Eye of the needle? Paper about camels gets rejected, then published, then retracted


If there’s one thing worse than having your paper rejected by a journal, it’s having it retracted. But usually a paper has to be accepted before it’s published and withdrawn.

Not so for a study from the United Arab Emirates, ”Detection and genotyping of GB virus-C in dromedary camels in the United Arab Emirates,” published in 2010 in Veterinary Microbiology.

The editors of the journal ruminated — hey now! is this thing on? — on the paper, only to give it the thumbs down. But come to find out, it got published anyway. Thus, the following retraction notice, which appeared online last month:

This article has been retracted at the request of the Editor, as it was initially rejected for publication, but due to an internal administrative error, was subsequently transmitted to the journal’s production department and published in error.

The study was cited five times before it was retracted, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. Its author, Raed O. Abu Odeh, is co-author of an earlier study with similar findings, based on a different set of data, in the Journal of Medical Virology.

We’ve seen some publisher error doozies before. Usually they involve duplication. But this is an altogether different beast. It’s evidently easier for a camel to get past the eyes of this journal’s production team than … well, you know.



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