One retraction notice says plagiarism. The other says it was an error in an algorithm. Which was it?

For the second time in a week, we’ve come across a retraction notice that gave the wrong reason for the retraction.

Last week, it was an Elsevier journal that called a plagiarized paper a duplicate of work by the same authors who’d written the original. Today, here’s the story of a chapter in a book published by Springer Nature that manages to list two different reasons for retraction.

According to one notice for “In-silico Analysis of LncRNA-mRNA Target Prediction” in: D. Reddy Edla et al. (eds.), Advances in Machine Learning and Data Science, Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing 705, the chapter was retracted for plagiarism.

But according to the other notice, the retraction happened because

upon re-review of the methodology, errors have been identified in the presented algorithm. Therefore, the results are incorrect. All authors agree to this retraction.

And to make things worse, the first notice links to the second.

It turns out the second notice is correct, Springer Nature tells us. The confusion was “due to an error in production,” a Springer Nature spokesperson tells Retraction Watch, and the production team has already “initiated the correction process.”

We tried to contact the corresponding author of the chapter for more details, but the listed email bounced.

Publishers do make mistakes, of course, and we’ve written about why they should take responsibility for them. We’ll keep pointing them out when we see them.

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One thought on “One retraction notice says plagiarism. The other says it was an error in an algorithm. Which was it?”

  1. Seems like there should be more effort on the part of a corresponding author to keep an email address I live or at least provide a response pointing to a current address (for example, a former employer could still provide more a useful reply). Perhaps add this to data retention best practices.

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