[Open-access] Institutional deposits and retracted papers

Douglas Carnall dougie.carnall at gmail.com
Fri Dec 13 10:54:31 UTC 2013

In one sense, retraction is impossible. An article that has been published
is out there. What we are in fact discussing is the withdrawal of an
article's peer reviewed status. If the article is in a pre-print, pre-peer
review repository, arguably nothing has changed.

As everyone is increasingly aware, peer review is an imperfect process that
fails to detect many scientific impostures.

In formal research synthesis, one would expect systematic
review/meta-analysis authors searching for studies to include also to be
capable of finding any associated retraction notices.

One might also expect experts within a field to have a more sophisticated
take on its literature than "well, it got through peer review, so it must
be fine."

So finally, we are left with the effects of persistence of bad information
upon whom we might term "vulnerable users" such as the general public,
novice students, and non-speakers of the language in which the article is
published. Surely the answer with this group is to skill them up with the
tools of search and appraisal so that they too approach the literature with
an appropriate pair of tongs, noses wrinkling at the reek, rather than
worrying about shielding them directly from the fact that someone is wrong
on the internet.

Sure, individual journals and repositories will want to compete on how
nicely they can host the discussion that surrounds any scientific work. One
extreme of that discussion is an editor who has presided over the review
process saying "This is frankly fraudulent." But then, such articles then
become interesting for students of scientific fraud, so they should never
just vanish.

My 2 centimes,

Regards to all,


On 11 December 2013 00:35, Florence Piron <Florence.Piron at com.ulaval.ca>wrote:

> Hi,
> The forced retraction of the Séralini paper from an Elsevier journal (an
> attack in itself on the integrity of the scientific publication process and
> a clear sign that the Pre publication review process is really agonizing)
> makes me wonder what happens to a paper that has been retracted from a
> journal, but that had been deposited in a repository. Should it be also
> "retracted" from the repository? By whom? On whose authority? Did it happen
> already?
> Florence Piron, Québec
> http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Open_letter_to_FCT_and_Elsevier.php
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Douglas Carnall
dougie.carnall at gmail.com


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