Thursday, August 25, 2011

The "r" word

There is perhaps no worse decision an academic journal editor has to make than to retract an article that has appeared in that journal. reports today that the "r" word is happening more and more often.
Data from Thomson Reuters indicate that there was a 15-fold jump in the number of retraction notices between 2001 and 2010, from just 22 in 2001 to 339 in 2010. In the first six months of 2011 there were 210 retraction notices, suggesting that the numbers are continuing to climb.
I assumed the co-editorship of the Electronic News journal a couple months ago, and at a recent academic convention I attended I learned about at least two recent cases of retractions in journals relating to mass communications.

The suggestion that academicians are well-versed in ethics, law and other such disciplines, and therefore would not resort to such shenanigans as cheating, attempting to write what is essentially the same paper in two academic journals or plagiarizing is specious.

What's wrong is wrong.

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