Let me get this straight: You added a bunch of co-authors without their consent, and you couldn’t be bothered to include me?

This retraction reminds us of an old joke about food in the Borscht Belt resorts: It’s terrible, and such small portions!

A group of researchers in Japan and Singapore objected to being included on a 2019 paper without their consent — and someone’s feelings appear to have been hurt for having been left off the bogus list of authors. 

The paper, “Effect of copper substitution on the local chemical structure and dissolution property of copper-doped β-tricalcium phosphate,” appeared in Acta Biomaterialia, an Elsevier title. 

First author Toshiisa Konishi is listed as being affiliated with Okayama University and the Tokyo Metropolitan Industrial Technology Research Institute, and the National University of Singapore. 

According to the retraction notice

Dr. Toshiisa Konishi submitted this paper for publication without the consent of all research collaborators. He deliberately excluded a name of an important collaborator from the co-authors on the submission of this paper. The submission and publication of this paper was not approved by all research collaborators. Also, as the work in this manuscript was conducted at Okayama University, Japan and Okayama University is the owner of the data in the article, the use of the data should have been authorized by all research collaborators of Okayama University. However it was not authorized. In addition, Poon Nian Lim should not have been included as a co-author because her contribution to the paper was only English language editing.

We emailed Konishi for comment but have not heard back.

We also contacted William Wagner, the editor-in-chief of the journal, and received a reply from his colleague Vera Kucharski, the managing editor of Acta Biomaterialia. She told us: 

We first learned about the authorship issue in June of 2019 by an email. From that time until January 2020 we worked with the authors and Elsevier to generate the agreed-upon wording for the retraction. After this point, it was handled by the publisher. The first author was responsible for generating the wording of the retraction notice and the explanation.

Revenge, like borscht, is a dish best served cold.

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