Sea squirt draft paper published by mistake

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A paper on the evolution and development of urochordata — also known as sea squirts — was published in an under-developed form: Due to the publishers’ “error,” a “preliminary draft” of the article was published online in Developmental Dynamics last year.

The draft has been retracted; we can no longer find it on the site at all. The final copy of the paper has been posted in its place.

Here’s the retraction note in full for “Development, Metamorphosis, Morphology and Diversity: Evolution of Chordates muscles and the Origin of Vertebrates”:

The above article, published as an Accepted Article online on December 5, 2014, in Wiley Online Library (, has been retracted by agreement between the authors, the journal Editor in Chief, Parker B. Antin, and Wiley Periodicals, Inc. The retraction has been agreed due to an error at the publishers, which resulted in a preliminary draft of the article being posted online. The correct article, ‘Development, metamorphosis, morphology and diversity: the evolution of chordate muscles and the origin of vertebrates’ by Rui Diogo and Janine M. Ziermann, was published online on December 22, 2014, doi: 10.1002/dvdy.24245.

However, the date given for the corrected version doesn’t match the timestamp on the newer paper itself:

Article first published online: 14 JUL 2015

Corresponding author Rui Diogo, a researcher at Howard University College of Medicine, said that the “very early version” was “replaced in 2015.”

We asked Diogo if the original, retracted, draft was still online:

I think it was completely taken down.

We contacted the editor of the journal to find out for sure, and to sort out when the journal realized the error and published the new version. We have not heard back, and we update this post if we do.

Hat Tip: Rolf Degen

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2 thoughts on “Sea squirt draft paper published by mistake”

  1. I gotta admit that this one is weird. I am working on a MS at this time. It is in a preliminary phase, although almost done. How could this MS possibly be published? Didn’t the authors have to actually submit the MS? It’s not like MSs have a life of their own, and transport themselves in a spontaeneous manner to the publisher.

  2. Some journals’ websites (I forget which, but I’ve sometimes been there) allow and actually encourage uploading what you (though not they) might call “placeholder” manuscripts. I didn’t and don’t understand the reason for that. (And it’s possible that my recollection is entirely wrong, or that I entirely misunderstood what I was supposed to do. In any case I didn’t do it. [This was not a mathematical MS.])

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