Our bads: Publisher error leads to double retractions for psych researchers

Here’s a Halloween tale that will drive authors batty. 

A psychology journal has retracted two papers from the same group of authors in Spain because it published the articles inadvertently.  But in doing so, the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, where the two articles were never supposed to appear but did, managed to botch the retractions, too.

One of the articles, “Sudden complex hallucinations in a 14-year-old girl: schizophrenia spectrum disorders versus dissociative disorders-the influence of early life experiences on future mental health,” was published online in June. 

The other, “Abrupt and severe obsessive-compulsive disorder in an 11-year-old girl-PANDAS/PANS syndrome: an entity to be considered-management implications,” appeared in the June/July print issue of the journal. The authors were Parisá Khodayar-Pardo and Laura Álvarez-Bravos, of the Universiy of Valéncia. 

The retraction notices, which arrived in September, read identically: 

This manuscript was published in error by the journal prior to peer review. 

Now, the journal has amended those statements with a disclaimer. They now read

This manuscript was published in error by the journal prior to peer review and is not the result of any fault or error from the authors. 

We emailed Khodayar-Pardo and the journal for more information about what went wrong here, but haven’t heard back. 

Meanwhile, although we commend the journal on clarifying its culpability here, the addenda aren’t likely to be of much succor to the authors. Nor should they be. We’ve written before about how publisher screw-ups can harm researchers, marring their CVs with retractions they didn’t deserve.  Although these events are rare, they do occur

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