A tale of three journals: Paper retracted when associate editor submits to the wrong title

What a difference a D makes. 

Ask Kevin Pile. Pile edits the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases (let’s call it the IJRD), a Wiley publication. Last year, he published a guest editorial by Vaidehi Chowdhary, a rheumatologist at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., on a form of kidney disease. 

But it turns out that Chowdhary, a member of Pile’s editorial team, had intended to submit her article, “When doing the right thing is wrong: Drug efflux pumps in steroid‐resistant nephrotic syndrome,” to a different journal, the Indian Journal of Rheumatology, or IJR. We think you can see how this all went down. 

According to Pile, the episode was “a tail of consecutive mistakes”:

The author is an Associate Editor of our Journal, but had been invited to prepare an editorial for a similar sounding Journal. When she submitted she inadvertently sent it to us. I received the unsolicited Editorial but as she was an AE, we do ask them to write Editorials.

Neither I nor the reviewer highlighted that in the text she cross referenced another paper, which we did not have.

The author completed peer review, corrections, proofs etc with our Journal – not noting the incorrect Journal name in the correspondence. It was only when the original Journal chased her for requested Editorial did she realise, by which time we had published.

The result

The following article from the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases, ‘When doing the right thing is wrong: Drug efflux pumps in steroid‐resistant nephrotic syndrome’ by Chowdhary, V.R. published online on 28 May 2020 in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com), has been retracted by agreement between the authors, the journal Editor in Chief, Prof Kevin Pile, and John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.1 The retraction has been agreed due to an error which caused the article to be published in the International Journal of Rheumatology after its original publication in the Indian Journal of Rheumatology.

Wait, what? The International Journal of Rheumatology, Pile said, was not involved. Somehow the title of that journal slipped into the retraction notice, to his consternation.  

Meanwhile, Chowdhary told us: 

This was an honest and a careless mistake on my part that was not caught at the other end either. The mails were around the time the COVID pandemic was beginning and may have been the reason for distraction . However, it…still was a serious lapse of not double checking the journals on my part.

Next time, folks, check those acronyms (and journal names) carefully.

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4 thoughts on “A tale of three journals: Paper retracted when associate editor submits to the wrong title”

    1. Wouldn’t it be nice if politicians had to face the same peer review on statements they say/tweet/put on social media.

  1. Prophetic is the Editorial title.
    The piece by RW names 3 journals… IJRD, Int JR, Indian JR, so RW also is xofusedin in the names of Journals.

    1. Good catch! We replaced the first reference to the International Journal of Rheumatology with Indian Journal of Rheumatology, and linked to the paper published there.

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