“Serious non-compliance” prompts retraction of book on social justice in Hawai’i

A publisher retracted a book last year after the home institution of one of the editors, the University of Hawai’i, “identified research protocol violations by two of the editors, which constitute Serious Non-Compliance.”

The 2019 book, Voices of Social Justice and Diversity in a Hawai‘i Context, was edited by Amarjit Singh and Mike Devine, of Memorial University in Newfoundland, and M. Luafata Simanu-Klutz of the University of Hawai’i.

According to the book’s description, it:

presents nuanced small-scale studies and reflective essays, and is about voices of contemporary grandparents and grandchildren living in the State of Hawai’i which is rapidly going through economic, social, educational, and cultural transformation ushered in by forces of globalization and McDonaldization of society.

But the publisher, Brill, added this retraction notice:

The Publisher notifies the readers that Voices of Social Justice and Diversity in a Hawai’i Context: Grandparents, Grandchildren, Schools, Communities, and Churches, edited by Amarjit Singh, M. Luafata Simanu-Klutz and Mike Devine, published in print in hardback, paperback and electronically on September 26, 2019, has been retracted as of March 12, 2020. On December 23, 2019, the Human Studies Program (HSP) of the University of Hawai’i (UH) notified the Publisher about alleged research misconduct by one of the editors and that a for-cause audit had been initiated on December 11, 2019. On February 27, 2020, the UH HSP shared the audit’s findings with the Publisher. The UH Social & Behavorial [sic] Institutional Review Board (IRB) identified research protocol violations by two of the editors, which constitute Serious Non-Compliance. Based on the audit’s findings, the Publisher has decided to withdraw both print and electronic versions of the book out of consideration for the research subjects and in view of irregularities identified by IRB.

It is unclear which editors were responsible for the “research protocol violations,” nor what the violations were. 

Simanu-Klutz has not responded to requests for comment, nor has Devine nor Singh. Staff at the UH IRB told us in early January that they were working with the university’s office of general counsel on a response, and told us last week that the office was “still working on a formal response.”

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3 thoughts on ““Serious non-compliance” prompts retraction of book on social justice in Hawai’i”

  1. OK so why are not, millions of pages and thousands of major books on Soviet history not liable for retraction. Every foray into source analysis with these Anglo-Euro-US western works of history on the subject has shot them full of holes. None of them have been withdrawn or ground into pulp for recycling, which is the fate they deserve.

  2. Oh this is kinda rough. Most of the papers in this book were written by people other than the editors. Of course, if the editors are dodgy you have no idea if the submissions were properly screened and/or reviewed.

    Social justice in Hawaii is not my field so I don’t know if my understanding of how these things work necessarily applies but I hope, for the sake of all the probably innocent people involved, that this book gets resurrected in some form by editors who haven’t engaged in “Serious Non-Compliance” (whatever that means).

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