Following revelations in io9.com this week from John Bohannon about how he successfully “created” health news by conducting a flawed trial of the health benefits of chocolate and gaming the data to produce statistically significant results, the journal that ultimately published the findings is now claiming the paper wasn’t accepted.
Trouble is, we’ve got correspondence from Bohannon showing that’s false. Here’s a quote from an email from publisher Carlos Vazquez to which Bohannon responded on March 2:
I’m contacting to let you know your manuscript “Chocolate with High Cocoa Content as a Weight-Loss Accelerator” has been pointed by our editors as an outstanding manuscript and could be accepted directly in our premier journal *International Archives of Medicine.*
Disclaimer: Weeks ago a manuscript that was being reviewed in the journal “Chocolate with High Cocoa Content as a Weight-Loss Accelerator” appeared as published by mistake. Indeed that manuscript was finally rejected, although it went online for some hours.
We are sorry for the inconvenience. We are taking measures to avoid this kind of mistakes happens again.
Although the journal appears to have pulled the paper from its website, it was there as of this morning (we saw it). Given that the paper was published in April, that’s significantly more time than “some hours.”
Bohannon tells Retraction Watch:
They took our money, they published it online, and it was published for weeks, so enough said.
Asked if they would be requesting a refund, he said:
If they do make the paper disappear, we will ask for the money back, hell yeah.
This isn’t Bohannon’s first sting operation — in 2013, he found that fewer than half of publishers of open access journals rejected deeply “flawed” papers which he assembled.
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