Authors admit they “published the paper without completely studying their work.”

As readers of this blog know, we’re fond of highlighting euphemisms, particularly for plagiarism: “inadvertently copied text,” “a significant originality issue” and and “inclusion of significant passages of unattributed material from other authors” come to mind.

But here’s a euphemism for “bullshit” that’s new to us.

The journal International Immunopharmacology has retracted a 2020 paper by a group from Shandong, China, who belatedly decided that their article was drivel. Of course, they didn’t put it quite that directly.  

According to the retraction notice for the paper, titled “Protective role of microRNA-27a upregulation and HSP90 silencing against cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury in rats by activating PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway”:

This article has been retracted at the request of the authors. The authors stated that they published the paper without completely studying their work. The EIC agrees that incompletely executed work should not be published and supports the retraction.

We asked the publisher, Elsevier, and the editor-in-chief of the journal if to “incompletely executed” it might be too much to add “incompletely peer reviewed” and “incompletely edited.” And we asked the corresponding author of the article if the group planned to completely study their work and resubmit. 

No responses yet. Perhaps they’re waiting until they’re…complete.

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