A tale of two retraction notices — for the same paper

curentHere’s a strange one: We discovered a paper about an antibiotic-resistant strain of bacteria that bore two retraction notices, and each provided a different reason for retraction. One alleged misconduct; that notice still appears now. The other — which has since disappeared — said the paper was submitted by mistake.

In vitro effect of boric acid and calcium fructoborate esters against methicillinresistant Staphylococcus aureus strain” was published in the South-Western Journal of Horticulture, Biology and Environment. The full text isn’t available on the journal’s website.

First, here’s the text in the retraction notice that appears when one clicks on the “download full text” link in the table of contents next to the paper:

Due to inconclusive results and scientific misconduct the Editor-in-Chief of the South-Western Journal of Horticulture, Biology and Environment decide to retract the paper.

When we started reporting on this retraction, however, we discovered another note, which appeared after clicking on the “Editorial Retraction” link below the paper. The link still appears in the table of contents, though it no longer works, but here’s what it said (we can’t find an archived version, unfortunately):

Due to accidentally submission and the author’s later request [below] the Editor-in-Chief of the South-Western Journal of Horticulture, Biology and Environment decide to retract the paper

That note includes the letter from the author:

Dear Editor,

I would like to let you know that, due to an unfortunate miscommunication within our organization, the paper IN VITRO EFFECT OF BORIC ACID AND CALCIUM FRUCTOBORATE ESTERS AGAINST METHICILLIN-RESISTANT Staphylococcus aureus STRAIN was inadvertently submitted for publication in your journal.

I had informed my staff that I did not intend to publish this paper at this time, but apparently my intentions were not completely understood. There was no misconduct involved, only miscommunication. From a data or a scientific standpoint we remain very proud of this work…but we had intended to conduct some further research prior to submitting. Consequently, if you would be so kind, we would like to withdraw our article from your journal.

We sincerely regret any inconvenience and thank you in advance for your assistance in this matter.

Best Regards,

Romulus Scorei

The article is not yet indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science.

Obviously, we’d like to understand why there were originally two notices, and why and when one disappeared. We’ve reached out to the journal and Scorei, who is affiliated with the University of Craiova in Romania, for more information. We’ll update this note with anything else we learn.

Hat Tip: Rolf Degen

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