Journal of Pure and Applied Chemistry Research” in their program. Which seems to be a rip-off from “Pure & Applied Chemistry” (issued by the IUPAC, with accounts by leading researchers).
    I first noticed them when I found one of its articles via Google and realized how God-awful the quality of that paper was. They seemingly publish the laboratory reports from their students without much editing.
    It is a shame that the scientific literature is diluted, contaminated and polluted by such rubbish.

  4. On behalf of the editorial team of Agrivita journal of agricultural science, I would like to give some clarification for Agrivita retraction :
    1. we had sent to scopus about the article retraction on December 24, 2014
    2. The scopus team on 9th Februari 2015 had respond our email and they had removed the article from scopus database .

    If you have any question bout this case please feel free to contact us at
    Agrivita journal available at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.