Ivan Oransky at Retraction Watch asks: "If a paper appears online but then is withdrawn ... before it is 'officially' published, did anyone hear it fall?" Because publishers' policies vary, he says, there's no clear consensus as to whether "something that is freely available online is published," which, consequently, "has ramifications for whether you can retract a paper like that." In discussing two scenarios in which papers that appeared online were withdrawn, Oranksy calls for increased transparency on the part of the publishers. "So if you end up at an abstract and all you see is 'Withdrawn' ... you might raise your eyebrows a bit and wonder what happened," he says. "It shouldn't take a call or e-mail to the journal or authors to find out." To that end, journal editors ought to make their rationales for withdrawals public, Oransky suggests.
If a Tree Falls in the Woods …
Dec 08, 2010