Two papers yanked for lack of formal ethics approval

By Nick Youngson

Get it in writing. That’s the moral in a pair of retractions in different journals after authors claimed to have received oral — but not written — ethics approval for their research.

One paper, in the International Journal of Pediatrics, a Hindawi title, came from a group in Kuwait and Greece. Titled “Prevalence and associated factors of peer victimization (bullying) among grades 7 and 8 middle school students in Kuwait, the article appeared in February 2017.

According to the retraction notice:

At the request of the authors, the article titled “Prevalence and Associated Factors of Peer Victimization (Bullying) among Grades 7 and 8 Middle School Students in Kuwait” [1] has been retracted. The study was conducted in agreement with the school Principal and the authors received verbal approval, but they did not receive formal ethical approval from the designated committee of the Ministry of Education.

Matt Hodgkinson, the head of research integrity at Hindawi, told us:

The lack of appropriate ethics approval was raised by the corresponding author in May 2018. This was confirmed with the authors, then in the autumn the production of the retraction notice was inadvertently delayed. We have made the relevant institutions aware of the retraction.

This is not the first time, of course, that a planned retraction has fallen through the cracks.

The second article appeared last year in the Journal of Radiotherapy in Practice, from Cambridge. Per the retraction notice:

Bencheikh et al. (2018) has been retracted by agreement between the authors and the editor, Professor Angela Duxbury. The authors had obtained verbal but not written permission from the hospital where the study was carried out to publish the data collected. At the hospital’s request, the authors have asked for the article to be retracted.

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