An attempt at a triple play seems likely to result in a retraction

via Pikrepo

A group of researchers in China is teetering on the edge of losing a paper because they have apparently tried to publish it three times.

Our story starts in Turkey, home to Taner Kemal Erdag, the editor in chief of Turkish Archives of Otorhinolaryngology. In August 2018, Erdag received a submission titled “Increased maternal serum placental growth hormone variant in pregnancies complicated by otosclerosis.” The corresponding author on the work was Ruiying Chen, an ear, nose and throat specialist at The First Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University. 

Three weeks later, Chen contacted Erdag and asked to withdraw their article. Request denied. Erdag told us:

A withdrawal was requested by the corresponding author on Sept 6, 2018. But we did not accept the request as we realized that it has been published in another journal which is a predatory one on Sept 29, 2018. As the journal was a predatory one we did not write to the editor of this journal as not to lose time. But the same paper was online published in Clinical Otolaryngology on May 31, 2019.  

Since June 2019 I have written four times to the previous editor of Clinical Otolaryngology and three times to [the] current editor of this journal regarding the multiple submission and necessity about the retraction of that paper from Clinical Otolaryngology. Each time they responded [to] my emails too late and they are trying to detain me. Eleven months passed and still there is not a change about the situation.

James Tysome, editor of Clinical Otolaryngology, told us that the authors and their institution have until the end of June to respond to his inquiries, or he’ll retract the paper (one might well consider those terms more than generous):  

The journal takes this very seriously and has undertaken a lengthy investigation in order to determine the circumstances around the publication and track down the author. We wrote to the author in September 2019 (our good colleagues in Beijing translated our letter into Chinese) and we contacted the apparent affiliated university as well, but heard back from the International Affairs office of Wenzhou Medical University to say they were unable to track the author down. We sent more details, and tried to find her ourselves, but we were unable to complete the investigation, because we needed to contact the responsible body at the university/hospital, and by this point it was March 2020, and it felt like rather insensitive timing, given the global coronavirus pandemic.

We have since written to colleagues in China to see if they can call them or get any traction with this, otherwise we intend to publish a retraction soon.

Chen has not responded to a request for comment from Retraction Watch.

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3 thoughts on “An attempt at a triple play seems likely to result in a retraction”

  1. I posted this at PubPeer and included the email address of first author in the contact fields. He appears to be at UNSW.

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