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Critiqued Paper Pulled

Nature Communications has retracted an article on mentorship that came under sharp criticism, according to Retraction Watch.

The article, which was published last month, examined mentor-protégé pairs and said that early career researchers with female mentors later had lower citation rates. The researchers from New York University's Abu Dhabi campus then suggested that female junior scientists may benefit more from having male mentors. 

As ScienceInsider reported last month, critics argued that the researchers relied on a poor definition of mentor and protégé, an inadequate measure of career success, and did not consider the influence of institutional biases, as well as offered a sexist solution to the problem. Such critiques and others led Nature Communications to announce it was reviewing the article.

As Retraction Watch now reports, the journal has retracted the paper. In the retraction note, the paper's authors, Bedoor AlShebli, Kinga Makovi, and Talal Rahwan, acknowledge the criticisms and add that though they believe their key findings are valid, the issues raised suggest retracting the paper as the best course of action.

"We feel deep regret that the publication of our research has both caused pain on an individual level and triggered such a profound response among many in the scientific community," the trio writes. "Many women have personally been extremely influential in our own careers, and we express our steadfast solidarity with and support of the countless women who have been a driving force in scientific advancement."