Retraction Notices: Who Authored Them?

Authors : Shaoxiong Brian Xu, Guangwei Hu

Unlike other academic publications whose authorship is eagerly claimed, the provenance of retraction notices (RNs) is often obscured presumably because the retraction of published research is associated with undesirable behavior and consequently carries negative consequences for the individuals involved.

The ambiguity of authorship, however, has serious ethical ramifications and creates methodological problems for research on RNs that requires clear authorship attribution. This article reports a study conducted to identify RN textual features that can be used to disambiguate obscured authorship, ascertain the extent of authorship evasion in RNs from two disciplinary clusters, and determine if the disciplines varied in the distributions of different types of RN authorship.

Drawing on a corpus of 370 RNs archived in the Web of Science for the hard discipline of Cell Biology and the soft disciplines of Business, Finance, and Management, this study has identified 25 types of textual markers that can be used to disambiguate authorship, and revealed that only 25.68% of the RNs could be unambiguously attributed to authors of the retracted articles alone or jointly and that authorship could not be determined for 28.92% of the RNs.

Furthermore, the study has found marked disciplinary differences in the different categories of RN authorship. These results point to the need for more explicit editorial requirements about RN authorship and their strict enforcement.

URL : Retraction Notices: Who Authored Them?

Alternative location : http://www.mdpi.com/2304-6775/6/1/2

Authorship of Retraction Notices: “If Names Are Not Rectified, Then Language Will Not Be in Accord with Truth.”

Author : Guangwei Hu

Retraction notices appear regularly in many scholarly journals, especially top-tier journals of science and engineering. One disconcerting feature of this emergent genre is evasion of authorship, that is, the deliberate obscuring of who has authored a particular retraction notice.

This communication illustrates and discusses problems of evaded authorship of retraction notices. To address these problems, it proposes that scholarly journals should require explicit authorship of retraction notices and the inclusion of core generic components such as the content to be retracted, the reason(s) for the retraction, the attribution of responsibility, and the expression of mortification.

URL : Authorship of Retraction Notices: “If Names Are Not Rectified, Then Language Will Not Be in Accord with Truth.”

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/publications5020010